Diamondbacks 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Arizona Continues To Thread The Needle
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 RECORD: 85-77
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: A bevy of trades and compensation picks has helped the D-backs rapidly replenish their farm system and fortify their young talent base. By acquiring young players with major league experience (Ketel Marte, Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Zac Gallen) in trades rather than low-level prospects, the D-backs have achieved the rare feat of staying competitive while simultaneously building up their farm system.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: OF Adam Eaton (19th round, 2010). Eaton was an undersized mid-major outfielder at Miami (Ohio) who some area scouts didn’t even turn in as a draft prospect. He hit the ground running in pro ball and reached the majors in two years. Eaton played only two partial seasons for the D-backs before they traded him to the White Sox, where he blossomed into one of baseball’s better outfielders.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: C Stryker Trahan (first round, 2012). A strong, physical catcher with big power, Trahan never figured out how to make enough contact and hit .220 in five seasons. He topped out at high Class A and has been out of baseball since 2016.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Outfield. Kristian Robinson, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll make up one of the best outfield prospect trios in the minors. Wilderd Patino is another low-level outfielder with intriguing potential and 2019 draftee Dominic Fletcher had a strong pro debut at low Class A Kane County. The group will get a further boost if organizational No. 1 prospect Daulton Varsho, a catcher by trade, continues to see time in the outfield after making four starts in center field late last year with Double-A Jackson. With the perennially underrated David Peralta in left field and offseason acquisitions Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun in center and right, respectively, the D-backs’s outfield is in good shape both short-term and long-term.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Third base. Jake Lamb’s struggles to stay healthy have put the D-backs in a bit of a bind long-term at third base. Eduardo Escobar’s contract expires after 2021 and there is no clear successor in the system behind him. Top shortstop prospect Geraldo Perdomo is too gifted defensively to slide to third and doesn’t have the power to profile in a corner, while one-time top third base prospect Drew Ellis has largely disappointed.
DRAFT TRENDS: The D-backs have drafted a position player with their first pick in all five drafts under scouting director Deric Ladnier. The first three selections (Dansby Swanson, Anfernee Grier, Pavin Smith) were college picks, while the last two (Matt McLain, Corbin Carroll) were taken out of high school.