Outfielder Marcus Wilson took the plate discipline skills he’d been exhibiting since turning pro and added in significant production at the plate at low Class A Kane County, putting together the best half-season of any Diamondbacks position prospect.
“From the day he was drafted to where he’s at right now, he’s probably the most improved player in the organization, without a doubt,” hitting coordinator Chris Cron said. “He’s come so far.”
Cron described Wilson as talented but unrefined when he entered the organization out of high school in Gardena, Calif., in 2014. But Cron said the 20-year-old Wilson wants to learn and has a way of soaking up information from those around him.
Wilson hit .304/.398/.505 with eight home runs through 58 games. He ranks among the best in the organization at staying patient, waiting for his pitch to hit and attacking it once he gets it, Cron said.
“He’s about as textbook as they get in terms of hunting your pitch,” he said.
Biggest Leap Forward
No pitcher in the system has done more to establish himself as a prospect than righthander Jon Duplantier, who has quickly gone from a third-round pick last year to someone coaches in the system view as a legitimate rotation prospect.
People with the Diamondbacks seem to have a hard time settling on what they like most about Duplantier, which is understandable given the success he had with Kane County, where he recorded a 1.24 ERA before a midseason promotion to high Class A Visalia.
“He’s the whole package,” pitching coordinator Dan Carlson said.
After lowering his arm angle with rehab coordinator Brad Arnsberg last fall, Duplantier showed up to spring training with a fastball that could touch 97 mph, though he pitches mostly at 90-94. He also came armed with a new slider that quickly became one of his better pitches.
Add in a curveball and a still-developing changeup, and Duplantier is the somewhat rare first-year pro with a usable four-pitch mix.
Given the injury issues Duplantier had at Rice, the Diamondbacks are focused on keeping him healthy. Carlson said monitoring Duplantier’s strength and durability was part of the reason the club waited as long as it did to promote him, and that the organization is aiming for between 130-150 innings for him this season.