Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2014

Arizona Diamondbacks' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

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    Archie Bradley enters the 2014 season as baseball's top-ranked pitching prospect.
    Archie Bradley enters the 2014 season as baseball's top-ranked pitching prospect.Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    For the third consecutive season, the Arizona Diamondbacks prospect pool is headlined by a host of promising young pitchers.

    Archie Bradley, the 21-year-old phenom, will enter the 2014 season ranked not only as the team’s top prospect, but also as baseball’s top pitching prospect. After dominating at Double-A Mobile for a majority of last season, Bradley will audition for a spot in the Opening Day rotation, though he’s more likely to arrive in the major leagues around midseason.

    Beyond Bradley, the Diamondbacks' first- and second-round picks from 2013 rank high on this year’s list, with college right-handers Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair both ranking within the team’s top five prospects and poised for their first full professional campaigns. Rounding out their crop of impressive young arms is Jose Martinez, a 19-year-old who boasts some of the best arm speed in the minor leagues.

    In terms of positional talent, middle infielder Chris Owings enters 2014 ready to make an impact in the major leagues. Last year, the 22-year-old was named the Rookie of the Year and MVP of the Pacific Coast League before holding his own over 20 games with Arizona as a September call-up.

    After Owings the organization is thin on projectable hitters, though catcher Stryker Trahan as well as third baseman Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury are all names to follow closely next season.

    Here’s a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ top 10 prospects for 2014.

10. Andrew Chafin, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 06/17/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Drafted: First-round supplemental, 2011 (Kent State)

    ETA: Late 2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    The 6’2” left-hander has 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 can be filthy; potential plus-plus pitch with a sharp, wipe-out 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 continues to improve; 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.

    Projection: No. 4 or 5 starter; setup man

    Risk: Medium

9. Matt Stites, RHP

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 05/28/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 170 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: 17th round, 2011 by Padres (Missouri)

    ETA: Mid-2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    The 5’11”, 170-pound right-hander has short but physically strong build; broad shoulders with good athleticism and a quick arm; knows how to use lower half to generate velocity; fastball sits consistently in the 94-96 mph range with late life; bumps as high as 98.

    He throws a plus slider with velocity in the mid- to upper 80s; excellent tilt and late diving action; changeup is fringy but serviceable against left-handed batters; strong command profile; pounds the zone with his fastball, induces whiffs with the slider; nearly ready for major leagues.

    Projection: Setup man

    Risk: Low

8. Brandon Drury, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 08/21/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: 13th round, 2010 by Braves (Grants Pass HS, Ore.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Physical, 6’2”, 190 frame with surprising athleticism; improved defense and mobility at hot corner last season and now projects as at least a solid-average defender; consistent hands; arm strength is at least above average; good carry across infield.

    Right-handed batter has advanced approach; upright stance allows him to get hands extended; extension and leverage after contact generates backspin carry to all fields; above-average power potential; began to tap into raw last season and there’s more to come; good bat-to-ball skills.

    Projection: Second-division third baseman

    Risk: High

     

    Video courtesy of Mike Newman (ROTOscouting.com)

7. Stryker Trahan, C

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    Position: C

    DOB: 04/25/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’0”, 232 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted: First round, 2012 (Acadiana HS, La.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Physical specimen at 6’0”, 232 pounds; impressive athleticism for his size; armed with a left-handed bat, Trahan is a pure hitter; present strength, above-average bat speed and raw power, especially to the pull side; struggles to recognize spin; comfortable working counts and waiting for specific pitches; potential for above-average hit and power.

    Inexperience is obvious behind the plate; both his receiving and blocking skills remain a work in progress; plus arm strength but will need to improve his transfer and learn more efficient footwork so as to streamline throws; fringy long-term projection at the position; will have to keep weight down during career.

    Projection: Second-division catcher

    Risk: High

     

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

6. Jake Lamb, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 10/09/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted: Sixth round, 2012 (Washington)

    ETA: Mid-2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Possesses more strength than his 6’2”, 200-pound build suggests; legit plus defender at third base with excellent range and above-average arm strength; present agility and athleticism will help him stick at the position long term; left-handed batter with a smooth, compact swing; mature approach caters to his strong on-base skills; works deep counts and projects for average-or-better hit tool; emerging over-the-fence pop in games; 2014 breakout candidate.

    Projection: Second-division third baseman

    Risk: Medium

5. Jose Martinez, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 04/14/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 160 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2017

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Martinez has a wiry frame at 6’1”, 160 pounds with electric arm strength; insanely quick arm generates plus-plus fastball in the upper 90s; usually sits in the 93-94 mph range; curveball represents a second plus-plus pitch, thrown with velocity, tight spin and late biting action; changeup is present but below average; feel should improve with experience; inconsistent three-quarters arm slot; body lacks physicality.

    Projection: No. 2 or 3 starter

    Risk: Extreme

     

    Video courtesy of MLBDirt.com

4. Aaron Blair, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 05/26/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 230 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First-round supplemental, 2013 (Marshall)

    ETA: Late 2015

     

    2013 Stats

      

    Scouting Report

    Blair has a durable, 6’5”, 230-pound build and projects as a solid innings eater in the big leagues; strong mechanics, uses long legs and big step towards home plate to get explosive life on the fastball; works from three-quarters arm slot; clean delivery and motion; above-average velocity at 92-94 mph; can hold velocity late into games; able to induce weak contact; projects as plus pitch with refined command. 

    Slider is a below-average offering right now due to lack of velocity and inconsistent shape; arm slot creates deception and movement; some tilt at present, though it can get loopy at times; will need slider to work in order to reach ceiling; solid-average changeup right now with potential for a bit more; sits in the 82-85 mph range; good fade with late movement down in the zone; arm speed and deception on pitch are average; lacks consistent release point.

    Capable strike-thrower; lack of consistency with off-speed pitches leads to some high walk totals; development and feel for secondary stuff will bring control to above-average level at peak; chance to move quickly with refined command and sharper secondary offerings. 

    Projection: No. 3 or 4 stater

    Risk: Medium

3. Chris Owings, SS/2B

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    Position: SS/2B

    DOB: 8/12/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 180 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2009 (Gilbert HS, S.C.)

    ETA: 2014 (Debuted in 2013)

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Owings is only 5’10”, 180 pounds, but his tools play much louder; right-handed hitter employs a compact swing 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 lead to 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; could start to get looks at second base in event of an Aaron Hill injury.

    Projection: Second-division regular 

    Risk: Medium

2. Braden Shipley, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 02/22/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2013 (Nevada)

    ETA: Late 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Outstanding athlete with shortstop background and little mileage on his arm; extremely projectable 6’3", 190-pound frame with room to fill out; repeats delivery well considering lack of experience; some effort to delivery that will be cleaned up; lightning-quick arm;

    Athletic delivery and fast arm produce a crisp, plus fastball in 91-95 mph range; topped out at 97-98 mph in the spring; makes up for lack of movement with late life; throws pitch aggressively to both sides of the plate; uses it to pound the strike zone and get ahead in the count; should be able to hold velocity deeper into games as he gets strong and gains experience.

    Curveball is the weakest of his three offerings but flashes plus potential; relatively undeveloped due to effectiveness of fastball-changeup mix; shows a feel for generating tight spin but shape varies due to inconsistent release point; changeup was the best of its kind in the 2013 draft class; plus-plus offering thrown in the low 80s with fastball-like arm speed; turns it over perfectly to generate devastating fading action; effective against both right- and left-handed hitters; true out-pitch at the next level.

    Showcases impressive feel for pitching and overall pitchability relative to time spent on the mound; present command of fastball-changeup throughout strike zone; continues to improve at working down in the zone; aggressively (and confidently) attacks both sides of the plate; isn’t afraid to challenge good hitters; trusts his stuff.

    Projection: No. 2 or 3 starter

    Risk: High

     

    Video courtesy of Jason Cole

1. Archie Bradley, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 08/10/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 225 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2011 (Broken Arrow HS, Okla.)

    ETA: Mid-2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    The 6’4”, 225-pound right-hander has excellent athleticism for his size; recruited as a quarterback by the University of Oklahoma out of high school; durable frame capable of eating innings and lasting deep into starts; athletic delivery that includes a momentum-building leg kick; exhibited better body control in 2013; everything he throws is heavy and on a steep, downhill plane.

    Right-hander boasts a heavy fastball in the mid- to upper 90s; thrown consistently on a downhill plane and cuts through strike zone with weight of a bowling ball; holds velocity deep into starts; can reach back for 97-98 mph as needed but shows better control in 94-96 range; plus-plus curveball is a hammer with sharp, downer bite; will serve as a legitimate out-pitch in the big leagues; changeup flashes above-average potential with late fade; command varies but his feel for the pitch is encouraging.

    Projection: No. 1 or 2 starter

    Risk: Low

     

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

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