The Diamondbacks announced a series of roster moves today, with right-hander Merrill Kelly being placed on the 15-day injured list due to right calf inflammation, retroactive to June 25. They also optioned left-hander Joe Mantiply to Triple-A Reno. In corresponding moves, righties Kevin Ginkel and Justin Martinez were recalled from Reno.
At this point, it’s unclear how serious Kelly’s injury is, but it’s a notable loss for the club nonetheless. The Diamondbacks have a fairly top-heavy rotation with Kelly and Zac Gallen being the two most effective members. Gallen has an excellent 2.84 ERA on the year and Kelly isn’t far behind with a 3.22 mark. Then there’s a notable drop to the 4.31 ERA of Tommy Henry, the 4.97 of Ryne Nelson and the 7.82 of Zach Davies.
The Diamondbacks are leading the National League West but have a couple of clubs on their heels as each of the Dodgers and Giants are within three games. With the All-Star break now effectively two weeks away, they will have to forge ahead without Kelly for at least that long. Drey Jameson has been with the big league club in a long relief role and could perhaps step into the rotation. Brandon Pfaadt got some big league starts earlier this year but posted an 8.37 ERA in those before getting optioned back down. Konnor Pilkington is also on the 40-man but has been struggling in the minors this year.
As for Mantiply, he posted a 2.85 ERA last year and even got selected to the All-Star game but has taken a step back this year. He’s gone on the injured list a couple of times already, once due to left shoulder inflammation and another time for a right hamstring strain. Around those ailments, he’s tossed 15 2/3 innings with a 5.74 ERA. His peripherals are still pretty similar to last year’s as a 50.8% strand rate seems to be pushing his ERA up. Nonetheless, he now finds himself headed to Reno to get into a groove.
Martinez, 21, will be making his major league debut as soon as he gets into a game. He served largely as a starting pitcher in the lower levels of the minors but required Tommy John surgery in 2021. After a long injury layoff and the minor leagues getting cancelled by the pandemic in 2020, he came back as a reliever last year. He tossed 38 innings across four different levels, finishing the year at Triple-A. He posted a 3.32 ERA in that time with an incredible 36.7% strikeout rate but 13% walk rate.
Despite the free passes, the club was intrigued enough to add him to the roster in November to prevent him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. This year, he’s been in Triple-A, tossing 28 innings thus far. He has a 4.18 ERA, striking out 29.7% of opponents but with an astonishing 21.1% walk rate. Despite the control issues, he was recently ranked the club’s #21 prospect at Baseball America and #12 at FanGraphs.