The Midseason Top 10 Prospect lists are compiled from conversations with front office officials and scouts from all 30 teams. Players who have exhausted prospect eligibility or were in the Major Leagues as of June 22 are not eligible. Draftees from the 2016 draft and July 2, 2016 signees are also not eligible.
SEE ALSO: Midseason Top 100
This was supposed to be the Diamondbacks’ breakthrough season. Instead, injuries sunk Arizona’s hopes before they ever really got started.
|2019 PROJECTED LINEUP
|C Wellington Castillo
|1B Paul Goldschmidt
|2B Brandon Drury
|SS Jean Segura
|3B Jake Lamb
|LF Yasmany Tomas
|CF A.J. Pollock
|RF David Peralta
|No. 1 Starter Zack Greinke
|No. 2 Starter Shelby Miller
|No. 3 Starter Patrick Corbin
|No. 4 Starter Braden Shipley
|No. 5 Starter Robbie Ray
|Closer Archie Bradley
It began when burgeoning star center fielder A.J. Pollock suffered a fractured right elbow sliding into home during the Diamondbacks’ final exhibition game before the season opener.
Expected key contributors Chris Owings, David Peralta, and Rubby De La Rosa soon followed with injuries of their own. Just when $206.5 million-signee Zack Greinke was rounding into form after a slow start, he hit the DL with a strained left oblique.
Add in the horrific start by Shelby Miller to his Diamondbacks career—his 7.14 ERA and 1.745 WHIP are worst in the National League among pitchers with at least 14 starts—and subpar seasons from fellow starters Pat Corbin and Robbie Ray, and you have a team in last place in the NL West, even with another stellar season from Paul Goldschmidt, a bounceback year from Jean Segura and a breakthrough campaign from Jake Lamb.
All of the injuries and subpar performances have forced the Diamondbacks to reach into their farm system early. Four of their preseason top seven prospects were in the majors by June, with three others in the top 30 making MLB appearances this season as well.
Those graduations, plus the stunning offseason trade of Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair for Miller, have thinned out Arizona’s farm system significantly, although two pitchers currently in Triple-A give the Diamondbacks some promise.
Getting their key players back from injury would do wonders for Arizona, and the progress of Archie Bradley, Socrates Brito, Brandon Drury, Peter O’Brien and Jake Barrett into the majors gives them an intriguing young core.
In terms of the farm system at present though, general manager Dave Stewart’s risky prospect-for-veteran trades have largely created a lack of depth and impact talent. Combined with the major league team currently sitting in last place, it’s not a good place for the Diamondbacks franchise to be in.
MIDSEASON TOP 10
1. Braden Shipley, rhp
Shipley has been one the brightest spots in the Diamondbacks system, holding his own at Triple-A Reno with an 3.85 ERA in one of the toughest pitching environments in all of professional baseball. The 24-year old former college shortstop has maintained his 93-96 mph fastball velocity and mid-80s curveball and changeup, locating all of his pitches effectively and drawing nearly 40 percent more groundballs than fly balls, a key for the thin air of Reno and eventually Arizona. He’s not striking out many, but impeccable control (1.52 BB/9 IP) and limited home runs allowed have kept Shipley among the Pacific Coast League’s top pitchers.
2. Anthony Banda, lhp
Acquired in 2014 from the Brewers in the Gerardo Parra trade, Banda made waves with a 2.12 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings at Double-A Mobile. He earned a spot in the Futures Game and was promoted to Triple-A. His improved 93-95 mph fastball, mid-70s curveball and low 80s changeup all rate at least average and give him a well-rounded arsenal.
3. Alex Young, lhp
The 2015 second-rounder out of Texas Christian posted a 2.16 ERA in nine starts at low class A Kane County to earn a promotion to high Class A Visalia. He’s bounced back nicely after spending most of May on the disabled list with a forearm sprain. His sinking low-90s fastball and fading mid-80s changeup help him induce plenty of weak contact, if not an overwhelming amount of strikeouts.
4. Gabby Guerrero, of
Guerrero’s arm from right field continues to draw raves as one of the best in the minors, while he continues to tantalize with his bat speed and strong build. The numbers haven’t caught up to the scouting reports, mostly because of his lack of plate discipline, but he was still promoted to Triple-A Reno last month.
5. Jack Reinheimer, ss/2b
Acquired with Guerrero in the trade for Mark Trumbo, Reinheimer has taken over as the everyday shortstop for Triple-A Reno and shown good footwork and instincts with a serviceable arm. His stolen base totals are down, but he consistently gets on-base with a patient approach and knack for making good contact.
6. Domingo Leyba, ss/2b
The 20-year old Dominican improved his approach and swing path in his second straight year at high class A Visalia, resulting in a 50-point jump in average and 170-point OPS jump. The converted second baseman has also gotten more comfortable at short, demonstrating a quick first step and good instincts.
7. Taylor Clarke, rhp
The 2015 third-rounder began the year at low Class A Kane County and has already been promoted twice to Double-A Mobile, a rapid pace for someone just now in his first full season. Clarke commands his 90-93 mph fastball well on both sides of the plate, and complements it with quality slider and changeup offerings.
8. Dawel Lugo, 3b
The former Blue Jays top prospect lost 15 pounds after coming to the Diamondbacks last summer and has generated more explosiveness, bat speed and athleticism as a result. His glove and arm at third base earns raves, and he’s started playing more shortstop of late, pushing Domingo Leyba to second base.
9. Tyler Wagner, rhp
Wagner came over from Milwaukee with Jean Segura and pitched three games in relief for the Diamondbacks before returning to the rotation at Triple-A. The 6-foot-3 groundball specialist, never a particularly hard thrower, had a 3.04 ERA in five starts for Reno before going on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle. The Las Vegas native hasn’t pitched since May 13.
10. Brad Keller, rhp
The burly 6-foot-5, 230-pound righthander is surviving the tough Cal League with a better than 2-to-1 groundout to air out ratio and 19 walks in 96 2/3 innings with high Class A Visalia. Only 20, the sinkerballer is still learning how to miss bats and avoid having innings spiral out of control on him.
Catcher Oscar Hernandez was a Cal League all-star for high Class A Visalia and was promoted to Double-A Mobile, where he hit five homers in his first nine games. Visalia manager J.R. House, a former major league catcher, is credited with improving Hernandez’s defense all-around and helping him improve as a hitter while handling the rigors of catching . . . Lefthander Cody Reed was promoted to high Class A Visalia after posting a 55-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio low Class A Kane County. He uses a deceptive delivery and to make up for otherwise vanilla pure stuff, topped by a 89-91 mph fastball.
Righthander Yoan Lopez left Double-A Mobile for the second year in a row and told team officials he was retiring before being convinced to hold off in a phone call with GM Dave Stewart as he drove away from the park mid-game. Lopez is currently undergoing counseling and is shut down from baseball activities while the organization prioritizes the 23-year old Cuban’s mental health. He had a 5.52 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 32 walks in 62 innings with Mobile. … Righthander Wei-Chieh Huang had a 6.49 ERA in six starts with high Class A Visalia and was sent down to extended spring, where has been since the end of May. He surrendered 33 hits, including five homers, in 26 1/3 innings for Visalia.
Young missed six weeks in April and May with his forearm sprain but has returned and made his last eight starts without issue. Wagner’s lat strain has kept him out since mid-May and has no firm timetable for return.
The Diamondbacks haven’t been shy about reaching into their system with the big league club underperforming. Righthanders Archie Bradley, Zack Godley, Jake Barrett, and Silvino Bracho, outfielders Socrates Brito and Peter O’Brien and utilityman Brandon Drury were all on the Diamondbacks’ roster in the majors together by mid-June.
COMING ABOARD (Check the Draft Database for more picks)
The Diamondbacks’ first five picks of the 2016 draft. (s-supplemental round)
1s. Anfernee Grier, of, Auburn. The 39th overall pick in the draft profiles as a future center fielder, with plus speed, plus defense and above-average raw power his main tools. He hit .366 with 12 homers as a junior, but his struggles recognizing offspeed pitches were exploited at times in SEC play.
2. Andy Yerzy, c, York Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto. The Canadian junior national team vet has shown consistent hitting ability and present power from the left side, but his defense is questionable enough many scouts predict he’ll end up moving to first base.
3. Jon Duplantier, rhp, Rice. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Texan brings as 90-95 mph fastball and above-average curveball and projects as a possible mid-rotation starter. There are injury concerns after he missed all of 2015 with a shoulder injury though, and his ability to develop his changeup will determine if he starts or ends up in the bullpen.
4. Curtis Taylor, rhp, British Columbia. The imposing 6-foot-6, 225-pound Canadian collegian runs his fastball up to 96 mph and draws plenty of ground balls with a hard sinker-slider combo. He projects mainly as a reliever.
5. Joey Rose, 3b, Toms River (N.J.) North HS. The former Oklahoma State commit was drafted mostly off his promising righthanded swing but is off to a rough start in pro ball because of strikeout woes. He is considered average defensively and will need his bat to carry him.