The competition was fierce for the fifth and final spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting rotation during spring training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Left-hander Robbie Ray ended up winning the spot, meaning Archie Bradley and Zack Godley were both optioned to the minor leagues to start the 2016 season.
Neither of those one-time rotation candidates disappointed in their first starts.
Last Thursday, Bradley hurled a gem — allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out seven over six shutout innings in the Reno Aces’ 8-0 over the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Godley, who pitched very well in nine appearances with the Diamondbacks in 2015, started the year in Double-A Mobile. The right-hander got the call Sunday night and was very efficient, tossing 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. Godley threw 77 pitches — 51 for strikes in the BayBears’ 4-1 road win over the Tennessee Smokies.
Trust us, it wasn’t raining or snowing in the below highlight.
In the Single-A California League, the Visalia Rawhide started the season off in promising fashion, winning three straight on the road in Bakersfield.
Pitching was the key, as the Rawhide staff allowed just four runs over the three contests, compiling a collective 1.29 ERA. The bullpen was amazing out of the gate, allowing just four hits over 12.2 scoreless innings and notching a 3-0 record. Jimmie Sherfy saved two games for the Rawhide, matching his season total from 2015.
#SlapTheRawhide Rawhide Win! Jimmie Sherfy a DP ball with tying runs aboard to end the ballgame! Luis Ramirez the win Sherfy save #2!
— Visalia Rawhide (@VisaliaRawhide) April 11, 2016
New on the Farm
The Diamondbacks have plenty of new faces on the farm this season. Here’s a breakdown of a new crop of prospects and how they joined the organization.
Reno Aces (Triple-A)
Matt Capps, RHP – Signed to minor league deal last winter. Hasn’t pitched in big leagues since 2012.
Kyle Drabek, RHP – One-time hotshot prospect and son of former NL Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, Kyle signed with the D-backs last November. He was part of the trade that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies in 2009.
Adam Loewen, LHP – The 32-year-old Canadian has pitched in 55 big league games, mostly with Baltimore from 2006 to 2008. Loewen did see action in 20 games out of the Philadelphia bullpen last season. In 2009, he transitioned to the outfield and performed pretty well, hitting .262 with 57 home runs in 1,982 minor-league at-bats. He signed a minor league deal with Arizona last November.
Scott Rice, LHP – Rice, like Loewen, has a good deal of MLB experience. The lefty has pitched in 105 big league games, most recently with the Mets in 2014. He signed a minor league contract last December after spending time in the Baltimore, Texas, San Diego, Colorado and New York Mets’ organizations.
Paul Smyth, RHP – Veteran minor leaguer pitched most recently with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League in 2015. Started 2016 on the disabled list.
Tyler Wagner, RHP – Acquired in offseason trade with Milwaukee that brought Jean Segura to Arizona. Fell short in quest to claim fifth rotation spot in spring training. Currently rated as D-backs’ 10th-best prospect, according to MLB.com.
Brett Hayes, C – Veteran backstop spent 2015 season with the Indians, playing in only 14 games at the Major-League level. Hayes is a veteran of 572 minor-league games and is a career .245 hitter.
Carlos Rivero, 3B – Venezuelan native spent 2015 in both the Boston and Seattle organzations and signed with Arizona last November. Played in four MLB games with the Red Sox in 2014, and hit his first career big league home run off of former D-backs lefty Joe Saunders of the Orioles.
Jason Bourgeois, OF – The 34-year-old outfielder provides organizational depth. Bourgeois played in 68 games with the Reds in 2015 and has big-league stops with the White Sox, Brewers, Astros, Royals and Rays.
Kyle Jensen, IF/OF – Jensen signed a minor-league deal with the D-backs last winter after spending last season in the Dodgers organization. The 29-year-old is an accomplished power hitter and has had five straight seasons of 20 or more home runs in the minors.
Mobile BayBears (Double-A)
Dan Rohlfing, C – Spent 2015 with the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas and batted .230.
Gabriel Noriega, 3B – Venezuelan native spent six years in the Seattle organization and last year playing at four different levels for Kansas City. Signed as a minor league free agent.
Chad Oberacker, OF – Minor league veteran spent five seasons in Oakland chain and played in 12 games for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League before signing with the D-backs. Rule 5 pick last December.
Visalia Rawhide (High-A)
Austin Wright, LHP – Last pitched in affiliated baseball in 2014 for Reading in the Philadelphia organization.
Ericson Leonora, OF – One-time prospect for the Yankees. Has 44 home runs in 441 minor league games since signing as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela.
Kane County Cougars (Single-A)
Robelys Reyes, SS – Venezuelan got as high as Double-A in St. Louis Cardinals organization. Is a .285 lifetime minor league hitter. Rule 5 selection.