D-backs No. 3 prospect Brandon Pfaadt looks to rebound in home debut vs. Marlins
May 9, 2023, 5:13 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt is one of the most anticipated pitching prospects in recent Valley memory and makes his home debut on Tuesday against the Miami Marlins.
Pfaadt made his MLB debut on the road against the Texas Rangers last Wednesday and was touched up quite a bit.
He posted a scoreline of 4.2 innings pitched, seven earned runs, nine hits, three strikeouts and one walk for a 13.50 ERA. But Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom was not concerned in the slightest with the youngster’s debut.
“This is a strike thrower who did not run away from the strike zone,” Strom said pregame Tuesday.
“He got hit hard by a good-hitting team and kept competing. I wanted to get five (innings) out of him but the inning got away from him a little bit. I think he learned what it is like to pitch in the big leagues. I expect him to be much better tonight, much much better.”
Pfaadt is Arizona’s No. 3 overall prospect and No. 1 pitching prospect. He ranks No. 51 in MLB Pipeline’s minor league rankings.
He became the first minor league pitcher to strike out more than 200 batters since 2011 when he struck out 218 last season.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher features a fastball, curveball, slider/sweeper and changeup mix. His fastball can hit 96-plus miles per hour.
“He has a unique lower arm slot, Strom said. “Uniqueness is very important in the sense that if you throw like the other 80% of big league pitchers, you’re just another right-hander. The ball has some good carry to it, a good sweeper and good changeup.”
Strom mentioned how poised Pfaadt remained throughout his first start despite getting tagged for a hefty amount of runs and hits. He said the youngster remained much more calm than he ever would’ve during his MLB debut.
The pitching coach thinks this could be due to his time spent in Double-A at Amarillo (3,668-foot elevation) and Triple-A at Reno (4,505 elevation).
For example, Coors Field is the highest elevated ballpark at 5,200 feet while Chase Field is the second-highest in the MLB from sea level at 1,100 feet.
“This is a very mature young man that does not let anything bother him. I’m very excited about his future,” Strom said.
Tuesday was the first time the Arizona pitching coach spoke to reporters since the departure of lefty Madison Bumgarner, who was let go by the D-backs last month.
“I have a great deal of respect for this guy and what he did,” Strom said. “That being said, I think highly successful people are resistant to change.
“He’s a highly successful guy that, perhaps, the changes we tried to make, this and that, it just didn’t take. We had an amicable divorce so-to-speak.”