The 2007 Amateur Draft bore a lot of fruit for the Arizona Diamondbacks and first-year scouting director Tom Allison. For the most part, that is a very good thing for the Diamondbacks. To make room for all of these exciting new additions to the organization, however, the club had to cut ties with five of its veteran minor leaguers. RHP Osbek Castillo, C Julio Parra, SS Shea McFeely, LHP Mark Romanczuk, and LHP Craig Pfautz were each granted their release from the organization.
FutureBacks.com named Osbek Castillo as one of the Pitchers of the Year for Missoula in 2006 after he dominated that level with a 1.04 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. Even then, we knew that the 2007 season would determine Castillo's fate, as his dominance was mainly due to the fact that he was a 25-year old striking out teenagers. At Hi-A and Double-A last year, advanced hitters weren't chasing Castillo's breaking pitches, and he walked nearly a batter per inning as a result. Castillo combined for a 5.59 ERA just one year after posting that dead-ball era mark of 1.04 in 2006.
2006 28th-rounder Shea McFeely showcased a fabulous throwing arm from the hot corner. However, in two years with the organization, McFeely also made more than his share of miscues at third base, and did little to show that he could hit enough to succeed as a corner infield. He turns 24 in April, and would have been hard-pressed to win a spot on Visalia's roster, making his departure somewhat unsurprising.
Catcher Julio Parra never really made his mark on the organization. In two years with short-season affiliates, Parra batted .174 and slugged .464. His release came as no surprise, as catchers Ed Easley and Sean Coughlin were added in the early rounds of June's draft, and the organization was already deep at catcher in the lower levels.
The real shock of the group was Mark Romanczuk. FutureBacks readers will remember Mark for the weekly journals he wrote for us as he rehabbed his arm during the 2006 season. More than just friendly and articulate, Romanczuk posted a solid 3.73 ERA for the South Bend Silver Hawks last season despite the blemish of a 5.40 April ERA as he worked his way back from the injury.
His departure also continues a mass exodus of Stanford alumni from the organization, as Chris Carter and Carlos Quentin were both traded in the last six months. Catcher John Hester and farm director A.J. Hinch may want to keep their suitcases packed.
Mark was a fourth-round pick in 2005, and figured to get a better chance to prove his health and aptitude than what he was given. We will miss him here at FutureBacks. Readers who would like to send well-wishes to Mark may email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will forward the comments to him.
Like Romanczuk, Craig Pfautz was a left handed pitcher in the organization coming off a solid season. Pfautz did have an ERA approaching 5.00, but he was a groundball artist with excellent control. The fact that either pitcher was deemed expendable by the organization comes as a shock, as the Diamondbacks lost top southpaws Brett Anderson, Greg Smith, and Dana Eveland in the Dan Haren trade. Randy Johnson's contract is up at the end of the season, and Doug Davis will become a free agent after 2009. Instead of jettisoning left-handers, the Diamondbacks should be bolstering what is easily the weakest position in the organization.
Pfautz brought a great attitude with him to the ballpark every day. Like Romanczuk, his work ethic is such that he should latch on with another organization.
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