Diamondbacks prospects Yu-Min Lin, Jordan Lawlar stand out in inaugural Spring Breakout

Mar 16, 2024, 8:16 PM

Yu-Min Lin...

Yu-Min Lin during Arizona Diamondbacks spring training at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

(Arizona Sports Photo/Alex Weiner)

SCOTTSDALE — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ top prospects had the opportunity to play together at Salt River Fields for Saturday’s inaugural Spring Breakout showcase, and starting pitcher Yu-Min Lin was among the standouts against the Colorado Rockies.

The D-backs gave Lin the opportunity to start, and he worked an efficient pair of scoreless innings with only 23 pitches.

Lin allowed two hits, one of which went under the glove of second baseman Jansel Luis which easily could have been called an error. His lone strikeout was a three-pitch at-bat in which he set up Hunter Goodman for a high heater.

The 20-year-old southpaw started the spring in big league camp after finishing 2023 in Double-A Amarillo, but he was reassigned after one Cactus League appearance went awry. He said postgame he will open the 2024 season back in Amarillo, but he has goals to reach Triple-A Reno by July and then the major leagues to close out the campaign.

“I felt good today, because back in the big league spring training I didn’t do that well so today I got the opportunity to prove myself again to go out there and compete,” Lin said via translator.

“The message over there was also body language, how I can control my emotions, body language on the mound becuase the big league hitters are very experienced so I cannot show any frustration. I just gotta be out there and compete and then just try to be more consistent.”

Lin is Arizona’s highest ranked pitching prospect on MLB Pipeline after he held a 3.86 ERA and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings last season. He leaned on his sinker to induce weak contact against Colorado and has had a plus changeup throughout his career.

Lin started off a very strong game for Arizona’s pitching prospects in a 3-1 victory over the Rockies. Conor Grammes, Christian Montes de Oca and Justin Martinez gave Arizona a scoreless inning each, with Martinez picking up the save with a couple punch outs.

Jordan Lawlar benefits from challenge

The ABS challenge system used in the minor leagues was a player in this game, and Arizona’s No. 1 prospect Jordan Lawlar used it to turn a strikeout into a double that one-hopped the wall.

Lawlar was rung up in the fourth inning but tapped his head, and replay showed the ball was outside. Four pitches later, Lawlar saw a 3-2 sinker up that he got his hands around for a 104 mph liner to left field. He scored the first run of the game on an A.J. Vukovich single to center field.

The challenge system keeps the human element of having an umpire call balls and strikes but allows players to check with the “Hawk-Eye,” a potential future rule change for the major leagues that is being tested.

Lawlar had experience with it from Triple-A last season.

“I have done it before. I mean, it’s gonna keep you in the at-bat. I love the idea for sure,” Lawlar said.

Lawlar said he has a pretty high success rate with it.

“I’ve got a pretty good eye,” he said with a smile.

Arizona optioned Lawlar to Triple-A Reno to get everyday playing time with Geraldo Perdomo starting at shortstop in the majors.

“Just keep doing you, keep getting better in every facet of the game,” Lawlar said was the message to him. “Like I mentioned early in the year, and it’s all you can do. So keep on improving.”

Druw Jones shows off the arm

Druw Jones, the 2022 No. 2 overall pick, went 0-for-2 at the plate but showed off the defensive upside in center field, notably on a bullet throw home that nearly caught a runner.

“A lot of fun, just great to be out there with all the guys from Low-A all the way to Triple-A,” Jones said.

The 20-year-old is coming off an injury-marred first full year as a pro but is focused on what’s next. Jones said he has not received his minor league assignment yet.

“There’s ups and downs and things like that, but I’m just trying to enjoy it here and just be in this moment right now,” Jones said. “I try not to focus on the past and whatever happened and just try to work on this season and keep going forward.”

Gino Groover gets going

Corner infielder Gino Groover was the lone Diamondbacks player with a multi-hit game, raking a pair of singles.

The D-backs took Groover in the second round of the draft last summer out of NC State, and he finished the year in High-A Hillsboro.

“This is a time to learn, adapt, try different things, essentially adapt to be a little bit more efficient in everything you do at the best level,” Groover said. “That’s what I’ve been spending this time here. I had early camp, early spring training. So I’ve been here pretty much since around January something.”

Groover, Arizona’s No. 5 prospect, started the game at first base but said he’s been primarily playing third this spring.

Checking in on Tommy Troy

Tommy Troy, Arizona’s most recent first-round pick, did not start the game and only received one at-bat, a strikeout on a swing he couldn’t check.

Troy said pregame he feels great in camp, past a foot injury that impacted him in his final season at Stanford. He has been playing exclusively at shortstop after spending time at third base in college.

“Playing a full season, this is gonna be a good test for me, 130 some games whatever level I’m on as I keep moving up,” Troy said. “Obviously sticking at shortstop is my plan, playing good defense and just developing as a whole hitter. So that’s my main focus.”

Troy said he’s been able to pick the brains of some players in big league camp, including Corbin Carroll, Lawlar and veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has given him defensive tips that he felt  have resonated.

He also said the goal for 2024 is to make his major league debut.

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