Delgado aims to make name for himself with D-backs
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Without the same name recognition as All-Stars Justin Upton and Martin Prado, Randall Delgado flew somewhat under the radar when the January blockbuster deal between the D-backs and Braves became official.
Upton was the face of the Arizona franchise for multiple years, and Prado was both a fan and clubhouse favorite in Atlanta. But even though Delgado came to the desert with plenty of notable credentials, including his ranking as the No. 3 prospect in the Braves organization by MLB.com, the same sort of labels placed on Prado and Upton couldn't be attached to him.
Now, a week into his first Spring Training with his new club, Delgado is aiming to alter the legacy of the trade by translating his Minor League success to the Majors.
His first opportunity has already begun, as he is competing alongside top prospects Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin for the fifth spot in the rotation.
"It's a great opportunity for me to show them what I can do," Delgado said. "I just have to compete but also go about it normally. That's how you have to do it. You try to do the best you can do, and after that, I can't control anything."
In addition to that competition, Delgado has been trying to focus on keeping an open ear to his new coaching staff and batterymates. The 23-year-old has been in professional baseball since signing as a teenager out of Panama six years ago, but he still feels as though he has plenty of knowledge to soak up from the people around him. That's why he took the time to learn English.
"They all have more experience than me up here, and that's why I have to listen to them," he said. "They have already taught me a lot of things I am going to try to put into practice now. I think that is very important for me to do."
Delgado isn't a total stranger to the Majors, though, going 4-9 with a 4.37 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) for the Braves in 2012. He also made eight starts with Triple-A Gwinnett, going 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA. In 25 games (24 starts) for the Braves over the past two seasons, he is 5-10 with a 3.95 ERA.
His arsenal mostly consists of four pitches -- a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a changeup and a curve ball, the last of which he is trying to improve the most.
"He's working on his breaking ball," catcher Wil Nieves said. "He has a great arm, so just being consistent with that breaking ball is all, because he has a good one. If he can throw it for a strike at any time, it's going to be a huge weapon for him. The future is really bright for him, though, if he keeps going like this. He's got great stuff. He's nasty."
The sinker will be of particularly good use to Delgado in his new home ballpark. Like Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy, Delgado is ground-ball pitcher, which should be to his advantage at Chase Field, where pitchers who can keep the ball down come at a premium.
In 2012, opposing batters hit 50.2 percent of balls in play on the ground against Delgado; his ground ball-to-fly ball ratio was 1.80.
"I think pitching here will help me very much. The stadium is set up to my pitching style," he said. "I want to get as many ground balls as I can to set up double plays. Every time I'm out there, I just try to stay in control and keep the ball down."
Delgado has thrown a couple of bullpen sessions in camp, and the results have left manager Kirk Gibson impressed.
"He has thrown the ball good so far. He's got a real live arm, he keeps the ball down well and his changeup is real good," Gibson said. "[General manager Kevin Towers] did his homework on him. He's very athletic."