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.
Welcome to the Diamondbacks prospect
chat. We've already got a lot of questions in the queue so let's get an
early start. If I don't get to your question today, you can check in
with me on Twitter at @billazbbphotog.
Phil (Richmond): How close was Kevin Munson to
making the list? Saw him at 95-96 in the AFL All-Star Game with a nasty
slider. What does he profile as at the big league level?
Phil - Munson is ranked in the 20-30
range. After a slow start at Visalia in which he had issues with command
and control, he finished strongly at Mobile and continued with a strong
AFL season. He doesn't profile as a closer but could be a solid late
@Jaypers413 (IL): How close was Bobby Borchering to the top 10? Is he a good bet to move to 1B in the foreseeable future?
Borchering came in at #11 so he just
missed the top ten. After playing both 3B and 1B during the regular
season, he was moved to left field during instructional league and that
is expected to be his position moving forward. He was never going to cut
it at the hot corner and Paul Goldschmidt is now the first baseman of
the future. He should be able to handle the outfield if the bat comes
around. He has as much raw power as anyone in the system and made some
positive adjustments as the season progressed but he's still needs
improve his pitch selection. I'm anxious to see how he handles Double-A
pitching in 2012.
Ben (Leland Grove): Your thoughts on Andrew Chafin, Kyle Winkler and Anthony Meo? Who came closest to the top 10?
All three pitchers rank in the top 20,
with Meo coming the closest to the top ten. Scouts liked what they saw
in Meo during instructs. Chafin's velocity was down from his college
days, which is why I ranked Meo just a little higher. Winkler is still
rehabbing from the shoulder problem that caused him to drop in the
draft. All three will be developed as starters, but it wouldn't be
surprising to see them all wind up in the bullpen at the big league
Collin Cowgill (Phoenix): How close did I come to your list?
Same as last year —- Cowgill ranks in
the teens. He may never be more than a fourth outfielder at the big
league level but he's a guy that every manager wants on his team. He's a
grinder who can play all three outfield positions and can run well. He
needs to learn to hit breaking balls but should have a decent major
Billy (Midwest): Curious why you have Parker in the closer's spot in your 2015 lineup card?
Billy, I was anticipating this question.
The future lineups are a way to show the depth in the organization, and
slotting Parker in as closer was a creative way to work six really good
starting pitchers into the chart. I believe he will be a very good
starter in the big leagues, although he could also excel in the closer
role if needed. But don't put too much stock into Parker being listed as
a closer. He'll likely be a key member of their rotation in 2015, and
perhaps as early as the beginning of the 2012 season.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Had he not graduated from prospect status already, about where would Goldschmidt have ranked on this list?
Jaypers, I hadn't given that much
thought until now. Goldschmidt would certainly have ranked as the best
hitting prospect in the organization, so I probably would have placed
him #5 behind the big four pitching prospects.
Thomas (Los Angeles): How many of the top 10 do you think are worthy of BA's top 100?
Thomas, I'm not involved in the Top 100
ranking but I'll bet that Bauer, Bradley, Skaggs and Parker will all
rank pretty highly.
Patrick Tsai (Beijing): How close was Adam Eaton to making the top 10 list? What can you tell us about his defence?
Patrick, Eaton had the biggest jump in
the organization, going from #30 last year to the 11-15 range this year.
The statement that I often hear about Eaton is that he's a "gamer with
tools." He can play all three outfield positions and has above-average
range at the corner spots. He's got a plus arm, the second best in the
organization behind Cowgill. The kid can hit, too. As he moves through
the system, he's shedding the "fourth outfielder" label and could be a
starter in the major leagues. I'm a fan.
dale (boston): first time I have tried a
question but always read the chats: Curious about how successful you
think J.Parker will be this year and how you feel about Adam Eaton in
the future OF for Arizona
Dale, thanks for asking your first
question. I just covered Eaton in the previous question (I'll say it one
more time —- I'm a fan!). I believe Parker will earn a spot in the
rotation and have a good season, albeit he's bound to experience some of
the normal rookie growing pains.
William (Pensacola,FL): Who was a bigger disappointment :Marc Krauss or Keon Broxton ?
William, Krauss and Broxton dropped in
the rankings this year but both are still in the top 20. Krauss really
grew on me during his 2010 AFL season but he didn't build on it in
Double-A. He's a "bat only" guy so he's going to need to hit. We're not
going to write him off yet but his stock dropped this year. I still
really like Broxton as do a lot of the scouts. He showed some
improvement after moving to High-A but the jury is still out as to
whether he's going to hit enough to take advantage of his athleticism
Carl (Glendale, AZ): What can you tell us about Fidel Pena? I am wondering what his upside is. Thanks!
Carl, Pena is a very interesting
prospect. He's not ranked among the top 30 but several scouts I talked
to really liked the guy, seeing him as a potential contributor in a
utility role. He's rated as the best defensive catcher in the
organization but can also play a decent infield and runs the bases well.
That's a very unique combination of skills so keep an eye on him.
Irene (Denver): How do you describe Socrates Brito when you saw him in the Arizona League? Can he hit enough to be a big league regular?
Irene, Brito showed tremendous
improvement this year and put himself on the prospect map. AZL observers
raved about him, mentioning that he plays the game the right way. He
improved his swing during the year but still has room for improvement.
He's got wiry strength right now and should develop more power as he
fills out. His AZL manager believes that Brito will play in the big
leagues someday. I certainly hope so because we need someone in the
majors with the first name of Socrates.
William (Pensacola, FL): How agreesive will the D-backs be with Archie Bradley and when can we expect to see him pitching for AA Mobile ?
Bradley will move quickly. It wouldn't
surprise me to see him reach Double-A at some point in the 2013 season.
Yes, folks, he's that good.
Ian (FL): Thanks for the chat Bill! It's a
surprise to see Drew and Hill in the projected 2015 lineup. Don't you
think Owings and David Nick have what it takes to become starters in the
Ian, Drew and Hill are both young enough
to still be productive regulars in 2015 and we don't assume that anyone
will leave via free agency when constructing the future lineups.
There's a good possibility that Owings will be a starter at one of the
two middle infield positions by then, assuming that the bat develops.
Nick probably doesn't profile as a major league starter but he's one of
those grinders with excellent makeup that you would never want to count
Adam (New York City): Was it purely a matter of
fatigue that led the D-Backs to refrain from calling up Bauer in
September? Also, do you see him being put on a stricter innings limit
Adam, I believe that after Bauer pitched
in the Southern League playoffs it was determined he had pitched enough
during the college and minor league season. As for his innings count
next season, I can't answer that one. With any other pitcher I'd say
that the innings pitched would likely be limited in their first full
season. But Bauer is such a unique pitcher that any conventional wisdom
about pitch counts and total innings doesn't apply here.
William (Pensacola, Florida): Can you think of
any other organization with the potential to produce four pitchers who
project as number one or two starters with Bauer, Parker, Skaggs, and
William, that is certainly an impressive
array of pitching prospects that are all pretty close to being big
league ready. That would be a good question to ask Jim Callis in the
weekly "Ask BA" column but I believe you'll have to wait until after the
Prospect Handbook goes to print. Of course, I know that you'll be
ordering the Handbook so you'll be able to analyze all 30 organizations
when it arrives.
Jake (Harrisburg, PA): Higher ceiling between Archie Bradley and Dylan Bundy, in your estimation?
Jake, I'm happy to take a question from
my home state. It's too early in their careers to determine who has the
higher ceiling. Bradley and Bundy both have #1 starter and all-star
potential, so at this point you could flip a coin.
Ben (Leland Grove): Was it a close call between the top four on your list? Are they pretty much interchangable?
Ben, you are correct in that a case
could be made for any of the top four to be ranked #1. You could move
them around in any order but I'm pretty solid with Bauer and Bradley
being at the top of the list. For me, Bauer is #1 and Bradley is #1A.
Kyle (St Louis MO): In your opinion, who has the higher ceiling between Bauer and Gerrit Cole, and who is more likely to reach it?
Kyle, I saw Cole and Bauer pitch on
consecutive nights just before the draft and came away more impressed
with Bauer. Cole perhaps has a higher ceiling if he develops more
consistency with his command but scouts watching him in the AFL aren't
convinced that he won't wind up as a power reliever at some point.
Travis (TX): Has Keon Broxton fallen out of favor with Arizona? Does he still rank in the team's top 30? Thanks.
Travis, Broxton has NOT fallen out of
favor. The Dbacks love his athleticism and believe he made great strides
this year. He's not one who's going to rush through the system and will
take time to develop. If the pitch selection and plate discipline comes
around, he's going to be a very good outfielder. The comparison that
I've gotten on his potential is Torii Hunter. He didn't drop that far in
the rankings, just into the teens in a year when a lot of new talent
was added to the organization.
Harry (Phoenix): What's the latest word on Wagner Mateo? Is he on your top 30?
Harry, Mateo did not make the top 30. I
really went back and forth on what to do with him. In last year's chat I
stated that in another year he could move into the top ten or off the
list altogether. On one hand, Mateo potentially has game-changing power
to all fields. But his swing has a lot of flaws that need to be worked
out and the vision problems that caused the Cardinals to void his
original contract are still very much an issue. He had trouble with
pitch recognition in the AZL and had to move out of the outfield to
first base because of problems in picking up fly balls. He had a tough
year in his first season in the United States and it would show in his
actions on the field. Mateo has the ingredients to be a star but he's a
long, long way from fulfilling that potential.
Henry (South Bend): Bill, Thanks for the chat!
Other than Archie Bradley, which other Diamondbacks prospects should we
keep an eye out for in South Bend this year?
Henry, some of the advanced college
pitchers taken in this year's draft, such as Anthony Meo Andrew Chafin
and Kyle Winkler, are possibilities to start the year in South Bend. I
answered a question earlier about Fidel Pena —- I could see him getting
to the Midwest League next year.
Pat Murphy (Sandpoint, Idaho): Do you envision
Wade Miley moving to the pen in a couple years? Is he not toolsy enough
to stick and/or develop consistancy ala Buerle and is his changeup or
other pitches swing n miss enough to stick in rotation?
Pat, the Diamondbacks really like Miley
and believe he's made steady progress in the last couple of years. His
changeup is coming along nicely and may be a plus pitch in time. With
that said, his role is probably going to be more of a reliever / spot
starter after the more talented arms in the system start showing up in
the big league rotation.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): A two
part question about the AAA outfielders...
Does Cole Gillespie bounce back to top 30 prospect status
after his good hitting year?
All these guys hit over .300: Cole Gillespie, Willie Mo Pena, and Ryan
Langerhans. Yes, Pena and Langerhans are really old guys for this chat.
Of the three, who will be the most helpful to the Backs in 2012?
Karl, don't put too much stock in PCL
hitting statistics, especially considering the extreme hitters
environment in Reno. Gillespie is already 27 —- at this point, he is
what he is —- a Triple-A outfielder who will get the occasional call-up
to the big leagues. I don't think you'll see Langerhans in a
Diamondbacks uniform. Wily Mo Pena is no longer in the organization,
having gone to Seattle last summer. If you want to watch Wily Mo hit
prodigious homeruns next year, you're going to have to book a flight to
Japan as he'll be playing over there in 2012.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Arbelo has shown some big time power but does he have
enough plate discipline and can he hit for enough average to get to the bigs? Is there a chance for him still to make it as
an everyday player?
Michael, Arbelo hit a lot of homeruns in
the Midwest League but scouts don't see him having success at the
higher levels of the minors. He struggles against left-handers and has a
lot of holes in his swing. He didn't rank in the top 30.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Since
unsigned 2010 1st rounder Barret Loux was an effective starter in high A
for the Rangers in 2011, was rescinding his bonus a good move in
Karl, the Diamondbacks used that extra
pick to take Archie Bradley. Nothing against Loux, but being able to
instead get Bradley makes it a big win for them.
Rich Lenzi (Sun City West, Arizona): Evan Marshall. Is there a good chance he is in the Diamondbacks bullpen by mid season 2012?
Rich, the Diamondbacks are high on Evan
Marshall. They moved him quickly this year —- I could certainly see
their 2011 4th round pick making it to the major league team at some
point in 2012. He's wired to be a back end of the bullpen guy, with a
lively fastball in the 91-96 range and a power curveball.
Rich Lenzi (Sun City West, Arizona): What are your thoughts on Meo and Chafin? Are they Major League rotation or bullpen types?
Rich, Meo and Chafin will both be
developed as starters but could eventually wind up in the bullpen. One
reason could be that there may not be an open rotation spot when they
are ready to reach the majors. Also, some scouts believe that Meo will
be better as a reliever because of his deceptive delivery that requires a
lot of effort. As for Chafin, one quote I got on him was that he has a
starter's repertoire but with a reliever's delivery. Chafin could be a
mid-rotation starter but also has the pitches to be a power lefty in the
bullpen, perhaps even fulfilling the closer's role.
Greg (Fullerton, CA): Where does Charles Brewer
project? Had a great year last year, seemed to be a bit banged up this
season but rebounded with a strong Arizona Fall League and won the
championship game for his club.
Greg, Brewer recovered nicely from his
injury (it was not a pitching-related injury) and finished strongly in
the Southern League championship series and in the AFL. He's a
"pitcher's pitcher" with a nice four-pitch mix. Some scouts don't see a
knockout pitch that he can use to get strikeouts when its needed, and
that he ultimately may be better suited for the bullpen. He should have a
big league role in a year or two, providing good value for a 12th round
bill (orlando fl): where do you see michael belfiore ?
Mike Belfiore did not have a good
season. His stuff was down this year, he struggled to get his fastball
out of the 80s and the changeup hasn't developed. His name didn't come
up in many conversations this year, so needless to say he dropped out of
the top 30.
James (Toronto, ON): Thanks for the chat.
Where does Ryan Wheeler fit into this system? He seems to have a good
bat with moderate power and was voted best defensive 3B in the league by
James, Ryan Wheeler had a good year with
the bat at Double-A. Scouts aren't sold on his defense at third base
and it's questionable whether he can play there regularly in the big
leagues. Most observers see him as a future utility guy who can be a
useful bat off the bench and fill in at third, first and left field.
wily mo (wily motown): bryan shaw exhausted his
eligibility via service time, i think? at any rate, i don't think he
gets talked about enough. kind of snuck up out of the minors without
anybody noticing. was good in the regular season, better in the
playoffs. got that cutter. so therefore he's the next mariano rivera,
hall of fame, first ballot, i suspect. tell me that, please
Wily Mo from Wily Motown (you get the
award for the most unique chat name of the day!) - You are correct that
Shaw did not qualify for the list this year because of his big league
time. He really had a nice year in the Dbacks bullpen, justifying the
inclusion on last year's top 30 list. But the next Mariano Rivera?
That's being a little too optimistic. But keep dreamin', Wily Mo, keep
Grant (NYC): Bill, doesn't it seem strange to
you that someone with Holmberg's repertoire be assigned to a league
known as a hitter's paradise? I mean, he has an average fastball and an
average curveball - so, will his command really be able to fool the
majority of hitters at this level?
Grant, Holmberg, like all young
pitchers, will need to spend time and learn to pitch in hitters
paradises like the Cal League. He'll also get to pass through the PCL in
a couple of years. But with his pitching acumen, he should be able to
handle the challenge. It gets a lot tougher in the big leagues so
skipping the difficult leagues in the minors doesn't help the pitcher's
Rob (Alaska): I realize there's not a huge
distinction between being #2 and #3 on this list, but if both Archie
Bradley and Tyler Skaggs have frontline potential, how do you not give
the nod to the guy who's already done it in AA?
Rob, I see your point but Bradley has
the potential to be a very special pitcher. I could have easily made a
case to rank him number one on the list. He'll very likely spend a
couple of years as the top prospect in the organization before making it
to the show.
Webb (Lumberton, Tx): Can you expand on Bauer's
approach to pitching and training. Whats Pitch tunnerling, effective
velo and how he uses bio mechanics into his pitching?
Webb, I don't have the space or time to
go into great detail on Bauer's fascinating approach. I couldn't even do
it justice in the 500 or so words available to me for his prospect
report. There have been many articles written about him in the last six
months, so search his name on the internet and you'll find a wealth of
reading material. You'll come through it feeling much smarter.
Patrick Guttin (Montreal): Who in MLB is best
comparable to Pollack's ceiling? Will the stolen bases not play as he
ages and is there any chance of more power or consistant .300 hitting?
Patrick, I will have to think more about
a good comp for Pollack. When he was drafted, he was often compared to
David DeJesus which may still be valid. He could slow down as he gets
older but right now he's using his baserunning smarts more than his
speed to gain an advantage on the basepaths. He could develop more power
as he matures; I don't see him as a big power guy but more of a line
drive, high average kind of hitter. Scouts are still mixed on Pollack's
future, but the scouts that like him REALLY like him.
That's all the time I have today. I
appreciate all of the great questions —- it's an exciting time to be
following the Diamondbacks system. I'm sorry that I couldn't get to all
of the questions. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter —-
@billazbbphotog. Thanks again.