9/24/2013 2:38 A.M. ET
D-backs have plethora of young shortstops
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- This time last year the D-backs were searching for a shortstop of the future.
Now, they could have as many as three.
During the offseason, the D-backs acquired shortstops Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed in trades. Add to that Chris Owings, drafted out of high school by the team in 2009, and the position has gotten very crowded.
The team also has veterans Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist on the roster. Pennington had his first three-hit game since July 26 and third of the year in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Padres, and Owings struck out as a pinch-hitter.
"It's a good problem to have," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said. "We'll see what happens over the wintertime and see where things are. We've got a lot of middle infielders."
Bloomquist is a free agent and Ahmed likely needs more time in the Minors, so it's probably going to come down to Gregorius, Owings and Pennington in 2014.
"Ahmed, who defensively might be our best, isn't too far away," Towers said of the team's 13th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com (Owings is third).
Gregorius got off to a hot start when he was called up in April, but has cooled since, hitting .255 in 100 games. Owings was called up for the first time three weeks ago, and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been trying to juggle playing time between the two with Pennington usually the odd man out -- though he did start Monday's game against the Padres.
Unless something changes during the offseason, next year it could be more of the same, as Towers did not rule out Owings and Gregorius sharing time once again.
"You'd like to see them getting a lot of at-bats," Towers said. "But if it becomes a platoon situation where one's facing lefties, one's facing righties, who's got the hot hand, you could probably make it work."
Bradley, Owings garner D-backs honors
SAN DIEGO -- The D-backs named right-hander Archie Bradley as the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, while shortstop Chris Owings took home the Player of the Year award.
Bradley, the top-rated prospect in the Arizona organization according to MLB.com, was outstanding at two levels this past season.
The 21-year-old started the year with Class A Visalia, and after compiling a 1.26 ERA in five starts, he was promoted to Double-A Mobile.
In 21 starts for the BayBears, Bradley was 12-5 with a 1.97 ERA and helped Mobile to the Southern League Championship Series.
"Between two levels, to win 14 games with a sub-two ERA, with a good strikeout to walk ratio," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said, "basically he held his stuff throughout the season and didn't seem to tire."
Bradley is expected to be a non-roster invitee to big league camp next spring with a chance to crack the Opening Day rotation.
Owings, meanwhile, was named the Pacific Coast League's Most Valuable Player after hitting .330 with 31 doubles, 12 homers and 81 RBIs in 125 games for Triple-A Reno.
The 22-year-old was called up to the big leagues three weeks ago and has impressed in his short time. He's hitting .308 in 39 at-bats with five RBIs and a .400 OBP.
"He's really come a long way," Towers said. "[Triple-A hitting coach] Greg Gross really did a nice job with him. I see a player with better plate discipline now, he's drawing walks, barreling the ball, hitting breaking balls, which is something in previous years he's always kind of struggled with. Always been a good defender."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.