by Ben Catley
87 days until Opening Night
It’s that time of the year, where, since the Bird Droppings blog was born, I have stuck my neck out and attempted to predict who would be the next Osprey to make their Major League debuts.
While I was gathering the information and trying to make my mind up on whom they could be … I came up with two questions:
- How many of the players that I have mentioned have actually made it to the Major Leagues?
- What Osprey year has the most Major Leaguers? (OK, so this was VP/GM Jeff Griffin’s question … it was a great one to ask!)
To answer those first .. beginning with Question #1:
- Of the four position players mentioned, three of them have made their Major League debuts the same year I made the prediction: Paul Goldschmidt (2009) in 2011 and both Adam Eaton (2010) and Jake Elmore (2008) in 2012. The only position player that has not yet made his Major League debut is Taylor Harbin (2007), who I called for as the second option in 2011.
- Of the pitchers, I have struggled. Two of the four have made their Major League debuts – Evan Scribner (2007) did in the season I called for, in 2011. I also called for the name of Tom Layne’ (2007) for 2011, but he had to wait an extra season, and go through a release. Ironically, both made their MLB debuts with the San Diego Padres. The other two – 2012’s Next Up Pitchers of Charles Brewer (2009) and Archie Bradley (2011) – still are waiting.
Now, as far as which Osprey year has produced the most Major League players … well, you may be surprised by the order here. Especially when you consider that the only two seasons which are worse at producing Major League talent then the 2001 Osprey – arguably the best team in club history to date – are the two most recent seasons played – 2011 and 2012. Here’s the list, with the MLB Alumni:
- 2000 Osprey (7) – Luis Terrero*, Andy Green**, Phil Stockman, Casey Daigle, Jose Valverde, Jerry Gil, Tony Pena (played under the name Adiriano Rosario)
- 1999 Osprey (6) – Lyle Overbay, Jorge De La Rosa, Doug DeVore, JD Closser, Luis Terrero*, Duaner Sanchez
- 2006 Osprey (6) – Gerardo Parra, John Hester, Hector Ambriz, Jordan Norberto, Clay Zavada, Daniel Stange
- 2007 Osprey (4) – Evan Scribner, Bryan Augenstein, Jarrod Parker, Tom Layne
- 2002 Osprey (3) – Miguel Montero*, Dustin Nippert, Sergio Santos
- 2003 Osprey (3) – Miguel Montero*, Carlos Gonzalez, Emilio Bonifacio
- 2004 Osprey (3) – Wilkin Castillo, Esmerling Vasquez, Steven Jackson
- 2005 Osprey (3) – Greg Smith, Rusty Ryal, Pedro Ciriaco
- 2008 Osprey (3) – Daniel Schlereth, Bryan Shaw, Jake Elmore
- 2001 Osprey (1) – Scott Hairston
- 2009 Osprey (1) – Paul Goldschmidt
- 2010 Osprey (1) – Adam Eaton
* – Played in Missoula in multiple seasons – that team is credited with a MLB player, which is why the total number will show up as more than 39.
** – Has been with the Osprey as both player and manager.
So Who’s Next??
Now, the challenge is to see who is next for the upcoming 12 months … this can get complicated.
Why? Because, in the opinions of many in the know, the cupboard is a little barren of former Osprey talent that is Major League ready. Actually, it’s more like that the talent is in the cupboard, but you have to move the product up to where it can be seen. So with guys like Jake Lamb and Michael Perez soon to be heading to a full-season club, along with Socrates Brito, the appearance will begin to seem as if it is filling out nicely.
Notice I mentioned position players there. As far as pitching is concerned, the problem is not when, but who. There are plenty of arms which could end up in the Major Leagues which are Osprey alumni, it’s a matter of who is on the fastest track to get there.
With this in mind, let’s break it down. Position players first, then pitchers. We will include who you, the fans, chose first, then go to the pitchers.
Next former Osprey Position Player to be on a Major League roster:
Fan’s Choice (tie): Ender Inciarte and Chris Owings
Ben’s Picks: Ender Inciarte and … Taylor Harbin
OK, now both of these players are, as best as I can tell, a stretch. However, one of them (Inciarte) in still in Major League camp, and is a Rule V pick – meaning he sticks or goes back to his former club, or the D-backs and Philadelphia Phillies work out a trade, which with all of the positives coming out of Phils’ camp about Inciarte, is the most likely scenario. They will not want to let go of him.
And here’s another sign that Inciarte will likely stick – there are currently only five healthy outfielders in Phillies camp at the moment. Between that, and the fact that they rave about his defense and speed, tells me that Ender will open the season with the parent club.
The other – Harbin – I have a soft spot for. He was the first player promoted from the Osprey when I started my radio run here in 2007. He’s a strong player, but you wonder if he will ever get that chance to show what he can do, even if it’s the proverbial “cup of coffee” – a brief run as a Major League player.
Then again, I felt the same way about Jake Elmore, who tore up Triple-A pitching and parlayed that into a Major League stint with the D-backs.
The thing is, with Harbin … it’s either a put-up or shut-up year. Show you can do it at Triple-A, or end up looking for a job. That is the harsh reality of the game, especially considering that if someone younger comes in and gets ahead of you – Didi Gregorious and Chris Owings come to mind – you are probably on the outside looking in.
Harbin has an advantage in one department – he can play three infield positions. Harbin played second with Elmore at short most of last season in Reno. If Harbin can put up an Elmore-like season in 2013, he may catch that break. If not … it may have to be somewhere else. Right now, though, I would still have to put Harbin ahead of the likes of Owings, David Nick and Keon Brozton, even though it would mean that someone would be leaving the 40-man roster to make room for Harbin.
It will be a tough one, but I think that if Harbin does head to Reno (which he likely will), and has a big year, he will get a look.
ON DECK: Owings, Broxton and Nick have to be considered, but my sleeper is Jon Griffin. Especially if he has a solid Double-A season, I could see Griffin hopping to the front of the line. Albeit not with the D-backs, unless Goldy gets hurt. Then, that would be a consideration. Another sleeper – Josh Parr, who was just added to the D-backs’ 40-man roster after the club traded away infielder John McDonald.
Next former Osprey Pitcher to be on a Major League roster:
Fan’s Choice: Charles Brewer (top pick overall)
Ben’s Picks: Eury De La Rosa and Charles Brewer
De La Rosa moved to the top of the food chain with his Cactus League appearances. He showed life in his fastball and the ability to get hitters out. That would earn him a look if someone is needed in the D-backs bullpen this year, especially if an injury happens to a left-hander. It’s similar to how Jordan Norberto earned favor and a MLB look with the D-backs in 2010.
The big concern with De La Rosa – who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 165 pounds soaking wet in clothes – is how long he could last. There are some whispers that his arm has only so many pitches left, due to his delivery. However, he has electric stuff, and has learned how to pitch since his time in Missoula in 2009. If he can harness that enough, then I would be certain De La Rosa will be a D-back soon enough.
The second choice, after a lot of deliberation, would be Brewer, especially considering that until his last Cactus League appearance before he was reassigned, he had posted solid numbers.
I also considered Chase Anderson, Archie Bradley and David Holmberg, but I believe that Brewer has put himself in the right position to get a look. He won’t be a starter, but he will be fantastic as a reliever, especially in long relief. That may mean his MLB premier could be in a busy run in the D-backs’ schedule.
ON DECK: Anderson, Bradley, Holmberg, Andrew Chafin and Anthony Meo all will get looks. However, if you want a sleeper, it’s Andrew Barbosa. Two reasons – he is a lefty who has good enough stuff to get outs, and his age – he may be in as much of a show-me spot as Harbin is at the moment. The fact that he is a lefty, though, may bring a bit more patience.
We shall see what happens from here … the next week should be really intriguing!!