Diamondbacks' Holmberg Pitching Beyond His Years
PHOENIX—The Edwin Jackson trade looks better every time David Holmberg takes the mound these days.
Holmberg, acquired with top prospect Daniel Hudson as the Diamondbacks built for the future by sending Jackson to the White Sox at the July 2010 trade deadline, has been the hottest pitcher in the minor leagues of late.
The low Class A South Bend lefthander ran his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 27 in a two-hit, 10-strikeout performance over seven innings against Lansing on June 16. Holmberg had given up just 10 baserunners in that four-start stretch, which included a two-hit shutout over Quad Cities, the first shutout in his third professional season.
"The streak that he has going . . . I knew he was good, but to see a streak like that is pretty impressive," Arizona farm director Mike Bell said. "He's been able to command all his pitches. For 19 (years old), you watch him pitch, he pitches much more mature than that. He has command of his fastball, his breaking ball and his changeup right now."
Holmberg had a 7-3, 2.61 record this season and seemed to have gained a bit of velocity, touching 93 mph with his fastball while consistently hitting the 90-91 mph range. He had more strikeouts (74) than hits allowed (64) in 76 innings, and he had walked just 13. The key to his strikeouts is pinpoint location, Bell said, adding that Holmberg's breaking pitch has been a strikeout pitch at times.
"He's been dominant. You watch him, you don't think he is going to overpower anybody, but he is anywhere from 90 to 93," Bell said. "We saw the stuff last year, but for sure the command has been consistent and it has gotten better, it seems like, each outing."
Holmberg, the White Sox's second-round pick out of Port Charlotte (Fla.) High in 2008, has held opponents to a .226 average, and he has given up just three home runs. Pitching part of his first year at age 17, Holmberg was 2-2, 4.73 at Rookie-level Bristol in 2009 before splitting 2010 with Pioneer League teams Great Falls and Missoula. His strikeout-to-walk ratio after he joined the D-backs' organization was the best in his three stops.
"He's just on quite a roll. He's on a confidence high right now, and hopefully continues to ride it out and enjoy it," Bell said.
• Pint-sized center fielder Adam Eaton continued to bolster his reputation as one of the system's best pure hitters with high Class A Visalia. Eaton, 22, hit .425 in May and was batting .335/.457/.474 in 209 at-bats despite an early June slump.
• While not quite matching the four consecutive no-hitters he famously threw in high school, lefty Patrick Schuster was on a roll for South Bend. After a slow start, Schuster allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight straight outings to improve to 6-3, 3.00 at the halfway point.