Diamondbacks' Shipley Shapes Up
PHOENIX—Righthander Braden Shipley hasn’t been lighting up radar guns this year, but he said that might be for the best.
"It’s not really important to me anymore,” Shipley said.
While Shipley says he can still reach back for the occasional 94 mph, he mostly sits in the 89-91 range, which had been plenty for him to pitch effectively at Triple-A Reno.
Despite working in one of the most hitter-friendly home parks and in the Pacific Coast League, one of the game’s more hitter-friendly circuits, Shipley went 3-2, 2.98 through nine starts, allowing only one home run. He recorded 7.0 strikeouts and 1.2 walks per nine innings.
"I think one of the things that’s really helped me is I’ve learned who I am as a pitcher, and I’ve come to the realization that I’ve got a pretty good sinker and two pretty good offspeed pitches,” said Shipley, 24, a first-round pick from Nevada in 2013.
"I’m not going to try to throw a 95-96 (mph) flat fastball when I can throw my sinker at 91, and I can throw my four-seam at 92 and put it wherever I want.
"I think that’s part of the maturity that I have coming into this year.”
Shipley said he’s gotten better at spotting his fastball to both sides of the plate and throwing his curveball for strikes in all counts.
He has watched his friend Aaron Blair, a former Diamondbacks prospect, get the call to the majors with the Braves, and Shipley is hoping his chance will come soon.
"At some point, it’s going to happen,” he said. "My main focus has to be on myself, and on my execution, and on putting myself (on the team’s radar) so that when they need somebody, they can look at me and say, ‘We’re confident he can get the job done.’ ”
• Double-A Mobile righthander Yoan Lopez left his start on May 17 after being struck on the hand by a comebacker, but farm director Mike Bell said the club is optimistic the injury isn’t serious. Lopez was diagnosed with a contusion and was expected to miss only one or two starts, Bell said.
Yoan Lopez Bounces Back
After a rough debut, Yoan Lopez could have folded. Instead, the righthander rebounded and hinted at his upside.
• Reno slugger Peter O’Brien ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League in OPS (.993), but by all accounts he also had shown improved defensive play in left field. "Our reports,” general manager Dave Stewart said, "talking to (manager) Phil Nevin and (coach) Tack Wilson, they say his defensive play has picked up . . . both in left field and first base.”