Director of player development talks D-backs’ AFL showing

November 10th, 2022

The Arizona Fall League is winding down, so I thought it would be a good time to catch up with D-backs director of player development Josh Barfield to get his thoughts on five of Arizona’s players who participated.

We’ll touch on some of the others who saw time next week.

SS Jordan Lawlar (D-backs’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline)
Lawlar’s Fall League stint ended prematurely when he suffered a fractured left scapula on Oct. 21.

Barfield: “He had his time cut short a little bit, but he had a great Fall League and I think he continues to rise to the occasion — whether it’s being in your first full season and getting to Double-A, like he did, or playing in the Fall League.

“I thought he defensively continued to make strides at shortstop. There was a lot of improvement from the beginning of the year defensively. And offensively in the Fall League, he more than held his own against some really good pitching. It wasn’t just his numbers, but also the quality of his at-bats. He didn’t chase, got on base, took good swings on his pitch. Those are all things that we really value.”

C Cooper Hummel (not ranked)
Hummel went to the Fall League to work on his catching after splitting the year between Triple-A Reno and the big leagues.

Barfield: “He did well. Offensively, he swung it really well. We really sent him there to focus on his defense behind the plate. He didn’t get to catch a ton during the season, so we wanted to get him some more reps back there. I thought he did a pretty good job, and we just kind of challenged him with continuing to develop that skill set behind the plate.

“There’s definitely things he’s working on, as far as receiving, blocking, things like that. But I thought he made strides and showed well.”

RHP Justin Martinez (No. 30 prospect)
Martinez will need to be added to the team’s 40-man roster by Tuesday or he will be eligible to be selected by another team in the Rule 5 Draft.

Barfield: “Justin Martinez had a really good Fall League. This year was a big challenge for a guy coming off Tommy John surgery who had never played above Low-A coming into the season. He touched three levels and the Fall League this year, and he never looked overmatched.

“He’s got big stuff, his velocity is up to triple digits, and he’s got a wipeout split and a pretty good slider. Command has always been the thing we’ve stressed, and it got better as the season went on and was better than it was last year pre-injury. We’re excited about him, and I thought he finished very strong in the Fall League. His last two or three outings were dominant.”

RHP Chad Patrick (not ranked)
Patrick was a fourth-round selection in the 2021 Draft out of Purdue University Northwest.

Barfield: “He’s a pretty polished college pitcher. He doesn’t have huge stuff, but it’s the command, the ability to repeat his delivery and throw multiple pitches that makes him successful. He missed some time at the beginning of the year, and we figured he was mature enough to be able to handle the tough competition you get in the Fall League. That gave him an opportunity to make up for some of the reps he lost early in the year.

“I thought he did pretty well. It’s a big jump going from in your first full season to playing in the Fall League, so I thought he handled himself well. There were some good outings, there were some tougher outings, but, overall we’re pretty pleased with where he was at.”

3B/1B Deyvison De Los Santos (No. 6 prospect)
De Los Santos started the year at Single-A Visalia and finished with Double-A Amarillo.

Barfield: “He had an incredible year for his first full season. He played half the year at 18 and then going to the Fall League, where he was the youngest position player — we knew it was going to be a challenge for him. We like to push guys that we feel like can handle it. Overall, he kind of struggled in the Fall League, but I don’t think at any point he was overmatched.

“I think part of it was fatigue from his first full season, I think part of it at times was trying to do too much. But, you know, we’re really, really excited about this guy. He has the ability to impact the baseball at a high level and can probably hit the ball as hard as anybody in our system. For him, it’s just continuing to refine the approach, and I think it’s good coming out here and getting to see upper-level pitching. Because it just shows that you can get away with some things at the lower level, but as you go higher and higher, the approach becomes more and more important.”