Minor League Report: Leyson Septimo

Minor League Report: Leyson Septimo

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A.J. Hinch couldn't help but smile after watching Leyson Septimo's bullpen session Friday.

A left-hander that throws in the mid-90s will do that to a farm director.

It's an important spring for Septimo, who is trying to make the transition from the outfield to the pitcher's mound after three years in the Arizona system. At 21 last year in Class A Visalia, Septimo hit .271 with a .695 OPS (on-base plus slugging) and this winter got his first taste of game action on the mound in the Dominican.

"A left-hander with plus arm speed and velocity, that's hard to find," Hinch said.

Septimo will likely start the season back in Visalia, which is an aggressive placement given his limited mound experience, but the D-backs think it will be a good fit particularly with pitching coach Wellington Cepeda.

"He's an intriguing project for our development staff," Hinch said. "So far his transition to pitching has been pretty smooth, but there are plenty of challenges ahead for him."

Coming soon: Highly-touted prospect Esmerling Vazquez is close to throwing a bullpen session.

Vazquez suffered a slight tear in his right labrum when he dove for a bunt during his final outing in the Arizona Fall League. The team was convinced that he would be best served by following a program that included rest and strengthening of the area around the injury.

"I think he's itching to get on the mound," Hinch said. "That's the next step for him and his first real test. The early results so far have been positive."

Vazquez will start the year on the disabled list, but Hinch said the club is hopeful he won't be on there for long.

Ready to go: The D-backs will have their first full-squad Minor League workout on Saturday and Hinch will offer a challenge to them before they take the field.

"I'll let them know that we're trying to figure out who will be the next wave of prospects to come through our system. We've had a lot of success promoting guys the last few years and we want to see who the guys will be to keep that run of success going."

Spring Training
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Standing out: A pair of 18-year-old catchers from the team's academy in the Dominican Republic, Jhoan Pimentel and Rossmel Perez, have been impressive thus far in camp.

"They're both making a very good impression," Hinch said.

Perez showed good plate discipline last summer in the Dominican League when he walked more times than he struck out.

He's No. 1: Right-hander Max Scherzer continues to impress despite giving up three runs in two innings in his last outing.

Two of the runs came on solo homers, one by Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano.

Scherzer's mid-90s fastball has drawn raves, but his mental approach has also received praise. A good example was the way he looked at the Zambrano hit.

"If Zambrano strikes out on an 0-2 hanging slider, I don't learn anything from it," he said. "Now, with it being Spring Training, it's a good chance for me to learn from it."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.