With the Padres and White Sox embracing top prospects, the D-backs are the latest team to get in on the youth movement.
Arizona called up its top pitching prospect, Jon Duplantier, from Triple-A Reno on Monday to potentially make his Major League debut. With the Minor League season not beginning until Thursday, the right-hander has not pitched above Double-A.
Offseason MiLB include
Duplantier was selected by the D-backs in the third round of the 2016 Draft out of Rice. MLB.com's No. 72 overall prospect features a four-pitch mix, which is led by his plus-fastball. Over three career seasons, Duplantier is 17-4 with a 1.79 ERA, 245 strikeouts and 74 walks in 211 innings across 42 games (40 starts).
After a breakout 2017 campaign in which he won the MiLBY for Starting Pitcher of the Year and earned a trip to the All-Star Futures Game, Duplantier's 2018 season had some speed bumps. The 24-year-old was limited to 74 frames with inflammation in his pitching arm. Duplantier finished the year on a high note as a Rising Star in the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game.
In one Cactus League appearance, Duplantier worked around a walk and struck out a pair in two hitless frames against the A's.
The D-backs used 12 pitchers in their opening four-game series against the Dodgers and likely need a fresh arm in Duplantier -- who wasn't on their 40-man roster prior to the promotion. Merrill Kelly was given the ball to make his Major League debut Monday. The 30-year-old was in the Rays system from 2010-14 before spending four seasons in Korea.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the D-backs sent down Ildemaro Vargas. The switch-hitter started the campaign 1-for-6 with a double and a run scored in three games.