Arizona D-backs 2022 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: Jordan Lawlar (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Following today’s release of our new D-backs Top 10, Nick Piecoro answered your questions below. 


Nick Piecoro: Hey everyone. Thanks for all the questions already in the queue. Let’s get started.

Brad (NJ):

     Can I get an update on Espinal? going into 2021 he was looking like a huge upside potential spect, now not in the top 10. Thoughts???

Nick Piecoro: He had an uneven year. He finished strong and provided some hope that he could break out next year, but his game is just so raw still on both sides of the ball.

Kyle Weatherly (Timmonsville, South Carolina):

     Carroll is your #1 prospect & Thomas is #3. Curious how big a gap there is between the two of them?

Nick Piecoro: Most evaluators I’ve talked to see Thomas a potentially good player, but they see Carroll as a potential All-Star. So, I mean, people really like Thomas, but it’s just a question of upside.


     Where do you see Slade Cecconi if he’s healthy? I have to assume he’s close to the top 10, is his long term outlook in the bullpen?

Nick Piecoro: Yeah, some evaluators see him in the bullpen. I think given the spread between what he showed in late 2020 and how he looked in 2021, it’d maybe be wise to give him more time to see if that dominance from the previous year is still in there somewhere.

Warren (New London):

     How worried are you about the torn labrums in the non-throwing shoulders of Corbin Carroll and Jordan Lawlar? How tempted were you to put Alek Thomas ahead of them for that reason? I love Carroll, but that’s a serious injury. Had either Carroll or Lawlar had shoulder problems before?

Nick Piecoro: That is fair; it was serious. And Carroll’s was more serious than Lawlar’s (and Seth Beer’s, for that matter). It did give me pause, but I guess the thinking is just that they both have youth on their side and both have such big upsides if it comes together.


     Video of De Los Santos reminds me a bit of a young Miguel Tejada, especially the short compact build. Obviously Tejada stuck at SS, even as his defense was criticized early on. Do you think this is a fair comp? Any others that pop to mind?

Nick Piecoro: I don’t know that the body/athleticism is such that you can compare him to Tejada. I am not great at comps and I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about a good one for De Los Santos, but he seems like he’ll be more along the lines of a Miguel Sano type. That’s obviously a really, really good hitter. I’m not saying he becomes that, but I think he fits more the slugger profile with huge raw power to all fields.

Nick Piecoro: While we’re on the subject of De Los Santos…

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi Nick! Thanks for chatting with us today! I was surprised to see Deyvison De Los Santos make the top 10. He seemingly came out of no where. Can you talk more on what is being seen with him? His power seems to be his carrying tool, but is there anything that scouts question or might hold him back as he moves up the minors?

Nick Piecoro: People think he has a chance to be a legit middle of the order bat. Also some chance he sticks at third, though maybe more likely he moves across the diamond. He just needs at-bats and we’ll see if he can keep maturing as a hitter and keep refining his approach. Pretty good showing for a guy at his age/at those levels and in his pro debut.

Rob (Alaska):

     I understand why Kristian Robinson wouldn’t be on the top 10 as he has bigger problems to deal with. That said, is there an update on his status? Hoping for the best for this young man.


Sean (NY):

     I’m probably not going to be the only one asking about him, but how much does missing all of that time affect Kristian Robinson’s timeline? He’s already on the 40 man but I’d assume he’s quite far from the bigs, are they really going to carry him on the 40 for the next 2/3 years?

Nick Piecoro: Who knows how much it changes his timeline. Obviously it doesn’t help. First of all, he has to get cleared. Then we’ll see how he looks when he gets back in action. And, yeah, given how high his ceiling is, yeah, they’ll give him every chance possible to realize his potential. The state of the organization — that is, they probably aren’t competing for a World Series in the next couple of years — probably helps his case in terms of holding down a 40-man spot.

Dan (Sedona):

     Is Jake Mccarthy still a guy to watch for 2022? There were a few BA articles touting his swing change last year and wondering if he’s still offering the same upside. Thanks!

Nick Piecoro: Yes. I think he’ll come into spring training with a chance to secure significant at-bats in center field. He had a nice showing last year at the big league level for a guy still learning to refine that new swing. And he showed his speed/athleticism plays in the field and on the bases.

Molly (New Jersey):

     What’s the word on Conor Grammes? Does he have any chance at sticking as a starter? If he ends up becoming a RP, how high is his upside there? Thanks in advance!

Nick Piecoro: He had Tommy John surgery this year, so that might make his path more likely to be via the bullpen. He’ll already be 25 when he gets back on the mound next year. Upside is still significant. His stuff is really good.

Micah (Sacramento, CA):

     Where would you have Slade Cecconi or Bryce Jarvis ranked? Going into 2021, I would’ve thought Cecconi in particular has more upside than anyone outside of Walston (for pitchers that is).

Nick Piecoro: They’re both right outside the Top 10 — and were within the Top 10 in previous iterations. Yeah, the instructs look that Cecconi gave last year got everyone excited, but he wasn’t able to match it this year. He had some injury issues. We’ll see if he can regain that form. Jarvis is probably the safer of the two to project as a future starter. He just has some developing left, like most prospects, but he has a deep repertoire, a starter’s delivery/acumen, strike-throwing ability, etc.

Micah (Sacramento):

     What’s your overall impression of this system? Seems very light on bats. Bottom 10 farm? Also – what’s the deal with Kristian Robinson? Is he just completely off your radar?

Nick Piecoro: You probably want to ask someone with a little better feel for the other 29 teams’ systems, but my sense from talking with rival evaluators is that this is a pretty solid system. Maybe a bit top heavy, particularly once you get past the top 15 or so, but not a bottom third system.

Seth Beer (IL):

     Am I a lost cause? Hit tool or approach?

Nick Piecoro: No one seems to question Beer’s ability to hit. It’s just a question of whether he’s a good hitter or a great one. The defense on the other hand …

JT (Oregon):

     My kid loves Ryan Bliss’ hit tool. Says he’s a surefire major leaguer after playing with him for six weeks in Visalia. What will his ascension through the system look like and what does he have to do to get to and stick in the major leagues?

Nick Piecoro: Thanks for the firsthand report, JT. There are a lot of people who feel similarly. He more than held his own in Visalia but a lot of folks think there’s more offensive upside in there, and some point to the fact that he had so much downtime between the end of the college season and the start of his pro career as a reason why he expanded the zone so much at times. He started to answer some questions about his defensive home, making some believers in his ability to play short despite an arm that is average at best. He’s an interesting one. The evaluators who believe in him feel very strongly about him. It’ll be fun to see how he does in his first full year.

KB (New York):

     Do you think any of Arizona top 10 have the tools to take a starting job/position away from former 1st round pick Pavin Smith?

Nick Piecoro: Not sure exactly where Smith fits, especially with Christian Walker coming back. In addition to Walker, there’s Beer who could push Smith for at-bats, as could McCarthy and Thomas, either of whom could force Varsho to an outfield corner. The club also brought in Jordan Luplow before the lockout.

Erik (Chicago):

     Update or outlook on Blaze Alexander? Seems like he struggled in HiA with high K%

Nick Piecoro: I was told Alexander played well defensively at shortstop but just struggled with too much swing and miss. He just couldn’t seem to implement some of the adjustments he was trying to make.

Al (Maine):

     Do you think AJ Vukovich will take a big step this year?

Nick Piecoro: He could. I think pitch recognition is going to be a big one for him. He was super aggressive during his time in Hillsboro — and to his credit hit close to .300 — but more advanced pitchers will probably find a way to exploit it. I’m curious to see where he ends up defensively. He made strides at third and I think he’ll continue to get chances there, but it sounds like most people see him as a likely corner outfielder in the future.

Nick Piecoro: Thanks for all the questions today. That’s all I have time for.

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