As saviors of the future, it may too early anoint several Diamondbacks prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Yet, their presence is getting attention.
On Wednesday, infielder Brandon Drury, pitcher Archie Bradley and catcher Peter O’Brien were named to the East Division all-star team. This contingent will play the West Division in the league’s annual All-Star Game this Saturday (5 p.m.) at Salt River, the Diamondbacks’ spring training facility.
Appointment to an all-star team is usually reward for putting up big numbers, a return for the previous season and something like a lifetime achievement. In the Fall League, this criteria is completely compromised and players are selected because of their potential value to their organization.
In the case of Bradley, Drury and O’Brien, the Arizona front office recognizes these players as the conceivable core of the future. Bradley, for one, was on the verge of consideration for a spot in the rotation as early as the opening of spring training.
Yet, a pitiful performance against Team Australia during the Diamondbacks’ trip to Sydney in March and his subsequent fall from grace exiled the 22-year-old to an injury-prone season in the minors.
Now, the Diamondbacks must believe that elevation to an all-star will help both Bradley’s production and confidence. After four starts with the Salt River Rafters in the Fall League, Bradley is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA. Yet, he is coming off four, solid shut-out innings last Friday against the Glendale Desert Dogs and pronounced himself exorcised of all past demons.
By his admission, O’Brien is happy with his bat and said he needed work on throwing. That was before he threw out three runners at second base last Friday against Glendale. Now, he looks forward to appreciate his selection into the all-star galaxy.
“It’s a huge honor and an opportunity to play another day of baseball with some great players,” O’Brien said after Salt River and Surprise played to a 4-4 tie Wednesday afternoon in Surprise Stadium. “No, I’m not thinking about any injury in this kind of game because injuries happen. I’m just going out and enjoying another day of baseball.”
Coming into Wednesday’s game, O’Brien was hitting .231 with three home runs. O’Brien tops the league with 14 walks and smacked home runs on back-to-back days on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 during Fall League competition.
For the most part, Drury’s bat has been silent in the Fall League.
Coming into play Wednesday, the Diamondbacks’ third base prospect was hitting .182 (10-for-55) with one double and two home runs.
At this point, Drury was not selected because of his current numbers but his worth to the Diamondbacks future.
The East squad will be managed by Salt River skipper Andy Haines of the Marlins’ organization and Diamondbacks’ minor league hitting instructor Jacob Cruz will assist.
After Saturday’s All-Star game, two weeks of competition remain before the championship game Saturday Nov. 15, I p.m. at Scottsdale Stadium between the East and West Divisions.
Coming into play Wednesday, the Rafters (with representatives from the Astros, Diamondb acks, Rockies, Marlins, Twins) won 13 of their 17 games and had a four game lead over the Mesa Solar Sox (Jays, Angels, A’s, Cubs, Nationals) in the East Division. In the West Division, Glendale (Brewers, Dodgers, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers)held a one game advantage over the Surprise Saguaros (Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Reds, Red Sox).