FutureBacks Power Rankings: Volume 12

How can the Arizona Diamondbacks trade Tony Pena and contemplate trading Chad Qualls? Simple: The FutureBacks.com Power Rankings are teeming with sizzling hot relief pitchers. Nearly 20 relievers made the cut this week, and for the first time ever, a reliever took the number one spot.

Reno Aces 53-50 (3rd); on a 7-5 run
Mobile BayBears 37-33 1st Half (2nd); 15-16 2nd Half (3rd)
Visalia Rawhide 39-31 (3rd) ; 9-23 2nd Half (last)
South Bend Silver Hawks 26-35 (4th); 14-15 2nd Half (3rd)

Yakima Bears 13-24 (last); on an 8-20 slide
Missoula Osprey 19-13 (1st); on a 5-game win streak
DSL Diamondbacks 28-21 (4th); 5-5 last 10 games

Clay Zavada and Esmerling Vasquez are relief pitcher prospects that have stepped up to become key members of the Diamondbacks bullpen this season.  With Tony Pena traded to the Brewers and Chad Qualls rumored to be the next to go, more relief prospects will soon need to follow in the footsteps of Zavada and Vasquez.

Fortunately, there should be a steady stream of quality relievers pumping out of the D-backs system for years to come.  Former outfielder Leyson Septimo is most prominent among those nearly ready for the majors.  Many scoffed when Septimo was protected on the 40-man roster this winter, but he breezed through California League hitters earlier this summer, looked tough against some of the best hitting prospects in baseball in the Futures Game, and has been practically flawless so far in Double-A.

But there is plenty more talent on Septimo's heels.  T.J. Hose and Justin Mace went from being nobodies to being top closers in the blink of an eye.  Bryan Woodall probably doesn't remember what allowing runs feels like at this point.  While most DSL prospects tend to be inconsistent, closer Frank Santana continues to dominate.  The relief pitching situation has been so good that Tom Layne has moved back into the rotation, where he has been every bit as good as he had been as a reliever. 

And then we have the Missoula Osprey.  Their starting rotation has been flat-out terrible so far, with no one able to manage an ERA under 5.50.  Only Michael Belfiore has shown a lot of promise, and he is averaging fewer than three innings per start due to his collegiate workload.  Yet the Osprey are in first place because of a very good offense and an unparalleled bullpen.  They have had six pitchers throw 15 or more relief innings and post an ERA under 3.00.

As always, these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity, weighing recent performance most heavily.  They are not necessarily the best prospects in the system overall.  Special Note: Gerardo Parra, Esmerling Vasquez, and Clay Zavada will no longer appear on these rankings, as they have established themselves as major leaguers and will not be rookie eligible next year.


Mob=Mobile, SL=Southern League, PCL= Pacific Coast League
SB=South Bend, MWL=Midwest League, Vis=Visalia, CL=California League
NWL=Northwest League Yak=Yakima, Pio=Pioneer League, Mis=Missoula
DSL = Dominican Summer League

Stats are accurate as of Monday, July 27th.  A yellow highlight indicates a promotion this week.

Rank Prev Pos Name Team Comment
1 2 RP Leyson Septimo Mob 8 K and a 0.00 ERA through 5.0 Double-A innings
2 1 SP Jarrod Parker Mob 0-2 with a 4.29 ERA in July, but six strong innings in his last start
3 13 SS Brent Greer Yak 3rd in NWL in AVG (.341), SLG (.574), and OPS (.999)
4 9 P Tom Layne Vis 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA since the end of May; 1-0 0.90 in two starts this month
5 NR 1B Brandon Allen Reno In 15 games with Reno: 7 HR, 16 RBI, 3 SB (.352/.453/.796)
6 38 IF Rusty Ryal Reno Slugging .861 since the All-Star break (5 HR in 47 AB)
7 12 RP T.J. Hose Vis Looking good so far at Hi-A; has already saved a game
8 28 RP Bryan Woodall SB An incredible streak of 26 scoreless frames for Woodall
9 19 C Konrad Schmidt Vis .349/.419/.590 in the month of July
10 10 1B Ryan Wheeler Yak 6-foot-4, 220-pound giant has six steals; also 2nd in NWL with .463 OBP
11 8 SP Matt Torra Mob Three straight losses, but two of those were quality starts
12 34 C John Hester Reno Last 6 games: 10-for-19 (.526) with 5 XBH and 8 RBI
13 25 CF Ender Inciarte Mis Has hit safely in his last 13 starts; 6th in Pio with a .344 BA
14 14 OF Trent Oeltjen Reno Batting .317, slugging .512, and has stolen four bases since the All-Star break
15 17 LF Marc Krauss SB Krauss is still the best hitter on the Silver Hawks (.304/.377/.478)
16 7 RP Jordan Norberto Mob 6 BB and 6 ER in 6 Double-A innings
17 37 RP Frank Santana DSL Last 10 Games: 3-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 18.2 IP, 10 H, 17 K, 4 BB
18 18 1B Paul Goldschmidt Mis Second in Pio with 37 K, but has 3 HR in his last 10 games
19 16 SS David Narodowski Mis Batting .338 vs. RHP, but just .121 against southpaws
20 NR RP Justin Mace SB New Hawks closer hasn't allowed an earned run since June 27
21 21 OF Ollie Linton Vis No longer the best leadoff man in the Cal league, but one of few solid Rawhide hitters
22 43 RP Diogenes Rosario Mis 20 strikeouts to just 2 walks in 15.2 IP (1-0, 0.57)
23 30 SS Pedro Ciriaco Mob Batting .379 in July and has 2 HR and 8 RBI in his last 7 games
24 51 3B/C Raywilly Gomez Mis Batting .366 in July after hitting just .100 in June
25 6 OF Brendan Duffy Vis Duffy is sporting a paltry .601 July OPS
26 NR RP Keith Cantwell Mis 2-0 with 20 K, 1 BB, and a  .221 BAA
27 NR RP Victor Capellan SB Has allowed just 6 H, 4 BB, and 2 ER in 15.2 IP (1.15 ERA)
28 NR RP Josh Ellis Mob 17 K, 1 BB, 4 H, 0 ER in his last 10 IP
29 29 RP Adam Worthington Mis 10 hits allowed in his last three games, but still no BB in 13.1 IP
30 NR SP Taylor Sinclair SB 1.35 ERA over his last three starts; .176 BAA vs. left-handed batters
31 39 RP Charles Brewer Mis 23 strikeouts in 17.1 IP; 3-0 this month
32 26 OF Chris Rahl Mob 11-for-38 (.289) over his last 9 games, but with 13 K, 2 BB, 1 XBH, and 1 RBI
33 NR 1B Clayton Conner Yak Batting .342 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in his last 10 and no errors in 17 games at 1B
34 23 RP Chase Anderson Mis Allowed first 3 ER of the year in rough July 21 outing
35 35 OF Bobby Stone Mis Cutting down on the K's, but the BA is still low and the power is still there
36 NR SP Andrew Wolcott Yak 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA over his last four starts
37 32 RP Bryan Henry Vis Henry has been merely solid in July (3.52 ERA) after a dominant June (1.02)
38 NR SP Teo Gutierrez DSL Has only allowed as many as 4 ER once in 10 starts
39 11 1B Joshua Whitesell Az Just 4-for-22 with a double (.182) since the release of Tony Clark
40 NR RP Billy Spottiswood Vis Only 1 ER allowed in his last 15 innings with Visalia (0.60 ERA)
41 41 C Orlando Mercado Reno .404 Triple-A OBP in 16 games
42 24 SP Berling Cruz DSL Has allowed 24 hits in his last 14 IP and 10 BB in his last 19
43 NR RP Ryan Robowski Mis 10 K and 0 BB, plus tied for team-lead with 4 saves
44 47 2B David Nick Mis Nick has hit two homers over his last five games
45 20 RP Reid Mahon Reno Seven hits allowed in his latest appearance - 7.04 Reno ERA
46 NR RP Scott Maine Mob Maine has a 0.79 July ERA

Falling Off:

Sean Coughlin (3) was batting a dismal .160 in July before landing on the 7-day disabled list

Brad Wilson (15) has allowed six earned runs in five innings since returning to Yakima

Ramon Castillo (22) is 7-for-36 (.194) over his last 10 games

Mark Hallberg (27) is 5-for-21 (.238) and slugging .286 with no RBI in his last eight games

To Watch:

RP Victor Acosta (DSL) has allowed just four baserunners over his first four games, striking out eight

RP Bayron Zepeda (South Bend) has a 2.16 ERA, nine strikeouts, and just one walk allowed in July

2B Jake Elmore (South Bend) is 10-for-22 (.455) over his last seven games

SP Ryan Cook (South Bend) has gone at least six inning in five straight starts (3.45 ERA)

RP Roque Mercedes (Mobile) has enjoyed three scoreless outing since joining the D-backs organization

RP Jason Urquidez (Reno) has allowed 2 ER in his last 10.1 IP, winning a game and notching a save along the way

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