Arizona Diamondbacks Top 20 Prospects for 2013
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine. Full reports on all of players can be found in the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book. e are now taking pre-orders. Order early and order often!
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS:
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a reasonable chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Some end up as role players or bench guys. Many don't make it at all.
Also note that there is diversity within each category. I'm a tough grader; Grade C+ is actually good praise, and some C+ prospects (especially at lower levels) turn out very well indeed.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment in the book for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
THIS LIST IS CURRENT AS OF JANUARY 24, 2013
1) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Grade A-: Development of Skaggs probably made it psychologically easier to trade Trevor Bauer. Skaggs has nothing left to prove in the minors and looks like he can be a mid-rotation guy at least and possibly a genuine anchor once he gets more experience.
2) Archie Bradley, RHP, Grade A-: His ceiling is even higher than Skagg's but he's further away and has some command issues to resolve first. Even slight improvements with his command will vault him up the ladder quickly. Outstanding fastball/curve combination.
3) Adam Eaton, OF, Grade B: He's not a fluke. Excellent on-base skills with gap power, speed, and impressive defense.
4) Matt Davidson, 3B, Grade B: Making gradual improvements with contact, plate discipline, and defense to go with his already productive power.
5) David Holmberg, LHP, Grade B: Solid workhorse starter in the making, could be ready for a major league trial in the second half. Skaggs, Holmberg, and Pat Corbin is a really nice trio of lefties, and Andrew Chafin is close behind.
6) Andrew Chafin, LHP, Grade B: Grade may seem aggressive, but he pitched better than his ERA at Visalia indicates, I love the strikeout/grounder combination, and no one has ever doubted his stuff.
7) Stryker Trahan, C, Grade B: 2012 first rounder features good combination of power, patience, and speed as an offensive player. He has the tools to catch, but even if he ends up as an outfielder his bat will play.
8) Didi Gregorius, SS, Grade B-: Acquired from Reds in Bauer trade. Very impressive defensively, and he has a chance to hit better as he gets older. In the short run, will have more value for a real team than a fantasy team.
9) Chris Owings, SS, Grade B-: Exciting offensive tools but is held back by horrible plate discipline. Defense has improved with better reliability to go with good range and plus arm. Young enough at age 21 to improve a great deal
10) Zeke Spruill, RHP, Grade B-: Acquired from Atlanta Braves in Justin Upton trade. Solid fourth starter type with good sinker/changeup combination, but still needs to enhance his breaking ball.
11) A.J. Pollock, OF, Grade B-: Fourth outfielder profile, does a lot of things pretty well, can steal a base, hit for a decent average, play good defense. Won't hit many homers.
12) Anthony Meo, RHP, Grade B-: Had occasional command troubles in California League but whiffed 153 in 140 innings, very good fastball but still working on breaking ball command. A starter thus far but many scouts still see him as a reliever due to size and high-effort delivery.
13) Nick Ahmed, SS, Grade B-: Acquired from Braves in Upton trade. Very good defensive shortstop with speed and doubles power, good reputation for intangibles, hit adequately in High-A but will need to tighten up the strike zone in Double-A. Should be good utility guy at least and there is some chance he will hit enough to start.
14) Chase Anderson, RHP, Grade B-: Very successful in Double-A and Arizona Fall League. Average fastball but excellent changeup, reliable breaking stuff, throws strikes, fourth starter profile.
15) Alfredo Marte, OF, Grade B-: Dominican power-hitter improved plate discipline from poor to adequate and broke out as a result, hit .294 with 20 homers in Double-A at age 23. Could put up huge numbers at Reno in 2013.
16) Jake Barrett, RHP, Grade B-: Third round pick from Arizona State has closer-quality stuff and dominated in college. Looked gassed by the end of the year in the Midwest League and questions persist about his long-term durability.
17) Starling Peralta, RHP, Grade C+: Nice Rule 5 pick from the Cubs, very good fastball and pitched pretty well in the Midwest League, secondary pitches and command are still works in progress, but they might be able to stash him in the bullpen. High upside arm.
18) Michael Perez, C, Grade C+: Threw out 52% of runners while slugging .542 in the Pioneer League from the left side of the plate. Has contact/zone issues, but upside is very high and he's just 20.
19) Jake Lamb, 3B, Grade C+: Sixth round pick this year from the University of Washington, under the radar to some extent but that should change. Very good athlete, very good glove at third base, has left-handed power, can steal bases. Just needs to keep the zone under control.
20) Jonathan Griffin, 1B, Grade C: Borderline C+: 6-7, 250 pound first baseman mashed in Cal League (.304/.366/.523) and showed better than expected pure hitting skills, then hit two homers in five Double-A games. He's an older prospect at age 23, but bears watching.
21) Keon Broxton, OF, Grade C: Borderline C+: Excellent tools but erratic performance record, hit 19 homers and stole 21 bases in Cal League but has problems hitting for average and making contact. On 40 man roster, still has time at age 22.
22) Eury De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C: Another addition to 40-man roster following outstanding season in Double-A (2.84 ERA, 68/17 K/BB in 63 innings, 47 hits). Undersized 22 year old lefty but has good stuff and succeeds when he throws strikes. Could be surprise contributor in 2013.
OTHERS: Lars Anderson, 1B; Michael Bolsinger, RHP; Tyler Bortnick, INF; Charles Brewer, RHP; Socrates Brito, OF; Brandon Drury, 3B-1B; Ben Eckels, RHP; Alex Glenn, OF; Evan Marshall, RHP; Evan Marzilli, OF; Kevin Medrano, 2B; Jose Munoz, SS; Kevin Munson, RHP; David Nick, 2B; Pedro Ruiz, SS; Andrew Velazquez, INF; Kyle Winkler, RHP.
My initial impression was that this system has been thinned out due to trades and graduations. That's true, but there is still a lot of good material here.
Skaggs, Holmberg, Chafin, and the now-graduated Patrick Corbin are an exciting group of young left-handed pitchers who are all capable of holding down rotation spots. Attrition is inevitable, of course, so you can't assume that they all WILL do so, but that's why depth is necessary. Right-hander Archie Bradley could be the best of all, assuming he resolves his inconsistent command, which I think he will. Right-handers are thinner after Bradley, though Meo could be quite solid. Strike-throwing Anderson and Arizona State product Barrett can't be ignored.
On the hitting side, there are no sure-fire, can't miss star types, but there are several potential regular players and a lot of guys who can contribute. Eaton is the most advanced and he does just about everything except look tall. Davidson continues his slow but steady progress, gradually improving his defense and plate discipline. I love Trahan and he just needs to prove that his defense will be OK. Gregorius and Owings provide some up-the-middle talent. Both could develop into regulars, but both have questions about their bats. Owings could really explode if he could just control the strike zone slightly better.
Overall, while the system could use some recharge time before trading off more prospects, the organization is hardly empty and still has a lot to offer.