D-backs in the AFL: Reinheimer gaining valuable experience
New infielder among eight Arizona prospects participating in the Fall League
Jack Reinheimer was going through his normal pregame routine on the road in Mississippi when he heard the news.
The 2013 fifth-round pick of the Mariners was getting ready for another game with the Jackson Generals, Seattle's affiliate in the Double-A Southern League, when he found out he had been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, joining Gabby Guerrero (also currently in the Arizona Fall League) as part of the package in return for Mark Trumbo.
"It was shocking at first," Reinheimer said. "It was right after batting practice, we were eating the spread. I get called into the manager's office, and he tells you. Right away, none of my teammates believed me. Everybody was kind of shocked. Once I got settled in with the new organization and new guys, it was just like playing for any other team. I just fit right in."
Reinheimer stayed in the Southern League, playing with the Mobile BayBears for the remainder of the season. After hitting .265/.355/.371 with nine steals in 76 games after the trade, the D-backs wanted their new infielder to get some more work in during the AFL.
Reinheimer, a 23-year-old product of East Carolina, brings a contact-oriented approach to the organization and to the Salt River Rafters in the AFL. The D-backs' No. 12 prospect finished the year with a combined .270/.342/.363 line, right in line with his .273/.344/.352 career mark. He also stole 21 bases after swiping 39 in 2014.
"That's the biggest part of my game, and that's what I'm out here to work on, just staying true to my approach and staying as consistent as possible," Reinheimer said. "I'm not going to be a guy who's going to drive the ball out of the park every day. I just have to stay up the middle, stay true to who I am, and I think everything will be alright."
Reinheimer went just 2-for-14 in his first four AFL games, though he has drawn three walks hitting in the No. 2 hole in the Rafters' lineup. While he'll work to improve those numbers, he also continues to work on his defensive game. Reinheimer has largely played shortstop as a pro, though he's seen considerable time at second base (albeit more in 2014 than this past year).
"They told me I'll be getting time at shortstop and second, a little more at shortstop, just because that's where I've primarily been playing and that's where I'm more comfortable," Reinheimer said. "But I'm definitely working on second base and seeing the other side of the diamond as well."
An added bonus for him, and all of the D-backs in the AFL, is that they get to play in their own backyard. Talking Stick at Salt River Field is their home park during Spring Training. Reinheimer has played there, but only in a visiting uniform.
"I love this place," he said. "I was fortunate enough when I was with the Mariners to back up in some big league games. This was actually a place I played at a few times. I always thought this was the coolest place in Arizona. I love the fact that I'm here, and it's nice to get used to it."
D-backs hitters in the Fall League
Oscar Hernandez, C - The Rule 5 pick missed much of the 2015 season with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, picking up just 69 total at-bats, so making up for lost time both at the plate and behind it is key.
Guerrero, OF - Also part of the Trumbo deal, Vlad's nephew continues to work on his overall approach after hitting .226/.256/.367 following the trade.
Daniel Palka, OF - Palka has now hit 51 homers over his first two full seasons, including 29 in the California League in 2015. He's using the AFL to get ready for the upper levels.
D-backs pitchers in the Fall League
Daniel Gibson, LHP - The lefty out of Florida split the year between the California League and Double-A Southern League, posting a 1.56 ERA and a .191 opponents' batting average in the process. A future as a lefty bullpen piece is in the offing.
Yoan Lopez, RHP: The big D-backs international signee is trying to put a subpar first season behind him, one marred by injury and questions about attitude. The pure stuff has shown up at times in his first two AFL outings.
Adam Miller, RHP: One of many power arms in the AFL, Miller can crank up his sinking fastball into the upper 90s. His Fall League time could get him ready for the big leagues in 2016.
Myles Smith, RHP: A fourth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2013, Smith came to the D-backs in the Zeke Spruill trade last December and spent time at four levels in his first full year of being a reliever only. His fastball can also touch the mid-to-upper 90s, with command being something he's undoubtedly working on this fall.