Top 20 PRE-SEASON Diamondbacks Prospects in Review
This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with a Nick Bierbrodt autographed baseball.
1) Carlos Quentin, OF, Grade A
Hitting .284/.413/.474 for Triple-A Tucson, underperforming compared to what he did at the same level last year. This is not uncommon, a player not hitting as well in his second Triple-A year as he did in the first. The theory is that this is due to discouragement. Quentin's status has slipped but I still think he is a good prospect.
2) Stephen Drew, SS, A-
Hitting .283/.340/.437 for Tucson, like Quentin he isn't hitting quite as well as expected. Still a top prospect.
3) Chris Young, OF, A-
Hitting .267/.346/.496 for Tucson, again less than anticipated. Is Tucson playing more like a neutral park this year?
4) Justin Upton, OF, A-
Hitting .279/.348/.405 for Class A South Bend in the Midwest League, certainly not spectacular numbers although the hitting context is not an easy one.
5) Conor Jackson, 1B, A-
Hitting .275/.374/.414 in 67 games for the Diamondbacks. Just six homers but has a 34/26 BB/K ratio in 222 at-bats. I still believe in his bat long-term.
6) Matt Torra, RHP, B+
Rehabbing a shoulder injury.
7) Carlos Gonzalez, OF, B+
Hitting .313/.363/.540 for Lancaster in the California League, 10 homers, 10 steals. Tools hound, has knocked 28 doubles. Strike zone judgment is still an issue but he is making progress.
8) Dustin Nippert, RHP, B
8-3, 4.79 in 77 innings for Tucson, 71/34 K/BB ratio. Best news is that he's been healthy.
9) Garrett Mock, RHP, B
3-7, 4.55 in 17 starts for Double-A Tennessee, 94/39 K/BB in 99 innings, 103 hits allowed. Not really breaking through as I thought he might, but the K/IP remains promising.
10) Micah Owings, RHP, B-
Combined 9-2, 2.90 in 15 starts in 92 innings combined between Tennessee and Tucson, with a 79/23 K/BB. One of my favorite unsung pitching prospects, definitely worthy of more attention.
11) Enrique Gonzalez, RHP, B-
2-1, 4.03 in six starts for the Diamondbacks. Holding his own and should continue to do so.
12) Cesar Nicolas, 1B, B-
Hitting .278/.361/.412 for Lancaster. Worse than expected, another guy not breaking through as I thought.
13) Chris Carter, DH, C+
Hitting .301/.396/.514 with 13 homers in 76 games for Tucson, outhitting more-heralded teammates like Quentin and Drew. Main problem remains lack of defensive position.
14) Miguel Montero, C, C+
Hitting .268/.369/.443 for Tennessee, 9 homers, 36 walks, 33 strikeouts in 246 at-bats. Not dominating but doing OK, showing good plate discipline and some pop.
15) Ross Ohlendorf, RHP, C+
7-3, 2.42 in 16 starts for Tennessee, 65/15 K/BB in 108 innings, 106 hits allowed. Throwing strikes, getting grounders. Strikeout rate is lower than I'd like but he's been effective.
16) Matt Green, RHP, C+
3-6, 6.31 in 15 starts for Lancaster, 42/29 K/BB in 71 innings, 104 hits allowed. Getting killed. . .his control is good but he's too hittable and can't dominate a game. Very disappointing.
17) Brandon Medders, RHP, C+
3.44 ERA in 28 games for Arizona. Having a solid season in middle relief and I see no reason for that to change.
18) Greg Smith, LHP, C+
Combined 11-1, 1.88 in 16 starts for Lancaster and Tennessee, 83/36 K/BB in 105 innings, 73 hits and just 4 homers allowed. Was dominant in the California League and has continued to pitch well in Double-A. Moving up the prospect list.
19) Jason Bulger, RHP, C
Traded to the Angels for infield prospect Alberto Callaspo. Has a 5.60 ERA in 21 games for Triple-A Salt Lake, 35/15 K/BB in 27 innings. Throws hard, command still an issue.
20) Matt Chico, LHP, C
A rebounding process, combined numbers are 5-6, 3.14 in 17 starts between Lancaster and Tennessee, with an 86/24 K/BB in 95 innings, 75 hits allowed. Is finally adapting to Double-A competition after failing to do so in '04 and '05.
This is another system with some disappointing hitting prospects, which seems like a common theme this year. Quentin, Drew, and Young are all underperforming at Tucson. On the pitching side, I like Micah Owings quite a bit as a breakthrough guy. Lefties Smith and Chico look good as well, but Matt Green has been a bust. Mixed results overall, but system depth helps compensate.