Arizona Diamondbacks purchased the contract of RHP Barry Enright from Double-A Mobile.
A second-round pick in the 2007 draft, Enright will make his major league debut this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals. Edwin Jackson was originally scheduled to start, but he was pushed back to Friday following his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 25th.
Speaking of walks, Enright basically refuses to issue them. The Pepperdine University product handed out 1.6 free passes per nine innings in college. Enright’s plus control endeared him to scouts, compensating in part for his modest stuff. Here’s how Baseball America described Enright at the time that the D-Backs popped him with the 73rd overall pick:
On a good day, Enright touches 90-92 mph with his fastball, but he pitches in the 87-89 range, and none of his secondary pitches–slider, curveball or changeup–excites scouts either…He improved his feel for pitching steadily through his college career and firmed up his body. His stuff, strike-throwing and bulldog nature profile him best as a middle reliever, but he’ll get a chance in the back of a professional rotation.
The 6-3, 220 pound right-hander made his full-season debut in 2008. Pitching in the High-A California league, Enright struck out 7.83 batters per nine frames, walked 1.92 per nine and posted a 3.52 FIP in 164.1 innings. His ERA (4.44) was considerably higher than his FIP, as Enright suffered from a .344 batting average on balls in play. BA named Enright the 11th-best prospect in Arizona’s system following the season, saying that he had a chance to be a back-end starter but also that his margin for error was thin.
In 2009, Enright moved up to the Double-A Southern League. His K rate took a hit (5.94 K/9), while he continued to be stingy with the walks (2.13 BB/9). Enright’s FIP in 156 innings was an even four. His prospect status took a hit — Arizona’s farm system did receive a big infusion of talent in the 2009 draft (Bobby Borchering, Matt Davidson, A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings, Marc Krauss and Mike Belfiore, among others), but Enright fell of the D-Backs’ top 30 list entirely.
The 24-year-old opened 2010 back at Mobile. In his second go-around the Southern League, Enright whiffed eight hitters per nine innings, walked 1.4 and had a FIP around 3.6 in 93.2 innings pitched. His ground ball rate did decline — Enright had a 42.8 GB% in ’08 and a 42.7 GB% in ’09, but he got batters to smack the ball into the grass 38.1% of the time in 2010.
What can we expect from Enright in the majors? According to Minor League Splits, Barry’s pitching with the Bay Bears in 2009 translated to a 5.38 major league FIP, with 4.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9. His 2010 pitching equates to 5.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9 and a 4.48 FIP at the highest level. Before the season, ZiPS projected 4.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9 and a 5.06 FIP, while CHONE thought he’d get battered for a 5.73 FIP, with 5.3 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.8 dingers per nine innings.
Enright might be up for just one start, but mere competence today against the Red Birds could put him in line for a more prominent role. Dontrelle Willis, picked up from the Tigers for RHP Billy Buckner in early June, has a 12/27 K/BB ratio as a Diamondback. The formerly famous lefty has thrown 98.1 innings since the beginning of the 2009 season, and he’s got 5.69 K/9, 7.71 BB/9 and a 5.83 xFIP. It’s near impossible to make the case that he’s a major league-quality pitcher at this point.
With excellent control and quality secondary stuff, Enright has a chance to stick at the back of a big league rotation. But, with limited ability to fool hitters and fly balls tendencies, he’s hardly a sure bet to be a contributor in fantasy leagues. Pitching in a park that inflated run-scoring by 15 percent and home runs by seven percent over the past three years (per the Bill James Handbook) won’t help, either. Enright might have some value to the D-Backs, but should only be an option for pitching-starved NL-only owners.