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ESPN: D-backs pitching prospect among potential trade chips

Rice pitcher Jon Duplantier (29) reacts after giving up a single in the first inning of a college baseball regional tournament against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, June 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

It’s hard to imagine how the Arizona Diamondbacks will approach the MLB trade deadline.

Losers in eight of their 11 games heading into the All-Star break, the D-backs don’t have the financial flexibility for a major roster addition. With that, the first-year front office led by Mike Hazen will be cautious about buying rather than selling.

A diminished farm system adds to the complexity of the situation, where the best start in franchise history — to this point –shouldn’t lead to knee-jerk reactions to shortchange the future for a postseason run this year. That said, Arizona making a move to improve before the deadline could mean dealing a young prospect.

The D-backs’ lone prospect representing them at the Futures Game on Sunday is Jon Duplantier, the 22-year-old right-hander currently playing for Single-A Visalia. ESPN’s David Schoenfield believes he could be a trade chip for Arizona.

It’s just a matter if the team wants to cash that chip in by the July 31 trade deadline.

A third-round pick last year out of Rice, Duplantier dominated low-A Kane County with a 1.24 ERA over 12 starts before a recent promotion to the California League. His four-pitch mix means he could move quickly and develop into one of the steals of the 2016 draft. He also, however, had a lengthy list of injuries at Rice, including a shoulder injury that caused him to miss all of 2015 (although he didn’t have surgery) and then a sore elbow after getting drafted that limited him to one pro inning. The D-backs don’t have any glaring holes, although finding an upgrade for the outfield would help. Their issue: With the Dodgers the heavy favorite to win the division, do you really give away the farm when you’re likely just in the wild-card game?

Falling behind the Dodgers 7.5 games heading into the break only adds weight to Schoenfield’s last question.

Anyhow, Duplantier has excelled with Kane County and most recently started two games for Visalia. There, he is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA — that’s two earned runs and seven hits allowed in 7.2 innings pitched since his promotion.

The D-backs prospect pitched 0.1 innings of the Futures Game on Sunday as his USA squad beat the World Team, 7-6. Duplantier allowed an earned run and gave up two hits with a walk.

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