In recent years, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been lauded for grooming talented young arms in their minor league system.
From Jarrod Parker to Patrick Corbin to Tyler Skaggs to Archie Bradley (Double-A Mobile), the D-backs have not been shy of late when it comes to focusing their attention on developing pitching depth down on the farm.
But despite that focus, the organization also has plenty to boast about when it comes to their young positional talent.
It’s a fact that has become more than apparent over the past 48 hours, as Reno Aces (Triple-A) first/third baseman Matt Davidson claimed MVP honors at the 2013 MLB Futures Game Sunday, only to follow it up with the Minor League Home Run Derby title Monday.
And count Aaron Boone, an ESPN analyst who served as a color commentator for the Futures Game, among those quickly taking notice.
“For not being in the Big Leagues yet, he seems to relish his little chance to be on big stages — which is always a good thing,” Boone said of Davidson on Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Tuesday. “He’s a guy who has performed ever since getting drafted (in 2009).
“He’s gotten better, seems to have some strike-zone knowledge and some discipline. He walks a lot, there’s also power in there.”
Boone got so lofty with his praise of Davidson that the former MLB veteran even went as far as to liken his game to a former World Series MVP.
“You know, he reminds me a little bit of (St. Louis Cardinals third baseman) David Freese,” said Boone. “I think that’s the kind of a comparison I’d make.”
While Davidson unquestionably has upside (batting .291 with 15 home runs with 59 RBI in 2013), because of the D-backs’ logjam at his primary positions with Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado both signed to long-term deals, not everyone is sold he’ll realize his full potential in the Valley.
“They seem fully committed to the infield they have now,”
ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law
told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday. “I’m assuming that puts Davidson on the trade block and I think a lot of clubs would look at him and say, ‘That’s a cheap third baseman for us the next three years; he’s got a nice swing, potential to hit for average, maybe 15-20 home runs, nice player. For $450,000 a year, that’s actually a really good player.”
Although piling up trade assets throughout all levels of an organization is never a bad thing, Boone said he still believes Davidson will have the chance to be an impact player in Arizona despite the perception that his path to the majors will be “blocked” by incumbent starters.
“All and all, D-backs fans should not only be excited about the roster they have, but knowing the pipeline is pretty full,” said Boone. “They have a lot of pieces that I think are going to help them over the long-term.”