MINNEAPOLIS -- The D-backs are hoping that right-handed pitcher Braden Shipley will be the next big pitcher to emerge from the depths of their Minor League system.
A first-round pick and 15th overall in the 2013 First-Year Player draft, Shipley was the lone Arizona player to represent the organization in Sunday's SiriusXM Futures Game at Target Field.
"This is very exciting, getting to meet some of the guys you hear about and you're going to be facing coming up soon," said the 22-year-old Shipley, a member of the U.S. Team. "Creating relationships with them, that's always a good thing. Baseball's a sport that's like that. It's been a fun experience. All the fans want your autograph. It's a lot different than a regular game."
He was brought in to face the World Team with one out and nobody on in the seventh inning, allowing a single and getting two routine flyouts. He threw 11 pitches, eight of them strikes.
Shipley followed in the fine tradition of D-backs playing in this game. Last year at Citi Field, the D-backs boasted three U.S. players: third baseman Matt Davidson, shortstop Chris Owings and right-hander Archie Bradley. Davidson homered and was named MVP of the game, a 4-2 U.S. win over the World Team.
Since then, Davidson was traded to the White Sox this past offseason for closer Addison Reed, Owings made the D-backs out of Spring Training and is currently on the disabled list with a bruised left shoulder and Bradley has had an injury-plagued season with a tender right elbow and is back at Double-A.
"It looks like I'm going to have to keep it going for the D-backs," Shipley said with a laugh. "No pressure or anything."
Shipley has had an up-and-down year so far in the Class A Advanced California League since being brought up there June 1. In seven starts, he's 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA. But behind those numbers, he's walked 16 and struck out 48 in 40 1/3 innings.
Combined for the year at two levels, Shipley's 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA, with 27 walks and 89 whiffs in 86 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .260 against him.
"It's going good," Shipley said. "Just like any season, it's had its ups and downs. But there have been more ups than downs. It's been great. I was just looking forward to this and then finishing off the rest of the season strong."
The next big thing coming?
"It's an honor to be tabbed as that," Shipley said. "We have a lot of great talent coming up in our organization. The Diamondbacks should be excited about what's coming up. We're going to be pretty good in the next few years. The big thing for me is just getting experience on the mound because I'm kind of new to it. It's only been a couple of years' full time. Getting the experience, I feel like every start, I'm getting better. So far it's been a great year for me in that regard."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.