MLB: The AZ Diamondbacks Have Some Pitching Help in the Minors

The Arizona Diamondbacks starting rotation has seemed to “weather” the bad start to the season. They still have the highest ERA in baseball, but it has been lowered from 6.49 to 5.17. They have received several quality starts over the past ten games, but with the lack of timely hitting from the Diamondbacks offense with runners in scoring position, they are only 4-6 in those games.

The bullpens is still averaging around three to four innings per game, but for the most part it looks like they have made it past their terrible start of the season and have lowered their ERA from 6.96 to 3.70, with teams hitting just .230 against them. However with the continuing failure of the starters to go past five or six innings, the bullpen will be fatigued by late May or early June.

Randall Delgado and Trevor Cahill seem to be the answer in the long reliever role, now that Josh Collmenter has been moved to the starting rotation. Even Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher, being lefties, have given Manager Kirk Gibson an option against right handed hitters.

It is likely that one of the Diamnbacks pitchers will lose his effectiveness or an injury will put them up on the DL. This sort of situation would cause another “shake-up” in this pitching staff.

Some writers have said the Diamondbacks have traded away all of their young pitchers, with no one ready to come up and pitch right away. Some feel that their minor league prospects are at least one, if not two years, away from contributing. However there are pitchers in the Diamondbacks minor league organization that can be called upon now to help a worn-out bullpen. These guys should be able to provide depth for the bullpen, even if Cahill and Delgado are moved back to the starting rotation.

First, there is left hander Randy Wolf, who was signed last month as a free agent. Wolf is getting into game shape and when he is called up, it most likely will be in a starting role. He has pitched 17 innings for AAA Reno and seems to be progressing with each start. He did miss all of the 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Chase Anderson might be the next guy called up if a pitcher is placed on the DL or needs to move back down to the minors to make adjustments. The right hander is considered to have the best changeup in the whole Diamondbacks organization and currently has a 0.85 ERA at Mobile.

Even though he is considered a starter, 24-year-old right hander Zeke Spruill appeared in six games in 2013 for the Diamondbacks. His ERA was high at 5.56 ERA, but Spruill could be used as a long reliever. He has a good sinkerball which provides groundball outs and his fastball can reach up to 94-95 MPH.

Right hander Evan Marshall (no relation to me) is another pitcher who could be called up and provide some bullpen help. He has been outstanding for AAA Reno so far. He has allowed no runs in ten games covering 11+ innings. The right-hander, who just turned 24, has given up only six hits and three walks while striking out 12. This is his second year with Reno. He pitched in 54 games for them in 2013 and has done well at every level in the organization.

Charles Brewer is another guy who has seen MLB action with the Diamondbacks. The right hander, from right here in the greater Phoenix area, pitched in four games in 2013 totaling six innings with five strikeouts. While he may not be one of the top pitchers in the organization, pitching in long relief might get him a permanent call up to the Diamondbacks.

Matt Stites came to the organization last July as part of the Ian Kennedy trade from the SD Padres. The hard throwing right hander is currently splitting closing duties with another prospect, former AZ State Sun Devil Jake Barrett, at AA Mobile. He has dominated hitters with his fastball-slider combination. He throws his fastball in the mid-90s and he has excellent control on his slider. He has also worked to develop a changeup to give him another option against left-handers. He is 23, with no MLB experience, and was seen as the closer of the future for the Diamondbacks until the trade for Addison Reed, but he might be an excellent set up man for Reed.

There are others like Jake Barrett, Kevin Munson, Bo Schultz, who did pitch in the opening series in Australia, and Eury De La Rosa, who pitched in six games last year, could also be considered for a call-up to help out.

One pitcher I left off the list is Archie Bradley who has struggled at AAA Reno. He is 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts and currently has command issues, allowing 12 walks. It is best to leave him in Reno to work on his pitching

We will keep tabs on these pitchers, as well as others in the minors who are attempting to show they might deserve a call up to the big leagues.

Follow me on Twitter: @Basebaldaz and listen to me on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 PHX every Saturday from 10AM/1PM AZ time.

Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall

I have lived in Phoenix for over 45+ years. I am an avid baseball, basketball, football and hockey fan. My favorite teams are the local professional sports teams yes even the Phx Mercury, as well as THE Arizona State Sun Devils. My favorite sport is baseball. I am a collector of baseball memorabilia. My favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. I enjoy attending live sporting events and I am a season ticket holder for the Arizona Cardinals. I enjoy traveling the state of Arizona with my lovely wife Patti.

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