2013 Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects Chat With Bill Mitchell





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.

Bill Mitchell: Welcome to the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks prospect. It's an organization that has had an interesting off-season, to say the least. We've already got a lot of questions in the queue so let's kick it off a few minutes early.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, Bill. Assuming Bradley's command is consistent and he holds his own in the CAL, do you believe he could finish out the season in Mobile?

Bill Mitchell: Jaypers, it's always a pleasure to hear from you. I really like Archie Bradley, so we'll begin the chat with a question on the young right-hander. While Bradley had some command issues in his first pro season, not unexpected for a pitcher in his first pro season, he showed good progress in instructional league. When he misses with his pitches he still doesn't get hit. He could make it to Double-A by the end of the season, but with the organization's depth in pitching there's no reason to rush him.

    Grant (NYC): What's your opinion of the DBacks' late signing of Felipe Perez? Thoughts on why he wasn't drafted? Is he someone on your top 30?

Bill Mitchell: Grant, Felipe Perez wasn't drafted because of his strong commitment to UCLA. When you receive your Prospect Handbook later this month, you'll see that Perez ranks in the low 20s in the organization. Right now he's more about arm strength than pitchability, but he has three decent pitches that he throws for strikes and a clean delivery. I like what I saw of him during instructs.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Assuming Trahan's catching skills don't catch up to his abilities at the plate, are there other positions he could be suited for?

Bill Mitchell: Ben, Trahan is athletic enough that he could handle a corner outfield position. For now, the Diamondbacks will give him the chance to make it behind the plate, because left-handed hitting catchers with power are a valuable commodity. While he's still far from being a serviceable catcher, he made good strides behind the plate last season.

    Eric (Dallas, TX): Gut feeling - does Chafin remain a starter three years from now?

Bill Mitchell: Eric, I think Chafin will wind up in the bullpen as a power lefty, not because he can't start but more due to the organizational depth in the rotation and a delivery that may be better suited out of the bullpen. Like Bradley, he looked solid during instructs when he stopped nibbling and trusted his stuff.

    Mike (New Jersey): How close was Jake Barrett to making your top 10, and what does he bring to the table?

Bill Mitchell: Mike, Barrett is in the latter part of the teens. His velocity was up to 98 when he first joined South Bend, but the adjustment to the daily workload of pro ball wore him down. In addition to the fastball he's got a good hard slider and is working on his changeup. Barrett's got the demeanor to pitch at the back end of the rotation and could move quickly.

    Carlos (San Francisco, CA): How many of the top 10 do you believe are worthy of making BA's top 100?

Bill Mitchell: Carlos, there's no question that Skaggs and Bradley will be ranked pretty highly on the BA top 100, and I could see Eaton and Davidson both making it.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Alfredo Marte put together an impressive season for Mobile. Is his role to be a 4th OF, or could he force the issue and become more than that this year?

Bill Mitchell: Jaypers, Marte put himself on the map last year with a strong season in Double-A. He could be a starting outfielder in the right situation but can also slot in nicely as a solid fourth outfielder. The power emerged and he's capable of hitting 15-20 homeruns, as well as playing solid defense in the outfield with enough arm for right field. Marte is making his Prospect Handbook debut with a ranking in the high teens.

    Kelly (Saint Cloud, MN): What's your opinion of Anthony Meo at this point? Is he in your 30?

Bill Mitchell: Kelly, Anthony Meo had a solid season in Visalia, tying for the league lead in strikeouts. He's got an above-average fastball, a nasty slider and a developing changeup. That's enough of a repertoire to stay in the rotation, but with a delivery that requires a lot of effort I think he'll wind up in the bullpen. Meo's ranked right about where he was last year —- just outside the top ten.

    Laura (Flagstaff, AZ): Did Evan Marzilli make a case for the upper half of your list? Is speed his only above-average tool?

Bill Mitchell: Laura, Marzilli made the top 30 but more towards the back end of the list. He has plus speed but needs to learn to use it better on the basepaths. His defense in center field is his best tool, as he's a plus defender with good instincts. Marzilli is a grinder with a strong work ethic, and because of his years at South Carolina he brings a winning attitude to his team. Watch for him to be an overachieving type who gets the most out of his tools.

    Aaron (Baltimore, MD): Prior to being drafted, Michael Perez was relatively new to catching. I see he ranked as the best defensive catcher on your Best Tools list. Whose overall ceiling are you higher on between him, Fidel Pena and Ronnie Freeman?

Bill Mitchell: Aaron, neither Pena or Freeman made the top 30. Freeman, who was the 5th round choice in 2012 out of Kennesaw State, projects more as a backup catcher while Pena could be a super utility guy able to play multiple positions. They really are two very different players.

    Ryan (Kansas City): Is 2B Andrew Velazquez someone to watch? Your evaluation of his tools?

Bill Mitchell: Ryan, I really like Andrew Velazquez, who was taken in the 7th round in 2012 out of high school in New York City. He was a favorite of scouts covering the Arizona League this year, as well as the AZL Dbacks coaching staff, for his gamer mentality and emerging tools. Velazquez has above-average bat speed and is a plus runner. He didn't have a lot of infield experience prior to coming to pro ball and was especially new to second base, but handled the position well. He'll be in the Prospect Handbook.

    Harry (Queens, NY): Does manchild Jon Griffin have any comparable qualities to Paul Goldschmidt? Did he make your top 30 this year?

Bill Mitchell: Harry, Griffin made some of the same strides last year that Goldschmidt made during his rise through the system. He's got the best raw power in the system, with some scouts giving it a grade of 80 on the 20-80 scale, and really improved his approach at the plate in 2012. Griffin worked hard on his defense and projects to be a better fielder than expected. He'll be 24 early next season so he'll need to have to continue to make adjustments as he moves to Double-A.

    Kyle (Seattle, WA): Kinda bummed Upton vetoed the trade to my M's. Had it gone through, where would Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin have ranked on your list?

Bill Mitchell: Kyle, that's a good question. It's pretty close between Skaggs and Walker, and I'm sure the merits of who ranks higher would be a good debate. I'd put Franklin just behind Gregorius although a case could be made to reverse the two.

    Sammy (NYC): Is Ty Linton still on your radar?

Bill Mitchell: Sammy, Ty Linton tore his ACL last season just when he was starting to make some positive strides, according to his manager. He's missed so much time to injury that I don't know if it's ever going to come together for him. He wasn't considered for the Top 30 this year.

    Patrick (Glendale, AZ): The organization seems high on RHP Jose Martinez. Did you have a chance to see him pitch? Or do you hear anything about him?

Bill Mitchell: Patrick, I did see him in instructs and got ositive reports on him from the organization, scouts that saw him in instructs, and a Dominican Summer League observer. Martinez has a fastball with good life that he can get up to 96 and a tight power curveball. He repeats his delivery well and is one to watch in 2013. A full report on him is in the Prospect Handbook, coming to your mailbox soon.

    Ryan (Phoenix): Do you consider Pedro Ruiz a top 30 in the organization? What's he's best tool?

Bill Mitchell: Ryan, Pedro Ruiz is a switch-hitting shortstop who hit well and showed good plate discipline at Missoula at the age of 20. His best tool is his plus speed. He's still raw defensively but has the ability to turn into a good defender. He did not make the Top 30, but I'd put him in the 31-40 range.

    Eric (Baltimore, MD): Did Socrates Brito's stock rise or fall for you this past season? Thoughts on his skillset?

Bill Mitchell: Eric, Brito had a nice season with Missoula. Like last year, he'll rank in the back end of the Top 30. He's still very raw and the game power has not yet emerged, but he's got the potential to be a starting outfielder if it all comes together for him. One scout said that Brito has the biggest difference between current and future grades of anyone in the organization, with tools to dream on.

    Luke (Mesa, AZ): Thanks for the chat. The D-backs drafted CF Justin Bianco and Chuck Taylor fairly high in the past two years but both failed to hit. Do you still see them as prospects?

Bill Mitchell: Luke, Taylor was taken in the fourth round in 2012. He's still very raw and we need to see another season from him to get a good read on his future. His plus speed is the best tool for the former high school quarterback. Taylor is another guy in my 31-40 range. Bianco, the 2011 3rd round pick, has struggled to hit in both the AZL and Pioneer League in his first two seasons, and wasn't considered for the Top 30.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Do you anticipate Archie Bradley having a hard time acclimating to the environment of the CAL this year?

Bill Mitchell: Good question, Ben. The Cal League is a very tough environment for pitchers, but I could see Bradley adapting better than others. He keeps the ball down in the zone and gets lots of swings and misses.

    Frank (Chicago): How close was it between Skaggs and Bradley for the top spot?

Bill Mitchell: Frank, it wasn't that close. Skaggs was the clear cut choice for #1, even with Trevor Bauer (last year's top prospect) in the mix. In case you're wondering, Bauer would have been #2 between Skaggs and Bradley. Since his trade wasn't competed before the deadline for the Prospect Handbook, Bauer will still be included in the Diamondbacks list there. I polled a lot of scouts as to the #1 choice, and it was unanimous in favor of Skaggs. He's one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.

    Aj (Phoenix): Inevitable Trevor Bauer question: With Bauer not traded to Cleveland in time for their list, and traded before the Arizona list, can we get his scouting report? While I assume he probably would have taken the #1 SP on both teams' 2016 lineup cards, would he have taken any of the best tools for either team? Thanks for the chat!

Bill Mitchell: AJ, continuing my answer on the previous question, Bauer's scouting report will be in the Prospect Handbook. I believe that Jim Callis also included the report in a recent "Ask BA" column. Bauer would have had the "Best Curveball" on the Dbacks tools survey.

    Greg (FL): Do you have some updates on Cesar Mejias? He was supposed to be good but failed to perform in DR for two seasons.

Bill Mitchell: Greg, I had to look up Cesar Mejia's info since it's not a name that has come up for discussion and he wasn't included in our organizational depth chart. Mejia is an 18-year-old infielder who played his first season in the Dominican Summer League in 2012. I don't believe he came stateside for instructs last year, but he may show up in the Arizona League this summer.

    Chung-Han Tsai (Taipei): Please rank the 4 high school RHP (Bradley, Rowland, Green, Perry ) that D-backs drafted in 2010.

Bill Mitchell: Chung-Han, thank you for checking in from Taipei. Since Robby Rowland is no longer in the organization, I'll omit him from the list and tell you that you have the other three in the right order. Bradley is far, far ahead of the other pitchers on this list, of course. Green made the back end of the Top 30.

    Monica (Dallas): It's a bit disappointed to see K. Winkler struggled. Was that because of the elbow injury? Do you see him bounce back in 2013?

Bill Mitchell: Monica, Kyle Winkler is still coming back from a stress fracture in his elbow that he suffered just before the 2011 draft. The TCU product projects as a reliever with a plus fastball in the 93-95 range and a good hard slider. Another positive note is that his changeup was looking much better in instructional league with nice fade and sink.

    Jeff (Phoenix AZ): How do you rank the 3 college outfielders drafted last summer? Alex Glenn, Evan Marzilli and Breland Almadova

Bill Mitchell: Jeff, Marzilli made the back end of the Top 30, while Glenn is a sleeper from Arizona Christian who just missed and will likely be in the Prospect Handbook supplement that goes out to those who buy the book directly from Baseball America. Almadova is also an interesting prospect from Hawaii who slots in more in the 31-40 range. All three are interesting prospects to watch, especially Glenn who could develop plus power with good speed.

    Jon (LA): Sean Jamieson or Gerson Montilla, who is more impressive in terms of tools?

Bill Mitchell: Jon, neither player profiles as a top prospect but both could be interesting organizational guys down the line. Montilla, a second baseman who split the season between South Bend and Visalia, improved significantly in 2012 as he made adjustments to his swing and cut down on strikeouts. He's short on tools but knows how to play the game. Middle infielder Jamieson came to the organization late in the season in the trade for Stephen Drew, and impressed his South Bend manager with his intensity and work ethic, drawing comparisons to AJ Pollock for his makeup.

    Matt (Chicago): It's nice to see Cody Wheeler pitch again. Do you see his future as a SP or RP?

Bill Mitchell: Matt, I didn't get too many reports on the smallish southpaw Wheeler, a 2010 5th round choice out of Coastal Carolina, other than from a scout who saw him in instructs and took a liking to him. He put up good numbers in the Northwest League in what was in essence his first pro season after being injured for his first two pro seasons. I believe he projects more as a situation lefty. I like the moustache on his milb.com photo —- it's reminiscent of the 'stache that Clay Zavada had during his Dbacks days.

    Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Bill. Is there a good chance that D-backs start Didi Gregorius over Cliff Pennington at short, and if so, what is Didi's first year ceiling look like to you?

Bill Mitchell: Keith, I believe that question will be answered in spring training. It wouldn't hurt for DiDi to have more Triple-A time. He'll likely struggle in his first real exposure to major league pitching. Anything more from him then what Pennington would provide will be a plus.

    Kathy (NY): Is Medrano a top 30? Do you see him as a future U man in the big league?

Bill Mitchell: Kathy, Kevin Medrano picked in the 18th round last year from Missouri State, hit well in the Northwest League, showing an ability to get the bat on the ball and spray the ball around. Scouts report that there's a lot of soft contact and that he needs to get stronger but that he's a good defender who projects as a second baseman. Medrano did not rank in the Top 30.

    Joe (Harrisonburg, VA): What is the consensus on Kevin Munson? Has an above average slider and low-mid 90's fastball but underperformed in 2012. Does he have a realistic shot at being a set-up man in the big leagues?

Bill Mitchell: Joe, your James Madison alum has been a bit of an enigma since joining the organization as a 4th round pick in 2010. Command issues have been the biggest issue holding him back but he's got a good mid-90s fastball with arm side sink and a good hard slider. He finished strong in Double-A but needs a good spring training to show that he can contribute at the big league level. He's still in the Top 30 but now more towards the back of the list.

    Louis (Tucson): Can you clear up the Jose Fermin/Jose Martinez thing? Are they the same person? because I was box score following him(Jose Fermin) in the DSL and he was going great then I thought he was shut down but I see he came over to the US and is Jose Martinez now. Did he make the top 30 and is there any info on him from scouts?

Bill Mitchell: Louis, I gave a scouting report on Jose Martinez earlier in the chat. When you get your Prospect Handbook (another shameless plug!) you'll read that Martinez signed in 2011 for $55,000 under the name Jose Fermin. It was not any kind of identity fraud thing.

    Jeff (Chicago): If the Dbacks deal Upton to the Rangers and pick up Mike Olt as the centerpiece in that deal, where would he rank on this top 10? Thx!

Bill Mitchell: Jeff, I really like Mike Olt and believe that he'd be the top position prospect in the organization. I'd put him #3 behind Skaggs and Bradley, and an argument could be made to slot him in at #2.

    Not Jaypers (Wi): Bill, how much more seasoning do you think Matt Davidson needs to get at AAA before he gets a call up?

Bill Mitchell: NP from WI, thanks for the question. Close to a full season at Triple-A would serve Davidson well, but I could see him being ready, or close to ready, after a few months in Reno. However, be cautious when looking at his Triple-A stats because Reno is an extreme hitter's environment.

    Cameron (New York): Would you rather have Taijuan Walker or Skaggs in a keeper league?

Bill Mitchell: Cameron, flip a coin because both a premier pitching prospects.

    Cameorn (New York): Would you rather have James Paxton or Archie Bradley?

Bill Mitchell: Another question from Cameron —- Bradley, without a doubt. Some scouts covering the AFL believe that Paxton's best role may be pitching out of the bullpen.

Bill Mitchell: That is all for today. Thanks to our loyal readers for the great questions, and sorry if I didn't have time to get to everyone today. Don't forget to order your Prospect Handbook if you haven't already done so. Hit me up on Twitter @billazbbphotog if you have more questions. Thanks again for your support!