Pitchers and catchers are reporting to their respective camps and there are a descent amount of free agents still left unsigned. One of those being named Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is entering his 15th major league season and at the age of 36 (37 at the end of February) he is no stranger to the mound. The guy even has a world series ring. A no brainier starting rotation option for many teams looking to upgrade. He’s been linked to many teams this off-season such as the Twins, Orioles, Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
Bronson Arroyo would be a perfect marriage with the Arizona Diamondbacks. A team that has upgraded with some power in the outfield and have bolstered their back end of the bullpen this off-season. The Diamondbacks appear serious about making a run for the postseason in 2014. In a division with a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers and the 2010/2012 champion Giants, a starting pitching upgrade would improve the dbacks chances of shaking up the division and provide veteran leadership for their young starters.
Currently the Diamondback rotation shakes out like this..
1. Patrick Corbin
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Wade Miley
4. Brandon McCarthy
5. Randall Delgado/Archie Bradley
Spots 1-4 are a lock, but Arizona has room to sign Arroyo if they feel the need and Kevin Towers has made it clear he will do whatever it takes to improve the club. Bradley will most likely head to AAA Reno and shifting Delgado into the bullpen or sending him back to Reno to start the year is possible. Since 2005, Arroyo has pitched under 200 innings once (199 IP in 2011) and holds a career 4.19 ERA making him a reliable and stable starting pitcher. A 2 year deal will likely do it and it would be wise to not let him slip away to a rival team.
So I sit here watching this incredible up and down World Baseball Classic game between USA and Canada. A game that has a feel like like a final game in a ALDS, but in the month of March. The United States at one point, decides to put Arizona Diamondback David Hernandez out to the mound. I can’t help but think about how underrated the guy is….
In my eyes, David Hernandez is one of the top relief pitchers in the game. A man who does his job quite like no other, bridging the gap from the 8th inning to the 9th beautifully. A handcuff to the aging J.J. Putz. In the past 2 seasons for the Dbacks, Hernandez compiled 48 holds which is a Major League 12th best. Not to mention a good honkin’ fastball and a nasty slider.
A former 16th round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. 483rd overall to be exact. He came up as a starter, putting in good overall numbers in the minors. At 24 years old, he was called up by the Orioles making 19 starts and once out of the pen for a limp 5.42 ERA. Forward to December of 2010 and David Hernandez along with Kam Mickolio for slugger Mark Reynolds. Perhaps Arizona was on to something by trading for Hernandez, seeing how they had drafted him once previously but he didn’t sign. They had an obvious liking for the guy. The Diamondbacks strictly used him out of the bullpen in 2011 and 2012 and the move payed off. Proving that he is a trusty reliever and without a doubt a possible future closer for the Diamondbacks, replacing an aging and oft injured J.J. Putz. Between David and Heath Bell, he’ll likely get some save opportunities if Putz sees any DL time or needs a night off.
In fact, the four seasons he has pitched in the MLB he managed to lower his ERA, runs, hits given up, walks, WHIP, and HR’s allowed in each season. While increasing his strike out total in each season. In 2012 he stuck out an impressive 98 batters in 68.1 innings. Perhaps the most valuable part of David Hernandez to the Arizona Diamondbacks is that he is set to earn just over $3 Million for the next 2 seasons. Count on him to have another voluminous season.
Fresh off a thrilling 2012 season, we are about a few weeks into spring training. Perhaps no ballplayer is as thrilled to be in Arizona or Florida than a young kid looking to better their career and showcase their talents. I love seeing the raw talent that these guys have and to watch them grow and learn right in front of your eyes. Some go on to the bigs and do great things, while some completely fizzle out. That’s what the minors are there for, right? Aside from the few top standouts like Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Gerrit Cole or Oscar Taveras, here’s some prospects I’m looking forward to see in 2013 leaving me Fully Torqued.
Jackie Bradley, CF – Boston Red Sox picked Bradley in the 1st round 40th pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of South Carolina. In his first full season, Jackie topped out at AA Portland. Between high-A and AA, Bradley hit .315/.430/.482 with 42 doubles, 9 HR, 63 RBI’s, 24 steals in 124 games. Importantly is that he can take a walk, 87 last year. He’s not overly powerful but some of those doubles could turn into HR’s. It appears he doesn’t need much more time in the minors and will be with the Red Sox perhaps by the years end. It’s been said that he will be the guy to replace Jacoby Ellsbury after the season.
Archie Bradley, SP – I love this kid. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Bradley with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft right out of high school. Big frame on this kid (6’4″/225lbs). He was a quarterback in high school and some say that he probably has the highest ceiling in the Diamondbacks organization. I believe it. He’s a work in progress as he has to adjust to the game a bit more. In 27 starts at single-A last season, Archie went 12-6 and owned a 3.84 ERA with 152 K’s in 136 innings. He needs to work a bit on his control, walking an alarming 84 batters. He keeps the ball in the park though and will likely start at high A ball this season.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B – The Houston Astros nailed in on the head nabbing Singleton from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. In a full year (131 games) at AA Corpus Christi, Jonathan hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 HR’s and 79 RBI’s. He struck out an average of once per game but still walked 88 times. He is no doubt the franchise piece for the Astros for years to come at first base. If he hadn’t been caught with pot and being suspended 50 games, he might of seen the majors sooner. There is no need to rush him and I could see him winning the starting gig as soon as opening day 2014.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B – Perhaps the most underrated prospect on this small list. He owns a career .319/.385/.529 line in the minors and after crushing the ball in AAA last season, he doesn’t really have much left to prove. I’m hoping Jedd wins the second base job in San Diego and he sure deserves it. His defense is improving, as he was a third baseman by trade. But we know for now that Chase Headley isn’t going anywhere. Don’t expect him to hit that career minor league slash line he owns, but I can see him flirting around .280 in the majors. He doesn’t walk as much as I’d like but he’s still a fun player to watch.
There’s plenty of great young talent in baseball and this is only 4 of them. Check out MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list for 2013. It’s quite beautiful. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.
Entering the 2013 baseball season, there appears to be a little competition at the Braves spring training camp. Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco are in a battle for the everyday third baseman job. And both Johnson and Francisco are having good springs. Who should claim the job? It seems possible that the Braves could platoon them at third, but as a fan, I’d like to see one guy prove he can handle the job by himself.
Chris Johnson, a career .276 hitter, was acquired this offseason in the Justin Upton trade that sent him packing from Arizona to Atlanta. Last season in 136 games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros, Johnson hit a slash line of .281/.326/.451 coupled with 15 dingers and 76 runs batted in. He provided much needed pop toward the end of the season for the Dbacks on their quest to try and birth a wild card spot. He had pretty average defense at the position committing 19 errors in 127 games for a .940 fielding percentage. He’s the type of player that works hard to try and become better ball player. This spring, in 9 games Johnson is hitting .364 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI’s and only striking out once. I feel Chris Johnson is an underrated player in the MLB and this could be his season to show everyone what he can do.
Juan Francisco, acquired in a deal that sent him to the Braves for right hander J.J. Hoover from the Cincinnati Reds. Francisco struggled a bit with the Reds and out of minor league options; they traded him rather than putting him on waivers and risking a claim. In 93 games last season he hit .234 with an on base percentage of .278, only walking 11 times in that span. He does have power potential but in order to see more playing time he needs to show patience at the plate and be more selective with his swings. He owned a .935 fielding % with 6 errors in 49 games at third base. This spring he is hitting .360 with 1HR and 4 RBI’s and striking out 4 times in 9 games.
Both players are almost dead even in spring training with no clear favorite. If I had to guess, it would be that Chris Johnson out plays Juan Francisco for the job and doing so early on. Should be an exciting year for the Braves. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued!
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