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Diamondbacks Minor-league Updates

We lose some players, and - hey! - the Arizona Fall League!

American League Fall Stars v. National League Fall Stars Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Minor-league free agents

As the season ends, it’s not just the major league players who get to test the market. A number of Diamondbacks outside the 40-man roster have elected free agency. Per the MiLB Transactions account on Twitter, the following players have done so:

  • RHP Michel Otanez
  • RHP Raffi Vizcaíno
  • RHP Tyler Ferguson
  • RHP Stephen Nogosek
  • RHP Austin Adams
  • RHP José Ruiz
  • RHP Nabil Crismatt
  • LHP Tyler Gilbert
  • C Ali Sánchez
  • C Juan Centeno
  • 3B Phillip Evans
  • INF Sergio Alcántara
  • INF Camden Duzenack

Some names here will be ones you probably don’t know. But there are a number you should recognize, especially if you went through rating the D-backs. Austin Adams pitched in 24 games for Arizona this year, and Jose Ruiz in 34 - that’s just one fewer than Joe Mantiply. Nabil Crismatt’s solitary appearance was infamous as he balked in the go-ahead run against the Reds, and Tyler Gilbert is, of course, famous for pitching Arizona’s most recent no-hitter. The loss of Sánchez and Centeno do hurt our catching depth: the former was AAA Reno’s most-used catcher this season, while the latter caught more innings at AA Amarillo than anyone else. Alcántara didn’t appear this year, but played 71 games in 2022.

Arizona Fall League update

I don’t know about you, but I had totally forgotten about the AFL this year. Normally, once the calendar turns to October, it’s the only baseball we get in Arizona. But this year was... kinda different, shall we say. Indeed, the AFL even ended up changing its schedule to avoid going up against World Series Game 3! With that out of the way, the league is now just about coming to its conclusion, with just two games left. Tonight sees a play-in game between the Peoria Javelinas and the Scottsdale Scorpions. The winner goes on to face the Surprise Saguaros in tomorrow’s title game. That will be available on the MLB Network or at

There won’t be any D-backs’ taking part, however. They were, as usual, part of the Salt River Rafters roster, but that team finished a game and a half back of a possible spot, after losing their final three contests. The top Arizona prospect taking part was Ivan Melendez (top), who has the glorious nickname of “The Hispanic Titanic”. The corner infielder hit 30 home-runs between High-A and Double-AA this year, at age 23. It’s especially impressive, since he only appeared in 96 games. In the AFL, he hit .229/.340/.386 with a pair of homers. But he did make the AFL All-Star game, and appeared in the Home Run Derby, where he blasted 14 bombs, including one measured at 456 ft.

A.J. Vuckovich started games at all three outfield positions, and the good news is, he hit .275, while his 13 SB led the Rafters. However, he drew only four walks in 86 PAs, compared to 23 strikeouts, and had no homers, factoring into a low OPS of .664. Performing slightly better was utility man Caleb Roberts, who can add starts at catcher and first-base to all outfield spots. He didn’t hit as well, batting .203, but had a much better K:BB ratio, at 24:17, boosting his on-base percentage to .381, with an OPS of .678. Still, all of our hitters’ production was low, in a league which is generally skewed towards offense. AFL average OPS this year was round about .765.

On the pitching front, it’s difficult to say much: the Arizona prospects taking part were relievers, so the sample size of innings is in single figures for all of them. Most used was Christian Montes De Oca, who tossed 8.2 innings with a 3.12 ERA, despite an opponent’s batting average of .316. Just behind was Austin Pope’s 8.1 innings. He struck out 12, but walked 6, and had an 8.64 ERA overall. Left-hander Jake Rice also missed a lot of bats, with 13 K in his eight frames of work. Carlos Mesa was tagged for 14 hits over seven innings, and an ugly 11.57 ERA. Though much of the damage came in one outing where he faced five batters, all of whom ended up scoring. Again: small sample sizes.