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.
Bill Mitchell will chat about the Diamondbacks farm system beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Welcome to the Diamondbacks prospect
chat. This is the first year that I've done an organization report for
BA, although I'm no novice at prospect ranking having written the
Arizona League report the last three years as well as the Arizona Fall
League ranking this year. I really enjoyed the challenge of digging into
one organization, especially one that it going through a transition
phase with new management and a new direction. We've already got lots of
questions in the queue, so let's get started. If I don't get to your
question or want more detail, you may connect to me on Twitter:
JAYPERS (IL): Did Wagner Mateo make your top 30? What's the assessment of his eyesight and skills in general?
It's always reassuring to log into the
BA chat software and see our good friend Jaypers with the first
question. Wagner Mateo is an intriguing prospect ranked near the back
end of the top 20. He originally signed with the Cardinals for just over
$3 million during the 2009 international signing period. That contract
was later voided after the Cardinals doctors found problems with his
vision, a claim that was disputed by his family and advisors. He signed
with the Diamondbacks for a fraction of that bonus ($512k) in May 2010.
There have been a lot of conflicting reports around the game about the
nature of Mateo's vision problems, but the Diamondbacks believe that the
original problem has now been corrected. If so, then they will get a
bargain at that price. Mateo has a power bat and a very strong arm from
the outfield. He's still very raw but will turn just 18 this spring.
He'll get a good test when he makes his stateside debut with one of the
Dbacks three short season affiliates.
Sammy (Joisey): How close did LHP David Holmberg come to making your list?
Sammy, Holmberg is in the 20s on the
list. He's closer to a sure thing than other pitchers in the
organization but his upside is probably limited to a back of the
rotation starter. He's a strike throwing lefty with good mechanics and
three good pitches, and is also working on a fourth pitch (slider). His
best pitch is his changeup. Despite his size, he doesn't have a lot of
velocity and doesn't project for much more. I'll be interested in seeing
how he does when he finally makes it to full-season ball this year.
JAYPERS (IL): Did Paul Goldschmidt get consideration for the top 10? How confident are you he can replicate his CAL numbers at higher levels?
Goldschmidt, a big first baseman from
Texas, finished just outside the top ten. He has raked in both of his
professional seasons, including winning MVP honors in the Cal League in
2010. But opinions on his upside in the scouting community are mixed,
with some scouts believe he'll be more of a 4-A hitter while others
think that he can at least be a valuable platoon player in the big
leagues and perhaps an everyday first baseman. He's going to need to cut
down on his strikeouts (he fanned 161 times last year), otherwise he'll
struggle against more advanced pitching. Moving up to Double-A in 2011
will be a good test for Goldschmidt.
Ike (OH): Can you give us a brief synopsis of Ty Linton and if he made the 11-20 range?
Ike, Linton was the highest ranked 2010
draft pick, landing just outside the top ten. He fell to the 12th round
last year due to a strong multi-sport commitment to North Carolina.
After voiding first rounder Barret Loux's contract, the Dbacks gave
Linton first round money just before the August 16th signing deadline.
He was still in football shape when he came to instructional league —- I
saw him in early October and he still looked huge. He's a real high
risk, high reward pick that will require a lot of work to smooth out his
swing and refine his rudimentary baseball skills. He's always played
multiple sports, so it'll be interesting to see how he develops now that
he's strictly focused on baseball.
Frank (Dallas, TX): Is Blake Perry someone to keep an eye on?
Frank, Blake Perry was drafted in the
sixth round out of high school in Florida and signed for an above slot
bonus of $500,000. He's a tall, lanky long-armed kid with a good arm and
some projection in his body. Not too many scouts got to see him so
there's still not a lot of info on him. He'll probably start in short
season ball this year.
Stu (Phoenix): Can we reasonably expect to see Parker in the show sometime this season if he puts up decent numbers?
Stu, I am pretty certain that Parker
will be in the Diamondbacks rotation at some point this season, barring
any unforeseen problems with his recovery. I'm guessing June or July for
his debut at Chase Field.
Cam (LA): Robbie Rowland - prospect or suspect?
Cam, the Dbacks went heavy on
projectable high school pitchers early in the draft. Rowland has some
potential, especially if his fastball becomes a plus pitcher. He's got a
good arsenal of breaking balls and exudes confidence. His upside is
more as a back of the rotation starter. Most scouts prefer Rowland, who
was taken in the third round, to J.R. Bradley, who was the second round
JAYPERS (IL): If the consensus is that
Borchering has little chance at remaining at the hot corner, why do you
suppose the DBacks are keeping him there, especially with Davidson on
Jaypers, that's a very good question.
Let's see what happens this season. Neither Borchering or Davidson are
helped by not getting to play third base full-time. I don't know what
the plans are for that pair this season, but they didn't have a prospect
at first base in South Bend last year so it wouldn't surprise me to see
Borchering get some time at first as the two move up to the Cal League.
I'll be watching to see where they are playing when the minor league
spring training games get underway at their new complex just up the road
from my house.
Blake (Providence, RI): What can you tell us about Zach Walters? Thanks!
Blake, Walters had a nice debut season
in the Northwest League and was a favorite of the managers in that
league. He's a switch-hitter with a little pop from both sides of the
plate. and is a smart player with good baseball instincts. Some scouts
question whether he will have the range and arm to play shortstop at the
big league level, but can certainly see him as a quality utility
Avery (Walnut Creek): How unusual is it for a team to have 7/10 top prospects out of the same draft and all within 80 picks of each other?
Avery, the Diamondbacks had a lot of
extra draft picks in 2009 and used them wisely to restock the farm
system. There's not a lot of quality at the top levels of the system and
none of the 2010 draftees made the top ten this year. Yeah, it's a
little unusual, but not surprising for this system.
Joe (Clintonville): How sure of a thing is Kevin Munson as a future closer?? Does he have the make up and stuff to succeed???
Joe, we put Munson in as the closer in
the projected 2014 lineup because we had to put a name there, but scouts
generally concur that he'll be a setup man in the big leagues. I don't
believe the 2014 closer is anyone currently in the system. With that
said, Munson, who was taken in the fourth round, has the potential to be
a quality reliever with an effective sinker/slider combination. He
should move pretty quickly through the system and could get his first
big league time by the 2012 season.
Travis (Chandler, AZ): What happened to Matt Helm? It seems his disappointing 2010 season has put him in the "non-prospect" category so quickly.
Travis, I don't know what happened to
Helm this year. He really had trouble making contact with the baseball
in 2010. None of the scouts I talked to even brought up his name. He was
named as a candidate to surprise in 2010, but instead he went the other
way. He's still young enough to turn it around, but in an organization
that is already overloaded with players at his approximate level that
will be limited to 1B/3B/LF, there's a long line ahead of him. He'll
likely return to South Bend ... let's hope that 2011 is a better year
for him. He's still only 20.
Nate (Boise, Idaho): Can you name some sleeper prospects in the diamondbacks farm system?
Nate from Boise (one of my favorite
places to visit for minor league baseball!) - If you get the Prospect
Handbook, you'll be able to read a report on one of my favorite
sleepers, Adam Eaton. He's a little guy from Miami of Ohio who led the
Pioneer League in hitting. It would be easy to label him as a potential
fourth outfielder, but as one Dbacks scout said to me, "Never count out
gamers with talent." Another scout laid a Shane Victorino comp on him.
One sleeper who didn't make the book was reliever Yonata Ortega, who
really came on last year with his power fastball with sink. He's still a
little erratic but if he continues to improve his command Ortega could
shoot up through an organization that needs relief help. He finished the
year in High-A and is already 24, but he's got potential to be a closer
if everything comes together for him.
Jasen (FLL): Do you think Krauss has what it takes to become a starter in the majors? Is his defense the only thing holding him back?
Jasen, I watched Krauss a lot during the
AFL season and he really started growing on me as the season
progressed. I think his defense will be adequate in left field but
that's about it. He's just got to show that he can continue to hit as he
moves up through the system. He doesn't have great bat speed and his
swing can get long, but I liked the way he could go to the opposite
field when necessary but then also pull the ball with power.
Jim McDonald (Phx , AZ): I'm surprised Charles
Brewer didnt crack the top ten .Where does Charles Brewer rank in the
prospects for the Dbacks ?? He was named the the Organizational Pitcher
of Year and cruised thru two levels last season ??
Jim, Brewer ranked in the 20-30 range.
He was one of the biggest surprises in the Diamondbacks organization in
2010, putting up solid numbers at both South Bend and Visalia. It was a
real good growth year for Brewer. Scouts that I talked to are skeptical
whether his repertoire will work against more advanced hitters; the
biggest concern is that he doesn't throw the fastball with a lot of
deception and that it's fairly straight, so Double-A will be a good test
for him when he gets there this sometime this season.
LAMEPERS (BASEMENT): Can you ever see Elmore as a big league regular?
LAMEPERS - No, I don't consider Elmore to be a regular. He's more of an organizational guy at this point.
LAMEPERS (MA'S CRIB): It seems Borchering is in a system free fall. Is the future bright because of his power or dim because of his stone feet
I wouldn't say that he's in a free fall.
He only dropped a few slots in the ranking from last year. He's still
only 20 and has played just over one season of pro ball. Borchering made
some good adjustments with his swing late in the season. The power is
for real, and it should be enough for first base if that's where he
winds up. He's just got to get more experience and continue improving
his approach at the plate. I could see him putting up big numbers in the
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): The pitcher from the Brewers organization - Roque Mercedes-
prospect or some respect or suspect or reject?
Karl, Mercedes was taken off the 40-man
roster this winter and wound up back with the Brewers organization. I
did not consider him for the Top 30 list prior to his departure. He
might get some big league time in some team's bullpen, but I think the
prospect tag is generous at this point.
Jasen (FLL): What are the chances Owings sticks at SS and what current major league player would you compare him to?
Jasen, as I said in his scouting report,
Chris Owings has proven that he's got the potential to play shortstop
at the big league level. I'd really have to give it more thought as to a
good comp for him. I started thinking of Mark Loretta as a possible
comp, but Owings would have to develop a lot more plate discipline.
Mike (Jackson, Michigan): How close was Josh
Collmenter to making the top-10? All he's done since being drafted out
of Central Michigan University is WIN! He started Southern League
-All-Star game, went 14-6 with solid 3.38 ERA at three different levels
in 2010 and then went on to lead Arizona Fall League in strikeouts. The
kid is a bulldog. Seems like he's going to make a good
back-of-the-rotation guy and innings eater.
Mike, you are right - Collmenter just
keeps winning. With that said, this may come as a surprise but
Collmenter didn't rank in the top 30 this year. He had a strong season
at three levels in 2010 and followed it with good numbers in the Arizona
Fall League. Yet I couldn't find many scouts that believe he has a
major league future as anything but a middle reliever. His best pitch is
a change-up and he throws his mid to high 80s fastball with some
deception because of a funky over the top delivery. But does he have
enough in his arsenal to get big league hitters out? Let's see how he
does this season when he likely will return to Triple-A.
Kade Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi): Do you think Cole Gillespie has the talent to be a big league regular?
Kade, Gillespie's upside is as a fourth
outfielder but more likely as an extra guy that will shuttle between
Triple-A and the big leagues. His best tool is his defense and he can
hit left-handers a little bit, but won't hit consistently enough to be a
regular. He's already 26 (will turn 27 in mid-season) so at this point
he is what he is.
Shawn Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): Hello,I was wondering what Ryan Wheeler's upside is. Solid regular or all star caliber? Thanks.
Shawn, Wheeler could be a regular or
more likely a utility guy who could play both infield and outfield
corners. After playing first base in college and in his first pro
season, Wheeler spent most of 2010 at third base. His defense at the hot
corner is still a work in progress. He has a good approach at the plate
and works hard. He'll need to hit with more power as well as improve
Jessica (New York City): Hi Bill,
Thanks for the chat. Where do you see Ty Linton starting the season and
do you see his raw tools translating into on field success?
Jessica, I talked earlier about Linton
but didn't mention where he'll start his career. He has so much to learn
that it's almost certain he'll start the year in extended spring
training followed by an assignment to one of the short season
affiliates. He's got a long way to go, but has the tools.
Dawson (San Diego!): This system definitely seems to be on the rise in the last few years. Where would it rank out of all 30 farm systems?
Dawson, I haven't seen the final
rankings for this year (watch for the Prospect Handbook to be out
soon!). The Diamondbacks were ranked #27 last year. They didn't sign
their first round pick and none of the other 2010 draft picks ranked in
the top ten, so I don't anticipate they will move up too far. My guess
is that they will still rank in the bottom third of the 30
Henry Thompson (Sausalito, CA): Thanks for the
chat Bill! Big Skaggs fan here, with that being said were there any
good comps being thrown around by scouts? If you dream up Skaggs his
profile reminds me a lot of Cole Hamels yay, or nay?
Henry, I can't find it in my notes but
that Hamels comp on Skaggs sounds familiar —- it's probably been tossed
around before but I'm not sure if he has quite as much potential upside
as Hamels. Most scouts project Skaggs as a #3 starter in the big
leagues, and a pretty safe bet to reach that potential. He needs reps
and refinement and will likely move one level at time. He's got a plus
curveball and solid average fastball. He's also a good athlete.
Larry (Colorado): What do you know about Socrates Brito (besides that he has a great name)?
Larry, I agree with you. With a name
like Socrates Brito, you've got to be an interesting prospect. An
outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Brito is a high-wasted athlete
with projectable pull side power. He profiles best as a left fielder but
can also play center. He's a 60 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale. He
showed pretty good plate discipline last year in the Dominican Summer
League. I'll possibly see lots of him this summer if he's assigned to
the Diamondbacks new Arizona League rookie level affiliate.
Garrett (Baltimore): Last year, Keith Law said that Broxton has plus-plus raw power and plus-plus speed. Is this still true for him?
Garrett, Broxton is a human tool box.
Tools on top of tools on top of tools, as one scout described him. He's
got to develop the baseball skills in order to be able to use those
tools, and he's still got a long, long road ahead of him. His upside is
very exciting, but he's not yet close. On the plus side, I've talked
with Keon several times and found him to be a great kid with a plus
Jasen (FLL): What type of offensive numbers do you expect Davidson to put up in the majors?
Jasen, my crystal ball says that in the
2016 season Davidson will hit .285/.352/.458 with 22 homeruns, and play a
respectable third base. Just don't hold me to it.
Ryan (Chandler, AZ): Of all the position
prospects in the system (Davidson, Borchering, Linton, Broxton, Mateo,
etc), who has the highest upside? Who is the least likely to reach that
Ryan, see my comments about Keon Broxton
just above this reply. He's the answer to both questions, although Ty
Linton and Wagner Mateo both fall into the high reward / high risk
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): How concerned are the D-backs about Wagner Mateo's k-rate in the DSL?
Ryan, Mateo fanned 83 times in 237 ABs
as a 17-year-old in the DSL. Sure, it's a concern but it's also not
unusual for a young power hitter. But he's got a good swing path and is a
strong, athletic young man. The tools are there —- there's a reason
that the Cardinals were willing to pay him over $3 million as a
16-year-old before the eye issues surfaced. If he truly no longer has
problems with his vision, then the Dbacks will have gotten a bargain.
But it's still many years until we'll know the answer.
Roger (Antigo, Wisconsin): I heard that JR
Bradley has hit 96 in instructional league. Is this true? Can he sustain
it? And how's his secondary stuff looking? Thanks!
Roger, I can't confirm the 96 reading
for Bradley during instructs. His fastball was generally at 92-93 in the
Pioneer League, although there were reports that his velo fell under 90
later in the summer. He's still very raw and lacks pitchability, but
he's a hard worker. This one will just take lots of time to develop.
mike (new york): Where do you see Mike Belfiore and Charles Brewer in the system?
Mike, I addressed Brewer in any earlier
post. Belfiore ranked in the mid-teens after his first full season. He's
really still learning to be a starting pitcher after closing games at
the U of Texas. Reports are that his velocity ticked upwards in the
second half of the season. His changeup, which he didn't really use much
in college, is now his best pitch and could get better. He's projected
as more of a back of the rotation starter.
Bubba (Tennessee): Of all the high school pitchers taken in last year's draft, who has the highest upside? Thanks!
Bubba, keep an eye on Tyler Green, who
was taken in the eighth round and signed for an above slot bonus to keep
him from going to TCU where he would have been a two-way player. He
signed too late to play during the regular season but showed a mid-90s
fastball and a good curveball during instructs. There's a lot of effort
in his delivery but he throws strikes. He'll start his career as a
starter in order to get innings, but I could see him becoming a force
out of the bullpen as he gets closer to the big leagues.
Henry Thompson (Sausalito, CA): Is it just me
Bill, or does Patrick Corbin not get enough attention? He already seems
well on his way to being a solid 3 pitch lefty who can locate all his
pitches, (which in itself is a big plus.) And if you look at his slight
frame, you feel he could be even more. Am I missing something here, or
do scouts knock him just for that, his slight frame? Thanks again.
Henry - We ranked him in the top ten so
it's not like he's not getting attention. His frame IS frequently
mentioned and I don't know how much bigger he can get. But the guy can
pitch and has the ability to move his fastball around the plate. He was
throwing 5 - 6 innings per start early in the year before the
Diamondbacks acquired him and started limiting his innings. Still, he
pitched 144 innings last year, which is a decent workload for a guy
Theodore (Las Vegas): The description of Wade
Miley excites me. Is he a #2 or 3? Also, is he not ranked higher because
the level he pitched at was only shown for one season? Thanks!
Theodore, I see Miley as more of a #4
starter but that could change. He really was one of the surprises in the
system last year. I really had to do more research on him than other
players because scouts that saw him early in the season were putting the
"fringy arm" tag on him. But something clicked when he got to Double-A.
Being ranked #8 isn't bad at all for a guy who was at risk of getting
written off as a prospect by scouts. If he continues to develop this
year, it's not hard to imagine him getting an early call-up to fill a
rotation spot if some of the other options don't work out and the org
isn't ready to bring up Jarrod Parker.
Ryan (Cleveland): Is Mark Teixeria a good comparison for Bobby Borchering?
Ryan, that's not a good comp for
Borchering. If he moves to first base, he won't be anywhere near as a
good a defensive player as Teixeira. I also don't see him being as
well-rounded hitter as Tex.
Steven (Phoenix, AZ): What do you think the
chances are that Parker, Skaggs and Corbin all join Hudson is a few
years to make the strongest rotation in the NL West?
Steven, I could see Parker, Skaggs and
Corbin all making the rotation in a few years, joining Hudson, Kennedy
and ???. Let's also dream about who they could draft with the 3rd and
7th overall picks in next year's draft. But projecting that group to be
as strong as the Giants rotation is still a stretch. But it's a fun
exercise and a great question.
Dusty (Mesa, AZ): If you had to make a projected 2014 lineup by only picking prospects, not anyone already in the majors, who would you pick?
Dusty, that's another fun exercise. If
you've got a Twitter account, send that one to me @billazbbphotog to
give me a little time to think about it.
JAYPERS (IL): If you had to speculate, about where would Parker rank on BA's Top 100 prospects list? 11-20 range? 21-30? Below?
We've had two questions about where
players would rank in BA's Top 100 list. I'm not involved in that
process, but my guess is that Jarrod Parker will be somewhere in the Top
50 (maybe in the 20s or 30s) but that Tyler Skaggs would definitely not
be Top 50.
Chester (Kansas City): How excited should we be about this upcoming draft, with two picks in the top seven?
Chester, I'm also excited about the
potential to add several impact players in the 2011 draft. A lot will
depend on what the organization will budget for the draft, especially
for those top picks (#3 and #7 overall). The latter is not a protected
pick, so I can see them going conservative with that pick and doing a
pre-draft deal. They should also have two supplemental round picks, and
this is one of the deepest drafts in years.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): I'm a little surprised
that the raw Keon Broxton jumped so many spots after a season that
didn't really answer many developmental questions he had entering 2010.
How come he jumped ahead of guys like Collin Cowgill & Paul
Goldschmidt? And how close were those 2 to making the top 10? Thanks!
Ryan, I'm a little higher on Broxton
than some because there's a lot to dream on with his tools. I addressed
his potential in an earlier post and also discussed Goldschmidt. Cowgill
is ranked towards the back of the Top 20. Most scouts see him as a
fourth outfielder or platoon type. He's a very hard worker who will get
the most out of his tools.
Bob (Cape Cod): How do you see Eric Smith from URI fitting into the Diamondback's future?
Bob, I got good reports on Eric Smith.
He's a strike thrower with three good pitches and is a workhorse who can
pitch deep into games. He keeps the ball down which will be an asset
when he gets to Chase Field. He's not the most glamorous pitcher in the
organization by any means, but I can see him getting some starts at the
back end of the rotation in a few years or at least being a quality
innings-burning reliever. A reminder to all that you can read the full
scouting reports on Smith and others in the Top 30 by buying the
Prospect Handbook when it comes out later this month!
Jack (AZ): Going back to the draft question
that was asked, the ironic thing about that, the scouting director that
drafted those kids was recently fired by the Dbacks. Not to mention that
in that same draft he got Goldschmidt and Wheeler. What grade would you
give Tom Allison's draft in 2009?
Jack, I haven't been involved in grading
any team's drafts and don't have a process in place for doing so, but
I'm going to go for it and give the 2009 draft a B+ and maybe an A-.
It's inevitable that a new GM will make changes in the front office when
taking over; it's part of the game and doesn't reflect on Tom Allison's
reputation the baseball industry. Tom is a class guy and has already
gotten a new position in the Boston organization.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Krauss and
Goldschmidt seem to put up similar numbers with
Goldshcmidt showing even more power - yet Krauss was ranked # 5 and
Goldschmidt didn't crack the top 10. Krauss struck out almost as much as
Goldschmidt did and had a lower OPS. Was it the fact that Krauss is a
lefty that made a
big difference, or do scouts feel his swing will play better against
tougher pitching? What is the big difference between
the two of them?
Michael, one of the big differences is
that Krauss hits both lefties and righties while scouts believe that
Goldschmidt will struggle against quality right-hander pitchers as he
moves up in the system. Goldschmidt is also seen as more of a mistakes
hitter, and ML pitchers make a lot few mistakes than those in the lower
levels of the minor leagues. Previously I stated that I was impressed
with Krauss' ability to hit a pitch the opposite way, which is another
point in his favor.
John (Phoenix): Was Sam Demel considered for the future closer? Also what are expectations for him in 2011?
John, I thought about plugging in
Demel's name as closer for 2014 but I really see him as more of a setup
man. I liked what I saw of him after he joined the organization in the
trade with Oakland, and believe he can be a quality reliever. But I
don't see him filling the closer role.
Tony (Gilbert, AZ): Your description of both
Davidson and Borchering excite me. Is Davidson a future .275 hitter with
25-30 home run power? Is Borchering a future .285 hitter with 30-25
home run power?
Tony, if all works out as projected,
Davidson will hit for a higher average in the big leagues but Borchering
will hit more homeruns. The .275 average is a good guess for Davidson,
but I believe that a consistent .285 might be too high for Borchering.
Casey (The Music City): Did Yazy Arbelo make
the book? He had a nice season in Yakima, and narrowly missed the top
20 prospects in the Northwest League. What does he project to be?
Casey, we are almost finished here but
I've been holding off until someone asked a Yazy Arbelo question! Arbelo
received some consideration for the list but ultimately fell outside
the top 30. He was one of the biggest surprises in the 2010 draft after
being drafted in the 26th round out of a small Pennsylvania college.
He's got big time power, but right now is strictly a fastball hitter and
is a below average fielder at first base. He's got a long way to go to
prove that he has a future above Class A.
We've been going at it for nearly three
hours. Now that I've gotten the long-awaited inquiry into Yazy Arbelo's
future, it's time to wrap it up for the day. There are still quite a few
questions in the queue, so feel free to contact me on Twitter
@billazbbphotog for more info. Thanks to everyone for participating.
We'll be back on Wednesday with the Rockies Top Ten list.