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Arizona Diamondbacks Minor-league Review: Overall

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Let’s round up the entire season down on the farm.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Anthony Banda pitches during the All-Star Futures Game at Petco Park.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

All told, the nine Diamondbacks farm teams (include the two in the Dominican Summer League) combined for a record of 460-446, a winning percentage of .508. That’s down a little on last year, when eight teams went 445-382, a .544 W%. The best and worst results were both in the Dominican League, where one team went 49-20, but the other went 22-47. Overall, the best league result was achieved by the High-A Visalia Rawhide. They went 81-59, though were unable to end their 38-year drought in the California League, falling in the championship series. The worst record belonged to the Missoula Osprey, who were 33-42.

The best league ERA belonged to Kane County, who were barely above three, at 3.07. They also had the best WHIP (1.207), but the best K:BB ration went to the Rawhide, who were a hair under three (2.99). The Hillsboro Hops struck out more than a batter per inning overall, fanning 660 hitters in 658.2 innings of work. At the dish, the Osprey were most productive, averaging 5.60 runs per game. They were the only affiliate with more home-runs (90) than games played (75). But the batting average crown went to the Reno Aces (.280), as did on-base percentage (.338), slugging percentage (.444) and, you’ll not be surprised to hear, OPS (.782).

Now, on to the individual categories. These apply to a player across all levels at which they appeared; a home-run hit in A-ball is deemed to have the same value as one hit in Triple-A!

Hitting (min 200 PA)

  • Hits: Ildemaro Vargas, 160
  • 2B: Henry Castillo, 38
  • 3B: Reyes, 12
  • HR: Kyle Jensen, 30
  • RBI: Jensen, 120
  • SB: Colin Bray, Jesus Mariaga, Marcus Wilson, 25
  • BB: Mitch Haniger, 69
  • SO: Jensen, 169
  • BA: Jose King, .350
  • OBP: Haniger, .419
  • SLG: Eudy Ramos, .597
  • OPS: Haniger, .999

Yeah, looking at that, you can be forgiven for wondering if the trade of Haniger will be one which ends up coming back to haunt the Diamondbacks down the road. That said, you don’t have to look far to find examples of players who produced video-game numbers for Reno, but struggled elsewhere. In 2015, Danny Dorn played 75 games for the Aces, and hit .386/.444/.618, a 1.062 OPS. He ended up playing last season in Korea. See also Nick Evans’s 1.054 OPS for Reno in 2014. Where was he in 2016? Coincidentally, turns out Evans played in Korea as well. So, pencil Haniger lightly in for a Far East trip in 2018...

Second in OPS among qualifying hitters was a name you likely won’t know: Mark Karaviotis, our 16th-round pick this June. In 54 games, he hit .347 with a walk-rate of 13.4%, for a .491 on-base percentage. The shortstop from Hawaii only turned 21 in October, having foregone his senior year at Oregon to become a pro. Having hit rookie league and low-A pitching, he may start this season in Visalia. Perhaps the biggest improvement this year was shown by Eudy Ramos, still only 20, and the third-baseman in Missoula. In 2015, his OPS at the rookie level was .529. In 2016, it was over four hundred points better, at .970, as he hit 13 home-runs in 52 games. But for sheer consistency of hitting, over a full season, the award has to go to Mitch Haniger.

Pitching (min. 30 IP)

  • Wins: Justin Donatella, 13
  • Losses: Carlos Hernandez + Josh Taylor, 11
  • ERA: Yeison Santana, 0.58
  • Sv: Jimmie Sherfy, 30
  • K: Anthony Banda, 152
  • BB: Hernandez, 69
  • WHIP: Santana, 0.669
  • K/9: Zac Curtis, 15.6
  • BB/9: Brian Valdez, 0.7
  • K/BB: Valdez, 17.2

There were some downright silly stats posted out of the DSL bullpen. Yeison Santana threw 46.1 innings, allowing three earned runs while fanning 59, and Bryan Valdez had a K:BB ratio of 86:5 in his 67.2 innings. At a higher level, Kirby Bellow blew through hitters at three levels, fanning 58 in 38.2 innings, while giving up three earned runs, all on three solo homers. Fellow left-hander Gabriel Moya struck out 82 in 63.2 innings, but it was Zac Curtis who takes home the strikeout-rate honors (albeit by pitching exactly the thirty innings necessary to qualify!). He struck out 52, which is forty percent of all batters faced. While his major-league call-up, out of High-A, wasn’t as successful, he is only 24, and will be fighting for a bullpen spot in spring training. But it will be in Seattle...

Among the starters, things were generally tougher. In the Dominican, Juan Hernandez, who only turned 17 in August, led the way, with a 2.06 ERA in 14 starts. Carlos Hernandez (no relation, I presume) deserved better than a 7-11 record, given his 2.55 ERA for Kane County, and Brazilian teenager Rodrigo Takahashi also had a sub-three ERA (2.81), over stints in Hillsboro, Kane County and Visalia. But the SnakePit award for Minor-League Pitcher of the Year goes to Anthony Banda. The 22-year-old settled nicely in to Mobile, and a stretch of seven games where he was 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA got him sent to Reno. After a rough baptism (15 ER in his first nine IP!), Banda learned the art of pitching in the PCL, and over his remaining 11 starts put up a 2.92 ERA. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in 2017.