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Diamondbacks Gameday Thread, #138: 9/4 vs. Rockies

Hello, Andrew Saalfrank! Who?

Special exhibition “Wartburg Myth Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Charlie Blackmon - DH Corbin Carroll - RF
Ezequiel Tovar - SS Ketel Marte - 2B
Ryan McMahon - 3B Lourdes Gurriel - LF
Elias Diaz - C Christian Walker - 1B
Nolan Jones - LF Tommy Pham - DH
Brendan Rodgers - 2B Jace Peterson - 3B
Elehuris Montero - 1B Alek Thomas - CF
Hunter Goodman - RF Gabriel Moreno - C
Brenton Doyle - CF Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Peter Lambert - RHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

Roster moves

  • Selected LHP Andrew Saalfrank (No. 57) from Triple-A Reno
  • Recalled OF Dominic Fletcher and placed on the 60-day injured list (fractured left index finger).
  • Optioned RHP Slade Cecconi to Reno following yesterday’s game.

Yeah, a player so obscure, neither Getty nor USA Today can find a single image of him. He’s so unknown (how unknown is he?), the D-backs own initial press release mistakenly called him a right-handed pitcher. It’s not surprising. The 26-year-old sits outside the top thirty on MLB’s prospect list, was not listed in Fangraph’s top 44 D-backs’ prospects, and in Michael’s mid-season top thirty, is also not to be found. Yet, here we are, with Saalfrank getting a September call-up to the big leagues. It is probably a short-term stay, the team option to add an extra bullpen arm for a few days, until Cecconi’s spot in the rotation comes up again.

Andrew has certainly blossomed this year, considering in 2022 he had a 4.86 ERA between High-A and Double-A levels. But this season, he had an ERA below three with AA Amarillo, which netted him a promotion to AAA Reno... where he also has posted a sub-three ERA. Given the PCL, that’s undeniably impressive, and he has been overpowering a lot of hitters there, with 48 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. The walks have been a bit of an issue - 35 over 64 innings all told - but Saalfrank has also been very good at keeping the ball in the park, allowing just two home-runs in 2023. Again, considering the pitching environments he’s had to deal with, you can’t complain.

This is likely going to be a bit of an audition down the stretch, give Saalfrank a taste of the big leagues. I don’t imagine he will initially be seeing high-leverage at-bats, but if he can impress in the remaining four weeks, then he’ll be in the conversation for a 2024 job. That said, the Arizona bullpen might be more settled next year than it was, with Paul Sewald, Scott McGough, Kevin Ginkel and Miguel Castro all apparently owning spots already, with Kyle Nelson very likely joining them. Beyond that, there are a slew of internal possibilities, but Saalfrank being a lefty means Joe Mantiply, who has struggled in 2023, could end up being his biggest rival. I’m looking forward to seeing what our newest rookie might bring.