Arizona Diamondbacks' Top 10 Prospects at Midseason
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Here is a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks top ten prospects following the trade deadline. To be eligible a player must meet the criteria for Major League Baseball's Rookie of the Year Award as well as not being on the current major league roster. Due to the second piece of criteria impressive power hitting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is not eligible to make the list. Goldschmidt was ranked the number five prospect and was the best hitter in an organization without many big bats near the majors. Outfielder Collin Cowgill is also ineligible for being on the active roster.
Overall the Diamondbacks farm system is promising, especially the pitching. Not only does Arizona have plenty of pitching depth, but they have a group of high ceiling arms due to their two top ten draft picks of this year. Impressive returns on last year's trades of Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson have also contributed to their pitching prospect depth.
Sleeper-Wagner Mateo, OF
Mateo looks like a classic boom or bust international signee.
The eighteen year old Dominican outfielder's American debut in the Gulf Coast league started out pretty rough, as he went just 15 for 85 out of the gate(.176 BA). A recent 14 for 36 streak has him up to .240 BA with a triple slash line of .240/.333/.380.
Eye issues may be playing a role in some of his struggles, as that was what caused a $3.1 million dollar deal with the St. Louis Cardinals to be voided. However, this kid has a very high ceiling as a plus hitter with plus power. Although he's still very raw and hasn't impressed this year, or last year in the Dominican Summer League, he is still a player worth watching.
10. Andrew Chafin, LHP
Andrew Chafin was a potential steal in this year's draft.
Chafin was the 43rd pick in this year's draft out of Kent State. The lefty missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, however he returned in a big way this year hitting 95 on radar guns and showing a plus slider.
Chafin's ceiling is as a number three starter, but he seems like more of an inning eating number four once he works out some issues with his command as well as his off-speed pitch. Due to his rare velocity as a lefty he has a good shot at making the big leagues in some role. However, I wouldn't expect Arizona to pitch him in the minors this year due to throwing 89 innings for Kent State after not pitching last year.
9. Pat Corbin, LHP
Corbin has five different pitches he can throw for strikes.
Corbin, a lefty acquired in the Dan Haren trade last year, has done nothing but pitch well since being traded to the organization. After going 0-1 with a 1.38 ERA over 8 High-A starts to finish 2010, Corbin entered this year on a high-note. A promotion to Double-A hasn't slowed this 22-year-old, as he's gone 8-6 with a 3.98 ERA and a 115/28 K/BB ratio in 126.2 innings. His ERA is an impressive 3.26 in his last ten starts, after pitching to a 4.84 ERA in his first ten outings.
Corbin's projected as a number four starter, and his performance this year against some more advanced hitters has shown that he's a little more likely to get there. The fact that he's been able to make adjustments is always a positive sign, as is the fact that he's a very strong ground ball pitcher. He may not be a guy with elite stuff, but he does have five pitches and the ability to set up hitters.
8. Chris Owings, SS
Owings has a chance to be an everyday player at short.
Owings triple slash line this year is .254/.285/.400, numbers that don't really impress on the surface considering he's playing in the hitter friendly California League. However, he's a 19-year-old shortstop playing in High-A ball and has shown enough power to hit twenty-five doubles and eight homers.
Owings has the upside of a decent everyday player at short because he's a good defender with some pop. However, he has to do something about his awful plate discipline. He has 96 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 390 at bats.
He would benefit from starting next season back in High-A, where he will be at an advantage because he's repeating the league before getting an in-season promotion to Double-A. At that rate, he could be in the majors for Opening Day 2014 at the age of 22.
7. Matt Davidson, 1B/3B
Davidson is a bat only prospect having only a solid year in the California League.
Davidson's offensive numbers are still very strong, but his stock has taken a hit this year due to questions about his ability to stick at third base defensively. His .274 average with 13 homers and 80 RBIs in 102 games played would be good numbers for a third baseman, but for a first baseman they are just average. When you throw in the fact that he's got an OPS of under .800(.795) in the hitter friendly California League, that doesn't help matters. Neither do his 111 strikeouts in 409 at bats, with at least 25 in every month.
Davidson could end up being a plus hitter with plus power at third, or nothing more than an average player if he ends up being a first baseman in the long run. Davidson's ultimate value lies in where he ends up defensively.
6. Bobby Borchering, 1B/3B
Borchering is very similar to Davidson, but with better power.
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Borchering, like Davidson, is a young prospect with questions on his ability to stick at third defensively. He has the better bat of the two 20-year-old prospects, and is hitting .268 with 19 homers and 75 RBI's in High-A ball. Borchering's also got issues with strikeouts, as he's already racked up 123, but at least he has a strong isolated power rating of .201.
Just like Davidson, he projects as a plus bat with plus power as a third baseman, but only an average player if he becomes a full time first baseman. Borchering's defense is a bit behind Davidson's, and because of that has very little chance of sticking at third.
5. David Holmberg,LHP
Holmberg's emergence is making the White Sox regret the Edwin Jackson trade last season.
David Holmberg was considered the other piece that came along with Daniel Hudson to Arizona while sending Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox last year. Although, after the 20-year-old started the year 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 14 Low-A starts he has started to open the eyes of scouts.
The Diamondbacks decided to give him a tough test and send him to High-A Visalia of the hitter friendly California League, and Holmberg has responded nicely since being promoted. He's 2-3 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts. Those are very strong numbers for a recently turned 20-year-old pitching in the tough California League. Holmberg doesn't have elite stuff, but still looks to be in the mold of a solid middle of the rotation starter.
4. Jarrod Parker, RHP
Parker is almost all the way back from Tommy John surgery.
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In 2009, Jarrod Parker was one of the game's bright young prospects—A 20-year-old that dominated the California League and more than held his own with a 4-6 record and a 3.68 ERA in 16 Double-A starts. However, he sustained an injury and required Tommy John surgery.
Now flash forward to today and he's a 22-year-old in Double-A, just starting to regain the command he once had to go along with his plus stuff. He's only 9-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 20 starts due to a rocky beginning of the season. However, he's 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last seven starts.
Parker was once seen as the future ace of the Diamondbacks rotation, and although he still has a ceiling of being a number one, he is now looked at as more of a strong number two starter. If Parker keeps progressing over the remainder of the season, it's not out of the question that he opens next year in the majors.
3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
Skaggs has really emerged this year.
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The main piece of the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels last year, Tyler Skaggs has really stepped up this year. After the 19-year-old started the year 5-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 17 starts in the California League(High-A), he was promoted to Double-A.
The more advanced Double-A hitters haven't been able to figure out this teenager, as he's 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in his first four outings while still striking out more than a batter per inning. Skaggs is looking like a strong number two starter, but still has the chance to be a bit more. Odds are that he makes his big league in 2012 at the age of just 20.
2. Archie Bradley, RHP
Bradley could be a special arm.
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If Archie Bradley decides to give up the opportunity to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, he has the arm to become one of the game's elite prospects. Bradley was the number seven draft choice this year in a very deep pitching draft only because he is asking for a very large bonus and has extra leverage with his football scholarship.
Bradley is a pure power pitcher with the ability to dial up readings of 100 MPH on the radar gun, but also has two other potential plus pitches. Bradley has a very good athletic frame to build upon and has potential plus command.
It is important to note that he's only a high school pitcher who didn't face great competition in Oklahoma, so he has plenty of work left before he's ready to see the big leagues. I wouldn't expect to see him until at least late 2014.
1. Trevor Bauer, RHP
Bauer could be a better pro than number one draft choice Gerrit Cole.
The number three pick in this year's draft, Bauer has drawn comparisons to another former PAC 10 star with unorthodox mechanics— Former Washington Huskies' pitcher Tim Lincecum. Although Bauer has great stuff, it is not quite the elite stuff that Lincecum has, and he didn't dominate the league the same way Lincecum did. Despite getting to spend a year in the college "dead bat era," Bauer has about 30 less strikeouts while pitching in about 30 more innings than Lincecum did in his college career.
This year's Golden Spikes Award winner, Bauer pitched to a 1.25 ERA and managed ten complete games in just 16 starts with over 200 strikeouts. He has a plus fastball that he can throw up to 97 MPH, as well as a plus curve and an average change.
Some negatives scouts have cited are that his unusual max-effort delivery could lead to injury issues down the road. His high innings totals and high pitch counts are also of concern. At UCLA, he routinely threw 150 pitches per outing this past year.
Still Bauer has the potential of a true ace, and his ceiling is still very high as well. Best of all is the fact that he's already signed and pitching in the minors. For a guy that doesn't need much more development time that could mean there's a chance Bauer could pitch in the majors as soon as this month if the Diamondbacks would like to make him eligible for a spot on the playoff roster. Even if he pitches in relief down the stretch this year, he is a favorite to win a spot in the rotation as early as Opening Day next year.