Arizona Diamondbacks 2012 Top 10 Prospects List

It’s the time of the offseason when Baseball Instinct goes from Club to Club and we take a look at the Top 10 prospects from each team before opening it up to our Top 21s later in the winter. This year we’re working with some of our friends that share an a more focused view of particular clubs. But today, I’m taking on the Dbacks all by myself, no training wheels.

In all seriousness, the Arizona system is one that I follow closely from top to bottom, so let’s take a look at the Top 10.

Trevor Bauer, RHP Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks1. Trevor Bauer, RHP  1/17/1991 H: 6’1 W: 175 lbs – Trevor Bauer was selected in the 1st round of the 2011 draft by the Dbacks and vaulted straight to the top of the system. At UCLA he struck 203 in only 136 IP and wasted little time getting going in the minors. He struck out 43 in 25.2 innings. He ran into some trouble at Double-A, but it’s of no concern.

Our InstinctHe might get a shot at the rotation in the Spring, but could use a half season in minors if only to make sure his mechanics are in sync before making his 2012 debut. He could be the future Ace of the staff and has high front end starter stuff and projection.

2. Tyler Skaggs, LHP 7/13/1991 H: 6’4 W:195 lbs – The big lefty was part of the haul for Dan Haren and the Dbacks can’t be disappointed. While he’s always had good strikeout stuff and projected as a big league starter, 2011 puts him on another level. His 198 K’s in 158.1 IP is good for a K rate over 30% which is elite. Match that with his 7.5% walk rate and you have a mix for high level success.

Our InstinctHe’s another starter with possible front end of the rotation projection.  Skaggs will likely get warmed up at Triple-A and get his chance in the majors at some point in 2012.

Archie Bradley, RHP Diamondbacks

3. Archie Bradley, RHP 8/10/1992 H: 6’4 W: 225 lbs – This is a pretty insane 1-4. Bradley has a high enough ceiling where he would place #1 in some organizations. A high 90s fastball and near plus curveball as a teenager. He has plenty of work to do in order to become a complete pitcher but his pitches and frame make him a very high ceiling prospect.

Our InstinctAt 19 years old for all of the 2012 season and combined with the pitching depth in this organization, there won’t be any reason to rush him.  Expect him to start the 2012 season with the Low-A Yakima Bears of the Northwest League.

4. Matt Davidson, 3B 3/26/1991 H: 6’3 W: 225 lbs- Davidson is the best power hitting prospect left in the system after Paul Goldschmidt made his debut in Arizona in 2011. He’s just 20 years old, has already spent a season in High-A and came away with 60 XBH. That’s 39 doubles, 1 triple and 20 Home Runs. He was also able to hit a respectable .279 even though he’s striking out more than will be acceptable at the next level.

Our InstinctDavidson is still young and profiles as a .280 hitter with 30+ Home Run power. He’s also the best bet to stick at 3B that the Diamondbacks have right now. He will take his game to Double-A Mobile in 2012.

Ryan Wheeler, 3B Diamondbacks

5. Ryan Wheeler, 3B 7/10/1988 H: 6’4″ W: 220 lbs – Wheeler may eventually be the best pure hitter when lining up 3B prospects, Davidson, Wheeler and Borchering. The big lefty is able to use the whole field and should be a solid bet for a .285 AVG or better.

Our Instinct - His power is going to be average at best and he’s not more than a slightly below average 3B.  He’s blocked at 1B by Goldschmidt so a move to the OF is in the cards, much as we pointed out in 2009.  

6. Pat Corbin, LHP 7/19/1989 H: 6’3″ W: 165 lbs – Corbin is the other pitcher that the Dbacks got in exchange for All-Star Dan Haren.  His low 90s fastball has plus movement and his command is above average. He’s still working on bringing his curveball and changeup to a level that is major league ready, but both pitches project as average offerings with his changeup possibly a little more. Even though he’s not overpowering, he has always produced a high K rate and his 20.6% in 2011 was no different.

Our Instinct – While he isn’t projected as a frontline starter like Skaggs, Corbin is still a good bet for a mid-rotation starter in the 4-5 mold.  He will probably need another season at Double-A in 2012.

7. David Holmberg, LHP 7/19/1991 H: 6’4″ W: 220 lbs – Holmberg is another lefty pitcher that the Dbacks got in a trade. This time for Edwin Jackson. He’s still just 20 and the one glaring weakness in his pitch arsenal was his below average fastball. Prior to 2011, he worked more around the 90 mph range, which wouldn’t have given him much ceiling. But, in 2011 he kicked it up to 93-94 and with a solid curveball and changeup combo he could work the back end of the rotation in the future.

Our Instinct - The Diamondbacks won’t need to rush him.  He should start out at High-A again and if all goes well debut at Double-A sometime in 2012.

8. A.J. Pollock, OF 12/5/1987 H: 6’1″ W: 205 lbs – Pollock had a lost 2010 season, but made quick work of getting back onto the radar in 2011. His .309 AVG shows his best tool which is his bat. He’s an all around solid player both offensively and defensively.

Our Instinct – He’s going to be an average defender but his game lacks power or elite speed. But with a solid hitting ability and enough speed to steal 30+ bases he’s going to be at least a 4th OF and possibly a solid starting LF for a few years. There’s a high floor here though the ceiling is limited as well. 

Adam Eaton, OF Diamondbacks

9. Adam Eaton, OF 12/6/1988 H: 5’9″ W: 180 – While Eaton may not have the raw tools looked for in a potential star, he’s done nothing except succeed since being drafted in 2010. We’ve been highlighting him this season in our look around the leagues and with his performance in the AFL this season there’s no denying his status as a true prospect.

Our InstinctEaton’s ability to make consistent contact, work counts to take walks and just get on base, he’s looking like he might find his way into the top of a lineup. Right now he’s been a touch old for the levels he’s been in, but the AFL performance was no fluke for his type of game. If he stays on this path he moves up this ranking system all the way to #5 as a possible #2 hitter with solid LF defense.

10. Andrew Chafin, LHP 6/17/1990 H: 6’2″ W: 205 – Chafin was a supp pick, 43rd overall in the 2011 draft out of Kent State. He’s already had Tommy John surgery and 2011 was his first season back to full strength. His fastball sits in the low 90s and can touch 95. But he has a slider which is a wipeout pitch.

Our InstinctBased on upside as a lefty, Chafin would be higher on this list. But his command and stamina are not all the way back and his changeup is still below average. He’ll need to time to refine the 3rd offering and get his command back in full. If he’s rushed, he’ll end up in the bullpen. If he’s given the development time, and in this system he can, He could move into the middle of a rotation as a #3 starter.  

UPDATE: Trade with A’s:

Was #3. Jarrod Parker, RHP 11/24/1988 H: 6’1 W: 195 lbs  – Parker has been a top prospect since being drafted. Even through his elbow injury, TJ surgery and rehab. He has a mid 90s fastball and before the surgery his command graded out as above average. Even though his fastball is plus, his slider grades out as even better. His changeup is close to a plus pitch as well.

Our Instinct – Only his command is holding him back from making the jump to the next level. He’ll be two years removed from TJ in 2012. Expect his arrival in Arizona at the end of 2011 to be permanent.

Was #5. Collin Cowgill, OF 5/22/1986 H: 5’9 W: 185 lbs – The Kentucky product has been on our radar for years and he’s the type of player that just has never gone away even though his size and skill set never pointed to more than a 4th OF. But he just keeps producing and this 2011 season was his best yet. He upped his walk rate to 11% while keeping his K rate below 20%. His .200 IsoP and .354 AVG were both career highs.

Our Instinct - The average was boosted by a very high .397 BABIP but even at that level I’m now confident that Cowgill will be a .285 hitter with both average power and speed. But he still might slot better as a 4th OF long term.

Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at our recent article:  Prospect Instinct | Jaff Decker, OF San Diego Padres and be a step ahead of the game. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at

I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.


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