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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-19, Braden Shipley

Our former top pitching prospect faces an uphill battle to break into the rotation this season.

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Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 19: Braden Shipley

  • Date of birth: February 22, 1992
  • Ht/Wt: 6’1”, 190 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 13 games, 70.0 IP, 5.27 ERA, 43:28 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 5.26 [pattern of votes below]

About the only consistent thing about Braden Shipley’s rookie season was its inconsistency. He had a rough introduction to the majors, allowing six earned runs in 5.1 innings in Milwaukee - then bounced back five days later to blank the Dodgers over six frames in Los Angeles. That set the pattern for the rest of the year: Braden’s best outing (seven shutout innings of three-hit ball against the Mets) came five days before his worst one (ten hits and seven runs in five innings against... yep, also the Mets). He said after the season, “For me it was just about getting that experience. Those big league hitters are real good and if you make mistakes you’re going to get punished.”

But this spring, he did admit his mechanics had not been consistent from start to start: “One time out, my mechanics would be great; I’d pitch really well. Then the next time they’d be off and everything would blow up in my face.” Shipley tweaked his delivery as a result. “It’s helped me get gathered and get into my back side a little bit more. I feel a lot better. I feel like I’m throwing harder. I’m able to get down the hill without feeling rushed getting down the hill.” He came into this spring training likely as an underdog for a rotation spot, and despite the struggles of Archie Bradley, is probably still down the list, with just one strikeout in five innings thus far.

But a relief role is also a possibility. Said manager Torey Lovullo, “We’re also going to take a look at all options in the bullpen and he’s certainly one of the candidates that we’ve spoken to. Right now at this point in time, we’re looking at him as a starter. Where that takes us tomorrow will be determined day by day. But he knows there’s a possibility.” Shipley didn’t seem averse to that idea, but there’s not much less competition for the remaining relief spots. We’ll see how this pans out.

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