MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Lamb in position to claim D-backs' third-base job

Arizona's No. 5 prospect played strong defense, hit .230 after callup

Lamb in position to claim D-backs' third-base job

Based upon his brief 37-game history with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks, 24-year-old Jake Lamb played well enough to gain consideration to open the 2015 season as the team's starting third baseman.

After being summoned to the big league club in early August, Lamb finished the season hitting .230 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs among his 29 hits in 133 plate appearances. He had 11 RBIs. Lamb drew only six walks and struck out 37 times. He also stole one base in two attempts.

Lamb, the D-backs' No. 5 prospect according to MLB.com, played a very solid third base, gaining confidence from game to game.

A graduate of Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, Lamb hit .412 as a junior and .429 his senior year. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, but instead elected to attend the University of Washington.

Basically a shortstop in high school, Lamb played third base to start his career at Washington. Collegiate Baseball named him to the Freshman All-America team. He played second, short and third base for the Huskies during his college career.

Lamb's loud bat and solid overall game earned him a selection by the D-backs in the sixth round of the 2012 Draft. He signed his contract and began his career playing for Missoula in the Pioneer Rookie League. He had a nice beginning, hitting .329 with nine homers and 57 RBIs. Lamb's career was off and climbing.

The left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Lamb is 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds, but he wasn't always as strong and well proportioned. His high-school coach challenged him to work in the weight room to add muscle and strength to his frame. There still may be room for growth in his upper body.

Lamb has a commendable approach to his game on both sides of the ball. He won't be cheated at the plate, using good bat speed and a slightly uppercut stroke to power balls to the gap. His swing can get long at times, and I have seen him gain length in his stroke when he was frustrated in a previous at-bat. When he stays short and measured with his approach, the results are much more favorable.

Lamb has raw power that has been evident in each of his first three seasons of professional baseball. He has nine, 13 and 15 home runs, respectively, in the first three years of his Minor League career. That power should continue to develop as he makes in-game adjustments in the Majors.

In 2013, Lamb played in the rookie-level summer Arizona League before he was promoted two levels to Class A Advanced Visalia in the California League. He made the midseason All-Star team, but was derailed in June when he broke the hamate bone in his right wrist, requiring surgery. He returned in August and finished the season hitting .303 at Visalia with 20 doubles and 13 home runs. He knocked in 47 runs.

My first look at Lamb came in the Arizona Fall League after his 2013 season. He had a fine fall, hitting .299 with a home run and seven RBIs. He made five errors at third base, but I think many of his issues have been resolved. His footwork, range and self-confidence are much improved now with the D-backs compared to what I saw last October.

This past June I saw Lamb play in the Southern League All-Star Game in Chattanooga. He got to the game by hitting .325 in the first half of the season for the Double-A Mobile BayBears. Lamb participated in the league's Home Run Derby, which Cubs prospect Kris Bryant won.

After hitting 14 homers for Mobile, Lamb was promoted in August to the Triple-A Reno Aces. He kept on hitting, playing the first five days of the month for Reno and hitting a whopping .500 in 21 plate appearances. He was then called up to the D-backs. On Aug. 7, Lamb made his Major League debut. He may be around for quite some time.

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.