The Graduate: Max Scherzer | Born: July 1984 | Right-Handed Pitcher
Max Scherzer found much success at the Major League level in 2008, which was made all the more impressive by the fact he held his own regardless of the role assigned to him. He started seven games and also made nine relief appearances. In total, he allowed 48 hits in 56 innings of work. Scherzer posted rates of 3.38 BB/9 and 10.61 K/9, along with a 3.33 FIP. One warning sign with his season, though, is a high line-drive rate at 28.1%. Scherzer certainly has the stuff to have a dominating career, with a fastball that averages 94.2 mph, as well as a slider and change-up.
The Riser: Cesar Valdez | Born: March 1985 | Right-Handed Pitcher
A recent addition to the 40-man roster, Cesar Valdez split the year between High-A ball and Double-A. In total, he used his fringe fastball and excellent secondary pitches (curve and change) to strike out 140 batters in 160.1 innings of work. Valdez’ plus control, though, struggled a bit upon the promotion, as it increased from 1.50 to 3.22 BB/9. His K/BB ratio also dropped from 5.00 to 2.61. The 2009 season will be a big year for Valdez as it will help to determine whether his stuff will play against more advanced hitters.
The Tumbler: Barry Enright | Born: March 1986 | Right-Handed Pitcher
A 2007 second-round draft pick out of college, Barry Enright made his pro debut that same year out of the bullpen and did not allow an earned run over three minor league levels (15 innings). Moved back into the starting rotation in 2008, which is the role he held in college, Enright struggled in High-A ball and allowed 185 hits in 164.1 innings. He posted rates of 1.92 BB/9 and 7.83 K/9. His fastball is in the upper 80s and peaks at 92 mph. His slider is his second best offering and the change-up is lacking. Enright is probably best suited for the bullpen.
The ’08 Draft Pick: Bryan Shaw | Born: November 1987 | Right-Handed Pitcher
The Diamondbacks’ second round selection in 2008, Bryan Shaw had an up-and-down debut. He started his pro career in Rookie ball but struggled by allowing 24 hits in 17.1 innings. Shaw was then promoted to A-ball, where he improved by allowing 18 hits in 22.1 innings. The reliever also walked six and struck out 16. Shaw should begin 2009 in High-A ball, where he could dominate with a mid-90s fastball and wipe-out slider.
The ’09 Sleeper: Evan Frey | Born: June 1986 | Outfielder
The Diamondbacks organization has had a lot of success with developing outfielders and Evan Frey is no different. The speedy outfielder stole 37 bases between two A-ball levels. At High-A ball, Frey hit .297/.395/.402 with an ISO of .105. A left-handed batter, Frey understands the value of getting on base to utilize his speed. He posted rates of 13.9 BB% and 20.1 K%. At the very least, he should be a valuable fourth outfielder at the Major League level.
This concludes the two-month, 30-team review of the 2008 minor league season. Thanks for reading!