If only we had a crystal (base)ball to forecast the future. Thing is, to date, the pocket protector dorks, err dudes in R&D, are still working on that.
However, we do have the recent Futures Game at our disposal. And based on that glimpse, a pair of baseball’s brightest projected stars is currently property of the D-backs. As such, the organization needs to stick a sign in the yard that reads “No Trespassing.”
Instead, while the future is definitely bright, it doesn’t look like the D-backs will be the Major League team wearing the shades.
Put another way, the very top of the D-backs’ farm system currently reminds me of my grapefruit tree.
I spent years toiling, trimming, cultivating, fertilizing, investing and nurturing my prized tree until it produced resplendent pink grapefruits — only to be eaten by the birds.
Beyond noting that I hired a bounty hunter to bring the feathered filches responsible to justice, let’s talk about two other grapefruits… err, players in particular.
Matt Davidson. By slugging a two-run homer in Team USA’s 4-2 over the World Team at the MLB All-Star Futures Game, the Reno Aces (AAA) first/third baseman earned MVP honors. Then, Davidson (.291, 15 HR, 59 RBI in 2013) won the Minor League Home Run Derby.
But with the ‘D’ in D-backs currently standing for Dikembe Mutombo (translation: blocked) with the corner combo of Goldschmidt & Prado, the only way that Davidson can seemingly go to the big leagues is if he goes to another team.
But remember, it can always get worse. Because then there’s Chris Owings. The middle infielder is hitting .353 with 11 HRs and 65 RBI for the Aces. Scouts say his defense compares to current D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius and Owings is probably a better hitter.
Where is Owings going? Like my grapefruits, perhaps to the birds (Orioles, Blue Jays, Cardinals, etc.) Basically, the D-backs’ major league roster at the moment is waving its finger and mouthing “not at Chase Field you don’t bring that in here…”
Which brings us to the free advice portion of our blog, which, as always, is brought to us by the fine (and fictional) folks at Calvisi Consulting.
Is it reasonable to project that Davidson can produce like Prado (.253, 8, 34) while playing a big league caliber hot corner? If so, then you trade Prado pronto and take the difference in salary (nearly eight figures per season over each of the next four years!) and invest those savings in hopes of bolstering the rest of the roster (bullpen, anyone?)
Next up, we wonder if Owings can indeed perform somewhere near the level of Aaron Hill? If plausible, then you pull another addition-by-subtraction move and insert Owings into your middle infield and then invest the savings gleaned towards other shortcomings (starting pitching, hello?!)
We know what Yasiel Puig did for the Dodgers. We’re not saying that either D-backs prospect will even come close. #Buzzer.
What we are saying is that the first place D-backs can be a seller before the trade deadline and still be a winner of the division.
And all it might take is walking into their own backyard and picking those grapefruits while they’re ripe. That is, before their pesky neighbors get ‘em.