Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.
These are the pre-season grades.
This list was originally published December 27, 2014
1) Archie Bradley, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Disappointing season due to shoulder injury and control problems, 5.80 ERA in 36 major league innings, 23/22 K/BB, 36 hits. Natural talent seems obvious but hasn’t been able to refine it this year.
2) Aaron Blair, RHP, Grade B+: Successful season in high minors, 2.95 ERA with 114/45 K/BB in 143 innings, 125 hits, 1.50 GO/AO between Double-A and Triple-A, has done just fine in the difficult environs of Reno and the PCL. Ready for a big league trial.
3) Braden Shipley, RHP, Grade B+: Solid campaign in Double-A, 3.43 ERA with 98/52 K/BB in 139 innings, 132 hits. Hasn’t performed as well as Blair but still on track overall; I’d like to see a few more strikeouts.
4) Brandon Drury, 3B, Grade B/B+: Combined .304/.345/.413 with 37 doubles, five homers, 31 walks, 75 strikeouts in 496 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A. Sharp drop in home run production this year but steady in other categories, has played well defensively at both second and third base. Ready for a trial and I think at least some of the power will come back eventually.
5) Yasmany Tomas, OF-3B, Grade B: Hitting .292/.324/.424 with eight homers, 15 walks, 92 strikeouts in 349 at-bats in the majors. Mixed results: has hit for average and shown some power, but has been in a slump lately and impatient approach hampers OBP, makes him a league-average bat overall. Glove at third is horrible but okay in an outfield corner. I want to like him but his approach needs work.
6) Touki Toussaint, RHP, Grade B/B-: Traded to Braves in headscratcher, combined 4.83 ERA with 67/48 K/BB in 88 innings, 71 hits in Low-A between the two organizations. Physical talent is obvious but he is quite raw and the Dbacks said they had guys they simply liked better. Game logs show some outstanding starts and some putrid ones. Scouting reports depends on who sees him and when, ranging from "excellent talent" to "hugely over-rated". Upside: number two starter. Downside: fizzles out in Double-A.
7) Jake Lamb, 3B, Grade B-: Hitting .272/.332/.416 with five homers, 22 walks, 67 strikeouts in 250 major league at-bats, fine defense. I still like him and I think the bat will blossom next year.
8) Domingo Leyba, INF, Grade B-: Hitting .247/.288/.320 with two homers, 10 steals, 24 walks, 77 strikeouts in 465 at-bats in High-A at age 19. Okay at shortstop, glove would be excellent at second base, makes contact but lacks power or strong OBP skills. Age-relative-to-league makes him a player to watch.
9) Jake Barrett, RHP, Grade B-: Excellent in Double-A (2.88, 28/7 in 25), not so good in Triple-A (5.09, 21/12 in 23), stuff to succeed in big league pen if he develops more consistent command.
10) Cody Reed, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Good summer in the Northwest League, 3.61 ERA with 62/18 K/BB in 52 innings, 41 hits, good fastball with developing secondary pitches and reasonably good command at age 19.
11) Sergio Alcantara, INF, Grade C+: Horrible in Low-A (.113/.169/.127 in 20 games), adequate in Northwest League (.268/.322/.343), fast, raw-but-promising glove, not much of a bat yet, just 19 years old.
12) Robbie Ray, LHP, Grade C+: Successful major league season: 3.38 ERA in 15 starts, 76/27 K/BB in 88 innings, 83 hits. Does not seem fluky to me, need to see how he holds up to workload.
13) Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Grade C+: Horrible year in Double-A, 6.66 ERA with 48/28 K/BB in 49 innings, 49 hits. When your ERA comes from an Omen movie, you have problems.
14) Peter O’Brien, C-1B-OF, Grade C+: Hitting .282/.331/.525 with 21 homers, 27 walks, 109 strikeouts in 436 at-bats in Triple-A. Spending most of his time in the outfield now, has the power for a corner but aggressive approach could lead to problems with OBP at highest level.
15) Nick Ahmed, SS, Grade C+: In the majors all year and has received a fair trial, hitting .220/.273/.326 with seven homers, 26 walks, 70 strikeouts in 359 at-bats. Excellent glove, horrible bat. Should be employed for a long time as a defensive player but more value to a real team than a fantasy one.
16) Mitch Haniger, OF, Grade C+: Devastating in High-A (.332/.381/.619 in 202 at-bats), adequately decent in Double-A (.281/.351/.379 in 153) but spent most of 2014 at that level. Stock seems stagnant at age 24, fourth outfielder type.
17) Oscar Hernandez, C, Grade C+: Rule 5 pick has barely played, total of 38 at-bats in minors and 24 in majors which tells us nothing except that the front office went out of its way to keep him.
18) Jeferson Mejia, RHP, Grade C+: Horrible control problems in Low-A (6.29, 17/31 non-typo K/BB in 34 innings), merely poor after going down to short-season A, 5.13 with 41/25 K/BB in 40 innings. Good arm but doesn’t know how to use it yet.
19) Jose Martinez, RHP, Grade C+: Limited innings on injury rehab from elbow injury, 3.18 ERA with 24/16 K/BB in 28 innings in Low-A. Arm strength seems back, but command is problematic.
20) Matt Railey, OF, Grade C+: Just nine games in Pioneer League, .222/.417/.370 with eight walks, six strikeouts, one homer. Sample too small to mean anything, lost time for drug suspension.
The major league team stands 62-62, in third place in the National League West. Although Archie Bradley has been hurt and disappointing, notable contributions have been made by Robbie Ray and Andrew Chafin on the pitching side. While rookie bats Jake Lamb, Yasmany Tomas, and Nick Ahmed have not been spectacular, all have shown the ability to contribute and improve. Back in December we noted that the new front office led by Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa "inherit a farm system which is not one of the top in the game. But it isn’t bad, either, especially on the pitching side."
That still seems like a fair assessment.
Drury and O’Brien have radically different skill sets but both could/should see at-bats in the near future. Outfielder Gabby Guerrero (great tools, shaky skills) and infielder Jack Reinheimer (strong skills, mediocre tools) came from the Mariners in the Mark Trumbo trade and provide more upper-level depth. Dawel Lugo, picked up from the Blue Jays in the Cliff Pennington trade, has some tools and could pair nicely with Domingo Leyba up the middle eventually. Outfielder Socrates Brito has shown signs of putting his tools into a workable skill package.
The 2015 draft brought in Vanderbilt star shortstop Dansby Swanson, who instantly becomes the top prospect in the system and won’t need much development time.
Back on the mound, Archie Bradley still has huge potential if healthy of course, with Aaron Blair and Braden Shipley both ready for trials in the rotation soon; Jake Barrett could slot into the pen. Cuban Yoan Lopez and his $8,270,000 bonus sit on the Double-A disabled list but offer plenty of upside. RHP Wei-Chieh Huang from Taiwan was much cheaper at $400,000 but is looking great in the Midwest League so far (2.00, 68/16 in 77). 20-year-old teammate Brad Keller has also broken through (2.51, 102/32 in 129) and looks like a possible mid-rotation arm. Lefty Anthony Banda has performed well in High-A (3.45, 139/38 in 144). RHP Aaron Miller has performed well in the Double-A bullpen and is in line for a major league relief trial due to his sinker.
Second rounder Alex Young out of TCU is quite advanced with his pitchability and won’t need much time. Arizona State closer Ryan Burr (fifth round) and RHP Taylor Clarke (third round) should also move through the system with alacrity.
The net result of all this made trading Touki Toussaint a reasonable proposition.