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Diamondbacks Organization Report

Jack Magruder -Premium Content

Cyle Hankerd (pronounced like Kyle) swung the biggest bat in the Northwest League this season, earning league MVP honors after hitting .384/.424/.519 with short-season Yakima. He was rewarded with a late-season promotion to high Class A Lancaster. Hankerd finished 41 points ahead of runner-up Chad Huffman in the NWL batting race, after batting .383 with 10 home runs and 15 doubles in 58 games at Southern California this year.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

Diamondbacks Organization Report

Jack Magruder -Premium Content

The Diamondbacks believed Carlos Quentin was major league-ready after watching him in spring training, but there simply was no room for him in a crowded, veteran outfield. Quentin validated the organization's judgment—and challenged major league history—when he made his first trip to the big leagues after coming up from Triple-A Tucson to replace injured veteran Tony Clark.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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PHOENIX—Bill Murphy kept Team USA perfect in the regional qualifying event for the 2006 Olympic Games in Phoenix in mid-November, although he was perfectly miserable doing it. The 24-year-old lefthander allowed a lone run over six innings for the victory in a 5-2 decision over Canada to cap Team USA's five-game winning streak in the qualifier despite learning the night before that he had been taken off the Diamondbacks' 40-man roster prior to the winter meetings.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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PHOENIX—The Diamondbacks acquired Chris Young to be their center fielder of the future, but excuse Young if he has a more urgent timetable. "Honestly, my major goal is to break spring training with the big league team. It's not my decision if I go back down, of course, but I feel like I'm ready to play at the major league level. I need to prove it to the top officials," Young said from his home in Houston. "I feel like I'll be competing for the (major league center field) job. I want to show them what I have, all the aspects of my game."

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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PHOENIX—At 20 years and three months, Edgar Gonzalez was the second-youngest pitcher to win a major league game in 2003. Although Gonzalez has not won a big league game in the two years since, new general manager Josh Byrnes appears committed to building through youth, and the Diamondbacks still envision Gonzalez as a contributing member of their future rotation.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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PHOENIX—Cesar Nicolas missed time during extended contract negotiations following the 2004 draft, and missed six weeks in 2005 after being hit by a pitch, but he appears determined to make up for all of that. Refusing to rest after a strong season at low Class A South Bend, a driven Nicolas spent part of his winter getting extra work at the Diamondbacks' academy in the Dominican Republic, a place usually reserved for players trying to get off the island, not come back.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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PHOENIX—Lefthander Kellen Raab appears to be developing into the kind of diamond in the rough that the Diamondbacks pride themselves on acquiring in the later stages of the draft. Top pitching prospect Dustin Nippert was a 15th-round choice in 2002, and the 6-foot-6 Raab was not taken until the 25th round in 2003 out of Wisconisn-Parkside when the persistence of area scout Mike Daughtry allowed Arizona to land him. In his first full season in 2005, Raabe went 7-6, 4.44 for low Class A South Bend.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

NL West Organization Reports

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TUCSON—As if Stephen Drew and Justin Upton were not enough. The Diamondbacks further fortified their middle-infield depth with their first trade of the spring, adding second baseman/shortstop Alberto Callaspo for 2001 first-round pick Jason Bulger, each team dealing from a perceived position of strength. Callaspo had been caught in a numbers game with the Angels, who also have elite infield prospects Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick in their system.

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports

Diamondbacks Organization Report

Jack Magruder -Premium Content

TUCSON—Luis Gonzalez got a long look at Justin Upton early in the Diamondbacks' spring training camp, when both spent several days in the same hitting group. Gonzalez' report sounded just like those of the scouts that have watched him for years: "I didn't hit balls that far when I was 18, and I still can't right now at 38," Gonzalez said. "As a veteran, you kind of blow it off when you hear about (a hyped young hitter). It's pretty eye-opening watching him swing the bat. The first thing you think of is, 'No way he's 18 years old.' "

Majors | #2006#Arizona Diamondbacks#Organization Reports