The Athletic: D-backs’ New Year’s resolution is to find out if pitching prospects are for real

Jan 4, 2023, 7:45 AM
Starting pitcher Drey Jameson #58 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch during the first innin...
Starting pitcher Drey Jameson #58 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on September 25, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

New year, new Arizona Diamondbacks — well, sort of.

The D-backs will begin the 2023 season with numerous young players that will be looking to cement their positions on the roster once the regular season commences.

The pitching prospects among them are right-handers Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson and Brandon Pfaadt.

And on Tuesday, The Athletic’s Andy McCullough gave each MLB team a New Year’s resolution. For the Diamondbacks, it’s about finding out if the pitching trio is for real or not.

The Diamondbacks occupy an unenviable position, as the competent but geographically cursed franchise sharing a division with the Dodgers and the Padres. You have to squint to envision a time when Arizona contends in the National League West. But if you do look hard, you can see hope in the form of three young pitchers. … Jameson and Nelson looked solid in brief appearances in the majors last year. Pfaadt wracked up strikeouts in the upper minors last season. Jameson and Nelson figure to begin the season in the rotation, behind verified No. 1, Zac Gallen. Pfaadt could join them later in the year. You have to squint. But you can see how it might work.

Jameson and Nelson were taken with three of Arizona’s first five picks in the 2019 MLB Draft. The former was taken in the first compensatory round with the No. 34 overall selection, while the latter was drafted in the second at No. 56 overall. Pfaadt was taken in the fifth round (No. 149 overall) in 2020.

Jameson, 25, threw a seven-inning two-hitter in his MLB debut on Sept. 15 at Chase Field.

In four career starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 24 .1 innings pitched, with all three of his wins coming against the Padres, Dodgers and Giants.

Jameson is also the D-backs’ ninth-best prospect in their system, according to

Nelson, who turns 25 in February, is 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched across three starts.

He also didn’t allow a single run, picked up two quality starts and struck out 13 in his first 13 innings tossed against the Padres and Dodgers. Nelson is Arizona’s No. 8-ranked prospect.

Pfaadt, 24, has yet to make his MLB debut, but only Corbin Carroll, Druw Jones and Jordan Lawlar are ranked ahead of him in the prospect rankings.

In 29 combined starts across Double-A Amarillo (19) and Triple-A Reno (10), the right-hander went 11-7 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.16 WHIP with an 11.75 strikeouts-per-nine-inning clip.

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The Athletic: D-backs’ New Year’s resolution is to find out if pitching prospects are for real