The Arizona Diamondbacks fans recently got to see their top minor league pitching prospect Jon Duplantier pitch for the big-league club. In tossing four scoreless innings in relief for the Diamondbacks, he surely showed aggressiveness in his approach. He showed his fastball, which had both velocity and power, and his breaking ball showed control. His biggest accomplishment, however, was his composure and maturity on the mound. Duplantier looked like a big-league pitcher with his calmness.
Jon Duplantier Impresses
Duplantier ended up making two appearances with the Diamondbacks after being called up April 1. In his MLB debut, he tossed three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two to earn the save. He followed up that performance a week later pitching another scoreless inning with one hit and one strikeout.
He was used in relief because the Diamondbacks had a need for a fresh arm so early in the season. We know, however, the Diamondbacks see him as a potential frontline starter in the long run, and maybe even an ace.
But in a move where the Diamondbacks needed another bat, they optioned Duplantier back to Triple-A Reno. They believe it is in his best interest to log innings since he’s coming off a 2018 season that was cut short by injury. He needs pitch every fourth or fifth day as a starter would so he is ready when he’s called up again.
Duplantier was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his professional debut with the Hillsboro Hops in June of 2016. He started 2017 with the Kane County Cougars and was later promoted to the Visalia Rawhide, posting a combined 12–3 record with a 1.39 ERA in 25 games, including 24 starts between both teams.
He spent the 2018 season pitching for the Jackson Generals where he went 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA. He was on the IL for an extended period in 2018 with right bicep tendinitis. It limited him to just 67 innings in Double-A, but he made up for lost time with an impressive performance in the Arizona Fall League.
Duplantier has some of the best stuff in the entire Diamondbacks organization. He owns a legitimate four-pitch mix that starts with a fastball, which touches the mid-to-upper 90s. He also throws a slider, change-up, and curveball. Though his fastball is in the 93-95 MPH range, he has shown he can certainly reach back for more when needed. His pitch can sink, making him effective at getting the ground-ball outs. His slider (thrown with speeds 85-87 MPH) is considered above average and he uses it as his best secondary pitch. He also throws an effective curveball in the low 80s and has feel for a changeup. He worked on his changeup in the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training to make it more effective against left-handed hitters. Scouts and coaches have noted that all his pitches hang around the entire strike zone.
He should have good enough command and control to remain a starter if he can stay healthy. Though he has shown his athletic and physical skills and has all the tools to be a starting pitcher, there are questions that have come up about long-term durability because of injuries. He has shoulder issues as well as issues with some elbow soreness and with right bicep tendinitis.
With a taste of the big leagues fresh in his mind, Duplantier is ready for more but knows a consistent process at Reno is what matters most right now. However, if the Diamondbacks consider themselves out of contention or a starter gets hurt, fans would expect to see him back with the big-league club and in the starting rotation.
What do you think of the future for Jon Duplantier? Will he earn another trip back to the Diamondbacks? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or hit us on Twitter @Basebaldaz and @LastWordOnMLB.
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