Jake McCarthy had high hopes for his first full season after batting .288/.375/.443 with 24 extra-base hits and 21 steals during his pro debut. But a pair of injuries, including a season-ending ankle injury in early July, limited the Arizona Diamondbacks’ No. 28 prospect to just 53 games at Class
Jake McCarthy had high hopes for his first full season after batting .288/.375/.443 with 24 extra-base hits and 21 steals during his pro debut. But a pair of injuries, including a season-ending ankle injury in early July, limited the Arizona Diamondbacks’ No. 28 prospect to just 53 games at Class A Advanced Visalia in 2019.
But McCarthy’s strong start in this year’s Arizona Fall League, where he’s produced a .348 average in seven games for Salt River, has his stock back on the rise as he makes up for some of the time he lost during the regular season.
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“Obviously this year didn’t go as planned with the injuries -- and when it seemed like I really got going, my season was cut short,” said McCarthy. “So it’s a really exciting opportunity to represent this organization, especially against this kind of talent. All I need is more games under my belt and I feel like I’ll do fine.”
The D-backs selected McCarthy with the No. 39 pick in the 2018 Draft out of University of Virginia and assigned him straight to the California League for his first full season. He started slowly, batting .234 over his first 25 games, before landing on the Injured List for three weeks in early May with a jammed wrist. He returned to action on May 26 and proceeded to slash .317/.373/.465 over 28 games for the Rawhide, only to suffer the ankle injury on July 7.
At the time, McCarthy was hopeful that he would be able to return before the end of the regular season. However, the severity of the injury ultimately required a lengthy rehab process which sidelined him for remainder of the season.
“My ankle was pretty swollen, so first we had to wait until the swelling went down, which took about a month. Running was the last thing to come around,” said the 22-year-old outfielder.
Though his 2019 season was marred by injuries, McCarthy doesn’t see himself as someone who’s injury-prone:
“It’s never really been a concern. I’ve had injuries before -- I grew up playing football and two other sports -- and it’s just a part of the game, a part of doing something year round.
“I take my rehab very seriously, so as long as I’m diligent with that I think I’ll be fine.”
D-backs hitters in the AFL
Seth Beer, 1B/OF (No. 4, MLB No. 96) -- Arizona’s key return in the four-prospect package they acquired for Zack Greinke, Beer posted a .904 OPS with 26 homers and 103 RBIs and spent much of his first full season in Double-A. Including his pro debut, the 22-year-old masher has compiled a .294/.388/.508 line with 38 homers, 38 doubles and 145 RBIs in his first 189 pro games after hitting .321/.489/.648 with 56 homers and nearly twice as many walks (180) as strikeouts (98) during three years at Clemson.
Geraldo Perdomo, SS (No. 7) – Signed for $70,000 in July 2016, Perdomo advanced from Class A Kane County to Visalia in his age-19 season and batted .275/.397/.364 with 27 extra-base hits and 26 steals between the two stops. He’s a switch-hitter who makes a lot of line-drive contact and has impressive plate discipline for his age -- as evidenced by his 70 walks and 67 strikeouts in his first full-season campaign -- to go along with plus defensive chops at shortstop. He’s been a standout for Salt River in early going, batting .387 with 12 hits in his first eight AFL games.
D-backs pitchers in the AFL
Miguel Aguilar, LHP – Aguilar is 28 and spent the first half of this past season on the Injured List, but the 5-foot-8 lefty was good when healthy, posting a 2.12 ERA with six saves and a 33/4 K/BB in 29 2/3 innings (26 games) for Double-A Jackson. He features a low-90s fastball that he pairs with a hard slider that he throws in the mid- to upper-80s with a high spin rate.
Matt Brill, RHP – A 12th-round pick in 2017 out of Appalachian State, Brill pitched well out of Visalia’s bullpen but struggled In Double-A, registering a 6.34 ERA with 32/20 K/BB in 32 2/3 innings (32 games). The 24-year-old has an interesting relief profile with a 95-97 mph fastball and slurvy breaking ball in the mid-80s.
Cody Reed, LHP – A left elbow injury wiped out Reed’s 2018 season and cost him most of ’19, too, but the 23-year-old made a healthy return on July 30 and ultimately made 10 appearances in the Minors before heading to the AFL, where he’s shown an 87-91 mph fastball to go along with a slider and a changeup.
Emilio Vargas, RHP – After being named the California League’s Pitcher of the Year following his 2018 season, the 23-year-old right-hander continued to impress in his move up to Double-A Jackson this year. Vargas was sidelined from May 10 to July 4 due to biceps tendinitis but went 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA over his final 10 starts and 54 innings for the Generals, walking 18 and striking out 43. He uses his above-average fastball to go with two average complementary pitches in his slider and changeup. Vargas was added to the Rafters roster at the beginning of the third week of the Fall League season.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.