This D-backs prospect's dominating stretch earned him a Triple-A call

June 12th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHOENIX -- The D-backs promoted first baseman/third baseman (Arizona’s No. 14 prospect) from Double-A Amarillo to Triple-A Reno on May 21 after watching him slash .372/.426/.696 for Amarillo in 162 plate appearances.

The reason for the promotion was simple.

“He dominated Double-A,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said. “So we just felt like it wasn't really being challenged all that much.”

Veteran reliever Scott McGough was pitching for Reno when De Los Santos got called up, and he was impressed with what he saw from him at the plate.

“He's built like a linebacker,” McGough said. “Seems like he’s got a good work ethic, his swing is powerful. I would even see him get fooled by a pitch, mishit it and still hit it out. He’s an exciting guy to watch, good young talent and I’m excited for him as his road continues up to the big leagues.”

De Los Santos almost got to the big leagues this spring after the Guardians selected him in the Rule 5 Draft last December.

The fact that the D-backs didn’t protect him this past offseason was not an indictment of what they thought of De Los Santos. According to Hazen, it was because De Los Santos was just 20 years old, and for a big league team to carry a corner player on their 40-man roster all year long -- which is what is required with Rule 5 Draft picks -- was deemed too costly.

De Los Santos, though, impressed during Spring Training and was one of the Guardians' final cuts as he rejoined Arizona's organization.

“It's awesome to have him back,” Hazen said. “He's gonna be a really good player.”

There are still some things that De Los Santos has to get better at before he can make that next step to the Majors.

It starts with his defense. De Los Santos is better at first than he is at third, but it’s still a work in progress. The D-backs will mainly focus on having him play first base, but he will also see some time at third to see if he could be an option for the team -- should they have a need at some point this year.

“Defense is still something that we're pushing on pretty hard,” Hazen said. “We've talked about it a million times, once you get to Triple-A, you have to be ready to come up to the big leagues. We're gonna pound the defense pretty aggressively.”

Triple-A Reno: Right-hander (No. 16) was promoted from Double-A Amarillo to Reno on Tuesday. Diaz had a rough final outing for Amarillo on Friday, but he dominated at that level overall, averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Reno also got back shortstop (No. 8 overall prospect, D-backs’ No. 1), who had been on the injured list.

Double-A Amarillo: Left-hander (No. 4) is expected to return soon. Lin was hit in the face by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout in late April and suffered multiple fractures to his jaw area, which required surgery.

High-A Hillsboro: Right-hander (No. 22) was promoted from Single-A Visalia to Hillsboro on Tuesday. Sims was the No. 34 overall pick in 2022, had Tommy John surgery and was recently converted from the rotation to the bullpen.

“We feel like building him back up in one-inning or one-plus-inning stints is beneficial for him regaining his stuff after the surgery,” Hazen said.

Single-A Visalia: Outfielder (No. 3) had a good month of May at the plate, putting together an .847 OPS. And he's continued that into June, with a .911 mark through Tuesday.