We’re back and moving on with a trek through the Major Leagues and a look under the hood of the Arizona Diamondbacks. A team that today has one less spark plug than it was running with when the season ended. The trade of potential #1 prospect Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians leaves the system a little weaker than it once was.
But it still has depth with some elite talents at the top. Let’s get started.
1. Tyler Skaggs, LHP 7/13/1991 H: 6’3″ W: 195 – Skaggs would have been counted as 1a with Bauer in this system. So he easily takes over the top spot when this decision was finalized and was probably the top arm in the system anyway. As a lefty with a 2 plus pitches in a low 90s fastball that he can uptick into the mid 90s at times and a 12-6 curveball that is his best pitch and the go to pitch.
He held sub-3.00 ERAs through the 2012 season but his FIP tells a different story of a more likely mid 3’s ERA once he settles into the grind of being a #2-3 starter. He has the two main pitches to be successful and his changeup is at least average right now. It will get better as he learns to command it more efficiently.
Our Instinct: He was #17 last year on the 360° and will find himself up there again for his final prospect showing. He’ll make his full time debut in 2013 and it could be straight out of Spring Training. He’s a 2013 Fantasy Sleeper. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: 9-6, 2.87 ERA, 4.44 FIP, .305 BABIP, 116/37 K/BB ratio in 122.1 innings between AA and AAA. 2009 1st round draft pick(Angels), 40th overall.
2. Adam Eaton, OF 12/6/1988 H: 5’8″ W: 185 – Eaton is a player that simply doesn’t ooze projection and that’s the reason he’s been disregarded by the prospect world until last season. He came in at #9 on our 2012 Dbacks list :
Our Instinct – Eaton’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.
Our Instinct: Well it’s tough at this point to turn back on those words. He once again did nothing but rake, get on base and steal bases. He’s a legit CF type and despite a high BABIP which will certainly lead to a regression in AVG in 2013, he’s a hitter. He’s a potential .300+ hitter with 30+ SB potential. It’s up in the air right now if he’s a true leadoff hitter, but we’re going on the record to say that he’s going to be a factor in Arizona this season eventually settling in near the top of their lineup. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: .375/.456/.523, 59 XBH(7 HR), 44 SB, .429 BABIP, 76/49 K/BB ratio in 528 ab’s between AA and AAA. 2010 19th round draft pick, 571st overall.
3. Archie Bradley, RHP 8/10/1992 H: 6’4″ W: 225 – Bradley is a raw but very talented SP prospect. He has a mid 90s fastball that touches 97 and a potential plus curveball. He hasn’t gotten a grasp on his changeup to this point and that led to a higher rate of runners crossing the plate on him in 2012.
He had the high K rate expected of a pure power arm at the lower levels, touching 25%+. That came with a very high walk rate at 14.4% though and the lack of changeup allowed many of those 87 walked batters to score, leading to a 3.99 ERA which is basically supported by his FIP. Bradley though has a big workhorse frame and is not easily hittable.
Our Instinct: So expect him to move one level at a time with enough time to prove himself a starter with a fallback of a power RP as a no brainer if starting fails. But he is the one arm in this system that can be developed into a True Ace-type. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: 12-6, 3.84 ERA, 3.83 FIP, .256 BABIP, 152/84 K/BB ratio in 136 innings at Low-A. 2011 1st round draft pick, 7th overall.
Our Instinct – When a High School catcher has the tools to be a pro, one thing needs to be at the forefront. He needs to have a clean swing path so the learning curve is shorter. Once you tack on turning pro, traveling and then learning to be a professional catcher, the hitting development can become a secondary and simple raw power is not going to translate. Trahan can hit. His swing path is clean, his power though raw is evident and he’s an athlete that can be molded into a pro catcher. He’s dropping on draft boards because his catching ability is being questioned. He’s a high school senior. Catchers don’t tend to mature at age 17.
Our Instinct: Trahan isn’t a prospect who needs to be a catcher in order to become a Major Leaguer. But it certainly doesn’t hurt his ranking either. While it was only the AZL, he raked, hit for power and showed an advanced eye at the plate. He has so much time to become a pro catcher and as long as the Diamondbacks don’t need to rush his bat he is in line to be the catcher of the future in Arizona. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: .281/.422/.473, 19 XBH(5 HR), 8 SB, .368 BABIP, 48/40 K/BB ratio in 167 ab’s at Short Season-A. 2012 1st round draft pick, 26th overall.
5. Matt Davidson, 3B 3/26/1991 H: 6’2″ W: 225 – Davidson has been high on the Instinct prospect lists for a few years now and 2012 did nothing to make us adjust that outlook. He’s young for the level and showing advanced power and ability to get on base at a high rate for a power hitter. There are red flags at this point, but they are the same red flags that come along with many young power hitting prospects. His K rate is high at 22%, but age to level that isn’t a death toll. Especially paired with a very high 12% walk rate and .208 IsoP.
Our Instinct: Davidson will need time to adjust to Triple-A pitching and will probably struggle out of the gate with a jump in strikeout rate, but once he settles into a groove his power will continue to develop. It’s doubltful we’ll ever see high AVG seasons out of Davidson, but he’ll be able to hold down 3B with 20+ HR seasons and .250-.275 lines. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: .261/.367/.469, 53 XBH(23 HR), 3 SB, .304 BABIP, 126/69 K/BB ratio in 486 ab’s at AA. 2009 1st round draft pick, 35th overall.
6. David Holmberg, LHP 7/19/1991 H: 6’4″ W: 219 – Big framed lefty with innings eating potential. His trade to the Diamondbacks in the Edwin Jackson trade looks better and better each year Holmberg continues to succeed. He was our #6 Dbacks prospect in 2012 and worked through High-A and onto Double-A as we suggested. His fastball works in the low 90s with a potential plus changeup and slider/curve combination. His lack of a true knockout breaking ball keeps him from elite status.
Our Instinct: Holmberg looks like a solid mid rotation innings eater with solid K rates and good control. His changeup leaves him with additional upside and the ability to battle hitters from both sides. He’ll start this year in Triple-A, especially is Skaggs makes the rotation out of Spring Training. He should make his debut late in 2013. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: 11-8, 3.32 ERA, 4.01 FIP, .312 BABIP, 153/37 K/BB ratio in 173.1 innings between High-A and AA. 2009 2nd round draft pick(White Sox), 71st overall.
His lack of any true plus tool will limit his upside and a lack of power will make it tough for him to lock down a corner OF spot.
Our Instinct: He does have the ability to move throughout the OF spots and his bat will play up enough. A high floor for Pollock keeps him high on the list even though others further down may have a higher ceiling. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: .318/.369/.411, 31 XBH(3 HR), 21 SB, .353 BABIP, 52/32 K/BB ratio in 428 ab’s at AAA. 2009 1st round draft pick, 17th overall.
8. Didi Gregorius, SS 2/18/1990 H: 6’1″ W: 185 – Coming over from the Reds, Gregorius is being heralded as the future at SS for the Dbacks. That will give him some extra rope and the push from the upper level brass. I don’t see what they see and Gregorius, while talented, has holes in his game that may limit his ability to be a difference maker for Arizona.
Gregorius speed isn’t evident on the offensive side of the ball and he tends to become over-aggressive at the plate. A trait that leads to lower than optimum OBP numbers. Especially for a player with below average power. But he does swing the bat well from the left hand side and his defense will make him a major league SS.
Our Instinct: How long he sticks at SS will determine on how long it takes the Dbacks to find a SS will true offensive potential. He’s the answer, for now. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: .294/.363/.523, 39 XBH(7 HR), 3 SB, 80/41 K/BB ratio in 501 ab’s at AA and AAA. International free agent, Amsterdam, Netherlands native signed with Reds in 2008.
9. Alfredo Marte, OF 3/31/1989 H: 6’0″ W: 190 – Marte is still a virtual unknown amongst the system, but his numbers in 2012 put him square on the path to at least a #4 OF. He flashed the power that was lurking in his 2011 High-A breakout. He took that .179 IsoP and lower K rate to a .229 IsoP driven by 20 HR and 25 doubles and lowered the K rate further to 16%. His walk rate is passable and improving to a 7.6% rate.
While he doesn’t have a huge frame or plus power, he has enough tools to profile at the big league level.
Our Instinct: There is additional upside there as with any player who flashes 20+ HR power. Expect him to be tested at Triple-A and if he can pass that test he will find himself on a major league roster in 2014. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: .294/.363/.523, 48 XBH(20 HR), 6 SB, .353 BABIP, 72/34 K/BB ratio in 428 ab’s at AA. 2005 International free agent, Dominican Republic.
10. Andrew Chafin, LHP 6/17/1990 H: 6’2″ W: 205 – Chafin was in this same spot last year. Chafin was a little old for High-A which is why he hasn’t bumped up the list after an excellent season. His K rate of 27%+ was outstanding. It was paired with a very high walk rate though at 12.7%. But that number is going to be forgiven considering Chafin was coming off TJ.
Our Instinct: He has elite level stuff with a fastball in the mid 90s and a wipeout slider. He still needs to refine his changeup and the pitch may never be more than average. So his upside is still a #2 starter but more likely he’ll end up a mid rotation starter or high leverage RP. ETA: 2015
2012 by the numbers: 6-6, 4.93 ERA, 4.95 FIP, .340 BABIP, 150/69 K/BB ratio in 122.1 innings at High-A. 2011 1st round draft pick, 43rd overall.
11. Michael Perez,C 8/7/1992 H: 5’11″ W: 180 – Perez came in at #21 last year and the outlook:
Perez was drafted out of PR in 2011. A lefty bat from behind the dish with nice power projection and very little to base it on. We’re going by reports and will be keeping a close eye on Perez in 2012 once he gets going. But there is defensive development needed despite what his bat will look like.
Well, the outlook was pretty spot on. He hit for some serious power in 2012 with a .249 IsoP. He also struck out a whopping 72 times in 225 ab’s.
Our Instinct: We expect the K rate to stabilize and come down while the 7.2% walk rate should rise as he matures. He’s a more raw hitter than Trahan so he’ll need even more time despite being the older of the two. 2013 will be a telling season for Perez. The power is real. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: .293/.358/.542, 31 XBH(10 HR), .381 BABIP, 72/20 K/BB ratio in 225 ab’s at Rookie-A. 2011 5th round draft pick, 154th overall.
12. Chris Owings, SS 8/12/1991 H: 5’10″ W: 180 – Owings admittedly fell deep into the Top 21 last year, coming in at #19. It was due to a huge fall in his ability to make contact and skyrocketed K rate. He’s always had above average power, especially for a SS, and can handle the glove up the middle well. But his K rate of 23%+ in 2011 was too much to predict future success. Well the K rate continues to be a major issue, topping 24% in High-A in 2012, but the power spiked and that was enough to keep him on the radar.
Our Instinct: He has issues to overcome, but a defensive SS that can hit for above average power is always valuable. How much he matures as a hitter in a return to Double-A in 2013 will determine his future. Starting SS or fade away. ETA 2015
2012 by the numbers: .290/.323/.452, 48 XBH(17 HR), 12 SB, .357 BABIP, 132/24 K/BB ratio in 538 ab’s between High-A and AA. 2009 1st round draft pick, 41st overall.
The Rest of the 21
13. J.Munoz, SS
14. J. Barrett, RHP
15. A.Meo, RHP
16. F. Perez, RHP
17. C.Anderson, RHP
18. J.Martinez, RHP
19. C.Brewer, RHP
20. S.Brito, OF
21. J.Lamb, 3B
For a complete list of the Top 21′s visit the 2013 Top 21′s Page