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Arizona Diamondbacks Minor-league Review: Missoula Osprey

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The Osprey were unable to repeat as Pioneer League champions, going 33-42. But how did the individual players do?

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Ospreys Return To Scotland For The Summer Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

After winning it all in 2015, this season was likely a bit disappointing. They finished third of the four teams in the Pioneer League North division in both the first and second halves of the season, seven and nine games back respectively. Across the eight-team league, they finished sixth in both runs per game and ERA. Of particular concern, they had a league-worst on-base percentage of .336, while their pitching staff also walked more batters than any other team. On the bright side, the Osprey hit more home-runs than anyone else.

The Missoula MVP for last year, Isan Diaz, is no longer with the organization, having been part of the trade to Milwaukee for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner. He had a solid, though less spectacular season there, putting up an .827 OPS at A-ball, but having only turned 20 in May, remained young for his level. Left-hander pitcher Cameron Smith, who was the team’s best pitcher in 2015 had a severely curtailed 2015, and for the worst of reasons. He was suspended for 50 games in April after "an undisclosed violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," and so barely appeared this year, tossing three games in the AZL.

Hitting (min 100 PA)

  • Hits: Jasrado Chisholm, 70
  • 2B: Eudy Ramos + Tanner Hill, 15
  • 3B: Jacy Cave, 4
  • HR: Ramos, 13
  • RBI: Ramos, 43
  • SB: Chisholm, 13
  • BB: Ryan January, 26
  • SO: Ramos, 75
  • BA: Paxton De La Garza, .394
  • OBP: De La Garza, .455
  • SLG: De La Garza, .636
  • OPS: De La Garza, 1.091

We already discussed Paxton De La Garza in the Arizona Rookie League report, and am keen to see where he goes in 2017. So we’ll give the award instead to Eudy Ramos. The corner-infielder played mostly at third, and he finished tied for third-most home-runs in the league. Could do with some more walks - he had the same number of bases on balls as bombs! - but he was aged 20 for the entire season, and will likely move up to a full-season league for 2017.

Among the younger players, 19-year-old catcher Ryan January led the team in walks, and had an .846 OPS, while the even younger Jasrado Chisholm batted .281 with nine home-runs, before going off to play for Great Britain in the recent WBC qualifier [he was born in the former British colony of the Bahamas]. He went up there against team-mate Gabriel Maciel, who was part of the Brazilian roster. Maciel was also Missoula’s youngest player, having been born in 1999. I feel really old...

Pitching (min. 20 IP)

  • Wins: three tied with 4
  • Losses: Alex Gouin, 6
  • ERA: Tyler Keele, 1.54
  • Sv: Keele, 3
  • K: Rafael Pujols + Gouin, 46
  • BB: Williams Durruthy, 24
  • WHIP: Dean Jackson, 0.806
  • K/9: Erbert Gonzalez, 14.3
  • BB/9: Trevor Simms, 1.3
  • K/BB: Jackson, 8.20

As you can tell from the broad spread of names, there wasn’t one particularly dominant performance on the mound for Missoula this season. No pitcher won more than four, and with the team having only seven saves all season, no reliever stood out much either. Best of the starters was probably Ryan Atkinson, who had a 3.38 ERA over 29.1 innings, while striking out 33 batters. Palmer Betts (seven starts, 3.89 ERA) also did well, though both he and Atkinson are older than league average (21.5 for pitchers).

Out of the Osprey bullpen Erbert Gonzalez stood out, fanning a gaudy 43 batters in 27 innings - 53% of all outs he recorded, being by the K. If he can reduce the 16 walks, that would be splendid. Rafael Pujols was the busiest reliever, throwing 40 innings with a K-rate of 10.4, but with 19 BB and 7 HBP in 40 innings, also needs to improve his control. So, the 2016 honor here goes to Dean Jackson, who combined a high strikeout tally, fanning 41 in 31 innings, with a low walk rate, issuing only five bases on balls. That led to a team-best WHIP of 0.806 for the Scottsdale-born Jackson, who was signed (nice beard, too) as an undrafted free agency out of Arizona Christian University. That’s an educational establishment I must confess I’ve never even heard of before!