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Shipley, Brito off to fast starts in Minor Leagues

Top prospect Duplantier rehabbing from right hamstring injury
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- Right-hander Braden Shipley has followed up a solid Spring Training with a hot start to the season for Triple-A Reno.

The D-backs selected Shipley, 26, in the first round of the 2013 Draft, and he has appeared in 23 big league games (14 starts) over the past two seasons. This spring, he went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three outings.

PHOENIX -- Right-hander Braden Shipley has followed up a solid Spring Training with a hot start to the season for Triple-A Reno.

The D-backs selected Shipley, 26, in the first round of the 2013 Draft, and he has appeared in 23 big league games (14 starts) over the past two seasons. This spring, he went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three outings.

Shipley figures to be near or at the top of the D-backs' list of pitchers that would be called up should something happen to one of their five starters.

In his first start of the year for the Aces, Shipley held visiting Fresno to one run over 5 1/3 innings, then gave up two runs in six frames at Sacramento.

"He looks great," D-backs vice president of player development Mike Bell said. "He threw the ball well in Reno, and we all know what kind of place that can be to pitch in. The key for him, I think, is commanding his fastball, being able to use his fastball down in the zone, elevate with purpose and intention and be able to command all those pitches. I think his changeup is a key for him, and so far, he's had a good feel for that."

Video: COL@ARI: Shipley K's Amarista to secure the shutout

Another member of the Aces off to a hot start is outfielder Socrates Brito. Ranked as the organization's No. 14 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Brito has had a couple of injury-plagued seasons that have dropped him down the list.

In his first seven games of the season, Brito is hitting .448/.484/.552.

Double-A Jackson reliever Yoan Lopez, who was signed to a $8.27 million free-agent deal out of Cuba in January 2015, has yet to allow a run in three innings.

"[Wednesday] night he was just outstanding," Bell said of the 26th-ranked prospect. "He punched out three and his stuff was electric. I saw him in Jackson earlier and he did well in very cold conditions."

Arizona's top prospect, right-hander Jon Duplantier, missed the start of the season with a right hamstring injury, but he is back pitching in extended spring.

"We're just building up his innings now," Bell said. "He should make his first start the 21st or 22nd of this month."

Video: Top Prospects: Jon Duplantier, RHP, D-backs

Third baseman Drew Ellis and catcher Daulton Varsho were selected 44th overall and 68th overall, respectively, by the D-backs in last year's Draft. This year, both started with Class A Advanced Visalia of the California League.

Ellis recently homered in back-to-back games, while Varsho hit .333 with two homers and nine RBIs in his first five contests.

"He went out and got off to a great start, and that should help him feel like he belongs there because he certainly does," Bell said of Varsho. "At 21 years old in that league, it's a big jump, but he's off to a great start."

If you want to keep track of D-backs Minor Leaguers this year, the best way to do it is with our Minor League Tracking Tool.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Socrates Brito, Braden Shipley