Arizona Diamondbacks Top 21 Prospects: 2013 Review


The 2013 season is over and we are taking a look back at the preseason Top 21′s. We’re looking at what was said preseason and what the point of view is now with the season at a close and entering the heart of the winter.

We’ll be following up with our 2014 Top 21’s and this is to give us a head start on breaking down each system, looking for the prospects of 2014 and beyond.

Let’s lead off with Tyler Skaggs.


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

2013 in Review: Skaggs didn’t have a breakthrough season despite amassing enough innings to where he will no longer be prospect eligible. His minor league season is a little deceiving though, his FIP was much lower than his ERA and his K and walk rates remained strong. Expect a bounce back 2014.


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

2013 in Review: Eaton had an injury plagued season, never really getting fully right. But he was still able to show his XBH potential and should hold an OF spot with the Dbacks next season.


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

2013 in Review: Bradley was a key mistake in this ranking, although it wasn’t for a lack of vision. Bradley did exactly what we were looking for, pounding the zone, gaining command of his changeup and just going after hitters. He had a dominant season and showed just how high his potential really is. #1 in this system hands down now.


4. Stryker Trahan, C 4/25/1994 H: 6’1″ W: 215 – A 2012 1st round pick by the Dbacks, Trahan was highly received by Baseball Instinct heading into the draft:

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

2013 in Review: Trahan hit for excellent power in his second season. While he hit just .254, his K rate and walks were both solid as well. He could be a breakout candidate in his first full season in 2014.


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

2013 in Review: A near .200 IsoP in his first taste of the major leagues. He’s still ROY eligible, so he’ll remain on this list, but it probably won’t be for long. He doesn’t project as a .300 type, but solid power and good 3B defense is there from him. Some solid MLB season should be right around the corner.


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

2013 in Review: Well I couldn’t have missed his placement any worse since he didn’t throw a single AAA pitch. But his peripherals remained solid  and a 3.80 FIP shows his mid rotation ability. His K rate is around average so the upside has been limited so far, but we expect him to see time with the Dbacks possibly at the back of the rotation in 2014.


7. A.J. Pollock, OF 12/5/1987 H: 6’1″ W: 195 – Pollack is on the path to being a 4th OF, but he’ll be a good one. He should carve out a solid career with contact ability and above average speed.

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

2013 in Review: He did a little bit of everything in his first year. Showing a bit more doubles pop than expected with 28 of them in 443 AB. ThenIsoP of .140 may be his upside but he proved very valuable to the Dbacks in 2013 and that shouldn’t change in 2014.


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 with true offensive potential. He’s the answer, for now. ETA: 2013

2013 in Review: Didi had a solid season, but as we thought, at least in his first year, he wasn’t that surefire future SS. He did have just a .290 BABIP, so there may be more to that AVG. But he’s not a .300 hitter and his speed, while solid, simply doesn’t translate to SB. He’ll stick at SS for now, but there are others who could displace him in short order.


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

2013 in Review: Marte still profiles as a 4th OF. He made the Dbacks out of ST but struggled. His power came down to a .151 IsoP last year, but he hit a solid .280 with 24 doubles and 7 HR in 331 AAA ABs. He should get another shot to prove himself in AAA and then see some additional time in Arizona.


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

2013 in Review: He had a solid all around season in AAwitha  2.85 ERA. Though his FIP of 3.38 shows the real story. His K rate dipped but he also began to control the strikezone more. His BB% dipped to just 7.8% which is a good sign. He’s shaping up as a back of the rotation type but still has that RP stigma looming. 2014 will be a big season for him in AAA.


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

2013 in Review: The K rate remained dangerously high and this time it affected his power. His IsoP dipped to just .134 and his overall offensive game struggled. With Trahan at the top of the C ladder, Prerz will have time to mature his approach, but 2013 was a disappointment with little room to have a repeat 2014.


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

2013 in Review: I’m still not certain how he did it, but a cut of the K rate to 17% boosted Owings offensively to the tune of a .330 AVG with 31 doubles, 8 triples and 12 HR with 20 SB in 546 AAA ABs. Outstanding season. The .386 BABIP will no doubt drag his AVG down in 2014, but he made real strides with the bat and might be the one to displace Didi in 2014. He’s not a .300 hitter, but he’s doing a lot right now.


13. Joe Munoz, SS 12/28/1993 H:6’3″ W:185

2013 in Review: Munoz had another strong 2013 with a .263 AVG and .186 IsoP. He is only in Rookie ball at this point so the 27% K rate is troublesome and a number to keep a close eye on in 2014. But it was a productive season overall.


14. Jake Barrett, RHP 7/22/1991 H:6’4″ W:230

2013 in Review: The big righty spent the season in the bullpen again with a lot of success. He had 29 saves over A and AA play. His rate of 27%+ was well matched with a sub 5% walk rate. He looks to be on a career course for Arizona’s pen and it could be as soon as 2014.


15. Anthony Meo, RHP 2/19/1990 H:6’2″ W:185

2013 in Review: Meo struggled mightily in AA and High-A in 2013. To date, he’s posted a career FIP of 5.29. He has the stuff, but is looking more and more likely to become a power RHP for Arizona. But even that is only if he can figure out what went wrong in 2013.


16. Felipe Perez, RHP 1/22/1994 H:6’3″ W:190

2013 in Review: The Young righty finished with a  solid 4.55 ERA and 50 K to just 19 walks in 89 IP. We expect more dominance from power RHP. So there is no fireworks going off here. But he’s still on the radar.


17. Chase Anderson, RHP 11/30/1987 H:6’0″ W:185

2013 in Review: Anderson took a step back in AAA. His ERA reverted to an extreme. After a 2012 with a 3.41 FIP and low 2.86 ERA his ERA jumped to 5.73 though his FIP of 4.17 says he was better. Somewhere around that 4.00 ERA mark is where I think he slides in best. His K rate remained solid at 20%. Where he fits in long term is anyones guess. Spot starter, back end or bullpen guy.


18. Jose Martinez, RHP 4/14/1994 H:6’1″ W:160

2013 in Review: Not a great season for the power RHP. His frame still needs to develop and he’s at least 3 years away. His K rate was fine, but nothing else really came together for him. Just another power arm to watch develop. Still like his upside.


19. Charles Brewer, RHP 4/7/4988 H:6’4″ W:205

2013 in Review: Brewer made it to the Dbacks mound at the end of the season. He remained effective and I see no reason why he won’t mount a solid if unspectacular career. He has the K rate to be effective and is just a solid all around pitcher. Back end or Long RP.


20. Socrates Brito, OF 9/6/1992 6’2″ W:195

2013 in Review: Brito is a little old for his level and he didn’t breakout in 2013. With a .264 AVG and .092 IsoP there is little to love about his profile. He’s a toolsy kid, but a lack of approach and too many K’s is going to make his development path a difficult one.


21. Jake Lamb, 3B 10/9/1990 H:6’3″ W:195

2013 in Review: Lamb tore up High-A in 2013 over 283 PA. He hit .303 with a .255 Isop and 13 HR. His K rate is high and he was old for High-A so we’ll see how he adjusts to AA in 2014. But a high walk rate and his power could prove to offset each other and allow him success despite the K rate.


biballblackno360Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon as we release our top 21 prospects for each organization. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our in-season top 360 prospects, and we will be updating it throughout the season. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. 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 mailbag@baseballinstinct.comAnd while you’re at it head over to Facebook and join the Instinct page You can also follow us on twitter: @BaseballInstinc.

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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