Certainly known around here - will this be the year our 2013 first-round pick arrives in the majors? That seems less likely, given the winter acquisitions, and would require the failure and/or injury of quite a few people ahead of him. Still, Shipley turns 24 next month, and it'd be nice to see him take a step forward after a mixed year in 2015. He struggled early on with Mobile, to a 5.21 ERA in his first ten starts, but improved significantly thereafter, and ended the year with a 3.50 ERA. "When I'm throwing my best, I'm locating my fastball and throwing my off-speed pitches for strikes," Shipley said in June. "I'm locating my pitches down in the strike zone and getting outs early in the count."
A veteran with a decade of major-league experience, mostly with the Padres, who picked him fourth overall in the 2003 draft. However, a post-draft MRI showed shoulder weakness, and he eventually signed for a much lower bonus, That was an omen, as Tim never quite lived up to that high slot, his progress being derailed by various ailments. Stauffer spent last year with the Twins and Mets, around an indy stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters; he appeared in 18 major-league games, with an underwhelming 6.97 ERA. He'll almost certainly end up in Reno, which will be a reunion of sorts, since Aces' manager Phil Nevin played alongside Stauffer on the 2005 Padres.
Onto the LHP, and if Gibson struggled at High-A in 2014, with a 9.13 ERA in 21 games, 2015 was an utterly different story. He struck out 38 in 28 innings for Visalia, and his 1.61 ERA got a promotion to the Mobile bullpen, where he continued to find success. Daniel had a 1.50 ERA over 24 AA innings, with 20 strikeouts, though the walks (14) did also balloon a bit. He finished the year off with a strong Arizona Fall League campaign, tossing eight innings without an earned run, allowing four hits and four walks, while fanning ten batters. He'll likely begin 2016 in Mobile again, though a spot in the Reno bullpen for the 24-year-old is not impossible, if the team wants to be aggressive.
Drafted as a starting pitcher, Loewen reached the majors but converted to a position player after a 2008 stress fracture in his elbow. He made it back to the majors as an outfielder with the Blue Jays. However, in 2014, Adam returned to the mound and appeared in 20 games out of the Philadelphia bullpen last year - can't be many who've switched from pitching to hitting and then hitting back to pitching! Loewen appeared for Canada in the 2006 WBC as a pitcher, and in the 2013 version as an outfielder. The former was particularly memorable, as we were in attendance when he was the starting pitcher in Team Canada's amazing 8-6 victory over the USA at Chase Field.
Another first-round pick, albeit all the way back in 1999 (by Baltimore), Rice took the long route to the major leagues courtesy of injuries, not appearing until his 32nd summer, with his sixth different organization, the Mets, and also after a detour into independent baseball. He was a solid part of their bullpen in 2013, appearing 73 times, but struggled the next season, and was sent down in late June - he has yet to make it back. He's a left-handed reliever, something the Diamondbacks might need, as the options outside of Andrew Chafin are thin, unless you're a big fan of Matt Reynolds. A strong spring showing could at least put Rice's name on the board as a potential call-up.
Much the same goes for Wright, and he also has the benefit of experience, having appeared 371 times over parts of seven seasons for the Astros, Rays, Cubs, Angels and Orioles, posting a 97 ERA+. freeland wrote more about Wright at the time of his signing last week. The pitcher's 2015 season was disrupted by a strain and inflammation in his left shoulder, that caused him to spend half the year on the disabled list, so with only 31.2 innings thrown last season at all levels, proving his health is going to be the first thing Wright has to do with the Diamondbacks. He won't turn 30 until later this month though, so is not necessarily a has-been.