8/25/2014 8:31 P.M. ET
Q&A with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers recently completed a tour of the organization's Minor League affiliates, visiting Triple-A Reno, Double-A Mobile as well as both Class A teams in Visalia and South Bend.
Towers talked with MLB.com about what he saw on his travels as well as his relationship with chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and whether we will see top prospect Archie Bradley in September.
MLB.com: You just finished visiting your Minor League teams. How did that go?
Towers: I was very impressed with the coaching staffs at all the different levels. [Farm director Mike Bell] did a great job putting them together. From Andy Green to Robby Hammock to Phil Nevin to Mark Haley, just great staffs. I was very impressed with all of our Minor League teams -- the way they played the game. They played the game the right way, they hustled, they played with energy. All those teams are winning.
MLB.com: What stood out the most to you on the field?
Towers: Bullpen arms are probably what stood out the most. Every level I went to, it looked like I was seeing guys that were throwing 95 to 101 mph. I saw [Will] Locante in South Bend. He looked like Billy Wagner. I watched him punch out the side and he didn't go below 97 with an 80 slider [on a 20-80 scouting scale]. The day I saw him, big league hitters couldn't have hit him. Lot of deception and power.
[Silvino] Bracho, the closer in South Bend, was good. The starter that [scouting director Ray Montgomery] took out of this year's Draft, Brent Jones, looked very good. He threw great.
[Anthony] Banda was good, the kid we got from Milwaukee. He's had like five quality starts since he's been in South Bend.
Andrew Velazquez is a good looking little player. Another middle infielder to add to the mix. He played solid shortstop, he showed power, hit an inside-the-park home run while I was there. He's a little bit like [Adam] Eaton in that he's one of those guys that's an igniter.
MLB.com: How about in Mobile and Visalia?
Towers: [Brandon] Drury was on fire when I was there in Double-A. I mean he was swinging the bat very well, which is nice to see that he stepped it up a level and was still producing offensively.
[Braden] Shipley and [Aaron] Blair were both great. I saw them back to back, and it was two of their better starts. Shipley hit a home run. He had to come out with a blister, but both were very impressive.
The bullpen in Mobile was outstanding. Kaleb Fleck and Jimmie Sherfy have power-type stuff.
And Visalia, [Enrique] Burgos hit 100 mph five times and 101 mph twice and 102 mph once, I mean just a power, power arm.
MLB.com: Because of the depth of middle infielders you have, it sounds like you're going to take a look at Aaron Hill at third at some point over the next six weeks. Is he a possibility at third base next year?
Towers: Especially if you want Didi [Gregorius] and [Chris] Owings to be on the club and you've still got [Cliff Pennington] and [Nick] Ahmed. So [manager Kirk Gibson] and I spent some time talking, and it might be something next year with Hill. That's not to say he's going to become a third baseman, but if he's able to play over there, it will create more at-bats for him and allow us to create more at-bats for some of our other young middle infielders.
MLB.com: This last month of this season, is there anything in particular that you're looking for from the big league club? Might we see some other guys like an Archie Bradley come up?
Towers: Probably doubtful. I think most of our young guys other than Archie are probably up here, and Archie doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this winter. I think just based on the fact that he's making some progress, I don't want to put him into this situation yet. I think it's more we'd probably look at [Andrew] Chafin and maybe [Randall] Delgado to get some starts if we decide to go with a six-man rotation. We also just want to continue to look at our young guys and get a good evaluation on them, so this winter we know who we want to commit to and who we think is expendable.
MLB.com: Tony La Russa has said recently that there are a lot of good things going on in the organization, and it seems like you two have developed a good rapport so far.
Towers: He's been great. It's nice to have a guy that's been as successful in uniform around. Our dialogue has been good. I mean he's a baseball guy, he's easy to talk to. It's nice to be able to pick his brain. I always wanted to pick his brain when he was in the other dugout with the Cardinals. Now when you have him on the same team, it's very valuable -- not just to me but the entire organization to have someone with his knowledge and success here. I think he's been happy with Ray. I think he's been happy with Mike. He's seen our Minor Leagues, and I think he likes some of the things that are going on down there. But I'm sure he's still evaluating, and hopefully by the end of the year, he'll have a better idea of kind of my situation and everyone else's situation.
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.