Arizona Diamondbacks: Chat
Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.
Hey everyone, sorry for the delay getting
started. Welcome to the chat ��I'm taking a break from the Winter
Meetings to answer your questions about the Diamondbacks. I'll get to
as many questions as possible. Fire away...
JAYPERS (IL): With Schlereth now gone, which prospect whom you had ranked at # 11 now moves into the 10th position?
Daniel Schlereth ranked fifth on the
list, right behind Brandon Allen before getting traded yesterday in the
three-team deal involving the Yankees and Tigers. Schlereth was slotted
in as having the organization's best curveball and the closer of the
future. Matt Davidson was previously the 11th-ranked prospect who
backed his way into the top 10.
Looking through some other inquiries, it looks like people want to know
about Davidson a little more... Davidson was challenged at Yakima�a
hitter's graveyard�in his professional debut, thanks to an influx of
third basemen in the 2009 draft. There's no doubting Davidson's power,
and some front office officials compared Davidson to Paul Konerko. At
this point, Davidson has a glitch in his swing and it can get a bit
long at times. He has improved quite a bit defensively, but will need
to prove that he can stay at the hot corner.
Josh (Phoenix): With Schlereth all but gone, who becomes the closer of the future for Arizona?
It depends on who you're asking. In five
years, Chad Qualls will only be 35 years old and he's serviceable. The
best option in the farm system? I'd go with Leyson Septimo, who is a
position change guy. Septimo sits anywhere from 93-97 mph with his
fastball, spiking triple digits. He has a loose, snappy arm. His
repertoire and body type remind some scouts of Demaso Marte. The
problem will be harnessing his aggressiveness a little bit... He struck
out 69 batters in 56.2 innings last year, but also walked 44.
JAYPERS (IL): What are your thoughts on Jordan Norberto, and was he on your top 30 list?
Norberto is an interesting guy, sitting
92 mph with late sink on his fastball. He's got a fringe-average
upper-70s curveball and has eliminated the changeup since being moved
to the bullpen. Norberto needs to work on controlling the zone a little
bit more to become more of a pitcher than a thrower. Some scouts have
compared him to J.C. Romero. He does fit into the top 30, but you'll
have to wait to find out where exactly.
Chris (Chicago): Was Collmenter close to making the top 10? What does he throw besides the best change in the system, and what is his ceiling?
Collmenter wasn't in consideration for
the top 10, but he does fall in the top 30. He's an older guy who
doesn't get it done the traditional way. What he throws other than a
changeup? Just about everything. Collmenter has been known to
experiment on the mound, throwing an eephus pitch and a knuckleball in
the past. He can also throw a slurve-type offspeed pitch. He doesn't
have the pure stuff to 'wow' anyone, but he gets the job done as
evidenced by his strikeout numbers in the California League. He creates
deception by an extremely over-the-top pitching machine-like arm sling.
Collmenter has turned himself into a prospect, and he will have to
continue proving himself, though he profiles as a back-end starter or
Derrick (MD): What is Brandon Allen's offensive upside? Could he be a .280 30 HR guy in his prime?
If you're asking me, I'd say a .280 and
30 home run season would be a career year for Brandon Allen. Some
scouts have said they think he can get it done and be a solid average
everyday first baseman. Other scouts think he's not as good as his
numbers suggest and struggled with inside pitches because his swing is
long. He's a hard working guy and has made improvements every year, so
that's a positive. But one scout said the best case scenario is that
Allen turns into a Mike Jacobs type of player... More like a .250
hitter with 20-25 home runs if he plays every day.
David (Tempe, AZ): I've read that the general
consensus is that the Diamondbacks made good picks in the last draft in
terms of value, but I wonder why they didn't pick up more arms in the
early rounds. Any idea what their thinking was?
Talking with people in Arizona's front
office, they were pleased with the value of their picks given where
they selected... Most notably getting Belfiore, Helm, Schuster and
Greer where they did. My guess is the Diamondbacks put more of an
emphasis on arms in the past few drafts, so felt like they needed to
take stock up on position players.
Kenny (Peoria, AZ): Whats the report on Matt Helm?
Matt Helm is a guy that not too many
teams got to see during his junior and senior seasons, suffering knee
and ankle injuries over the last two years. But Helm played in the
Diamondbacks back yard, so they had a chance to follow him throughout
the summer showcase circuit more closely than other teams might have.
What was unfortunate for Helm turned out to be fortunate for Arizona �
it got a player with now power and hitability. He'll have to find a
defensive home, but the bat will play.
Travis (Jenks, OK): Is Scottie Allen in the top 30?
In 17.2 minor league innings, Scott Allen
struck out 16 batters while allowing just nine hits. He wasn't really
on the radar screen until later on the draft process. He's young, even
for a 2009 draftee as he just turned 18 in July. He sat 88-91 mph with
his fastball in high school, but put on 20 pounds during the summer and
bumped his velocity into the low-90s. He's got a classic downer
curveball and changeup to round out the three-pitch mix. Allen fit into
the No. 25-35 range, which is yet to be finalized because of roster
shuffling with trades and the Rule 5 Draft.
Jed S (NY): The obvious, probably most asked
question in this chat: where does Austin Jackson now fall in this list?
2nd behind Parker? In addition, where do A Jax figure to fit on this
team with an OF of Byrnes, Parra, Chris Young, and Upton? I don't see
much of an opportunity for either prospect there with an already full,
relatively young and half decent Outfield.
Austin Jackson was actually traded to the
Tigers in the three-team deal... The Diamondbacks acquired Edwin
Jackson and Ian Kennedy in the swap. Jackson ended up being sent to
Detroit � you'll have to check back to find out where Jackson will rank
in the Tigers' new top 10.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown,Delaware): What are your thought on class A pitcher Roque
Mercedes, who the Diamondbacks got from the Brewer's organization?
Roque Mercedes came over with Cole
Gillespie in the Felipe Lopez deal... Mercedes moved to the bullpen in
2008, and the results have been positive ever since. He's primarily a
two-pitch hurler, using an 89-94 mph fastball and a low-80s slider.
Scouts have compared Mercedes to LaTroy Hawkins, more for his physical
frame. Mercedes has a chance to be a power arm in the late innings.
MJ (Valpo): I thought Reynaldo Navarro
might've squeezed his way into this list—since he was on it last
season, and seemed to improve at South Bend...so, how far did he slip
down? He's still so young, and now has quite a bit of game experience.
How does the D-Back brass feel about him?
The Diamondbacks have been waiting for
Navarro to turn a corner for several years and he finally did in 2009.
He doesn't have an incredibly high upside package, but he doesn't have
many weaknesses, outside of his strike number (85 in 121 games).
Navarro wasn't highly considered for the top 10, but he ranks somewhere
in the top 30.
Josh G (Sacto, CA): Was Cole Gillespie close to cracking the top 10?
Not too close, no. Gillespie is a solid
player, profiling as a fourth outfielder platoon type. He's the perfect
roster protection player for Arizona and could earn a chance to play in
the big leagues next year. Scouts have compared Gillespie to Matt
Sean (Calgary, Canada): 7 of the top 10
prospects are 2009 draftees. Does this indicate a weakened system due
to recent promotions or an exceptional draft year? Which of these 2009
draftees will contribute as solid regulars first?
It's a little bit of both, though
probably more that the Diamondbacks have a depleted system. When the
list is finalized, there's going to be a record-breaking number of
draftees making the top 30. Arizona did a solid job of getting value in
this year's draft and took advantage of the number early-round picks.
The combined effect means that there are very few players on this
year's list that were last year.
Brent (Appleton): Is Parker still a top 5 pitching prospect? Would you take him in the long term over a guy like Kyle Drabek or Martin Perez?
Talking with scouts, everyone seems
confident that Parker is still a top-flight pitching prospect. Top 5? I
would have to think about it more, but he might be on the outside
looking in. Several scouts said he had the best pure stuff they saw all
year. No one seemed concerned with Parker's delivery or mechanis, and
so far his recovery from Tommy John is progressing well. Personally, I
would take Drabek and Perez over Parker. Ask 10 people, though, and
you'd probably get a few different answers.
Ben (Leland Grove): Did Schuster make your top 30? Were his string of no-hitters a fluke?
Any time a pitcher strings together four
no-hitters there's going to be some luck involved, but you've got to
give Schuster some credit. He doesn't have a textbook delivery, and his
slinging across-the-body arm motion creates a lot of deception,
especially for high school hitters. He took some lumps during the
summer season, which was expected since he threw so many innings during
the spring. He's a guy who pitches off rhythm and feel, and struggled
to get into a groove during the summer.
camden (Florida): What makes Bobby Borchering better than Matt Davidson? How are they different?
Reading the scouting reports, Borchering
and Davidson are similar players. But I'll prove a different way of
looking at this question, simply in the comparisons scouts have for the
players... Would you rather have Chipper Jones or Matt Williams (minus
the glove)? It's a tough call, but I'll take Jones. In terms of now
ability, Borchering is ahead of Davidson. Borchering's swing, from both
sides, is much more refined than Davidson's from one side. Borchering
has a slightly better chance of staying at third base, if he continues
to work defensively. And, in terms of body type, one scout said there
are a good number of major leaguers who would look at Borchering's body
and blush... He's got an incredible size and strength package.
mike (fl): what about Mark hallberg, I know he had a tough year but i still think he's a legit prospect
Mark Hallberg doesn't have any stand-out
tools, they're mostly fringe-average. He doesn't have a quick bat or a
pure swing. He's a below-average runner. Hallberg is more of a
disciplined hitter than a hitability type. What Hallberg lacks he makes
up for in terms of intelligence and instincts. He's a nice
organizational player who could be a big-league utility player down the
line and will likely open next year at Triple-A Reno.
David (Tempe, AZ): Where does AZ's farm system rank with the influx of talent at the draft? Somewhere around 20?
Baseball America's John Manuel took a
stab at the preliminary organization rankings recently in a blog entry:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=7297. There, John
ranks the Diamondbacks in the bottom five, which seems about right for
Shane (Miami): Matt, enjoyed this list! What
do you think the odds are that Parker is shifted to the pen? There are
not as many successes as there are failures for starters effectively
returning from Tommy John surgery.
Arizona is going to give Jarrod Parker
every opportunity to prove himself as a starter, as well it should.
There are very few, if any, pitching prospects in baseball with the
pure stuff that Parker has. He's a special arm, without a doubt. He
would have been given an invitation to Major League camp in spring
training had he been healthy.
Grant (Phoenix): Was David Nick considered for
the top 10? Is he a good defender and do you see him as an everyday
player in the majors, or more of a utility player?
David Nick wasn't highly considered for
the top 10, but he falls in the 11-30 range for sure. Defensively, Nick
has an unconventional throwing motion and below-average arm strength.
His footwork is average but needs to improve to make up for his arm. To
me, Nick is more of an offensive minded, bat off the bench type in the
big leagues. He drives the ball well to all fields and has a violent
Sam (Mesa, AZ): Is there any organization that
drafted as poorly in back to back years as the Diamondbacks did in 2007
and 2008? Other than Parker, maybe Augenstein and Schlereth (now traded
but probably an overdraft in the 1st round), I'm struggling to find
anyone from those two drafts that will be a contributor at the big
league level. Am I missing anyone or did the organization just
basically go to sleep on those two drafts?
The Diamondbacks didn't have the best
drafts in 2007 and 2008, which is part of the reason why the system is
depleted right now. That doesn't mean there won't be major league
contributors, however: Wade Miley, Kevin Eichhorn, Colin Cowgill, Pat
McAnaney, Barry Enright and Reynaldo Navarro, along with Parker and
Augenstein, all have a chance to be solid big leaguers.
kevin (chicago): if not traded would ryne white of made the top 10
White wasn't being considered for the top
10, but he was in consideration for the top 30. White is a classic
lefty hitter, but uses the whole field to his advantage. He makes
consistent contact and has good raw strength. White doesn't have a high
upside package, but is versatile enough to play several positions.
David (Tempe, AZ): The list mentioned a lack of athletes up the middle. Is Keon Broxton or Reynaldo Navarro a legitimate prospect?
Both Broxton and Navarro are legitimate
prospects. And both rank similarly in the top 30, somewhere in the
11-30 range. Arizona's front office is pretty high on Broxton, the
prototypical scouting tool shed. Broxton is extremely athletic, you're
right, and profiles to be a major league center fielder down the line.
Scouts have compared Broxton to the D-Backs own Chris Young, circa
2007. Broxton will need some refinement, but should be an interesting
guy to follow over the next few years.
l.nodolf (Fillmore,CA): Who are the top 2b/ss prospects in the system? Also does davidson more likely to stay at 3b than borchering?
At second: Chris Owings, David Nick, Mark
Hallberg and Rusty Ryal. At short: Reynaldo Navarro, Pedro Ciriaco,
Brent Greer and Raul Navarro.
I'd say Borchering has a slightly better chance of staying at third in
the long run, though not by much.
Jose (San Diego): Are there any guys from the
DSL club that will make the jump to an American club in 2010? Are there
any high ceiling players there?
Not to be confused with Reynaldo Navarro,
fellow shortstop Raul Navarro is a legitimate prospect. Raul has a very
mature approach to hitting for a 17-year-old in the DSL. Raul projects
to have above average power and knows how to get on base, thanks to a
simple and repeatable swing. He's an above-average defender and an
average runner. For such a young player, the game seems to come easily
to him, playing very under control. There's a good chance you'll see
Raul with an American club in 2010.
Phil (Richmond): What are your thoughts on Patrick McAnaney? What do you think his ceiling is and do you see him as a starter or reliever?
Patrick McAnaney sits 85-89 mph with his
fastball. He also throws a 69-78 mph curveball and a mid-70s changeup.
McAnaney is a feel-to-pitch guy, with a good sense of the ball and how
it moves. He's not afraid to add or subtract from his fastball, and has
varying shapes and breaks to his breaking ball. McAnaney throws the
ball over the plate consistently and doesn't fall in love with any one
pitch or sequence. The physical stuff isn't projectable but it plays
when he's on the mound. Scouts have compared him to a poor-man's Jamie
Moyer. He'll be a swing man, either pitching in the back-half of the
rotation or in middle relief.
Thanks for all of your questions
everybody, sorry I couldn't get to all of them. I appreciate you tuning
in for the chat, but I've got to get back to some Winter Meetings
action. This wraps up the top 10 lists for all of the National League
teams. Be sure to check back next week to see who ranks in the top 10
for the Jays and Orioles. And don't miss Baseball America's live
coverage of tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft.