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Arizona Diamondbacks: Power Ranking Their 15 Best Pitching Prospects

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Arizona Diamondbacks: Power Ranking Their 15 Best Pitching Prospects
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Prospect Tyler Skaggs was stolen from the Angels.

Pitching is the indisputable strength of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

The club boasts four pitching prospects that could arguably be ranked as No. 1 prospects in eight to 10 other MLB minor league systems.

Arizona is in an enviable place given the value of pitching in the current market. The club could easily acquire an impact veteran player at any point if the team became willing to part with some of its embarrassment of riches.

And the depth is not just in the minor league system. The big-league starting rotation already boasts young pitching talent such as Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter and David Hernandez.

With that said, let's see who the next wave of talent will bring to Arizona.

 

1. Trevor Bauer | RHP
Experience: 1 season
Age: 20
Current Level: AA
MLB ETA: mid 2012
Ceiling: No. 1 starter

Selected third overall during the 2011 amateur draft, Bauer had an outside shot of going first overall.

The UCLA alum uses a unique pitching approach—along the lines of San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum—to produce above-average stuff. He has the ceiling of a No. 1 or No. 2 workhorse starter and could reach the majors in 2012, giving Arizona an enviable rotation.

 

2. Tyler Skaggs | LHP
Experience: 3 seasons
Age: 20
Current Level: AA
MLB ETA: late 2012
Ceiling: No. 2 starter

Norm Hall/Getty Images
2011 first round draft pick Archie Bradley.

Acquired in the Dan Haren/Joe Saunders deal, Skaggs has the opportunity to swing this trade heavily in Arizona’s favor.

He should eventually slide in behind Bauer, giving the big-league club a killer one-two punch for many years to come. Skaggs split 2011 between A+ and AA—striking out 73 in 57.2 innings at the latter level.

 

3. Archie Bradley | RHP
Experience: 1 season
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie
MLB ETA: 2015
Ceiling: No. 1 starter

The high-ceiling pitching talent train just keeps on coming with this teenager.

Bradley was selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft, four picks after Bauer. Those two picks alone give Arizona one of the best drafts of the year.

Bradley was the second-best prep pitching prospect behind Dylan Bundy (drafted second overall by Baltimore). Arizona’s pitching prospect won’t see the majors anytime soon but, as long as he stays healthy, he could be an All-Star pitcher.

 

4. Jarrod Parker | RHP
Experience: 5 seasons
Age: 23
Current Level: MLB
MLB ETA: Now
Ceiling: No. 2 or 3 starter

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jarrod Parker made his long-awaited MLB debut in 2011.

Parker finally reached the major leagues (for one start) in 2011 after battling back from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

The club’s first-round pick from 2007 doesn’t have quite the same crispness to his stuff that he had pre-surgery, but the talent is still there to develop into an above-average starting pitcher.

 

5. Bryan Shaw | RHP
Experience: 4 seasons
Age: 24
Current Level: MLB
MLB ETA: Now
Ceiling: Closer

Moving certain pitchers to the bullpen can do wonders. The former second-round pick was a reliever at Long Beach State University but was moved into the starting rotation in pro ball for two seasons (2009-10).

He pitched OK in that role but thrived with a move back to the bullpen and had a solid MLB debut in 2011.  Shaw’s cutter is a dominating pitch and could allow him to eventually assume the mantle of closer.

 

6. Patrick Corbin | LHP
Experience: 3 seasons
Age: 22
Current Level: AA
MLB ETA: late 2012
Ceiling: No. 4 starter

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Bryan Shaw should help anchor the bullpen in 2012.

The final piece of the Haren trade with Los Angeles, Corbin doesn’t have the same ceiling that Skaggs possesses, but he has the chance to be a durable southpaw—and those types of pitchers are extremely valuable, even with a modest ceiling.

The lefty spent all of 2011 in AA and showcased a solid repertoire and above-average control.

 

7. David Holmberg | LHP
Experience: 3 seasons
Age: 20
Current Level: A+
MLB ETA: late 2013
Ceiling: No. 4 starter

The organization has done an outstanding job obtaining left-handed pitchers from other organizations, as seen with both Corbin and Holmberg. The latter pitcher was nabbed from the Chicago White Sox—along with current big-leaguer Daniel Hudson—in the Edwin Jackson trade.

Like Corbin, Holmberg has a modest ceiling but survives with a solid collection of pitches and good control.

 

8. Andrew Chafin | LHP
Experience: Amateur
Age: 21
Current Level: College
MLB ETA: mid 2013
Ceiling: Closer

Selected 43rd overall in the 2011 draft, Chafin could have gone even higher on talent alone—if not for a history of injury problems (including Tommy John surgery in ’10).

The lefty will probably receive a shot in the starting rotation because he showcases three offerings (fastball, slider, changeup), but his lack of durability and two-plus pitches (fastball, slider) could force the club to turn him into a dominating late-game pitcher.

 

9. Anthony Meo | RHP
Experience: 1 season
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie
MLB ETA: mid 2014
Ceiling: No. 3 starter or setup man

Another solid pitching prospect acquired in the 2011 draft, Meo is a right-handed version of Chafin in the sense that he has two above-average pitches (fastball, curveball) but is probably eventually headed to the bullpen.

He lacks command of his pitches and doesn’t have much of a third pitch to help him the second and third times through the batting order. Meo could eventually become Chafin’s setup man.

 

10. Wade Miley | LHP
Experience: 4 seasons
Age: 25
Current Level: 25
MLB ETA: Now
Ceiling: No. 4 starter

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Wade Miley could be back in the rotation in 2012.

Miley made his MLB debut in 2011 and appeared in eight games, making seven starts.

He struggled with his fastball command but showcased a solid changeup. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he could develop into a durable pitcher. If he cannot solve right-handed hitters on a more consistent basis, though, he could be headed for a middle-relief role.

 

11. Kyle Winkler | RHP
Experience: Amateur
Age: 21
Current Level: College
MLB ETA: 2014
Ceiling: No. 3 starter

Like Chafin, Winkler could have gone higher in the draft if not for injuries. The health problems are not a big surprise given his smaller frame and awkward delivery.

If he can find some consistency, though, Winkler could develop into a value big league arm for Arizona.

 

12. J.R. Bradley | RHP
Experience: 2 seasons
Age: 19
Current Level: A-
MLB ETA: 2015
Ceiling: No. 3 starter

An underrated prospect, Bradley hasn’t put up great numbers, but he’s still quite young and has a solid repertoire.

Once he learns to command his fastball in the zone, he could see a bump in his strikeout rate, and he already produces above-average ground ball numbers. Bradley has a big, strong frame and could eventually see his velocity spike into the mid-90s.

 

13. Ryan Cook | RHP
Experience: 4 seasons
Age: 24
Current Level: MLB
MLB ETA: Now
Ceiling: Setup man

Like Shaw, Cook benefited from a permanent move from the starting rotation to the bullpen in 2011.

He has one plus pitch—a mid-90s fastball—and a decent slider. The right-hander’s delivery has effort to it, and his command suffers as a result. With a little more polish, though, Cook could see some high-leverage situations at the big-league level.

 

14. Evan Marshall
Experience: 1 season
Age: 21
Current Level: AA
MLB ETA: late 2012
Ceiling: Setup man

Yet another talented college pitcher taken in the 2011 draft, Marshall had an outstanding pro debut pitching at three different levels and topping out in AA.

He could be the second draft pick (behind Bauer) to reach the majors. He has two above-average pitches (fastball, slider) and could eventually work as a setup man or even a closer if Shaw doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in the role.

 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Ryan Cook's mid-90s fastball could come in handy in 2012.

15. Tyler Green | RHP
Experience: 1 season
Age: 20
Current Level: A-
MLB ETA: 2014
Ceiling: No. 3 starter

Signability concerns caused Green to slide into the eighth round of the 2010 draft, and he signed too late to pitch in pro ball that year.

Despite that fact, the organization was extremely aggressive with him in ’11 and assigned him to full-season ball. He struggled but was young for the league and shows a lot of promise.

He just needs a lot of polish—and patience.

 

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Kevin Munson, Blake Perry, Chase Anderson, Patrick Schuster, Robbie Rowland, and Charles Brewer

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