The games don't count in the standings, but for young prospects looking to make an impression, Spring Training carries a ton of importance.
It's a time when hitters and pitchers have a chance to outperform competitors to earn one of those coveted 25 spots on the MLB roster, or at least give coaches a glimpse of what they can become a year or two down the road.
Here's a look at five young Arizona Diamondbacks who you should keep an eye on if you get a chance to catch them in action during Cactus League play.
1. Archie Bradley
Some bad luck derailed Bradley’s promising start to his 2015 campaign. After opening the season with three great outings, the 23-year-old righthander was hit in the face with a line drive, and he just wasn’t the same when he returned to the D-backs’ rotation.
Pretty ugly huh? In all Seriousness tho thanks for the text, tweets and prayers! Could have been a lot worse! #lucky pic.twitter.com/NasQBYWqkz
— Archie Bradley (@ArchieBradley7) April 29, 2015
But 2016 is a chance to start over. Can Bradley weave his way into the starting rotation if projected No. 4 and 5 starters Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa struggle?
2. Socrates Brito
The 23-year-old outfielder received some mighty praise last week when a D-backs coach said he could be the National League Rookie of the Year if he made the main roster this season. It's easy to see why: Brito hit .300 with 17 doubles and 15 triples in Double-A Mobile last season, and when the D-backs called him up late last season, he hit .303 in 18 games.
3. Brandon Drury
Drury was outstanding in Triple-A Reno last season, boasting a .331 batting average with 26 doubles in 63 games. The 23-year-old Oregon native is also an excellent fielder; he committed just one error in 37 games at shortstop and third base in Reno in 2015. He’s the D-backs’ highest-rated infield prospect, according to Baseball America.
4. Gabriel Guerrero
Guerrero probably isn’t ready for the big leagues yet, but the 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic has the game in his blood. His uncle is Vladimir Guerrero, who made nine All-Star appearances and was the 2004 American League MVP. MLB.com’s Bernie Pleskoff called Gabriel “a physical clone” of Vladimir with a strong arm, which should be enough to get D-backs fans excited.
5. Peter O’Brien
We noticed the catcher-turned-outfielder halfway through last season when he was named the Top Star for the Pacific Coach League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. O’Brien hit .284 with 26 homers and 107 RBI in Triple-A Reno last year, and he made the most of his handful of chances with the D-backs at the end of last season, hitting .400 with a home run in 10 at-bats.