Prior to the 2013 season, third baseman Jake Lamb wasn’t on most top 10 Arizona Diamondbacks prospects lists. However, he broke out in a big way last season, basically forcing his way onto top 10 prospects lists heading into the 2014 season. Lamb will have a tough time reaching the MLB level this upcoming season. Without even playing a game at Double-A at this point, he clearly has plenty more developing to do before he is ready for the big leagues.
Along with Lamb not quite being ready yet, the Diamondbacks also have a few players ahead of him on the depth chart, including Eric Chavez and Martin Prado. At 23-years-old, there is obviously no clear rush to hurry Lamb through the farm system, especially since the Diamondbacks have no great need at third base right now. They should let him take his time and continue developing.
Lamb was originally drafted in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round out of Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, Wash. He would eventually decide to not sign with the Bucs. Lamb would then take his talents to the University of Washington where he would have a successful career leading up to him being drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks’ third base prospect is a hitter with skills that are advanced compared to most players he is playing with at the lower minor league levels. He has the ability to hit for high batting averages while also drawing more than his fair share of walks. Basically, he is an on-base machine. Lamb also has a frame that could allow for him to hit for huge power if he continues to get stronger. For most offensive-minded prospects, defense is usually a question mark. For Lamb, this isn’t an issue.
In two minor league seasons, Lamb has played at two levels: The Rookie League and A-ball. In parts of two seasons in Rookie-ball, Lamb had a .327/.390/.532 triple-slash line in 336 plate appearances. In 283 plate appearances in A-ball, Lamb has a .303/.424/.558 line. He clearly had no troubles adjusting to the higher level after being promoted.
In 2014, Lamb will see the most difficult adjustment for most pro players — moving from A-ball to Double-A. Whether Lamb starts the season in Double-A or eventually gets promoted there, he will be in Double-A at some point. If he is able to thrive in Double-A, Lamb will continue to shoot up prospect charts and may even get promoted to Triple-A by the end of the season. If he struggles, it won’t hurt him all that badly as a lot of players struggle with the transition to Double-A.