Results tagged ‘ Draft ’
Stryker Trahan won’t return my phone calls.
That was my first thought when I was reporting my ninth and penultimate MiLB.com Prospctive column last month. A friendly D-backs media relations rep had given me a cell number for Trahan — the 26th pick in the 2012 Draft — and told me to give him a ring. I gave him two over the next week and, while not in a rush, was reminded of Pat Jordan, one of the better (and crankier) sportswriters, and his amusing 2008 Slate article, “Josh Becket Won’t Return My Phone Calls.” I think I made this connection because of the first-year catcher’s quick highlight. This video made the rounds, and Trahan was immediately seen (by me and others) as the type of gritty, gutty athlete that is all baseball, all the time and has little time (or interest) in discussing his exploits with reporters.
Well, I was wrong. I don’t know or remember why Beckett dodged Jordan, but Trahan just turned out to be too busy tearing up the Rookie-level Arizona League. (Due to new Draft rules, specifically, moving the signing deadline a month forward to mid-July, Trahan played 49 games this summer). And when he did take time out of his day to speak to me, he was more than helpful, sharing a couple of tidbits about his defensive improvements behind home plate: “Before now, I haven’t had too much instruction. And there they’re tuning up everything from my swing to throw-downs and blocking the plate. As a catcher, they’ve taught me to have a more athletic stance behind home plate, keeping my feet wider apart.”
Offensively, some AZL numbers worth mentioning: .895 OPS, 40-to-48 BB-to-K ratio, 8 SBs in 9 ATT.
Defensively, 11 errors in 40 games behind home plate.
To get the opinion of the front office in Arizona, I checked in with D-backs player development director Mike Bell — and he picked up on the first ring.
Blog: What sticks out to you regarding Trahan’s first season?
Bell: His numbers were very good for an 18-year-old. That’s what stuck out to me.
Blog: How much did he pick up defensively?
Bell: He improved his receiving, throwing and blocking. He’s from a small town in Louisiana, and I can guarantee you he wasn’t seeing the types of arms that he did [in the Arizona League]. For a guy who hadn’t done much catching, he was pretty raw when we got him.
Blog: Who was working with him?
Bell: It’s a credit to Carlos Hernandez and Bill Plummer, our catching coordinators, and to him for putting in the work. He went from having a very difficult time just getting through a game [to improving].
Blog: And he showed you plenty with his bat, right?
Bell: His bat is well advanced. He can go to [Class A Advanced] Visalia and [Double-A] Mobile next year and hit right away, but we have to patient with his defense and let it catch up to his bat so that when he gets to the big leagues, he sticks in the big leagues.
Lost: When I was a pup reporter covering the D-backs in 2010, details were hard to come by regarding why Arizona drafted Texas A&M’s Barret Loux sixth overall in June then cast him aside in July. We learned this: After agreeing in principle to sign for $2 million, Loux failed his physical with tearing in his labrum and question marks about his elbow.
Found: Long story made shorter, Loux was made a free agent and latched on with his home-state Rangers. He rested that much-maligned right arm over the winter, then performed solidly in his first pro season. Then, at age 23, he was even better in his second.
2011: 8-5 W-L, 3.80 ERA and 127-to-34 K-to-BB ratio in 109 IP spanning 21 G at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach
2012: 14-1 W-L, 3.47 ERA and 100-to-41 K-to-BB ratio in 127 IP spanning 25 G at Double-A Frisco
So Loux was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Rangers’ returns: A very superficial look at the numbers — his complete player page is here — shows that Loux’s repertoire didn’t make the jump with him to the Texas League. Yes, he won his first 10 starts (and his first 11 decisions) on his way to being named the circuit’s Pitcher of the Year… but while his inning total was +18, his strikeout total was -27. Of his fastball, changeup, curve, and slider, scouts see four pitches that, at their peak, are merely average. Still, average pitchers with average stuff have carved out important roles in the Majors. Will Loux follow suit? His ability to keep the ball both in the strike zone and the yard bodes well. He’ll turn 24 the week of next year’s Opening Day and will be facing the arduous Pacific Coast League for the first time. This blog estimates that he comes out fine on the other side — but as nothing more than a rotation’s fourth starter and, perhaps more likely, as a middle reliever. So there’s no way to fault the D-backs — or the Rangers — in the case of the seemingly recovered Loux.
2013: ??? at Triple-A Round Rock