Taylor Widener is the marquee player in today’s group of non roster invitees. The University of South Carolina Gamecock was drafted by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. He had nothing but success his first two years in the Yankee organization, posting low ERA and High K totals.
Acquired by Mike Hazen in the 3 way trade with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays that also brought in Steven Souza Jr, he has emerged as on of the top right handed pitching prospects in baseball, cracking most top 100 lists. No finesse pitcher, Widener features a mid 90’s fastball, a good slider, as well as a Changeup. The K rates, Hit & Homer rates, and K/BB ratio are all very impressive throughout his 3 years in the minors.
He was also remarkably consistent last year, with his monthly era ranging between 2.51-3.05
Look for Widener to start the year in Reno, but will be one of the first options the team may call upon if/when they need to call up a starting pitcher. He turned 24 in October, so no need to waste his bullets, IMHO. If you can’t get out to see him in Spring Training, there are plenty of videos of him on Youtube
Kevin Ginkel is a very interesting pitcher. He was drafted out of Southwestern College, Chula Vista CA but did not sign, not once but twice. First in 2014 in the 16th round by the Giants, and then in 2015, failing to improve his draft position, was taken by the Red Sox in the 26th round. The third time was a charm however as Arizona took him in the 22nd round of the 2016 draft.
After a good start at Hillsboro in short season ball in 2016, (2.48 ERA 22/6 K/BB ratio) he was promoted to Kane County in the Midwest league in 2017. It didn’t go well, as after just 6 appearances he had a 14.85 ERA and was demoted back to Hillsboro. He did ok the rest of the year, and earned a promotion direct to Visalia in the Cal league in 2018. And he took off,, posting a 0.99 ERA and 40/3 K/BB ratio. Promoted to AA Jackson, he continued to dominate, winning Southern league pitcher of the month in August and posting 1.69 ERA and 60/9 K/BB rate . Earning a trip to the fall league he once again was dominant , 2.53 ERA, 17/2 K/BB.
Has a little bit of short arm action, and seems like a guy his size should be throwing a little harder. But he has an intimidating mound presence and likes to bully hitters inside with his fastball.
Troy Scribner was originally signed by the Houston Astros in 2013 as an undrafted free agent , completing 4 years at Sacred Heart University. He excelled at the lower levels exhibiting good command, but struggled in the California (hitters) league. After 3 years in the Astros organization he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations. He made it to the majors in 2017, and while his 4.18 ERA in 23 innings didn’t see to bad, he allowed 7 HR in the process. The Angels ended up exposing him to waivers on April 3rd, and he was claimed by the Diamondbacks on April 6th. On May 12th he was called up to start his lone game in the majors last year. In 3 2/3 IP he walked 6 and gave up 4 hits, but somehow managed to only concede 2 runs in a 2-1 DBacks loss to the Nationals.
Scribner throws a high 80’s fastball, and features a slider , curveball and changeup. He’s 27 years old, and will turn 28 in July. It’s impressive that he has hung in there this long , and the team must see something in him to give him the spring invite. He strikes out more batters than one would expect, considering his pedestrian fastball, but the HR problem seems to be persistent. (2018 44 Reno Innings, 10 HR, 44 K, 17 Walks). He’s a flyball pitcher, and will need to exhibit near perfect command to succeed in the majors.
Braden Shipley is no stranger to Diamondback fans. Originally both a shortstop and pitcher his freshman year at University of Nevada, Reno, Shipley started pitching full time his sophomore year. After his Junior year his prospect status rose and the Diamondbacks took him with the 15th overall pick of the 1st round in the 2013 draft. Working is way through the system, he made his MLB debut on July 25th, 2016 and stayed in the rotation through the end of the season with mixed results. In 11 starts and 2 relief appearances, he threw 70 innings, with a 5.27 ERA. However he gave up 14 homers and 80 hits overall in the process.
Failing to make the opening day roster in 2017, Shipley was recalled for a spot start on May 4th, and then immediately optioned back out to Reno. He got into 3 more games in June, and was with the team again in September. In all he was given just 25 innings of work in the majors and posted a 5.76 ERA. By the time 2018 rolled around Shipley was converted to a reliever, and posted a 5.81 ERA and 1.735 WHIP in Reno. After a few indifferent MLB outings in June, Shipley ended up losing his 40 man roster spot as he was exposed to waivers, which he cleared, and was outrighted to Reno in November of 2018.
There is still some hope that
Craig Braden can establish himself as a reliever, as he gained a few MPH on his fastball working out of the pen, and was hitting mid 90’s last year. But it would seem like 2018 is probably his last shot with the Diamondbacks.