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Diamondbacks Game Preview #104: 8/3 @ Guardians

The Tommy Henry era begins. Finally.

MLB: Spring Training-Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - 2B Steven Kwan - LF
Alek Thomas - CF Amed Rosario - SS
Ketel Marte - DH Jose Ramirez - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Owen Miller - 1B
Daulton Varsho - RF Oscar Gonzalez - RF
Emmanuel Rivera - 3B Andres Gimenez - 2B
Jake McCarthy - LF Tyler Freeman - 3B
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Austin Hedges - C
Jose Herrera - C Myles Straw - CF
Tommy Henry - LHP Shane Bieber - RHP

It has been a little more than three years since we have seen any player make their major-league debut as a starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks. The last to do so was Alex Young, back om June 27, 2019. I think we’d happily settle for a repeat, as Young allowed one run over five innings against the Giants in San Francisco that day, as the D-backs won 5-1. Indeed, Arizona has done pretty well of late when they have had a debutant on the mount. Over the last 13 such games, going back to Jarrod Parker’s first appearance, at the end of the 2011 season, they are 11-2. The only two losses over that time belong to Anthony Banda and Braden Shipley.

Henry was originally a second-round pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2019 draft, being chosen with the 74th overall pick. I think he will become the twenty-fourth player from that class to make an appearance in the major leagues, with #11 pick Alex Manoah of the Blue Jays having been the best so far. When picked, James and Michael were both concerned about whether he might need to move to the bullpen, but James wrote, “With three solid-average pitches and a propensity for throwing strikes from the left side, he’ll have every opportunity to advance so long as he continues to get every last ounce of potential out of his pitches.”

The year after he was drafted, Henry was ranked the #22 prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system by, though had moved up to #12 in their most recent ranking. His stuff seems to have improved since being selected, with them saying, “His fading changeup has grown more than any of his other offerings over the past two seasons and his low-80s slider serves as his out pitch. Henry has also developed a curveball, and although it needs refinement, it shows promise... A consistent performer, Henry has the chance to move quickly through the system and develop into a mid-rotation starter.”

This year, Henry has really blossomed, despite pitching in the well-known offensive thunderdome of the Pacific Coast League. Over 20 starts for the Reno Aces, he has posted a 3.83 ERA, with a K:BB of 100:44 over 108 innings. For comparison, the team ERA for Reno is 5.42 this year, basically identical to the PCL ERA as a whole (5.43). His numbers have been attracting good attention there for a while, and over the last couple of months, his name as come into the frame as a potential replacement. A month ago, Michael concluded, “Now is a good time to give a pitcher performing well in Reno a chance to stick in the MLB rotation.” It took a little longer, but Henry has his opportunity today. Let’s see how he does.