2014 Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects

Eds: David Holmberg ranked No. 7 when the print edition hit newsstands, but a trade to the Reds this week means that he has been replaced for this version.


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The 2013 season was supposed to be different for the Diamondbacks. An action-packed offseason saw general manager Kevin Towers trade star outfielder Justin Upton, outfielder Chris Young and 2011 first-round pick Trevor Bauer for a mix of prospects, gritty big leaguers—such as Martin Prado and Heath Bell—and shortstop Didi Gregorius.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Archie Bradley, rhp
2. Braden Shipley, rhp
3. Chris Owings, ss
4. Matt Davidson, 3b
5. Aaron Blair, rhp
6. Jose Martinez, rhp
7. Stryker Trahan, c
8. Matt Stites, rhp
9. Brandon Drury, 3b
10. Jake Lamb, 3b
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Chris Owings
Best Power Hitter Matt Davidson
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jake Lamb
Fastest Baserunner Ender Inciarte
Best Athlete Socrates Brito
Best Fastball Archie Bradley
Best Curveball Jose Martinez
Best Slider Jake Barrett
Best Changeup Chase Anderson
Best Control Matt Stites
Best Defensive Catcher Michael Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Nick Ahmed
Best Infield Arm Sergio Alcantara
Best Defensive Outfielder Evan Marzilli
Best Outfield Arm Ender Inciarte
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Archie Bradley, rhp (21) Double-A
2. Pat Corbin, lhp (24) Majors
3. Tyler Skaggs, lhp (22) Majors
4. Adam Eaton, of (25) Majors
5. Braden Shipley, rhp (22) Low Class A
6. Chris Owings, ss (22) Majors
7. Didi Gregorius, ss (24) Majors
8. Matt Davidson, 3b (23) Majors
9. Aaron Blair, rhp (21) Low Class A
10. Jose Martinez, rhp (19) Short-season
11. Randall Delgado, rhp (24) Majors
12. Stryker Trahan, c (19) Rookie
13. Matt Stites, rhp (23) Double-A
14. Brandon Drury, 3b (21) Low Class A
15. Jake Lamb, 3b (23) High Class A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Scott Hairston, 2b Nationals
2005 Carlos Quentin, of Padres
2006 Stephen Drew, ss Red Sox
2007 Justin Upton, of Braves
2008 Carlos Gonzalez, of Rockies
2009 Jarrod Parker, rhp Athletics
2010 Jarrod Parker, rhp Athletics
2011 Jarrod Parker, rhp Athletics
2012 Trevor Bauer, rhp Indians
2013 Tyler Skaggs, lhp Diamondbacks
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Stephen Drew, ss Red Sox
2005 Justin Upton, of Braves
2006 Max Scherzer, rhp Tigers
2007 Jarrod Parker, rhp Athletics
2008 Daniel Schlereth, lhp Orioles
2009 Bobby Borchering, 3b Astros
2010 *Barret Loux, rhp Cubs
2011 Trevor Bauer, rhp Indians
2012 Stryker Trahan, c Diamondbacks
2013 Braden Shipley, rhp Diamondbacks
*Did not sign
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Travis Lee, 1996 $10,000,000
Justin Upton, 2005 $6,100,000
John Patterson, 1996 $6,075,000
Archie Bradley, 2011 $5,000,000
Stephen Drew, 2004 $4,000,000
Diamondbacks Team Page
Last Year’s Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects
2013 Draft: Diamondbacks
2013 Draft Report Cards: Arizona DiamondbacksPremium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

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The 2013 Diamondbacks were to be built around solid pitching, improved defense, a more balanced, contact-oriented offensive attack and better clubhouse chemistry.

Arizona led the National League West for 81 days, as deep into the season as July 21, but couldn’t ever really get hot, with its longest win streak lasting just five games. Meanwhile, the Dodgers became baseball’s hottest team, going on a 40-12 run that included a June 11 game with the Diamondbacks that featured two brawls and seemed to spur on the Dodgers on their hot stretch.

Righthander Ian Kennedy, who was the ace of the 2011 division-winning team as a 21-game winner, was at the center of the brawl, plunking both Yasiel Puig and opposing starter Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks sent him packing to the Padres in July. Injuries already had thinned the lineup, including starting outfielders Adam Eaton (who was supposed to replace Young in center) and Cody Ross, catcher Miguel Montero and the keystone combo of Gregorius and second baseman Aaron Hill.

The injuries and underachievement left the team with the same 81-81 record that it registered in 2012. Pitching, considered to be the strength of the organization, also contributed to the disappointing season. Sophomore lefthander Pat Corbin provided a strong start and earned an All-Star Game berth, going into the break 11-1, but he couldn’t do it alone and wasn’t as effective in the second half. Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley did not meet expectations, while last year’s top prospect, lefthander Tyler Skaggs, failed to earn a regular rotation spot with an inconsistent performance. And the bullpen struggled to hold leads all season, cycling through several closers before settling on sidearmer Brad Ziegler.

A monster performance by the new face of the franchise, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, wasn’t enough. In his age-25 season, Goldschmidt led the NL in home runs (36), RBIs (125), total bases (332), slugging (.551) and OPS (.952). He also led with 19 intentional walks, as the Upton-less lineup lacked punch around him. No other Diamondback hit even 15 homers.

While the major league team treaded water, the farm system provided a few success stories. Rookies Gregorius and A.J. Pollock, who put up a .730 OPS and played strong defense in center field, provided solid contributions. Double-A Mobile, led by top prospect Archie Bradley and first-year manager Andy Green, narrowly missed a third straight Southern League championship, losing in the league finals.

Low Class A South Bend reached the Midwest League finals, buoyed in part by the organization’s top two draft picks, college righthanders Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair. And while Triple-A Reno struggled, winning just 60 games, Aces shortstop Chris Owings took a big step forward, winning both the MVP and top rookie honors in the Pacific Coast League before making his major league debut in September.

Reno manager Brett Butler, who joined the Marlins after the season, was one of several coaches to leave the organization, from third-base coach Matt Williams (now the Nationals manager) to pitching coach Charles Nagy and first-base coach Steve Sax, who were fired. So change remains the theme in Arizona heading into 2014.