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, 2007.
|1.||Justin Upton, of|
|2.||Chris Young, of|
|3.||Carlos Gonzalez, of|
|4.||Alberto Callaspo, 2b|
|5.||Miguel Montero, c|
|6.||Micah Owings, rhp|
|7.||Mark Reynolds, if|
|8.||Dustin Nippert, rhp|
|9.||Tony Pena, rhp|
|10.||Brett Anderson, lhp|
|Best Hitter for Average||Justin Upton|
|Best Power Hitter||Mark Reynolds|
|Best Strike-Zone Discipline||Alberto Callaspo|
|Fastest Baserunner||Emilio Bonafacio|
|Best Athlete||Justin Upton|
|Best Fastball||Tony Pena|
|Best Curveball||Dustin Nippert|
|Best Slider||Tony Pena|
|Best Changeup||Greg Smith|
|Best Control||Brett Anderson|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Miguel Montero|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Emilio Bonafacio|
|Best Infield Arm||Pedro Ciriaco|
|Best Defensive Outfielder||Chris Young|
|Best Outfield Arm||Carlos Gonzalez|
|First Base||Conor Jackson|
|Second Base||Alberto Callaspo|
|Third Base||Chad Tracy|
|Left Field||Carlos Quentin|
|Center Field||Chris Young|
|Right Field||Justin Upton|
|No. 1 Starter||Brandon Webb|
|No. 2 Starter||Micah Owings|
|No. 3 Starter||Dustin Nippert|
|No. 4 Starter||Doug Davis|
|No. 5 Starter||Brett Anderson|
OF THE DECADE
|1997||Travis Lee||Devil Rays|
|1998||Travis Lee||Devil Rays|
|1999||Brad Penny, rhp||Dodgers|
|2000||John Patterson, rhp||Nationals|
|2001||Alex Cintron, ss||White Sox|
|2002||Luis Terrero, of||Orioles|
|2003||Scott Hairston, 2b||Diamondbacks|
|2004||Scott Hairston, 2b||Diamondbacks|
|2005||Carlos Quentin, of||Diamondbacks|
|2006||Stephen Drew, ss||Diamondbacks|
|TOP DRAFT PICKS|
OF THE DECADE
|1997||Jack Cust, 1b||Padres|
|1998||Darryl Conyer, of (3rd round)||Out of baseball|
|1999||Corey Myers, ss||Angels|
|2000||Mike Schultz, rhp (2nd round)||Diamondbacks|
|2001||Jason Bulger, rhp||Angels|
|2002||Sergio Santos, ss||Blue Jays|
|2003||Conor Jackson, of||Diamondbacks|
|2004||Stephen Drew, ss||Diamondbacks|
|2005||Justin Upton, ss||Diamondbacks|
|2006||*Max Scherzer, rhp||None|
|* Has not signed|
IN CLUB HISTORY
|Travis Lee, 1996||$10,000,000|
|Justin Upton, 2005||$6,100,000|
|John Patterson, 1996||$6,075,000|
|Stephen Drew, 2004||$4,000,000|
|Byung-Hyun Kim, 1999||$2,000,000|
|Corey Myers, 1999||$2,000,000|
|Mike Gosling, 2001||$2,000,000|
ou'd be hard-pressed to find an organization more excited following the completion of a season when it finished tied for last place. But that's the vibe coming from the Diamondbacks.
In part, that's because of what happened in Arizona last season. The team actually was on the fringes of playoff contention until Labor Day, and it finished in the top half of the National League in scoring, pitching and fielding. Brandon Webb solidified his status as a legitimate ace by winning the NL Cy Young Award, and the Diamondbacks solidified their commitment to him and Chad Tracy as franchise cornerstones by signing them to long-term extensions. The club also gave manager Bob Melvin a two-year extension.
Arizona also worked in the first wave of its touted prospects into the big leagues. Conor Jackson took hold of the first-base job by putting up a .368 on-base percentage and 15 homers as a rookie. Stephen Drew seized the shortstop position with an .874 on-base plus slugging percentage in his first half-season in the big leagues. Outfielder Carlos Quentin had his moments and an .872 OPS in his first half-season, and Enrique Gonzalez and Tony Pena showed they're ready to contribute to the pitching staff.
And there's even more excitement about the talent that's still on the way. Drew, Jackson and Quentin ranked as the top three prospects on this list a year ago, but the system remains loaded despite their graduations to the majors.
Outfielder Justin Upton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, takes over as the top prospect after signing before the 2006 season began. His pro debut had its ups and downs, but his talent is undeniable. The Diamondbacks also have been successful adding talent via trades, with outfielder Chris Young and do-everything infielder Alberto Callaspo the most notable examples. And their successful Latin American program has produced outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and catcher Miguel Montero, who will be ready for the big leagues soon, and a younger generation of prospects coming up behind them.
The organization also had the depth of talent to bring Randy Johnson back from the Yankees in the offseason. Arizona did give up three talented prospects in shortstop Alberto Gonzalez and righthanders Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson (as well as big league righthander Luis Vizcaino), but it didn't give up any potential cornerstones and has plenty of depth to compensate.
One of biggest keys to the steady flow of talent has been the successful drafts of former scouting director Mike Rizzo, who left to take a job as assistant general manager with the Nationals after another promising draft. The most promising member of Arizona's Class of '06, Missouri righthander Max Scherzer, isn't even on this prospect list because he has yet to sign. The Diamondbacks are expected to land him before spring training, and also found plenty of good arms behind him, led by Brooks Brown (supplemental first round) and Brett Anderson (second).
With its influx of talent, Arizona has had to say goodbye to a lot of veterans, including franchise icon Luis Gonzalez after the 2006 season. But while the Diamondbacks fondly remember a past that included the 2001 World Series title, they're firmly focused on the future. The deferred salaries that weighed down the club's finances finally are coming off the books, and it's no accident the team unveiled a new logo and color scheme for the 2007 season.
The transformation of the Diamondbacks is well under way, and the outlook is bright.