Arizona Diamondbacks 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat
Nick Piecoro: Hello. We should get started. The Diamondbacks system has been getting more interesting by the year, so there should be plenty to talk about.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- Not only was Seth Beer missing from the top 10 but he was also missing from the best tools list. Was his freshman year at Clemson an anomaly or does he have any change to be more than a replacement level first base/DH?
Nick Piecoro: With him, there’s just tremendous pressure on the bat, and, at least among the scouts and evaluators I talked to, there were questions as to whether he was going to be the kind of monster hitter you have to be in order to be a first-division type at first or DH.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Being a University of Virginia guy, my interests focus on former 1st rounders Pavin Smith and Jake McCarthy - looking long range, which do you see as the more valuable to the Diamondbacks in the future?
Nick Piecoro: Good question. For now, I guess you have to say Smith, since he’s coming off the big second half at Double-A and McCarthy didn’t really convince people he could hit when he was at High-A last year. Smith, of course, is going to have to really hit to play first on an everyday basis, though he did show he could play a passable left field. McCarthy is a very good defender in center and a good baserunner; he just has to improve at the plate. I just think more people would bet on Smith at this point.
Justin (Tucson, AZ):
- Are Kristin Robinson’s tools comparable to Jo Adell’s, with success at higher levels being what separates Adell as the higher ranked prospect?
Nick Piecoro: Yeah kind of. I think it’s way easier to put a big grade on Adell’s hit tool than it is with Robinson, at least at this point, but I don’t think many people would be shocked to look up a year from now and see Robinson way up there on the Top 100 lists.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Stefan Crichton is creeping ever closer to being in the majors - is this his year? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Nick Piecoro: Well, he was pretty darn good for the Diamondbacks in the majors last season. It seemed like he quickly earned Torey Lovullo’s trust. I believe Crichton out of options so this will be a big spring for him.
- What are your and scouts thoughts on Jeferson Espinal?
Nick Piecoro: Super athletic, great runner, some feel to hit, but a long way to go. I imagine we’ll have a much better idea on him by September.
- Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I really appreciate it. What do you think of Ryne Nelson? Can he succeed as a starter?
Nick Piecoro: He’s a lot like Drey Jameson and Conor Grammes in that the Diamondbacks are betting on explosive stuff and elite athleticism eventually translating into success despite some present control/command issues. He’s been up to 100 mph, is relatively new to pitching, doesn’t have many miles on the arm, is a former shortstop, so you know there’s some athleticism there. That’s enough to dream on. Most people seem to be projecting a future in relief, but people tend to play the percentages most of the time with that sort of stuff.
- Just wondering how close Wilderd Patino was to making the top 10?
Nick Piecoro: Fairly close. A few years ago, he’d have cracked it easily. The system is much deeper now.
Geraldo Perdomo (Top 100?):
- Thanks for chatting with us today! Coming in at #2 in the DBacks system, is it safe to say I'll be on the top 100 when it comes out in the next couple weeks? Is Didi Geogorius the best MLB comp for me with the possibility of more power? My average exit velocity climbed through 2019 from 80 MPH in LoA, up to 87+ in the AFL.
Nick Piecoro: That’s a good comp. Gregorius did have the monster arm – it was maybe one or two full grades better than Perdomo’s – but he seemed to be constantly improving at the plate as he developed, like Perdomo. I feel like Gregorius might have had a bit more raw power, though Perdomo definitely has some, as well, and the AFL seemed to indicate he was learning to tap into it a bit more. Not sure about the Top 100.
- What were scouts' thoughts on Geraldo Perdomo during his time in the AFL this fall? He has always been hit over power but showed signs that he is getting physically stronger. With his discerning eye and barrel control, wouldn't even average in game power elevate him to potentially the elite prospects in all of baseball?
Nick Piecoro: Sticking with Perdomo here. Yes, I think you’re framing it correctly. People see him as a no doubt shortstop with a great approach. He’s still young and still actually growing – he put on an inch or two the past couple years – so you have to assume he continues to get stronger and adds some power. That’s usually how it works. He’s a really intriguing prospect.
- What would a successful 2020 season for Blake Walston be?
Nick Piecoro: A really good season would be getting to the Midwest League by May and then getting to the Cal League at some point in August or perhaps September for the playoffs. The Diamondbacks are really excited about this guy. They think they could have something special.
Corbin Carroll (Benintendi 2.0?):
- I was overlooked by multiple teams due to my lack of physicality and dropped to #16. However, I showed surprising power and exit velocities while terrorizing 2 rookie levels after being drafted. Do you think 55 hit/45 power may actually be light? Would you be surprised if both tools ticked up in 2020 and I'm seen more as a 60+ hit/50 power? Combine that with my speed and defensive value, aren't those the ingredients of a future top 25 prospect in all of baseball?
Nick Piecoro: Yes.
Alex (Bay Area):
- Hi Nick, thanks for the chat today. Do you think Corbin Carroll is still underrated by the industry due to his size? He's not a big guy but has consistently shown the ability to make hard contact everywhere he's played. That continued after he was drafted. I've read his exit velocities are actually surprisingly high for someone his size. Do you think he might actually be a smaller version of Jarred kelenic with less power but more speed?
Nick Piecoro: I was pretty blown away watching Carroll take BP at Chase Field on the day he officially signed. He fit in with the big leaguers in terms of the way the ball was coming off his bat. Of course, he had the benefit of being able to hit with the juiced balls, but I’ve never seen a high school kid look so at home among a group of big league hitters. The Diamondbacks seem to view him as an untouchable type of prospect. I’m sure they wouldn’t be surprised if he had a breakout year.
- Am I crazy to think that Corbin Carroll's current hit and power tools are both undervalued? He was lauded as arguably having the best hit tool of any HS prospect in the draft that included Riley Greene and CJ Abrams. He also makes consistent loud contact for a smaller guy. Do you think a 60/50 hit/power is reasonable as he fills out more? His high baseball IQ and gamer mentality reminds me of similar attributes to Jarred Kelenic coming out in 2018.
Nick Piecoro: I sort of answered this above, but yeah I could definitely see his grades getting bumped up – perhaps by more than a half-grade – within a year. I think I put similar grades on Alek Thomas (55/45) and moved them up (60/50) after a year. I just want to give Carroll a chance to reach a full-season level and see how he does.
Thomas vs. Carroll (close?):
- Did Alek Thomas get the edge over Corbin Carroll mainly because he already played in full season ball and made it to HiA? Would you agree that although Thomas has the edge now but Carroll has the higher ceiling between the two?
Nick Piecoro: Definitely gave Thomas the edge because of what he did in the Midwest League in his first full season. They’re real similar when you start looking at their tools, the way they play the game, etc., so being a bit more advanced helped. I wouldn’t argue with you if you thought Carroll had the higher ceiling. I’m just pretty high on Thomas, as well.
- Any sense as to how quickly they’ll move up the trio of outfielders (Carroll, Thomas, Robinson)?
Nick Piecoro: This front office seems to be aggressive with guys, so long as they aren’t in their first year out of the draft. I think if Thomas and Robinson are raking come June/July, they could move – and maybe even sooner than that. With Carroll, I’m guessing they show a bit more patience, like they did with Thomas last year.
Top 100 prospects (5?):
- Do you think all of the top 5 end up in the top 100 when BA releases their list later this month? Is it safe to say that the DBacks have now re-built their system into one of the top 10 in baseball with not only high end talent, but depth throughout the system?
Nick Piecoro: I think the question of high-end talent is still unanswered. Compare this to what the White Sox had a few years ago with Moncada, Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Robert, Giolito. The Diamondbacks don’t have guys who get those kinds of grades within the industry. But perhaps they will as these players continue to develop.
- Thanks for the chat Nick. In your years covering the team and evaluating their system, where does this one stack up compared to others as far as intrigue goes?
Nick Piecoro: This is a tough question. I don’t think it’s fair to say this yet, but it could be the best collection of position players since they had that group from the mid-2000s that started with Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin and Stephen Drew and continued with Miguel Montero, Chris Young, Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds. Most of these guys aren’t advanced enough yet to truly make that comparison, but it’s similar in that there’s a wave of them coming. I can’t remember a wave like that in the years in between.
- Thanks for the chat. Who should I look for in Visalia this season? Any under the radar sleepers?
Nick Piecoro: Should be some good ones. Alek Thomas, Dominic Fletcher, Blaze Alexander, Buddy Kennedy among position players, Levi Kelly, Matt Tabor as starters. Might eventually see Kristian Robinson and Luis Frias. Adrian Del Moral is probably under the radar. He is sort of a classic pitcher out of Mexico in that he doesn’t blow you away with stuff but really knows how to pitch.
- Perdomo seems to have a lot of buzz around him. I heard the exit velo. was trending up from low A to the AFL. Considering his frame and the potential growth maybe adding 10-15 pounds could we realistically see 20 HR annually? I know that’s a lot to ask for a guy who hasn’t hit more then 3 in a year but do you see that type of outcome possible?
Nick Piecoro: Lots of questions about Perdomo’s power projection. I don’t know how safely anyone can project 20 homers from the guy, but the scouting adage is that power develops last, and Perdomo clearly has good bat-to-ball and a great eye. There are some recent examples of infielders who went from being light in power as teenagers to legit threats in the big leagues. Gleyber Torres and Ozzie Albies come to mind. Not saying Perdomo becomes them, but low home run totals at his age don't always portend low power production in the majors.
Baby Rattler (Texas):
- Where does Alvin Guzman and Jake McCarthy fall within the ARI system?
Nick Piecoro: Neither made my Top 30. Guzman had a rough year in the DSL but he still has fans, both in the organization and in the scouting community. It sounds like all the tools that got him paid are still there. He just got off to a bad start and couldn’t recover. McCarthy, as I mentioned earlier, needs to show he can hit. I know he has been working on some swing changes the past couple years to keep the ball off the ground so much, and he also battled through injuries.
- Blake Walston is a projectable lefty. Can you give me a little insight into him to hold me over until I get my prospect handbook?
Nick Piecoro: He showed really, really good stuff after signing and added weight from the draft to the end of the year. You hear some kind of wild comparisons with him, the kind that aren’t fair for a guy who has barely pitched professionally, but people think he could be a frontline starter.
Nick Piecoro: My time is up. Thanks for the questions everyone.