Diamondbacks' Brandon Pfaadt: Sent to minor-league camp
The Diamondbacks reassigned Pfaadt to minor-league camp Sunday.
Pfaadt was always a longshot to make Arizona's Opening Day rotation, but he made a strong push in camp with a 3.75 ERA and 15:4 K:BB across 12 innings during spring training. The 24-year-old should begin the season with Triple-A Reno, where he posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 74:14 K:BB in 10 starts last year. He's a likely bet to make his big-league debut at some point in 2023.
Pfaadt allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven over four relief innings in Thursday's spring game against the Cubs.
After giving up a solo home run in his first inning of work and getting out of a none-out, runner on third base jam an inning later, Pfaadt was dominant the rest of the way. The right-hander turned heads in what was the best outing among the candidates vying for the fifth starter spot. "He can throw any pitch in any count," manager Torey Lovullo told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. "He had great carry today on his fastball. It's not just 94-95 [mph]; it's got good finish to it. It was a very good outing by him today." In 12 spring innings, Pfaadt has a 3.75 ERA with four walks and 15 strikeouts. He was initially viewed as a dark horse for the job, but the 24-year-old has pitched better than Tommy Henry (7.71 ERA), Drey Jameson (7.45 ERA) and Ryne Nelson (13.50 ERA), although results are not necessarily the only thing clubs use to make spring training evaluations.
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Diamondbacks' Brandon Pfaadt: Keeps posting zeros
Pfaadt allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four over three scoreless innings in Saturday's spring start against the Padres.
Pfaadt has thrown zeros through two Cactus League starts, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out six over five innings. The right-hander's fastball averaged 94.6 mph and topped out at 96.8, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Carson Kelly, who caught both of Pfaadt's starts, referred to the hurler's four-pitch mix as "unique" and was impressed at how the 24-year-old attacks major-league batters. Pfaadt, the club's top-ranked pitching prospect, has an uphill battle to become Arizona's fifth starter, so it's likely he returns to Triple-A Reno, where he tossed 61.1 innings over 10 starts in 2022.
The Diamondbacks named Pfaadt the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2022, MLB.com reports.
Pfaadt ended his season in style over the weekend, picking up the win for Triple-A Reno while striking out 10. The effort increased his strikeout total to 218 combined between Double-A Amarillo and Reno. He became the first minor leaguer to reach the 200-strikeout milestone since 2011, and the 218 punchouts were the most by any minor leaguer since Brandon Claussen in 2001 (220). The 23-year-old right-hander, who turns 24 in October, will return to Reno next season.
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Diamondbacks' Brandon Pfaadt: Promoted to Triple-A
Pfaadt was promoted from Double-A Amarillo to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.
One of Arizona's best pitching prospects, Pfaadt had a 4.99 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 82:9 K:BB in 57.2 innings over his last 10 starts while pitching in hitter-friendly conditions. The conditions won't get any better in the Pacific Coast League. Pfaadt's 3.65 xFIP at Double-A is a more indicative mark as to how well he did at that level. He could join the big-league rotation early next year.