Arizona Diamondbacks: Top 10 Prospects

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1. Carlos Gonzalez, of
2. Jarrod Parker, rhp
3. Brett Anderson, lhp
4. Max Scherzer, rhp
5. Gerardo Parra, of
6. Emilio Bonifacio, 2b/ss
7. Aaron Cunningham, of
8. Chris Carter, 1b
9. Reynaldo Navarro, ss
10. Barry Enright, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Gerardo Parra
Best Power Hitter Carlos Gonzalez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Javier Brito
Fastest Baserunner Emilio Bonifacio
Best Athlete Tyrell Worthington
Best Fastball Max Scherzer
Best Curveball Jarrod Parker
Best Slider Brett Anderson
Best Changeup Esmerling Vasquez
Best Control Brett Anderson
Best Defensive Catcher Wilkin Castillo
Best Defensive Infielder Emilio Bonifacio
Best Infield Arm Pedro Ciriaco
Best Defensive Outfielder Gerardo Parra
Best Outfield Arm Carlos Gonzalez
Catcher Chris Snyder
First Base Conor Jackson
Second Base Orlando Hudson
Third Base Mark Reynolds
Shortstop Stephen Drew
Left Field Carlos Gonzalez
Center Field Chris Young
Right Field Justin Upton
No. 1 Starter Brandon Webb
No. 2 Starter Jarrod Parker
No. 3 Starter Micah Owings
No. 4 Starter Brett Anderson
No. 5 Starter Barry Enright
Closer Max Scherzer
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Travis Lee, 1b Out of baseball
1999 Brad Penny, rhp Dodgers
2000 John Patterson, rhp Nationals
2001 Alex Cintron, ss White Sox
2002 Luis Terrero, of White Sox
2003 Scott Hairston, 2b Padres
2004 Scott Hairston, 2b Padres
2005 Carlos Quetin, of Diamondbacks
2006 Stephen Drew, ss Diamondbacks
2007 Justin Upton, of Diamondbacks
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Darry Conyer, of (3rd) Out of baseball
1999 Corey Myers, ss Angels
2000 Mike Schultz, rhp (2nd) 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, of Diamondbacks
2006 Max Scherzer, rhp Diamondbacks
2007 Jarrod Parker, rhp Diamondbacks
Travis Lee, 1996 $10,000,000
Justin Upton, 2005 $6,100,000
John Patterson, 1996 $6,075,000
Stephen Drew, 2004 $4,000,000
Max Scherzer, 2006 $3,000,000
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Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks system looks much thinner than it did a year ago, but it’s a price the organization was only too happy to pay.

Arizona used an influx of young talent to carry it to the National League West title, not to mention a Division Series victory over the Cubs. The season ended with a sweep in the NL Championship Series at the hands of the Rockies, but that didn’t dent the Diamondbacks’ optimism about their future.

Their playoff rosters featured 14 homegrown players, including eight of the top nine prospects on this list a year ago.

Chris Young nearly had the first 30-30 season ever by a rookie, hitting 32 home runs with 27 stolen bases, while Mark Reynolds had 17 homers in 366 at-bats. Micah Owings was a lifesaver in the rotation, eating 153 innings and patching the big hole that left by Randy Johnson’s back injury. Tony Pena pitched a team-high 85 relief innings and earned 30 holds.

Justin Upton ranked as the minors’ top prospect when Arizona summoned him in August to fill in for an injured Carlos Quentin. Upton, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 who became the youngest big leaguer in franchise history at age 19, showed flashes of his prodigious talent and went 5-for-14 in the postseason.

The impressive group of rookies added to a young core of everyday players who had already gotten their feet wet, including Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson and Chris Snyder in the lineup, rotation ace Brandon Webb and closer Jose Valverde. Webb improved on his Cy Young Award-winning numbers from 2006 by going 18-10, 3.01 and Valverde led the NL with 47 saves.

While most of these players were acquired by people who are no longer with the organization—most notably former scouting director Mike Rizzo, who’s now with the Nationals—it’s worth noting that general manager Josh Byrnes has made several astute trades since taking over after the 2005 season. Byrnes has swung deals for Doug Davis, Orlando Hudson and Johnson, and he also signed sparkplug Eric Byrnes a free agent.

Many of Arizona’s young players aren’t finished products. That’s why even though the Diamondbacks led the NL with 90 wins, they did so with a negative run differential. The pitching staff finished fifth in the NL by allowing 732 runs, but the offense ranked 14th by scoring just 712.

Arizona finished last in the league on on-base percentage, though that has been an emphasis of the team’s new administration. Players like Drew and Upton show flashes of spectacular play, for example, but they’ll have to improve their approaches against big league pitchers to fulfill their potential.

In the meantime, the scouting and player-development staffs are working on the next wave of prospects. Pitching has been the emphasis of the past couple of drafts, and the system’s five best mound prospects are products of those efforts. The Diamondbacks grabbed Max Scherzer and Brett Anderson in 2006, followed by Jarrod Parker, Wes Roemer and Barry Enright last June, all with choices in the first two rounds. The only position prospect close to big league-ready is outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and Arizona has no obvious opening for him in the immediate future.

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