Last Saturday I had to good luck to see Diamondbacks' left handed pitching prospect David Holmberg start against the Stockton Ports, and I promised a more in-depth profile of the pitcher. So let's take a look at Holmberg, and what he could provide for dynasty league owners in the future.
Holmberg was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft out of Port Charlotte High School in Florida by the White Sox. Holmberg signed for the slot recommendation, and was able to make 14 appearances (7 starts) for the White Sox' rookie league affiliate in the Appalachian League. The White Sox sent him to the Pioneer League for 2010, where he made 8 starts for Great Falls before being included in the trade that sent Daniel Hudson to the Diamondbacks. Yes, Holmberg was basically the secondary piece for the White Sox to acquire Edwin Jackson. Holmberg made 7 more starts in the Pioneer League, this time for Missoula. He finished the season with a combined 76/16 K/BB ratio in 77 2/3 innings, and was given his first full season assigment to start 2011.
Holmberg was still just 19 years old to start the 2011 season, and pitched very well in the Midwest League. In 14 starts, he went 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA and an excellent 81/13 K/BB rate in 83 innings. The Diamondbacks moved him up to the California League, and he did struggle some there. To finish out the season, he threw 71 1/3 innings, struck out 76 but walked 35. The Diamondbacks sent him back to the Cal League, and has pitched much better so far this season. In 63 1/3 innings (including the 8 I saw on Saturday), he has a 3.13 ERA, allowed just 52 hits, struck out 66 and walked 13.
In terms of repertoire, Holmberg features a fastball, sharp curveball, changeup, and a cutter. His fastball was sitting 89-91 at the start I saw, and Baseball America's Prospect Handbook noted that he can sit 88-93 with that pitch. The curveball had solid break, and was being thrown in the mid-70s by the end of the evening. His command that night was excellent, as he was hitting the catcher's glove with minimal movement. His delivery was very smooth and appeared both easy and repeatable. I didn't notice any pronounced breakdown of the delivery either when runners were aboard or as the game progressed.
Overall, I saw a pitcher on Saturday night who may not have the ceiling of some of the other pitchers in the Diamondbacks' system, but he should be a solid Major League starting pitcher (think #3 upside), and should be good for somewhere around 7-8 strikeouts per 9 once he gets there. He appeared to have a good feel for what he wanted to do out on the mound, and was throwing a ton of quality strikes.
At some point during the season, I think he will be promoted to AA Mobile, but it seems unlikely they would move him until sometime after the All-Star break. At his current rate, I think he could be in the Majors sometime during 2014, and would likely be a #5-#6 starting pitcher for fantasy owners once he establishes himself in the bigs.
Baseball America Prospect Handbook