The Diamondbacks announced today that they have selected the contract of righty pitching prospect Jon Duplantier. He’ll take the active roster spot of infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who was optioned back to Triple-A.
Generally regarded as the best prospect in the Arizona farm system, Duplantier will initially work out of the bullpen, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). It seems likely he’ll serve in a long-relief capacity for the time being and will generally remain stretched out.
Duplantier was a third-round pick out of Rice back in 2016. He has marched up the chain since that time, turning in excellent results all along the way. He pitched to a 2.69 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 67 Double-A innings last year, but some arm issues kept him from working a full season. Duplantier then threw another 21 2/3 frames in the Arizona Fall League (3.32 ERA, 32:10 K/BB ratio) to build up his workload.
Prospect hounds generally view Duplantier as a high-ceiling hurler. He has proven capable in the minors of producing grounders as well as swings and misses, with a mid-nineties heater that he combines with a good slider and still-progressing curve and change. There’s some worry about his long-term health outlook, and he has missed some action since joining the professional ranks, but the consensus is that the talent is there for the 24-year-old to be a top-flight pitcher.