Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks' Farm System

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterJanuary 2, 2013

Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks' Farm System

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    Despite trading right-hander Trevor Bauer, the organization’s top-overall draft pick in 2011, to the Cleveland Indians in mid-December as part of a three-team, nine-player deal, the Arizona Diamondbacks still boast one of the best farm systems in the game.

    After netting countless high-ceiling pitching prospects over the last two seasons, mostly via the draft, they ultimately unloaded Bauer (one of the more highly regarded arms in the game) to acquire shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds. Although I can’t say I necessarily agree with the move in principal, it did address their greatest deficiency.

    Without Bauer, a pair of young pitching prospects in left-hander Tyler Skaggs—who made six big league starts last season—and 20-year-old Archie Bradley, highlight the Diamondbacks’ system. Both players have the potential to headline the team's starting rotation in a matter of years.

    Beyond that, the organization boasts a healthy mix of high-upside position prospects in Adam Eaton—a big-time sleeper headed into the 2013 season—Matt Davidson, Gregorius, Chris Owings and Stryker Trahan. They also have several intriguing, young left-handers in David Holmberg and Andrew Chafin.

    Here’s a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ top 10 prospects.

10. OF A.J. Pollock

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/5/1987 (Age: 25)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 (Notre Dame)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats 


    Scouting Notes: Opened the 2012 season at Triple-A Reno after posting an .801 OPS for Double-A Mobile in 2011; didn’t show as much pop in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but still posted a respectable .318/.369/.411 line in 106 games; was promoted to the major leagues for the first time in mid-April to fill in for the injured Chris Young; batted .247/.315/.395 in 31 games over two different stints.

    Well-rounded overall player but lacks an impact tool; right-handed hitter demonstrates solid barrel control with a feel for the strike zone; hit tool should be solid-average in the major leagues; lacks power but will collect his share of doubles; above-average speed makes him a threat on the basepaths; advanced secondary skills; aggressive ballplayer with a high baseball IQ.

    The majority of Pollock’s value is tied to his ability to play center field; speed and instincts lend to above-average range; overall solid defensively; doesn’t have the power or arm strength to stick as a corner outfielder; offers plenty of a value in a fourth outfielder role; solid trade bait who could see significant playing time with another organization.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

9. C Stryker Trahan

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    Position: C

    DOB: 4/25/1994 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 215

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2012 (Acadiana HS, La.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Relatively younger player (April birthday); physical specimen at 6’1”, 215 pounds; impressive athleticism for his size; enjoyed a solid professional debut last season in the rookie-level Arizona League, as he batted .281/.422/.473 with 19 extra-base hits, eight stolen bases and 48/40 K/BB in 49 games.

    Armed with a left-handed bat, Trahan is a pure hitter; present strength, yields plus-bat speed and raw power, especially to the pull side; advanced plate discipline and secondary skills were both impressive; comfortable working counts and waiting for specific pitches; potential for above-average hit and power.

    Inexperience was obvious behind the plate; amassed 11 errors and 18 passed balls in 40 games; threw out 24 percent of base-stealers (16-of-67); both his receiving and blocking skills will be a work-in-progress for several years; plus arm strength, but will need to improve his transfer and learn to streamline throws; should be able to remain at the position; if not, his average speed and offensive prowess is a fit at either corner outfield position or first base.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A

8. LHP Andrew Chafin

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 6/17/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2011 (Kent State)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’2” left-hander had an inconsistent full-season debut in 2012; stuff-wise, he ranked among the best in the California League; statistically, not so much; struggled mightily after an excellent opening month; lost a feel for the strike zone and was relegated to the bullpen; eventually worked his way back into the rotation to finish the season; overall, the 22-year-old registered a 4.93 ERA and 5.08 BB/9, though he led the Cal League with 11.04 K/9 in 122.1 innings.

    Highly impressive pure stuff but lacks the control and command to make it truly effective; mechanics lack fluidity and are choppy; ball comes out of his hand with ease, but everything else involves effort; finish is inefficient and could be simplified or at least modified; fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s; can reach back for a few more ticks in shorter stints; manipulates the pitch in both directions by mixing in two-seamers and cutters; slider is filthy, a potential plus-plus pitch with a sharp, wipeout break; induces whiffs from both right and left-handed hitters; nearly a big-league ready pitch that also projects favorably out of the bullpen; changeup is present and improved over the course of the 2012 season; potential to be a third at-least-average offering; development of both command and control will ultimately determine whether he sticks as a starter or is expedited to the major leagues as a reliever.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

7. LHP David Holmberg

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 7/19/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 219

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2009 [White Sox] (Port Charlotte HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’4”, 219-pound left-hander enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 at Low-A South Bend, but struggled after promotion to High-A Visalia; performed much better at the level to open 2012, followed by a strong showing at Double-A Mobile over the second-half of the season; registered a 3.60 ERA, but strikeout and walk rates both moved in the wrong direction; 21-year-old is highly advanced for his age with polish and pitchability; repeats mechanics and arm slot well for his size; smart pitcher who makes adjustments and gauges situations.

    Fastball isn’t overpowering, registering in the high-80s/low-90s with natural arm-side movement; comfortable manipulating the pitch to generate both sink and cutting action; slider is average and functions as a show-me pitch for the most part; would benefit from a sharper, tighter version; changeup is a plus offering with excellent fade and speed differential; throws the pitch in all counts with conviction; highly effective against right-handed hitters.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

6. SS Chris Owings

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 8/12/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 (Gilbert HS, S.C.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: Owings is only 5’10”, 180 pounds, but his tools play much louder; mastered the California League (High-A) last season after posting a paltry .662 OPS during first go-around in 2011; batted .324/.362/.544 with 11 home runs in 59 games before promotion to Double-A Mobile; 20-year-old was noticeably challenged and batted .263/.291/.377 with 69/11 K/BB in 69 games.

    Right-handed hitter employs a compact swing with thanks to strong hands and above-average bat speed; understands how to maximize power; can turn around good velocity; improved pitch recognition; needs to work deeper counts and coax more walks to be a top-of-the-order hitter; improved on-base skills should result in more stolen bases; bat has some serious juice and could yield 15-20 home runs in the major leagues; key to his development will be consistency.

    One of the better defensive shortstops in the minor leagues; instinctual defender with quick feet; showcases excellent body control in all directions; smooth actions; plays through the baseball; plus-arm strength more than enough for the position; if Didi Gregorius progresses as the organization hopes, Owings could reach the major leagues as a second baseman.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

5. SS Didi Gregorius

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 2/18/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: Aug., 2007 [Reds] (Netherlands)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: Opened 2012 season Double-A Pensacola and batted .278/.344/.373 in 81 games; promoted to Triple-A Louisville in early July, where he batted .243/.288/.427 with 31/12 K/BB in 48 games; finished the year in the major leagues as a September call-up, but appeared in only eight games; collected six hits in 20 at-bats (.300); acquired from the Reds as part of a three-team, nine-player deal in mid-December.

    At 6’1”, 185 pounds, Gregorius has a projectable build that should allow him to add strength as he matures physically; instinctual and creative shortstop; 22-year-old is a plus defender with excellent range in all directions; glove stands out due to a combination of impressive hand-eye coordination and soft, sure hands; above-average arm strength completes his impressive overall defensive skill set; more than enough for the position at the big league level.

    Gregorius isn’t as polished at the plate; left-handed hitter employs a line-drive oriented swing and is comfortable using the entire field; drops his hands too often which, in turn, makes his swing long; tendency to get beat by good velocity; solid overall approach with bat-to-ball skills; would benefit from working deeper counts and drawing more walks; value tied to his defense should make him a commodity; shows potential for an average hit tool; below-average power.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

4. 3B Matt Davidson

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 3/26/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 225

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 (Yucaipa HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: Davidson is a physically strong right-handed hitter; impressed over the course of his first full season at Double-A Mobile; still an inconsistent hitter overall, but improved across the board last year; batted .261/.367/.469 with 53 extra-base hits (23 home runs) and 126/69 K/BB in 135 games.

    Plus-raw power to all fields with improving frequency; strong forearms create excellent bat speed; ball jumps off bat; very loud contact; strikeout total and batting average doesn’t accurately reflect what is actually advanced plate discipline; has been a younger player at each minor league level; strikeout and walk rates should continue to improve with more experience.

    Moved back to third base full time last season after seeing some time at first base in 2011; still raw defensively, which is understandable; improved with experience over the course of the season; error total should come down in future seasons; average range at the hot corner that should play up as his instincts become more natural; hands are decent but inconsistent at times; above-average arm strength; Diamondbacks continue to challenge, but won’t rush him.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A 

3. OF Adam Eaton

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/6/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 5’8”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: 19th round, 2010 (Miami University)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Yes, Eaton’s undersized (5’8”, 185 pounds) and has never been a highly regarded prospect until, well, now, but he has four legitimate above-average-to-plus tools that will play in the major leagues; has batted .355/.456/.510 over three minor league seasons; named both the Rookie of the Year and MVP of the Pacific Coast League last season after batting .381/.456/.539 with 58 extra-base hits, 119 runs, 38 stolen bases and 68/53 K/BB in 119 games; called up by the Diamondbacks in early September and batted .259/.382/.412 with 19 runs in 22 games.

    Left-handed hitter boasts a plus-hit tool; adept to working deep counts in a leadoff role; makes loud contact to all fields; below-average power potential, but could conceivably amass 50 doubles in a given season; puts ball in play and utilizes top-of-the-line speed; smart base-stealer; always looks to take an extra base.

    Plus-speed is apparent in all his actions on the field; excellent instincts, speed and all-out mentality will allow him to stick in center field; has an accurate, plus-arm that plays at either corner position; should get the chance to break camp as the team’s Opening Day starter; potential fantasy monster.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB

2. RHP Archie Bradley

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 8/10/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 225

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2011 (Broken Arrow HS, Okla.)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’4”, 225-pound right-hander with excellent athleticism for his size; was recruited as a quarterback by University of Oklahoma in high school; turned in impressive full-season debut last year and was arguably the top arm in the Midwest League (Low-A); registered a 3.84 ERA and .181 BAA with 152 strikeouts in 136 innings; allowed 87 hits but also walked 84; employs a strong, athletic delivery that includes a momentum-building leg kick; impedes his control at times but is nothing that can’t be ironed out.

    Right-hander’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s; heavy pitch that is thrown consistently on a downhill plane; holds velocity deep into starts; can scrape 95-96 mph when needed; curveball is a hammer with sharp, downward bite; plus offering that should be a legitimate out-pitch in the big leagues; changeup flashes above-average potential with late fade; command of pitch varies, but he shows a solid feel for it relative to his experience; could move very quickly once control/command improve.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

1. LHP Tyler Skaggs

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 7/13/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 [Angels] (Santa Monica HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’3”, 195-pounder is the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game; registered a 2.87 ERA with 116/37 K/BB in 122.1 innings between Double and Triple-A in 2012; was shaky following call-up in late August (a 5.83 ERA in 29.1 IP) but showed good stuff and poise; projectable frame with clean, repeatable mechanics; has bouts of inconsistency like any young pitcher; struggles usually stem from flying open with front shoulder; hips and core don’t explode and arms drag; stuff gets flat as a result and he loses too many pitches to his arm side; above-average three-pitch mix that could make him a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

    Fastball isn’t overpowering in the high-80s/low-90s, but has some late life to the arm side; needs to spot it more aggressively; does a nice job throwing on a downhill plane; curveball is a hammer and one of my favorites among all minor league pitchers; features a tall shape with deceptive pace; legitimate 12-to-6 downer that should always draw tons of swing and misses; changeup is fringy at the moment, but has the potential to be a third above-average offering with further refinement; lacks feel for all three pitches at one time; consistency will come from experience, he’s young.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A