2012 Arizona Diamondback 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 the worst back-to-back seasons in franchise history, the Diamondbacks reversed course and won 94 games in 2011, overtaking the defending World Series champion Giants to capture the National League West crown and earn their first postseason berth since 2007. Arizona took the Brewers into overtime in the Division Series before losing Game Five 3-2 in 10 innings.

The Diamondbacks started their turnaround in July 2010, when general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch were fired. Interim GM Jerry Dipoto quickly pulled off trades that sent Dan Haren to the Angels and Edwin Jackson to the White Sox. The moves relieved the club of $39 million in financial commitments and added big leaguers Dan Hudson and Joe Saunders (who combined for 29 wins in 2011) and pitching prospects Tyler Skaggs, David Holmberg and Patrick Corbin.

When former Padres GM Kevin Towers took the same job in Arizona last September, he retained Dipoto as senior vice president of scouting and player development. He also kept interim manager Kirk Gibson, who proved to be a natural and won the NL manager of the year award in his first full season. Towers did reshuffle the front office, hiring former Brewers assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery as scouting director and shifting field coordinator Mike Bell to farm director.

The key to the 2011 season was Towers' fortification of a bullpen that had posted an MLB-worst 5.74 ERA the year before. The biggest additions were free agent J.J. Putz, who saved 45 games, and David Hernandez, who took to a set-up role after coming from the Orioles in a deal for Mark Reynolds that saved another $13 million. Offensively, former No. 1 overall draft pick Justin Upton stayed healthy all season and emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate at age 23.

The farm system provided unlikely contributors in Josh Collmenter, who continued to defy skeptics by winning 10 games after joining the rotation in May, and Paul Goldschmidt, who came up in August to put an end to a revolving door at first base. Rule 5 acquisition Joe Paterson also served as a capable lefty reliever.

The Diamondbacks' talent level also improved significantly on the minor league level in 2011, and they now boast one of the deepest pools of pitching talent. Skaggs is one of the best lefty pitching prospects in the game, and Holmberg and Corbin give Arizona two more promising southpaws. Jarrod Parker returned after Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2010 and earned a spot on the postseason roster.

Dipoto and Montgomery oversaw a draft that added even more mound talent. The Diamondbacks had two of the top seven picks and landed Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley, then followed up with Andrew Chafin (supplemental first round), Anthony Meo (second) and Evan Marshall (fourth). The Angels took note of DiPoto's role in Arizona's reconstruction, hiring him as GM in October.

The Diamondbacks also have position prospects on the way, most of them products of a 2009 draft in which they had seven picks in the first two rounds. Goldschmidt came out of that crop, as did third baseman Matt Davidson and outfielder A.J. Pollock. Those two teams with Skaggs and Parker to help Double-A Mobile win the Southern League championship.

1. Trevor Bauer, RHP Born: Jan 17, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 175
Drafted: UCLA, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Hal Kurtzman.
Trevor BauerBackground: Bauer earned all-state honors as a junior at Hart High (Newhall, Calif.) before deciding to tackle a bigger challenge, graduating in December of his senior year and enrolling early at UCLA. He immediately became the Bruins' best pitcher, going 34-8, 2.36 in three seasons and setting school records for career wins, strikeouts (460) and innings (373). He led NCAA Division I in strikeouts in both 2010 and 2011, breaking Mark Prior's Pacific-10 Conference record with 203 last spring. Bauer won both Baseball America's College Player of the Year award and USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award in 2011. He and Gerrit Cole became the second pair of teammates ever to go in the first three picks in a draft. Bauer became the first of the 2011's draft elite prospects to sign, agreeing to a four-year major league contract in July. The deal includes a $3.4 million bonus and $4.45 million in guarantees, and he could earn as much as $7 million if he quickly reaches the majors to stay. He's expected to do just that, needing just three starts at high Class A Visalia to earn a promotion to Double-A Mobile. He looked a little tired at times with the BayBears, but he tossed five innings of one-run ball to clinch the Southern League championship.

Scouting Report:  Bauer takes an unconventional approach to pitching, studying advanced concepts like biomechanics, effective velocity and pitch tunneling. He has a tremendous work ethic and a drive to succeed. He adheres to an extreme long-toss regimen, throwing at distances up to 400 feet, and works out with rubber tubes before and during his starts. Bauer has drawn a lot of attention for his unorthodox style, sometimes overshadowing the quality of his stuff. He generates 92-98 mph fastballs with extreme torque, not unlike Tim Lincecum, and usually sits at 94-95. His best pitch is his plus-plus curveball, a 12-to-6 downer that plays off the plane of his fastball. He has an extremely deep repertoire that features a plus slider, an above-average changeup and a solid splitter. He's also working on a pitch that he calls "The Bird," a zone-crossing slurve that he's making up as he goes along. Though he's not physically imposing, Bauer has conditioned himself to handle heavy workloads and completed his last nine starts for UCLA. He generally throws strikes but can be more efficient with his pitch counts, something that should happen once he become less conscious about piling up strikeouts. He puts considerable effort into each pitch, though he has a loose arm and a very efficient delivery.

The Future: Arizona signed Bauer before the Aug. 15 deadline with the thought he could contribute in September or the playoffs, but decided to shut him down after the Southern League postseason. He'll report to big league camp with a legitimate chance to earn a spot in the big league rotation, if not on Opening Day then quite likely by the second half of the season. He not only has top-of-the-rotation potential, but his approach is so revolutionary that his success in the majors could cause teams to rethink how they condition and develop young pitchers.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'11 Visalia (HiA) 0 1 3.00 3 3 0 9 7 3 3 1 4 17 .206
'11 Mobile (AA) 1 1 7.56 4 4 0 17 20 14 14 2 8 26 .286
Minor League Totals 1 2 5.88 7 7 0 26 27 27 17 3 12 43 .257

2. Archie Bradley, RHP Born: Aug 10, 1992 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 225
Drafted: Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Kyle Denney.
Archie BradleyBackground: The Diamondbacks received the No. 7 overall choice in the 2011 draft for failing to sign 2010 first-rounder Barret Loux. Instead of going conservative with an unprotected pick, they went for Bradley, who had extra leverage as an Oklahoma quarterback recruit. He beat Owasso, then the nation's top-ranked team, in the Oklahoma state 6-A championship game with a 14-strikeout, two-hit shutout while hitting 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun. He signed at the Aug. 15 deadline for $5 million, a franchise record for a drafted pitcher.

Scouting Report: Bradley was the talk of Arizona's instructional league camp, with scouts from other organizations using terms such as "spectacular" and "the real deal." Bradley's usually throws his fastball at 92-98 mph, operating on an excellent downhill plane and with heavy life. His power curveball, which arrives at 82-85 mph, can be just as overpowering. He's still developing a changeup after not needing one in high school, but it projects to be at least an average pitch. He's athletic and repeats his clean delivery well.

The Future: Like fellow 2011 first-rounder Trevor Bauer, Bradley has No. 1-starter potential and should move quickly through the minors. After making two brief appearances last September, he'll get his first real taste of pro ball at low Class A South Bend to start 2012.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'11 Missoula (R) 0 0 0.00 2 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 4 .143
Minor League Totals 0 0 0.00 2 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 4 .143

3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP Born: Jul 13, 1991 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 195
Drafted: Santa Monica (Calif.) HS, 2009 (1st round supplemental). Signed by: Bobby DeJardin (Angels).
Tyler SkaggsBackground: The Diamondbacks wanted Skaggs with the 41st overall choice in the 2009 draft, but the Angels took him one pick earlier and signed him for $1 million. Arizona finally got its man in July 2010, when he was the key piece in a four-player package Los Angeles gave up for Dan Haren. In his first full year in the system, Skaggs rated as the No. 1 prospect in the high Class A California League.

Scouting Report: Skaggs' money pitch is his 12-to-6 curveball with late, sharp break that's a true swing-and-miss pitch. He sets it up by moving his lively 88-93 mph fastball around the strike zone. His fastball velocity increased in 2011, sitting in the low 90s more consistently, and he may add more as he fills out his projectable frame. His changeup is at lease an average pitch, a 78-82 mph offering that sinks below the zone with a side-to-side curl. Skaggs repeats his delivery well and throws strikes. He has great poise on the mound and is a fierce competitor.

The Future: Originally projected as a No. 3 starter, Skaggs has revised that outlook and now looks like he can pitch at the front of a rotation. He handled Double-A so easily that he'll probably open 2012 at Triple-A Reno as a 20-year-old.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'09 Angels (R) 0 0 0.00 3 2 0 6 4 0 0 0 1 7 .182
'09 Orem (R) 0 0 4.50 2 0 0 4 5 4 2 0 1 6 .294
'10 Cedar Rapids (LoA) 8 4 3.61 19 14 0 82 78 35 33 6 21 82 .240
'10 South Bend (LoA) 1 1 1.69 4 4 0 16 13 3 3 1 4 20 .213
'11 Visalia (HiA) 5 5 3.22 17 17 0 101 81 39 36 6 34 125 .211
'11 Mobile (AA) 4 1 2.50 10 10 0 58 45 20 16 4 15 73 .206
Minor League Totals 18 11 3.03 55 47 0 267 226 226 90 17 76 313 .220

4. Jarrod Parker, RHP Born: Nov 24, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 195
Drafted: Norwell HS, Ossian, Ind., 2007 (1st round).  Signed by: Mike Daughtry.
Jarrod ParkerBackground: Signed for $2.1 million as the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft, Parker ranked No. 1 on this list for three years. His new status reflects the strength of the system rather than any decline on his part. He made a strong comeback after missing 2010 following Tommy John surgery, especially in the second half when he regained his command and added an effective two-seam fastball. He made his major league debut in late September and earned a spot on the postseason roster.

Scouting Report: Parker has streamlined mechanics that allow him to get excellent velocity out of a smaller frame. He usually works in the mid-90s and has reached 100 mph with his four-seam fastball, and he operates in the low 90s with good sink on his two-seamer. He gets swings and misses with a slider and a changeup that he throws in the 81-86 mph range. His slider rated as a well above-average offering before he got hurt, though it's more of a plus pitch now. Parker also mixes in an average curveball. His easy delivery returned after his elbow reconstruction and scouts noticed a more mature pitcher on the mound.

The Future: Parker has a good chance of securing a rotation job in spring training. He's yet another Diamondbacks pitching prospect with frontline potential.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'08 South Bend (LoA) 12 5 3.44 24 24 0 118 113 56 45 8 33 117 .242
'09 Visalia (HiA) 1 0 0.95 4 4 0 19 12 2 2 0 4 21 .174
'09 Mobile (AA) 4 6 3.68 16 16 0 78 82 35 32 2 34 74 .259
'11 Mobile (AA) 11 8 3.79 26 26 0 131 112 61 55 7 55 112 .222
'11 Arizona (MAJ) 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 6 4 0 0 0 1 1 .190
Major League Totals 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 6 4 4 0 0 1 1 .182
Minor League Totals 28 19 3.49 70 70 0 346 319 319 134 17 126 324 .235

5. Matt Davidson, 1B/3B Born: Mar 26, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 225
Drafted: Yucaipa (Calif.) HS, 2009 (1st round supplemental). Signed by: Jeff Mousser.
Matt DavidsonBackground: For the second straight season, Davidson had to share third base with fellow 2009 premium pick Bobby Borchering. The recipient of a $900,000 bonus as a sandwich pick, Davidson struggled in high Class A at the end of 2010 but drove in 106 runs and improved his defense when he returned to Visalia in 2011. He moved up to Double-A for the Southern League championship series and homered in the clincher.

Scouting Report: Davidson has strong, quick hands that give him power to all fields. He's a very consistent hitter with a good approach at the plate, so his strikeout totals should come down as he matures. He handles secondary pitches well but can get beat by good fastballs on the inner half of the plate. While Davidson never will be known for his defense, he should be able to handle third base. He doesn't have much range and needs to improve his consistency, but he has soft hands and a strong arm. He's a below-average runner.

The Future: The system's top position prospect, Davidson will head back to Mobile in 2012 and should reach the majors the following season. He won't have to spend any more time at first base or DH now that Borchering is moving to the outfield. He projects as a No. 4 or 5 hitter in a big league lineup.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'09 Yakima (SS) 270 29 65 15 0 2 28 21 75 0 2 .241 .312 .319
'10 South Bend (LoA) 415 58 120 35 3 16 79 43 109 0 2 .289 .371 .504
'10 Visalia (HiA) 71 6 12 1 0 2 11 12 25 0 0 .169 .298 .268
'11 Visalia (HiA) 535 93 148 39 1 20 106 52 147 0 1 .277 .348 .465
Minor League Totals 1291 186 345 90 4 40 224 128 356 0 5 .267 .345 .436

6. A.J. Pollock, OF Born: Dec 05, 1987 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 205
Drafted: Notre Dame, 2009 (1st round).  Signed by: Mike Daughtry.
A.J. PollockBackground: The No. 17 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Pollock signed for $1.4 million and missed all of his first full pro season after fracturing a growth plate in his throwing elbow during a spring-training drill. He looked as good as ever when he returned in 2011, leading the Southern League in runs (103) and hits (169) while helping Mobile to the championship.

Scouting Report: Pollock's total package is greater than the sum of its parts. First and foremost, he's a blue-collar player with great makeup and excellent instincts in all phases of the game. He's a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter who squares balls up consistently and produces lots of doubles. He could develop 15-homer power once he gets stronger. He makes contact so easily that it hampers his ability to draw walks. Though he has just average speed, Pollock is the system's best baserunner and stole 36 bases in 43 tries in 2011. He's solid defensively at all three outfield positions, making good reads in center field and displaying an average arm.

The Future: Pollock is ready for a move to Triple-A in 2012 and could fill a need at the big league level at some point in the season. Though some scouts see him as a fourth outfielder because he isn't loaded with plus tools, the Diamondbacks envision him becoming a solid regular.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'09 South Bend (LoA) 255 36 69 12 3 3 22 16 36 10 4 .271 .319 .376
'11 Mobile (AA) 550 103 169 41 5 8 73 44 86 36 7 .307 .357 .444
Minor League Totals 805 139 238 53 8 11 95 60 122 46 11 .296 .345 .422

7. David Holmberg, LHP Born: Jul 19, 1991 B-T: R-L Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 219
Drafted: Port Charlotte (Fla.) HS, 2009 (2nd round).  Signed by: Joe Siers (White Sox).
David HolmbergBackground: The Diamondbacks would have been more than satisfied with their July 2010 trade of Edwin Jackson to the White Sox if they had acquired only Daniel Hudson in return. But they got another potential future starter in Holmberg, who made a smashing full-season debut in 2011. He improved his velocity while maintaining his command.

Scouting Report: Holmberg stands out for his poise and pitchability. After his fastball topped out around 90 mph in his first two pro seasons, he worked at 88-93 mph in 2011. He can locate his fastball to either side of the plate with good sink. He also firmed up his cutter/slider, though his solid-to-plus changeup remains his plus pitch. Holmberg also has a curveball that has the potential to become an average pitch. He repeats his delivery well, giving him plus command that helps his pitches play up. He had a doughy body in the past, but now he's in better shape and built for durability.

The Future: Holmberg struggled when he got to the hitter-friendly California League last July, so he'll repeat high Class A to open 2012. He's still on course to reach Double-A before he turns 21 and to eventually become a No. 3 starter.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'09 Bristol (R) 2 2 4.73 14 7 0 40 40 26 21 5 18 37 .250
'10 Great Falls (R) 1 1 4.46 8 8 0 40 52 23 20 2 9 29 .301
'10 Missoula (R) 1 4 3.86 7 7 0 37 47 26 16 2 7 47 .296
'11 South Bend (LoA) 8 3 2.39 14 14 0 83 65 27 22 3 13 81 .207
'11 Visalia (HiA) 4 6 4.67 13 13 0 71 73 44 37 5 35 76 .254
Minor League Totals 16 16 3.85 56 49 0 271 277 277 116 17 82 270 .254

8. Chris Owings, SS Born: Aug 12, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 175
Drafted: Gilbert (S.C.) HS, 2009 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: George Swain.
Chris OwingsBackground: Most of the Diamondbacks' best position prospects are products of the 2009 draft, in which Owings went 41st overall and signed for $950,000. He missed the second half of 2010 after coming down with plantar fascitis, inflammation on the bottom of both his feet. He struggled in 2011 as a 19-year-old in high Class A, ending the season in a 12-for-73 (.164) slump that included 19 strikeouts.

Scouting Report: Owings has the quickest bat for his system and is strong for his size, giving him surprising power that could produce 15 homers per season. His difficulties come at the plate because he lacks patience and doesn't recognize pitches well. He tends to look for fastballs and often chases breaking balls out of the zone. He has slightly above-average speed and runs the bases well. Owings has the tools to be an above-average defender at shortstop. He has solid range and a plus arm, though he needs to improve his focus after committing 32 errors in 117 games at Visalia.

The Future: Owings will need at least two more years in the minors, but he's still just 20 and projects as a future middle-infield starter in Arizona. Though he might benefit from repeating high Class A, the Diamondbacks plan to send him to Double-A with other members of his draft class.

   
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'09 Missoula (R) 108 20 33 5 1 2 10 3 25 3 0 .306 .324 .426
'10 South Bend (LoA) 255 39 76 19 2 5 28 9 50 1 3 .298 .323 .447
'11 Visalia (HiA) 521 67 128 29 6 11 50 15 130 10 4 .246 .274 .388
Minor League Totals 884 126 237 53 9 18 88 27 205 14 7 .268 .294 .410

9. Wade Miley, LHP Born: Nov 13, 1986 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 220
Drafted: Southeastern Louisiana, 2008 (1st round supplemental). Signed by: Trip Couch.
Wade MileyBackground: A supplemental first-round pick who signed for $887,000 in 2008, Miley struggled in his first 1½ pro seasons. After improving his conditioning, he was the system's most improved player in 2010 and continued on that path in 2011. He jumped from Double-A to the majors.

Scouting Report: Miley throws his fastball, which ranges from 88-94 mph and sits at 91-92, at an angle that makes it tough on hitters. His fastball command can be an issue at times but has improved. He has three effective secondary pitches, though they sometimes lack consistency. His changeup is a plus pitch at times but he doesn't always use it enough. He throws two breaking pitches, with his slider better than his curveball, and both can get slurvy. He does the little things well, such as handling the bat, fielding his position and holding runners on base.

The Future: Miley profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter with his four-pitch mix, and he'll contend for a starting job in spring training. Arizona has more talented arms coming up behind him, so he'll likely get pushed to a swingman or middle-relief role in the future.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'08 Yakima (SS) 1 1 4.91 7 0 0 11 11 6 6 0 5 11 .250
'09 South Bend (LoA) 5 9 4.12 21 21 0 114 127 60 52 8 29 91 .271
'09 Visalia (HiA) 1 1 4.80 3 3 0 15 18 10 8 0 4 11 .286
'10 Visalia (HiA) 4 5 3.25 14 14 0 80 81 36 29 1 37 50 .252
'10 Mobile (AA) 5 2 1.98 13 13 0 73 60 26 16 5 28 63 .216
'11 Mobile (AA) 4 2 4.78 14 14 0 75 74 49 40 6 28 46 .247
'11 Reno (AAA) 4 1 3.64 8 8 0 54 53 23 22 4 16 56 .245
'11 Arizona (MAJ) 4 2 4.50 8 7 0 40 48 20 20 6 18 25 .286
Major League Totals 4 2 4.50 8 7 0 40 48 48 20 6 18 25 .286
Minor League Totals 24 21 3.69 80 73 0 422 424 424 173 24 147 328 .251

10. Pat Corbin, LHP Born: Jul 19, 1989 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 165
Drafted: Chipola (Fla.) JC, 2009 (2nd round). Signed by: Tom Kotchman (Angels)
Pat CorbinBackground: One of the better athletes in the system, Corbin played both baseball and basketball at Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) CC before transferring to Chipola (Fla.) JC in 2009. The Angels drafted him in the second round that June, then sent him to the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade 13 months later. Part of Mobile's 2011 championship club, he led the Southern League in innings (160) and strikeouts (142).

Scouting Report: Like fellow lefties Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg, Corbin experienced a bump in fastball velocity in 2011. His heater now ranges from 89-94 mph and usually operates at 90-92. He's still very lanky and could gain more speed as he gets stronger. He throws with terrific angle to the plate, as good as Arizona farmhand, and his three-quarters delivery also creates nice downward plane. Both of Corbin's secondary pitches have the potential to become plus offerings, with his changeup more consistent than his late-breaking slider. The biggest quibbles scouts have are with his arm action and slight build, but he has been durable and fills the strike zone. His athleticism helps him field his position well and control the running game.

The Future: Corbin will move to Triple-A in 2012 and be in line for a promotion if there's an opening at the major league level. He projects as a No. 4 starter.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'09 Orem (R) 4 2 5.05 13 12 0 46 59 34 26 6 11 46 .298
'10 Cedar Rapids (LoA) 8 0 3.86 9 9 0 58 52 28 25 2 10 42 .229
'10 R. Cucamonga (HiA) 5 3 3.88 11 11 0 60 57 29 26 7 18 64 .239
'10 Visalia (HiA) 0 1 1.38 8 8 0 26 17 4 4 1 9 30 .179
'11 Mobile (AA) 9 8 4.21 26 26 0 160 172 78 75 15 40 142 .263
Minor League Totals 26 14 4.01 67 66 0 350 357 357 156 31 88 324 .254