Home Where are they now? Leveling up: Barrett, Unroe and Fackrell

Leveling up: Barrett, Unroe and Fackrell

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Desert Ridge product Jake Barrett has been a good addition to the Diamondbacks bullpen since July. (Photo courtesy of USA Today).

As the Diamondbacks continue to steamroll toward the postseason, Jake Barrett continues to be a big part of the playoff push.

The Desert Ridge product has been a part of the Diamondbacks bullpen since overcoming some shoulder soreness in spring training that forced him to start the year in Triple-A.

The right-hander was very good after first being called up on July 7 as he allowed just one earned run in his first 14 appearances covering 13 innings for an 0.69 ERA.

The hot streak came to end when he allowed six earned over 2 2/3 innings. Since then he allowed two earned in four innings.

Overall, he is 1-0 a 4.12 ERA in 19 2/3 innings over 21 games. He has allowed 19 hits with 21 strikeouts with nine walks.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has used Barrett in a variety of situations other than set up and closer, a spot he closed the season with last year.

“He fills a lot of different spots for me,” Lovullo told the Arizona Republic in August. “When I’m kind of projecting some matchups, he fits in a lot of different areas. That versatility has been a luxury for me. The thing is, he comes in and he presses the zone with his fastball. He’s gotten big outs.”

Barrett, a 2009 Desert Ridge graduate, needs to pitch well down the stretch to secure a postseason roster spot.

“I feel like I don’t have a role right now and I’ve just been throwing in any situation possible right now, just really whenever I’m called upon I’m ready to go out there,” he said in August. “I’m just trying to attack hitters and make sure I’m going out there feeling good.”

Tough times

Desert Ridge product Riley Unroe has had a difficult 2017 season.

The 2013 second round pick by the Tampa Devil Rays is hitting a career-low .206 combined between Double and Advanced A.

The switch hitting shortstop actually hit better in the higher classification at .224 in 75 games with two home runs, 30 RBI and six stolen bases. He is now at Advanced A and he has hit only .141 in 20 games with one home run and two RBIs.

He hasn’t hit much throughout his career – .231 career hitter in 423 games and 1,534 at bats – but after a breakout Winter League performance (.311 with 35 runs, 22 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 46 games in Australia) bigger things were expected in 2017.

Sticking around

Mesa product Kyler Fackrell made the Green Bay Packers roster as an outside linebacker.

The fourth-round pick out of Utah State played mostly special teams as a rookie in 2016 and finished with 18 tackles including two sacks in 13 games. He finished second on the team with nine special teams tackles.

He is listed as the backup right outside linebacker behind Nick Perry, who started 12 games and finished with 11 sacks in 14 games.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Fackrell looked to have an expanded role after Julius Peppers and Datone Jones left via free agency, but the team recently signed 12-year vet Ahmad Brooks from San Francisco and claimed undrafted rookie Chris Odom off waivers from the Falcons.

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send information on athletes from Mesa high schools playing professionally or in college to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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