Arizona Diamondbacks – In AFL play, prospects make their case

Several prospects of the Arizona Diamondbacks could playing at Chase Field

With members of their organization playing in the Arizona Fall League, top personnel of the Arizona Diamondbacks could aid the Salt River Rafters in the quest for their fourth championship in the last seven years.

Their title hopes are off to a great start. After 14 games, the team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers, was 8-5-1 (.615).

Managed by Tony Diaz of the Rockies organization, the Rafters occupy the top spot in the AFL’s Western Division. The performances of several prospects in the Diamondbacks organization represent a big reason for the team’s success.

Infielder Dawel Lugo, the team’s no.11 prospect according to MLB.com, currently sits tied for second on the Rafters in RBIs (6) and hits (10).

The 21-year-old shortstop and third-basemen became a Diamondback as part of a 2014 trade in which Arizona sent Cliff Pennington to the Toronto Blue Jays. Lugo split his 2016 minor-league campaign with Single-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile hitting .314 and .306 respectively.

At Mobile last season, the club’s no.21 prospect Jamie Westbrook, who played high school baseball at Basha, faced advanced pitching and adjusted slowly. The former Pepperdine standout owns the third best average on the Rafters (.360), with an on-base percentage of .385 and an OPS of .785.

Meanwhile, first baseman Kevin Cron continues to hit for power.

Despite a penchant for striking out, Cron is also hittign around .200, but he is also walking at a surprising rate.

On the pitching side, left-hander Jared Miller has not allowed an earned run in his first 9.0 innings with a 16/1 K/BB ratio. The major league bullpen needs guys that can get it done, and Miller could be part of the solution.

Torey Lovullo (l) and Blake Swihart (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

A Presumptive Favorite

In their continuing search for a field manage, the Arizona Diamondbacks have not requested an interview with Boston Red Sox Bench Coach Torey Lovullo. Working with Mike Hazen, the new Arizona general manager in Boston, Lovullo is rumored to be on Hazen’s radar screen.

According to multiple reports, many still considers Lovullo the favorite. The latest evidence comes from Pedro Gomez of ESPN. He appeared on Sports360AZ.com.

“Torey Lovullo is probably the odds on favorite to get the job, “Gomez said last Wednesday. “The issue is you may be having the front office Derrick Hall-Ken Kendrick dynamic pushing hard for Phil Nevin…from what I’m hearing is if Nevin gets the job, that means Mike Hazen did not get to make his own pick.”

Nevin knows the organization and worked with a majority of the young players at the minor-league level.

However, with the hiring of Hazen, and if the Diamondbacks are going to earn their reputation back, conducting the process the right way is a logical first step.

Kendrick and Hall gave Hazen full control over baseball operations. Normally, a new general manager hires his own field manager.

On Tuesday, following up on Gomez, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said “folks would be surprised if the Diamondbacks don’t hire Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo to manage.”

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, without mentioning Arizona specifically, talked with the Boston Herald about Lovullo.

“At some point, I believe, this is just my own personal thought, that somebody is going to hire Torey, wherever that may be,” Dombrowski said.

Hazen, in a conference call with reporters, said he likely will interview five to seven candidates and the process will begin “shortly.”

Former San Diego Padres Manager Bud Black remains a possibility. Arizona third-base coach Matt Williams and Atlanta Braves first base coach Eddie-Perez could also receive interviews.

Paul Goldschmidt (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

Golden Gloves

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company Inc., announced the 2016 nominees for gold gloves at each position, in both the American and National Leagues.

Three Diamondbacks’ were nominated, including first basemen Paul Goldschmidt, second basemen Jean Segura, and pitcher Zack Greinke.

This season, Greinke recorded a .980 fielding percentage with 20 put-outs and 28 assists. He made one error and helped turn four double-plays. For the second year in a row, Goldschmidt recorded a .997 fielding percentage with one fewer error (4). Segura committed one error and recorded a .986 fielding percentage.

Fans can also vote for Goldschmidt as the MLB Players Alumni Association Heart and Hustle Award winner. Described by MLB.com, the honor recognizes “a player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.”

The award, voted on by active and retired players, is given out annually at the Legends for Youth Dinner at Capitale in New York City.

This year’s award ceremonies take place on November 15th, and fans have until October 29th to vote.

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