The Trade (Associated Press via ESPN)
Rays acquire RHP Heath Bell (from Diamondbacks); C Ryan Hanigan (from Reds)
Reds acquire LHP David Holmberg (from Diamondbacks)
Diamondbacks acquire RHP Justin Choate; PTBNL
Selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2009 draft out of a Florida high school, David Holmberg struggled in back-to-back years at the rookie levels before a mid-summer trade to the Diamondbacks in 2010 helped jumpstart his career.
Holmberg turned in a breakout performance during his full-season debut in 2011, registering a 3.44 ERA and 157-48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 154.1 innings between Low-A South Bend and High-A Visalia.
The left-hander put himself on the major league radar the following year by posting a 3.32 ERA and 153-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 173.1 innings between Visalia and Double-A Mobile.
Assigned back to Mobile to begin the 2013 season, Holmberg continued to impress against older hitters in the Southern League. Making 26 starts on the year, he registered a 2.75 ERA and 116-50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 157.1 innings.
Holmberg ultimately earned an audition in the major leagues in late August when the Diamondbacks were in need of a spot starter. Getting the start at home against the Padres, Holmberg allowed three earned runs on six hits and three walks in 3.2 innings.
A 6’3”, 225-pound left-hander, Holmberg’s arsenal doesn’t feature the power that his sheer size suggests. However, what the 22-year-old lacks in stuff, he makes up for with advanced command of a deep arsenal and plus pitchability.
Holmberg’s fastball works in the 88-91 mph range with moderate sinking action, and the pitch tends to play up thanks to his aggressive command to both sides of the plate. The southpaw also throws an average cutter that registers a few ticks slower and helps him work inside against right-handed hitters.
Holmberg’s change is his best secondary offering, thrown in the low-80s with late fading action and fastball-like arm speed. He also showcases a legitimate feel for both a curveball and slider, though neither pitch is as advanced as his fastball-changeup combo.
Overall, Holmberg’s strong command profile and potential for four (or five) average-or-better offerings at maturity makes him more of a high-floor than high-ceiling prospect.
Holmberg obviously was a notable prospect with the Diamondbacks. However, he still had promising arms such as Archie Bradley and Zeke Spruill ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.
Upon joining the Reds last week, Holmberg immediately ranked as the organization’s top left-handed pitching prospect. Considering Tony Cingrani is the Reds' only southpaw starter, there’s a realistic chance Holmberg spends a significant portion of the 2014 season in the major leagues.