Remember the Diamondbacks' Double-A Mobile team that won the Southern League last year and was our Minor League Team of the Year? Well, the core of that team returns, at least to start the season, and will have one of the best rotations in the minor leagues. Rightander Trevor Bauer is the headliner, but lefthanders Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin and righthander Charles Brewer are premium guys as well. Skaggs and Corbin stuck in major league spring training right to the end of camp, and Corbin very nearly made the team. He finished his spring with five no-hit innings against the Rockies, even going 2-for-2 at the plate with a triple. The BayBears will have prospects in the field as well, with A.J. Pollock returning in center field and Matt Davidson moving up from high Class A Visalia and slotted at first base.
Leap Of Faith
As the Mobile roster shows, the stability of Arizona's major league roster has hurt the upward mobility of some of the Diamondbacks' prospects. But two premium college draft picks from last year, lefthander Andrew Chafin (supplemental first round) and righthander Anthony Meo (second round), head straight to the Visalia rotation. That rotation will be fronted by lefthander David Holmberg, who finished last season with the Rawhide after a midseason promotion. Righthander Archie Bradley, the seventh overall pick last year after Bauer went third, will open at low Class A South Bend, though placing him there is hardly a leap of faith.
Where Is That Guy?
Two prep selections from the first five rounds of last year's draft class did not make full-season rosters. Outfielder Justin Blanco and catcher Michael Perez will work in extended spring before getting short-season assignments. Don't forget about righthander Kyle Winkler on the Visalia roster. He was in first-round consideration for last year's draft at Texas Christian before developing a stress fracture in his elbow. He's healthy now and will probably work in a tandem arrangement at the back of Visalia's rotation to work himself back into form.
Time Is Running Out
The Diamondbacks system is well stocked right now, so that means prospects who falter could get left behind. Among the organization's top guys, outfielder Bobby Borchering probably did not expect to return to Visalia after spending all season there in 2011 and hitting 24 home runs. Borchering will be in left field and Keon Broxton will be in center, also returning to Visalia after spending all but 20 games there last season. Both need to show more with the bat to continue moving up. Among lower-level players, outfielder Ty Linton still has not made a full-season roster after getting drafted out of high school in 2010 and signing for $1.25 million. Linton was a football player first in high school, so Arizona knew his development would be a project.