A spin around the D-backs' farm

May 31st, 2023

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.

It’s time once again to check in on the D-backs Minor League system with the help of farm director Josh Barfield:


Infielder/outfielder Tristin English opened the year with Double-A Amarillo where he finished off last year and was promoted to Reno on May 5. A little more than two weeks later, he was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week.

“He’s been one of the bigger surprises so far this year,” Barfield said. “Started in Double-A and got off to a blistering start, and then he goes up to Triple-A and he’s been just as good, if not better. He’s a little bit of an older college selection in 2019 [third round]."

In his first 19 games with Reno, English was hitting .328/.438/.567 while playing first base and DH.

“Everything from his swing decisions to the quality of contact and consistency has been really, really impressive this year,” Barfield said. “He’s just maturing as a hitter and has a better idea but he's trying to do up there.”

Veteran reliever is putting together a nice season for the Aces, allowing a .197 opponents' batting average in 17 appearances in the hitter-friendly PCL.

“McAllister is the most consistent reliever we’ve had in Reno,” Barfield said. “He’s been pitching late in games for them and he’s been consistently in the zone with a really good fastball that comes from a little different arm slot.”

McAllister, 35, provides some experience and leadership to his younger teammates.

“He’s a veteran guy that’s been around for a while that provides us with some quality depth,” Barfield said. “We have a lot of young guys in Reno, so having somebody that's been around and has done it for a while helps out the young guys.”


D-backs GM Mike Hazen talked a little bit about shortstop Jordan Lawlar in the last newsletter and while his offensive numbers are still not where you would expect them to be, the organization has seen some progress.

“He had a better week last week,” Barfield said. “He's heading in the right direction. This is the first time he's ever not gone out there and had consistent success and I think he's done a really good job of handling it. He's been really open to coaching and accepting ideas and I think last week was very encouraging. He had a lot of quality at-bats and looked to be more of himself. He was hitting the ball to all parts of the field and I think when he’s doing that, he’s a really elite hitter.”

After putting up a 12.27 ERA in April, right-hander Chad Patrick has turned things around in May. In five starts during the month, he’s got a 2.05 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, and last week he earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors.

“He’s starting to get deeper into games, he's starting to command the ball better,” Barfield said. “He’s got a really good slider and is becoming more efficient with his fastball.”


Catcher J.J. D’Orazio is putting together a good season for the Hops, hitting .279/.387/.397 in his first 38 games of the year.

“He’s driving balls more than we've ever seen him do,” Barfield said. “And he’s doing a good job behind the plate commanding the pitching staff and doing all the little things that go into catching. I would say he’s been a real bright spot this year.”

D’Orazio, 21, has matured physically since the D-backs acquired him from the Blue Jays in September 2021.

“He homered to center the other day and hit another one the right center,” Barfield said. “We he first came over here, he was a skinny kid that had a nice swing, but it didn’t impact the baseball like he is now that he’s starting to fill out.”

Meanwhile, left-hander Avery Short, who was set to start for the Hops on Tuesday night, had gone at least five innings in his previous two starts.

“Really good changeup,” Barfield said. “He’s starting to learn how to pitch deeper into games and when he's commanding his fastball and getting ahead he's able to use that changeup and he can be really effective.”


Catcher Christian Cerda has opened some eyes with his play this year. The 20-year-old was hitting.244/.405/.369 through his first 37 games.

“He does all the things that you like to see out of a catcher,” Barfield said. “Great leader, blocks well, throws well and he's got a very mature approach for especially a 20-year-old. He's one of our better plate-discipline guys in the system, especially in the lower levels, and he’s got a chance to be a pretty good hitter. Good bat-to-ball, uses the whole field, controls at-bats, he’s having a really good year for somebody that is that young and playing such a demanding position.”

Another 20-year-old who is playing well for Visalia is right-hander Ricardo Yan, who struck out 32 and walked four in four May starts, including 10 in one game against Rancho Cucamonga.

“He’s got a big, lanky body and he throws from a really unique lower slot,” Barfield said. “He’s got a sinker with crazy run and he’s got a slider with a lot of sweep. So it’s a very unique look and when he’s throwing the ball over the plate it’s a very difficult at-bat.”