Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports

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, 2011.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

After a disastrous 2009 season, the Diamondbacks were looking forward to better times when 2010 kicked off.

Buoyed by free-agent acquisitions Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, trade pickups Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy and the expected return of Conor Jackson and Brandon Webb from injury, Arizona hoped to bounce back from a 70-92 debacle.

Instead, things got worse.

The offense continued to set strikeout records, and the bullpen was the worst in baseball. Conor Jackson was ineffective before being traded to the Athletics at midseason, and Webb never made it back to the mound.

The controversial move of A.J. Hinch from farm director to manager in 2009 ended up costing both general manager Josh Byrnes and Hinch their jobs, despite long-term contracts for each. With a 31-48 record and waning interest from fans, owner Ken Kendrick and president Derek Hall pulled the plug. They installed director of player personnel Jerry DiPoto as interim GM and bench coach Kirk Gibson as manager.

The Diamondbacks still finished with a 65-97 record, third-worst in baseball, but the atmosphere in the clubhouse improved after the change.

DiPoto undertook a major reduction in the team payroll and added depth to a thin farm system by trading Jackson, Dan Haren, Chad Qualls and Chris Snyder.

The team gained further payroll relief after the season with the conclusion of the bloated $30 million contract of Eric Byrnes, who had been released in January.

More front-office changes came in the offseason, highlighted by the hiring of Kevin Towers as GM, a position he held with the Padres for 14 years. Towers persuaded DiPoto to stay on in a new role to oversee both scouting and player development.

Farm director Mike Berger was reassigned to a pro scouting position and initially replaced by Double-A Mobile manager Rico Brogna. When Brogna resigned after one month, Arizona turned to minor league field coordinator Mike Bell. Scouting director Tom Allison was replaced by Ray Montgomery, who like Allison had been a Brewers crosschecker.

Gibson had his "interim" tag removed at the end of the season and added Don Baylor, Charles Nagy, Alan Trammell and Eric Young to his coaching staff.

The farm system benefited from DiPoto's trades. Daniel Hudson went 7-1, 1.69 after coming over from the White Sox in the Jackson deal, which also yielded young lefthander David Holmberg.

The Diamondbacks picked up two more southpaws in Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin when they sent Haren to the Angels. The system's biggest boost will come the return of top prospect Jarrod Parker, who sat out 2010 recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

After focusing on position prospects with seven picks in the first two rounds of the 2009 draft, Arizona went for pitcher with its first eight choices last June. The 2010 draft delivered the final snafu of the Byrnes regime when the team drafted righthander Barret Loux sixth overall, in large part because he accepted a below-slot deal worth $2 million.

When Loux failed a postdraft physical because of concerns over his shoulder and elbow, the Diamondbacks withdrew their offer. In an unprecedented move, MLB declared Loux a free agent and he signed with the Rangers. Arizona receives the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 draft for failing to sign Loux, along with the No. 3 pick it earned with its poor play.

1.  Jarrod Parker, rhp   Born: Nov. 24, 1988B-T: R-RHt: 6-1Wt: 180
 Drafted: HS—Norwell, Ind., 2007 (1st round)Signed by: Mike Daughtry
Jarrod ParkerBackground: Parker has ranked No. 1 on this list for three straight years, but he almost didn't become a Diamondback. If the Royals had taken Josh Vitters with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, the Cubs would have followed by selecting Parker. But Kansas City switched to Mike Moustakas on the day of the draft, Chicago went for Vitters and Arizona landed Parker with the ninth choice. He signed for $2.1 million at the Aug. 15 deadline, too late to make his pro debut, and then jumped on the fast track. He began his pro career at low Class A South Bend in 2008 and reached Double-A Mobile by May of the following year. Parker had no trouble handling Double-A hitters as a 20-year old and ranked as the Southern League's top pitching prospect. Elbow tightness forced him to the sidelines in late July, however. After skipping planned stints with Team USA and the Arizona Fall League in an attempt to recover with rest, he had Tommy John surgery in October 2009 and sat out the entire 2010 season. After rehabbing at the Diamondbacks' Tucson complex early in the year, Parker spent the second half with Mobile, throwing side sessions and simulate games. While he was champing at the bit to get back on the mound, he didn't pitch in a real game until instructional league.

Scouting Report: Parker appeared to be back to full strength during instructional league, with more confidence and better mechanics than he had before he blew out his elbow. His delivery was smooth before he got hurt, however, and wasn't blamed for his injury. Though he's just 6-foot-1, Parker has a quick arm that easily generates above-average velocity. During instructional league, his fastball sat at 94-95 mph and touched 97. His streamlined mechanics give him good fastball command as well. Despite the quality of his fastball, his slider is actually his best pitch. He throws it in the low 80s with nice tilt and two-plane depth, making it a true swing-and-miss pitch. Parker also throws an 80-83 mph changeup that was on its way to becoming a plus pitch before he got hurt. He also has an effective mid-70s curveball he uses mostly as a show-me pitch. He showed more consistency with his offspeed pitches in instructional league than he did before his injury.

The Future: Parker has the stuff to become an ace. The track record for pitchers coming back from Tommy John is encouraging, and from all indications, he'll return as strong, if not stronger, than before. Arizona hasn't ruled out the possibility that he could break camp in the big league rotation with an impressive spring training, and scouts who saw him in instructional league say he's ready to pitch in the majors. It's more likely that the Diamondbacks will be more cautious, having him start 2011 in Double-A and limiting him to 130-140 innings in his first year back. Regardless, Parker soon will be a key cog at the front of their rotation. With Dan Haren traded to the Angels last year and former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb unlikely to return after missing almost all of the last two seasons with shoulder problems, Arizona doesn't have a starting pitcher with close to Parker's upside.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Did Not Play—Injured
2.  Tyler Skaggs, lhp   Born: July 13, 1991B-T: L-LHt: 6-4Wt: 195
 Drafted: HS—Santa Monica, Calif., 2009 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: Bobby DeJardin (Angels)
Tyler SkaggsBackground: The Diamondbacks hoped to take Skaggs with the 41st overall pick in 2009, but the Angels took him one choice earlier and signed him for $1 million. Arizona got him in the Dan Haren trade last July, with Skaggs the key player in a four-pitcher package that also included Joe Saunders and prospects Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez.

Scouting Report: Skaggs has a long, lean athletic body with plenty of projection. His primary weapon is his above-average curveball, which he throws in the low 70s and locates where he wants. His curve ranks as the best in the system. He also commands his 88-92 mph fastball, and could add more velocity as he fills out his lanky frame. He's refining a changeup that could give him a third plus pitch down the road. Scouts note his aggressiveness and confidence on the mound, and they like how he goes about his business.

The Future: Skaggs profiles as a solid No. 3 starter right now, and he can become a frontline starter is his fastball and changeup develop as hoped. He's still just 19 and has just 108 innings of pro experience, so the Diamondbacks won't rush him. He'll likely move through the minors one level at a time, which put him on schedule to begin 2011 at high Class A Visalia.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Cedar Rapids (Lo A) 8 4 3.61 19 14 0 0 82 78 6 21 82 .252
South Bend (Lo A) 1 1 1.69 4 4 0 0 16 13 1 4 20 .224
3.  Matt Davidson, 3b   Born: March 26, 1991B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 225
 Drafted: HS—Yucaipa, Calif., 2009 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: Jeff Mousser
Matt DavidsonBackground: The first of three Diamondbacks supplemental first-round picks in 2009, Davidson signed for $900,000. Arizona has pushed him aggressively, sending him to short-season Yakima for his pro debut and promoting him to high Class A at age 19 last August. He looked overmatched at those stops, but in between he earned all-star honors playing against competition closer to his age in the low Class A Midwest League.

Scouting Report: One Diamondbacks scout proclaimed Davidson as the "crown jewel of the system," and MWL observers clearly preferred him to fellow South Bend third baseman Bobby Borchering, a 2009 first-rounder. Thanks to his quick hands, Davidson has above-average power to all fields. He's not afraid to let balls travel deep and should hit for a solid average as well. With below-average speed and fringy range, he won't be more than adequate at third base, but he's better than Borchering defensively and Arizona thinks Davidson can stay at the hot corner. With his strong arm, he could move to an outfield corner if necessary.

The Future: A potential cleanup hitter in the majors, Davidson will return to Visalia, where he'll once again team up with many of the system's top prospects. The downside is that he'll have to share third base with Borchering again rather than getting daily reps at the hot corner.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
South Bend (Lo A) .289 .371 .504 415 58 120 35 3 16 79 43 109 0
Visalia (Hi A) .169 .298 .268 71 6 12 1 0 2 11 12 25 0
4.  Chris Owings, ss   Born: Aug. 12, 1991B-T: R-RHt: 5-11Wt: 175
 Drafted: HS—Gilbert, S.C., 2009 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: George Swain
Chris OwingsBackground: Another 2009 sandwich pick, Owings signed just before the Aug. 15 deadline for $950,000. He has batted .300/.324/.421 in two pro seasons, but didn't play after appearing in the Midwest League all-star game last June because he came down with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. He did return for instructional league.

Scouting Report: When he was drafted, there were questions about whether Owings could stay at shortstop or would need to move to second base. Scouts now believe he has a future as a solid big league shortstop, with good quickness and agility, dependable range and a strong arm. Owings has very quick hands at the plate and could develop 12-15 home run power. He needs to address his plate discipline, but his short swing and willingness to use the whole field could translate into a .280 average in the majors. He's a slightly above-average runner with good instincts on the bases. He has the work ethic to continue to improve his game.

The Future: Ticketed for high Class A in 2011, Owings may not quite be ready when Stephen Drew will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. If Drew stays in Arizona, Owings could move to second base, and he has the bat to profile at either middle-infield position.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
South Bend (Lo A) .298 .323 .447 255 39 76 19 2 5 28 9 50 1
5.  Marc Krauss, of   Born: Oct. 5, 1987B-T: L-RHt: 6-3Wt: 235
 Drafted: Ohio, 2009 (2nd round)Signed by: Frankie Thon Jr
Marc KraussBackground: Krauss was advanced enough offensively that the Diamondbacks sent him straight to low Class A after signing him as a second-rounder in 2009. His pro debut was cut short by an ankle injury, yet Arizona was aggressive again and assigned him to high Class A last year. He hit at both stops, as well as in the Arizona Fall League after the 2010 season.

Scouting Report: Krauss can rake and he'll have to, because that's his only route to the big leagues. He's a patient hitter with a clean swing, though he doesn't have blazing bat speed and his stroke can get long at times. He uses the whole field and developed more pull-side power last season, continuing that trend in the AFL. He hits southpaws as well as he hits righthander, so he won't get pigeonholed as a platoon player. With below-average speed and athleticism to go with a fringy arm, Krauss is limited to left field. He does take good routes to the ball. Scouts question whether he could handle a move to first base.

The Future: Krauss will open 2011 in Double-A and could see Triple-A Reno before season's end. The Diamondbacks need outfielders and power bats, so he'll move quickly if he continues to hit. He's a good bet to be the first member of Arizona's draft class to reach the majors.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Visalia (Hi A) .302 .371 .509 530 107 160 27 4 25 87 57 141 1
6.  A.J. Pollock, of   Born: Dec. 5, 1987B-T: R-RHt: 6-2Wt: 200
 Drafted: Notre Dame, 2009 (1st round)Signed by: Mike Daughtry
A.J. PollockBackground: Pollock parlayed Cape Cod League MVP honors in the summer of 2008 into becoming the 17th overall pick in 2009, signing for $1.4 million. After a solid pro debut at South Bend, where he starred collegiately at Notre Dame, he missed all of 2010 after a freak injury during a spring-training fielding drill left him needing surgery to repair a fractured growth plate in his right elbow. He spent his downtime working on conditioning, especially strengthening his lower half, before returning to play in intstructional league and the Arizona Fall League.

Scouting Report: Besides his bat, Pollock may not have a plus tool, but he has well-rounded skills and instincts that let him play above his physical ability. He uses his quick hands to stroke line drives from gap to gap. He won't have big-time power but could develop into a 15-homer threat. His speed is slightly above average and he runs the bases well. Pollock reads balls well and covers a lot of ground in center field, and he had an average arm before he hurt his elbow.

The Future: Pollock projects as a solid big league regular or at least a quality fourth outfielder on a contender. He was on the fast track prior to his injury, so he could jump to Double-A to begin 2011.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Did Not Play—Injured
7.  Bobby Borchering, 3b   Born: Oct. 25, 1990B-T: B-RHt: 6-3Wt: 200
 Drafted: HS—Fort Myers, Fla., 2009 (1st round)Signed by: Ray Blanco
Bobby BorcheringBackground: One of the top high school hitters in the 2009 draft, Borchering went 16th overall as the first of five Arizona picks before the second round. Signed for $1.8 million, he joined many others from his deep draft class last year at South Bend, where he split time at third base with Matt Davidson and also DHed.

Scouting Report: A switch-hitter, Borchering has has all-star caliber raw power from both sides of the plate but struggled with his swing and approach in his first full pro season. He started using the whole field more later in the season, which was reflected in his .305/.385/.532 numbers in the final month. He'll have to continue adjusting to make more consistent contact and hit for average against more advanced pitching. He's a better hitter from the right side, as he tends to get out in front and a little jumpy batting lefthanded. Borchering has little chance of remaining at third base, because he lacks quick feet and has slightly below-average arm strength. He has below-average speed, so his only potential destinations are first base and left field.

The Future: Borchering is still far from reaching his potential. He'll likely move one level at a time and figures to spend 2011 in high Class A, once again in a third-base timeshare with Davidson.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
South Bend (Lo A) .270 .341 .423 523 74 141 31 2 15 74 54 128 1
8.  Wade Miley, lhp   Born: Nov. 13, 1986B-T: L-LHt: 6-2Wt: 190
 Drafted: Southeastern Louisiana, 2008 (1st round supplemental)Signed by: Trip Couch
Wade MileyBackground: No Diamondbacks farmhand improved as much in 2010 as Miley, a supplemental first-round pick two years earlier who signed for $887,000. After his stuff and prospect status began to slip in 2009, he hired a trainer for the offseason. The improvement in his conditioning and confidence showed as he took his game to another level after a midseason promotion to Double-A, and Arizona considered him for a big league promotion.

Scouting Report: Miley's fastball dipped to 87-88 mph at times in 2009, but he pitched at 92-93 last year and spiked as high as 96. He uses his 79-83 mph slider as a strikeout pitch, though it gets a little slurvy at times. His changeup flirts with being a plus pitch, improving as he threw it more and with better arm speed. Miley also throws a curveball, which is basically a softer version of his slider, and a cutter. He's still working to improve his command but showed more ability to pitch deep into starts in 2010. He's athletic and fields his position well.

The Future: If Miley can prove that the strides he made at Mobile were for real, he could get his first big league callup in 2011. Arizona needs pitching, and he'll be just one level away in Triple-A.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Visalia (Hi A) 4 5 3.25 14 14 0 0 80 81 1 37 50 .266
Mobile (AA) 5 2 1.98 13 13 0 0 73 60 5 28 63 .232
9.  Patrick Corbin, lhp   Born: July 19, 1989B-T: L-LHt: 6-3Wt: 165
 Drafted: Chipola (Fla.) JC, 2009 (2nd round)Signed by: Tom Kotchman (Angels)
Patrick CorbinBackground: While Tyler Skaggs was the centerpiece of the Dan Haren trade from the Diamondbacks' perspective, Corbin could give them a second lefty starter out of the deal. He began his college career playing baseball and basketball at Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) CC in 2008 before transferring to Chipola (Fla.) JC and going in the second round the following year. Because Corbin already had pitched 118 innings at the time of the trade, Arizona limited him to three innings per start afterward.

Scouting Report: Corbin's fastball ranges from 88-92 mph with very good movement. He has the ability to throw nothing but fastballs for long periods because it tails and sinks and is never straight. Both of his secondary pitches have the potential to become at least solid if not more, and his slider currently rates ahead of his changeup. Corbin commands all three of his pitches, has an athletic delivery and possesses a feel for his craft. He has a projectable body, though there are questions about whether his slight build will allow him to hold up over a full season in the rotation.

The Future: Corbin is ready for Double-A. He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter and could get his first chance in the big leagues in 2012.
2010 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Cedar Rapids (Lo A) 8 0 3.86 9 9 0 0 58 52 2 10 42 .245
Rancho Cucamonga (Hi A) 5 3 3.88 11 11 0 0 60 57 7 18 64 .247
Visalia (Hi A) 0 1 1.38 8 8 0 0 26 17 1 9 30 .189
10.  Keon Broxton, of   Born: May 7, 1990B-T: R-RHt: 6-3Wt: 190
 Signed: Santa Fe (Fla.) CC, 2009 (3rd round)Signed by: Luke Wrenn
Keon BroxtonBackground: Broxton had a football scholarship to play wide receiver at Florida Atlantic, but decided to focus on baseball and attend Santa Fe (Fla.) CC after the Phillies drafted him in the 29th round out of high school in 2008. He went 26 rounds higher a year later, adding athleticism to a system sorely in need of toolsy up-the-middle talent.

Scouting Report: Broxton is a classic high-risk, high-reward player. For all his tools, he lacks baseball instincts and the ability to make consistent contact. He has a sound swing and a quick bat, but he struggles to recognize pitches and handle offspeed stuff. He's a free swinger who doesn't have much usable power, accumulating most of his extra-base hits with his above-average speed. Broxton has the raw ability to be a plus defender in center field, though he needs to upgrade his jumps and routes. He has arm strength but needs more accuracy on throws.

The Future: Broxton has one of the highest ceilings in the system and a lot of adjustments to make to get there. The Diamondbacks will be patient with him, as he's still only 20 and may need close to a full season at every minor league level. He figures to advance to high Class A in 2011.
2010 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
South Bend (Lo A) .228 .316 .360 531 74 121 17 19 5 32 65 172 21

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