Experience Will Benefit Young D-backs
Kevin Mulvey (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Posted Sep 14, 2009


The Arizona Diamondbacks have essentially been out of the playoff hunt since May, and the organization has used the past few months to evaluate some of its young talent. With September's expanded rosters and official elimination from the postseason this weekend, the D-backs are stepping up the playing time for its prospects even more so.

When the Diamondbacks had the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, they relished the player available -- they took All-Star outfielder Justin Upton -- but despised the situation they were in. The D-backs were coming off the worst record in baseball the previous year in order to secure that draft slot.

It is kind of like the way they stand now.

The D-backs have a chance to get an extended evaluation of the young players in their system during the final month of the season, although it comes at the expense of being a non-factor in the playoff race. The D-backs were officially eliminated with a 9-2 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday.

First baseman Brandon Allen, 23, left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth, 23, right-handed reliever Esmerling Vasquez, 25, and right-hander Kevin Mulvey, 24, will be some of the beneficiaries. Allen has 65 at-bats since he was purchased from Class AAA Reno on Aug. 22. Schlereth and Vasquez are working in situations they can expect to see in the bullpen in 2010, although it cost the D-backs when Schlereth was roughed up in a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday.

Mulvey, candidate for the back end of the 2010 rotation, struggled in his first career start Saturday, giving up six runs and 11 hits in four-plus innings, but is scheduled to make three more starts this season.

"It's the good part of a bad season. You get to accomplish something in the last month," manager A.J. Hinch said.

"You get to take a look at guys, put guys in different roles, and find out a little bit more about them. And get them the experience that you can only get at this level. You can't fake it. You can't simulate it in the minors. You have to do it here. And it is a month that we need to utilize and accomplish something and not just play it out."

BREWERS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 3: The D-backs lost their third straight series in getting swept by Milwaukee, although they did have their first lead of the series after OF Chris Young hit a two-run home run for a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. RHP Max Scherzer gave up only one run in six innings but LHP Daniel Schlereth could not hold the lead, giving up four runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning. LF/2B Ryan Roberts singled in the D-backs' only other run in the seventh. The D-backs have lost nine of their last 10 games.

SNAKE BYTES

--C Miguel Montero, held out of the starting lineup Sunday, has hit safely in his last 15 starts, going 22-for-54 (.407) with five doubles, two homers and nine RBI. Montero has won the starting catcher job for 2010, although the D-backs also could keep former regular C Chris Snyder, who has been bothered most of the season with a bulging disc that has landed him on the disabled list twice. Montero struck out as a pinch-hitter Sunday.

--RHP Kevin Mulvey gave up six runs and 11 hits in four-plus innings of his first major league start Saturday, a 9-2 loss to Milwaukee, but will remain in the rotation the rest of the season. Asked what effect Saturday's outing would have on the future, manager A.J. Hinch said simply: "Zero. He was very up in the zone with the fastball, and they made him pay. It's a learning-and-growing experience. It's important to be patient with him and let him get his feet wet." Mulvey is among several candidates for likely two open spots in the 2010 rotation.

--The D-backs hired former major leaguer Mike Bell as minor league field coordinator Friday, a job that had been vacant since Jack Howell was promoted to the majors as hitting coach on new manager A.J. Hinch's staff May 8. Bell just finished his third season as a manager in the D-backs' system, the first two at short-season Class A Yakima and this year at Class A Visalia. Bell is a grandson of former major league Gus Bell and a son of former major league player and manager Buddy Bell.

--OF Chris Young has six home runs in nine games, a streak that began with a three-homer game in Colorado on Sept. 6, and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. "The personal success doesn't really matter when you don't get the win, but it's good for me to get that confidence back and go out and produce and help the team. I just need to keep that going," Young said.

--RHP Max Scherzer gave up one run and three hits in six innings Sunday, leaving with a 2-1 lead that the bullpen could not hold. Scherzer does not have a decision in two starts this season against Milwaukee despite giving up one run and eight hits in 13 innings. He threw six scoreless innings in Milwaukee on April 30. "It's a shame for our team that we can't find a way to win a game when your starter gives you the chances that he did," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "You have to find different way to win games, and we're not doing that. The losses are mounting, and the frustration is definitely there.

--3B Mark Reynolds doubled in three at-bats Sunday and stole his 23rd base, making it safely to second after being picked off first. He is on pace for 46 home runs and 25 stolen bases.

DIAMOND STAT:
4 -- Players who have 40 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season since 2000, a club 3B Mark Reynolds joined this year. Shawn Green (2001, L.A. Dodgers) Alex Rodriguez (2005 and 2007, Yankees) and Alfonso Soriano (2006, Washington) are the others.

QUOTABLE:
"I've always thought [the catcher] position is very hard to develop unless you play, somewhat similar to a quarterback situation in the NFL. You can learn as much as you can on the sidelines. Then you have to go play." -- Manager A.J. Hinch, on the development of C Miguel Montero this season.


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