The Arizona Diamondbacks organization was busy late last month when it added four interesting relief pitching names to the 40-man roster. Those prospects added included left-handers Leyson Septimo, Clay Zavada, and right-handers Kyler Newby and Jose Marte.
Septimo was originally signed as an outfielder out of the Dominican Republic but hit just .254/.305/.349 in three seasons. He was converted to the mound to take advantage of an arm that could dial a fastball up into the high 90s. Septimo also has a power slider at his disposal. His first taste of pro pitching action occurred this past season at High-A ball with ‘meh’ results. Septimo allowed 42 hits in 41 innings and posted rates of 7.24 BB/9 and 9.66 K/9. He also posted a 4.96 FIP. He’ll likely need a little more seasoning in High-A ball before being promoted to Double-A.
Zavada was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks out of university in 2006. He made 22 relief appearances that same season in Rookie Ball and then left baseball in 2007. Zavada had a change of heart and worked his way back into shape in an independent baseball league before returning to the organization. In 24 A-ball games, the lefty allowed just six hits in 35.1 innings (a .057 batting average allowed). He also posted rates of 1.27 BB/9 and 13.75 K/9, while allowing just one home run ball. His FIP was 1.02. Zavada could skip over High-A ball and begin 2009 in Double-A. His fastball reaches the upper 80s, and his repertoire also includes a curveball and change-up.
Newby is determined. How else can you explain how the team’s final draft pick from 2004 (50th round by Arizona, 1,485th overall player chosen – only 13 other players were taken after him in the entire draft). Now, he didn’t sign right away as a junior college player, but he did sign with the club as a draft-and-follow player after spending another season playing for the Mesa Community College. In four years, Newby has posted a 2.30 ERA and allowed 103 hits in 164.1 innings. This past season in High-A ball, he allowed 49 hits in 67 innings. Newby also posted rates of 4.03 BB/9 and 11.55 K/9 thanks to a repertoire that includes an 88-92 mph fastball, a curveball and change-up.
Marte was acquired from the Texas Rangers organization prior to the 2008 season and made some strides thanks to the change of scenery. He appeared in nine High-A ball games and was then promoted to Double-A where he allowed 50 hits in 49.1 innings. Marte posted rates of 4.38 BB/9 and 6.75 K/9. He is a fastball-slider pitcher who can reach the mid-90s with the heater.
It’s rare for a team to devote so many roster spots to young relievers but with the value of pitching at an all-time high, the Diamondbacks could very well have lost any one of them in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.