The D-Backs announced they’ve added left-hander Blake Walston to the 40-man roster. That ensures he won’t be selected in next month’s Rule 5 draft. To clear a spot, the Snakes outrighted righty Chris Rodriguez off the roster.
Arizona drafted Walston 26th overall in 2019. The 6’5″ hurler was an upside flier out of a North Carolina high school. His minor league résumé has been somewhat mixed, although he still draws praise for his projectable frame and athleticism. Baseball America rated him as the #5 prospect in a quality Arizona system midseason.
Walston spent all of 2023 at Triple-A Reno. That’s an exceedingly difficult environment for a young pitcher. He posted a decent 4.52 ERA in 149 1/3 innings covering 30 starts. That came without particularly impressive strikeout or walk numbers, though. He punched out only 15.6% of opponents while walking 14% of batters faced.
Arizona just claimed Rodriguez off waivers from the Angels a couple weeks ago. They’ve succeeded in passing him through unclaimed, meaning he’ll remain in the organization without occupying a 40-man spot. A hard-throwing reliever, Rodriguez has battled shoulder and back injuries for the better part of three years. He has barely pitched since 2021. He’ll hopefully be able to put the injuries beyond him and compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training.