Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Track Record: At a showcase for Lucius Fox in the Bahamas in February 2015, D-backs scout Craig Shipley was as intrigued by Fox at shortstop as he was by Chisholm, who was playing second base. Shipley saw Chisholm again a few weeks later, this time at short, and, impressed by Chisholm's actions and athleticism, wound up signing him for $200,000 that July. He has quickly turned himself into a bargain. After an impressive debut in Rookie-level Missoula, where he hit .281 with nine homers in 249 at-bats, Chisholm played in just 29 games in 2017 before a torn meniscus ended his season. He made up for lost time in 2018, with a solid three and a half months at low Class A Kane County followed by a monster six weeks in the high Class A California League. The 25 home runs he hit in 2018 set a single-season franchise record for a shortstop. He finished with a good showing in a limited role in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Chisholm has an exciting array of tools. He has an athletic build and strong hands, and he generates a smooth, lefthanded uppercut swing that produces loud contact with easy power. His approach is aggressive, sometimes too aggressive. Coaches say he has a tendency to try too hard to generate power to his pull side, saying his swing can get too steep and his approach too pull-conscious. They believe when he keeps his approach simple, the power comes naturally to all fields. He strikes out a lot--nearly 30 percent of the time--and his high swing-and-miss rate on pitches in the zone is concerning. He also struggled against lefthanded pitchers. Defensively, Chisholm has everything it takes to stick at shortstop but needs to work on his consistency. He has smooth, flashy actions but is prone to lapses in concentration, making highlight-reel plays before committing errors on routine ones. He's an above-average to plus runner and stole 17 bases in 21 tries. Chisholm has a bubbling, energetic personality and is brimming with confidence, and coaches and team executives say he continued to work hard despite being disappointed about starting the season in Kane County. The Future: Chisholm is a high-risk but high-reward stock. He has some rough edges to smooth over, but if it comes together he could be a shortstop with 20-homer, 20-steal potential. Parts of his game lack maturity, which could come in time. He could open 2019 in Double-A Jackson.
Track Record: Duplantier turned in one of the more dominant minor league seasons of the past 25 years in 2017, but a hamstring injury and a bout with right biceps tendinitis limited him to just 74 innings at Double-A Jackson in 2018. Given his injury history, the Diamondbacks were overly cautious with him, bringing him back slowly. Duplantier made up 21.2 innings with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Duplantier still has the best stuff of any starter in the system. His legit four-pitch mix begins with a lively fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s. Scouts and coaches say his slider evolved into his best secondary option, with his curveball and changeup both average to plus at times. He's cerebral and inquisitive, and coaches say he understands how best to use his stuff to exploit hitters' weaknesses. He has average to above-average command and control, though his walks ticked up in 2018. For some scouts, Duplantier's recent arm issues made it harder to overlook his funky arm action. The Future: Scouts who like Duplantier see a mid-rotation starter and perhaps a little more, but some remain spooked by the injuries that date to his days at Rice and wonder if he's a breakdown candidate. If he keeps taking the ball he can shed that reputation, not to mention possibly reach the majors in 2019.
Track Record: After tearing up the Horizon League his junior year at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Varsho, the son of big leaguer Gary Varsho, was taken 68th overall by the Diamondbacks in 2017. In his first full season as a pro, he jumped to a fast start for High Class A Visalia before needing surgery for a broken right hamate in June. He returned in August, and after a slow two and a half weeks, he hit like had before the injury over his final 10 games. Scouting Report: Varsho has a compact swing, an aggressive-yet-mature approach and a knack for finding the barrel, with scouts seeing good extension that generates loft, giving him average power with the chance for more. There are still questions about his ability to stick at catcher, but he did win over some converts in 2018. He's athletic and energetic behind the plate, and his quick transfer and throwing accuracy make up for average-at-best arm strength. Some scouts say his receiving can occasionally appear raw. He's the rare catcher who also is an above-average to plus runner. The Future: Even those unsure if Varsho can catch believe he'll be a big leaguer, saying that his athleticism should allow him to handle second base or the outfield, with some saying the Diamondbacks could use him at multiple positions the way the Dodgers have with Austin Barnes.
Track Record: Drafted as a third baseman by the Cardinals, Kelly converted to catcher in 2014 and was hailed as Yadier Molina's heir apparent. But with Molina showing no signs of letting up, the Cardinals wanted Kelly playing everyday and sent him back to Triple-A Memphis in 2018 for a third straight season. In December, the Cardinals traded Kelly to the D-backs as part of the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Scouting Report: Kelly is athletic in the box with a sound swing, a good approach and occasional power. While he hasn't had a chance to show it yet at the major league level--he has received only sporadic at-bats during his big league stints the past three years--he projects as a bottom-of-the-order hitter with on-base skills. Some evaluators believe his transition to catching meant his offensive development was put on hold, so much so that his bat could have more upside. Kelly has long been regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the minors. He is a good receiver with a strong arm and an athletic base, and his makeup and baseball intelligence give him a chance to impact all aspects of the game. The Future: The trade to Arizona gives Kelly a path to an everyday job. With only Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy ahead of him, Kelly should be the Diamondbacks' starting catcher soon.
Track Record: Signed for $70,000 in 2016, Perdomo exhibited advanced plate discipline in the Dominican Summer League in his pro debut the following year. He continued to show a discerning eye in 2018, but he added some offensive impact as well, emerging as one of the Diamondbacks' most intriguing young prospects. Scouting Report: Perdomo has an athletic frame with a high waist and an upper body that should be able to handle added bulk. He has a way of gliding on defense, and his soft hands, plus arm and instincts lead scouts to believe he'll have no trouble sticking at shortstop. A switch-hitter, he has plus bat speed, good bat-to-ball skills and pull power that could grow into more. Perdomo was overly passive in the DSL in 2017 but became more aggressive as he started facing better strike-throwers. Scouts say he's a slightly above-average runner. He impressed coaches by making big strides learning English. The Future: Perdomo might not have the huge ceiling of Jazz Chisholm or Kristian Robinson, but his floor could be higher, with scouts seeing a talented, instinctual, smart player in the mold of Tony Fernandez. He'll likely open 2019 in low Class A Kane County.
Track Record: The Diamondbacks signed Robinson for $2.5 million in 2017 and fully expected his first season as a pro to begin in the Dominican Summer League. But he so impressed throughout the spring, with a mature approach on and off the field, that the club started him in the Rookie-level Arizona League, then pushed him to the Pioneer League to finish. Scouting Report: Robinson has a strong, physical build and looks far more developed than his age would suggest. He has good pitch-recognition skills and some feel to hit, though some scouts see him as a power-over-hit type for now. His power could be huge, and he showed signs of tapping into it in 2018, driving balls to all fields. Given that he's a native of the Bahamas and had limited exposure to tough pitching as an amateur, he might have even more room to grow than others his age. He has the instincts, speed and athleticism to stick in center field, but his ultimate home could depend on how his body develops. The Future: Though he has a long way to go, the sky is the limit in terms of Robinson's upside. Some see flashes of Andruw Jones or Adam Jones if he can remain in center, while others see his physical development turning him into a Jermaine Dye or Jorge Soler type on a corner. If he doesn't open in low Class A Kane County, he'll likely get there at some point early in the 2019 season.
Track Record: The Yankees traded Widener to the Diamondbacks in February 2018 as part of the three-team Steven Souza Jr. trade also involving the Rays. Widener turned in the most consistent season of any Diamondbacks starter in 2018, earning the organization's pitcher of the year honors while leading the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts and WHIP and finishing second in ERA. Scouting Report: Widener's success is in large part built off a dominant fastball. The pitch sits around 92-93 mph and usually tops out around 95, and he generates lots of swings and misses with it, including up in the strike zone. His secondary stuff was less consistent. His changeup improved in 2018, going from a traditional offspeed/velocity-separation pitch to a power change out of the Zack Greinke mold that's more about disrupting timing and inducing ground balls. It became his best secondary offering, moving ahead of a slider that has some bite but at times can be more like a slurve. The Future: Widener is beloved for his competitiveness, but he does have some effort and aggression in his delivery and a less-than-ideal arm stroke. Combine that with the inconsistent secondary stuff and some see his ultimate home being in the bullpen. He'll get every chance to start, however, and likely will move to Triple-A Reno in 2019.
Track Record: The son of White Sox strength coach Allen Thomas, Alek bypassed a commitment to Texas Christian to sign with the Diamondbacks for $1.2 million as the 63rd overall pick. He quickly won over fans inside and outside the organization with his athleticism, aggressiveness and ability to hit at his first two stops as a pro. Scouting Report: Thomas is undersized--he's generously listed at 5-foot-11--but has a strong build and is likely one of the best pure athletes in the system. His swing can get long and he might need to tone down some aspects of it, but he has an innate ability to find the barrel. Projections on his power were mixed but some believe he could eventually reach 10-15 home runs. Scouts believe he should stick in center field, where he has above-average range. His arm is fringe-average at best. He's a good runner with solid instincts on the bases, though he needs to work on his basestealing. The Future: Thomas' size might have been the biggest reason he wasn't drafted higher. It's the main reason some scouts are reluctant to build in too much projection in his game. That said, those who really like him draw comparisons with Adam Eaton, Brett Gardner and Ender Inciarte. Thomas has a chance to open 2019 with low Class A Kane County.
Track Record: A wrist injury limited McCarthy to just 20 games during his junior season, but his strong track record allowed him to maintain his draft status. He signed with the Diamondbacks for $1.65 million as the 39th overall pick, following his older brother, Joe, on the same path to the pros from the University of Virginia. He showed off a well-rounded skill set during a 55-game pro debut in the short-season Northwest League. Scouting Report: McCarthy has an athletic frame with room to add strength. He has had success using a simple, contact-oriented swing, but it's somewhat stiff and upper-body driven, and the D-backs would like to see him become looser and more rhythmic while using his lower half more. He runs well and takes good routes to balls, and some scouts believe he'll easily stick in center field with a chance to be a plus defender there. His arm is fringe-average. He is considered a hard worker and excellent teammate and is said to have great makeup. The Future: Though McCarthy is lefthanded, he has an all-around game that's reminiscent of A.J. Pollock when he was drafted. Most see McCarthy's floor as a fourth outfielder, and if, like Pollock, he can make adjustments and learn to tap into more power, he could develop into an everyday player. He likely will start the 2019 season at high Class A Visalia.
Track Record: Alexander slipped in the 2018 draft, perhaps due to some combination of a high asking price as well as concerns about how often he swung and missed his senior year at IMG Academy. After signing with the Diamondbacks for $500,000, he quickly quieted any worries about his bat, performing so well in his pro debut he helped ease the sting of the club's inability to sign top pick Matt McLain. Scouting Report: Alexander, whose dad Charles pitched parts of three seasons in the Indians' system and whose older brother C.J. is in the Braves organization, has a lean, athletic frame and an arm that rates near the top of the scouting scale. His swing is consistent and under control, with no wasted movement, and he has good finish at the end, prompting some scouts to envision him growing into power to all fields, though he does tend to roll over on pitches with his top hand. He has good instincts in the field but isn't as fluid and easy as shortstops often are, leading some to envision a shift to third or second base. The Future: Alexander has a chance to open next season in low Class A Kane County and could develop into an infielder in the J.J. Hardy or Chris Taylor mold.
Track Record: Clarke continued his steady, consistent progression through the system in 2018, logging a career-high 152 innings while pitching in a difficult Triple-A Pacific Coast League environment. He has thrown at least 145 innings in each of the past three seasons. He was in consideration for a callup at multiple points in 2018, but the club opted for more veteran options. Scouting Report: Clarke is much the same pitcher as always: a strike-thrower with good pitchability and solid, if unspectacular, stuff. His fastball velocity ticked up a bit in 2018, topping out around 95 mph and sitting closer to 93, and coaches say his changeup improved, though still remains his second-best secondary offering behind his slider. Clarke took his preparation and game-planning seriously, and with his above-average command was able to attack hitters with a purpose. He could benefit even further from the more-detailed data he would receive in the majors. The Future: Depending on how things shake out, Clarke could have a chance to compete for a big league rotation spot and is knocking on the door after being added to the 40-man roster in November.
Track Record: Just 17 players born in North Dakota have ever reached the majors. Young is hard-charging toward becoming No. 18. The Cardinals picked Young in the 37th round in 2016, signed him for just $3,000 and quickly realized they had a steal. He mashed his way up three levels in his first full season, and he followed in 2018 by finishing fourth in the Cardinals' system in home runs (21) as he moved to Double-A. The Diamondbacks acquired him in the Paul Goldschmidt trade after the season. The Future: Young is a second baseman, but his best position is "hitter."He's a physical specimen with a chiseled core, strong wrists, thick forearms and big legs that give him a strong base and make him a powerful runner. He has a short, compact swing that packs a punch, and he uses the entire field with average raw power. He jumps on fastballs early and doesn't walk much, but he doesn't strike out much, either. Reports on Young's athleticism vary widely. The D-backs envision him at either second or third base and see a David Bote-type player; others believe he'll have to move to left field. The Future: Young will go as far as his bat takes him, and there's a growing consensus that will be the majors. He'll likely open the season in Double-A Jackson.
Track Record: Yerzy opened the year in extended spring training before heading to short-season Northwest League, where he put together a second consecutive strong year at the plate. But he again left evaluators unsure about where his future lies; few doubt his bat, but no one seems overly confident he can stick at catcher. Scouting Report: Yerzy has good bat speed, a powerful swing and an advanced approach that's aided by his studious commitment to learning the craft. After he lowered his hands and started using his lower half more, he began driving balls more consistently. Coaches say he might have finished with twice as many homers if Hillsboro were more hitter-friendly. Yerzy continues to improve defensively but has a ways to go to become a consistent, average receiver and thrower, and it appears the bat is developing much faster than his defense. He started eight games at first base in Hillsboro and played the position exclusively in instructional league, though the organization says he's still being viewed as a catcher. The Future: The club likely will continue to give Yerzy every chance to catch because of the value he would provide there, but if the bat continues its trajectory first base could make more sense.
Track Record: Tabor didn't have a breakout performance in his first full season as a pro, but coaches say he might have improved from start to finish more than any pitcher in the organization, and he continues to give the club hope he can develop into a big league starter. He didn't miss a ton of bats in the short-season Northwest League, but his clean, repeatable delivery allowed him to fill up the strike zone and he showed good pitchability. Scouting Report: Tabor doesn't have overpowering stuff, but his fastball improved as the season progressed, going from sitting 90-91 mph to about 93. His changeup is his best secondary offering, a pitch that some say is the best in the organization. The fastball/changeup combo draws comparisons with former Diamondbacks pitcher Chase Anderson. Tabor's breaking ball remains a work in progress. For now, it's a slider, but there are some who would like to see him go back to a curveball, which might work better given his ability to pitch north-south with the fastball. The Future: Tabor matured as a pitcher in 2018 but still has work to do if he's going to reach his mid-rotation ceiling. He's in line to open the year in low Class A Kane County.
Track Record: After two years at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC and one at Arizona State, Kelly climbed steadily through the Rays system, posting strong numbers for Triple-A Durham in 2014. Trouble was, he was buried in a pitching-rich organization. Believing his best bet would be to get out of the Rays' control, he headed to Korea, expecting to be there for one or two years before returning home. He stayed for four. After helping SK Wyverns win a Korea Baseball Organization championship in 2018, he signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal with the D-backs in December. Scouting Report: Kelly, who twice ranked in the KBO's top 10 in ERA, has the makings of a No. 5 starter. He has a five-pitch mix, starting with a fastball that sits 92-93 mph and can touch 97. His velocity is up from his days with the Rays, when he sat 88-90 mph. Scouts see his hard, tight curveball as his best secondary pitch, followed by his changeup. He also throws a slider and a cutter. He has above-average control and average command. The Future: Unlike most pitchers who leave for Asia, Kelly has never pitched in the majors. He'll get a chance to compete for a rotation spot with the Diamondbacks this spring.
Track Record: Lopez's jagged path through the minors culminated with his first trip to the majors in September, and after an ugly debut that went homer, triple, homer, he rebounded during the rest of the month to show the sort of dominant stuff that looks like it could be right at home in a late-inning role. Scouting Report: Originally signed for a bonus of more than $8 million in January 2015, Lopez left his Double-A team without permission in each of his first two seasons as a pro. He has never spoken publicly about the reasons why, but the departures raised concerns about his makeup. He has gone about reshaping opinions and is no longer viewed as a bad teammate. Lopez has some of the best stuff of any reliever in the organization, featuring a fastball that touched 99 mph and sat 97 in September to go with a swing-and-miss slider that sits in the mid-80s. He also appears to have the mentality for the ninth; during an outing against the Dodgers he escaped a jam and glared at Manny Machado on his way off the field. The Future: Lopez's pure stuff and reshaped attitude give him a chance to win a roster spot in the spring. He could work his way into a prominent bullpen role.
Track Record: Regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the 2017 draft class, Smith was the seventh overall pick, then turned in a solid pro debut, hitting for average if not power at the short-season level. His first full season did not go as well. In the hitter-friendly California League, he hit just .156 in April and was at .223 at the end of June. He finished strong, but his year raised concerns about his upside and future role. Scouting Report: Smith has a pretty swing and excellent plate discipline, but detractors see just average bat speed and say he's a below-average athlete. He's also a below-average runner, and the consensus is he's a first baseman only, putting even more pressure on the bat. He shows off plus raw power in BP but has trouble tapping into it. Many believe Smith was too passive at the plate and the organization was working with him on being more aggressive early in counts. The Future: Some scouts project Smith as a bat off the bench, and even most of those who like him are cautious in their comparisons. He'll likely open 2019 at Double-A Jackson.
Track Record: Weiss helped Wright State win the Horizon League championship in 2018 and reach the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. In two years there, he logged a 2.80 ERA with 172 strikeouts in 186.2 innings. They D-backs felt fortunate they got him in the fourth round, believing he might have gone higher had he been pitching at a bigger school. He signed for $400,000. Scouting Report: Weiss checks all the boxes for a future starter. He has a prototypical pitcher's frame, tremendous athleticism, a clean delivery and smooth arm action. He has the ability to fill the strike zone and a deep repertoire of pitches fronted by a fastball that sits 92-93 mph and touches 95. Weiss has both a slider and a curveball, though he might need to pick one because the two can bleed together. He also has a changeup that can act like a splitter, diving down and to his arm side. He's shown he can overcome unthinkable adversity: He lost both of his parents during a six-year span, his father to suicide, his mother to a heart attack in January 2018. The Future: In Weiss, the D-backs have starter who should fit in the back end of a rotation and could very well grow into more. He will begin 2019 at high Class A Visalia.
Track Record: The grandson of four-time all-star Don Money and a product of the same high school as Mike Trout, Kennedy swung the bat well in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2018, winning over some onlookers who see a chance for him to develop into a big leaguer, perhaps even an everyday player. Scouting Report: Kennedy does not particularly look the part. He has the build of a fire hydrant, and while he's more athletic than that suggests, scouts believe he's going to have to work to maintain that athleticism. He seems to have a natural ability to find the barrel with a short, controlled swing, and he avoids expanding the strike zone and rarely strikes out. He may never be a big power guy, but scouts believe his gap-to-gap power could grow into double-digit home runs. He showed improvement at third base but his future could be all over the infield or even on an outfield corner, assuming the bat continues to develop. His arm is average, both in strength and accuracy, and he's said to be an average runner, perhaps slightly above-average once underway. The Future: Kennedy figures to be part of the crew of interesting prospects bound for low Class A Kane County in 2019.
Track Record: Wilson put together one of the better seasons of any position prospect in the system in 2017, but he struggled to follow it up in 2018, posting alarming strikeout totals and getting chewed up by righthanded pitchers at high Class A Visalia. Scouting Report: Facing better pitchers than he ever had, Wilson's timing appeared to be off for much of 2018, some of which could be attributed to an inability to sync up his pre-pitch movements and his swing. A year ago, he drew praise for his plate discipline, but his approach backed up on him. He tried to stay patient and often wound up working deep counts, then got beat or chased with two strikes. His season might not have been as bad as the numbers show; Wilson's batted-ball data suggest he hit into tough luck. Opinions are split on his ability to remain in center field, though he has a solid-average arm that would play on a corner. He still earns good marks for his athleticism and coaches say he works as hard as anyone. The Future: Always viewed as a slow developer, Wilson might have to prove in spring he's ready for Double-A or else return to Visalia to begin 2019.
Track Record: After enjoying a strong junior year at the plate for Louisville and being selected with the 44th overall pick in 2017, Ellis left college with more questions about his defense than his offense. The opposite appears true after his first full year as a pro. Ellis had just a so-so season at the plate in the California League, collecting 50 extra-base hits and posting a solid 10.4 percent walk rate. Scouting Report: Ellis hit for a low average and exhibited various red flags for scouts, including what some believed was a long swing with mediocre bat speed and a penchant for chasing offspeed stuff. Ellis went to the Arizona Fall League to work on driving the ball more consistently to all fields. Reports on his defense at third base were largely positive, with scouts putting plus grades on his hands and arm strength and saying his average range plays up thanks to good instincts and anticipation. He's not a good runner, grading out as below-average. The Future: Rival scouts were hesitant to project Ellis as an everyday player, with many seeing him as a bench bat or the righthanded half of a platoon in the mold of a late-career David Freese.
Track Record: Diamondbacks executive Junior Noboa, the team's vice president of Latin operations, never shies away from signing prospects from Latin America, even if they're older than 16. Frias was about 17 and a half when the club signed him for $50,000 in November 2015, and he's proceeded to add size, strength and velocity to make himself into one of the organization's most enticing young arms. Scouting Report: Frias is still raw, but he has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and touches 100 mph along with a breaking ball that has the potential to be a putaway pitch. His command is erratic and his delivery inconsistent because he can struggle to maintain direction to the plate. Coaches believe he is too reliant on being overpowering and needs to learn the times he can benefit from taking a little off. He has added more than 40 pounds to his frame since signing and will need to stay on top of his conditioning. The Future: Frias' development has a long way to go, and more avenues point toward the bullpen than the rotation, but he's still young and the Diamondbacks will take their time to see how things come together.
Track Record: Miroglio missed most of his junior year at San Francisco following a hand injury, and after being drafted in the 16th round by the Rays, he opted to return to school as a redshirt junior. The Diamondbacks took him the following year, and Miroglio has proceeded to hit a combined .309 in his first two years as a pro, rapidly advancing to Double-A in his second pro season. Scouting Report: Miroglio has solid pitch-recognition and bat-to-ball skills and the ability to use the whole field. His power is somewhat limited, but since he began incorporating his lower half more in pro ball, he's been able to drive the ball with more authority. He gets good marks for his receiving and ability to work with pitchers, and he makes up for average arm strength with a quick release. He has great makeup and a high-energy personality. The Future: Miroglio has the ingredients to carve out a career as a backup, but since he continues to perform the D-backs aren't putting a limit on his ceiling. He'll likely open 2019 back with Double-A Jackson.
Track Record: Acquired as part of the three-team deal in December 2014 that brought Robbie Ray to the Diamondbacks, Leyba missed much of the 2017 season due to shoulder surgery. He returned in 2018 and had just a so-so season from a results perspective, showing good bat-to-ball skills and a slightly above-average walk rate but not providing much of an impact with the bat. Scouting Report: Leyba is a difficult player for some scouts to evaluate. Many see him only as a second baseman--particularly with his arm strength backing up after surgery--and with below-average power and average speed he could be a second-division regular at best. Still, he has such good feel for hitting some believe he has more power to tap into than he's shown. Leyba has the glove for both middle infield positions and the athleticism to serve as a utility infielder if not a true everyday player. The Future: This will be Leyba's third year on the 40-man roster, though he has yet to appear close to a big league callup. That could change in 2019, when he is likely to open the season in Triple-A Reno.
Track Record: Signed for $80,000 in January 2013, Vargas has long been on the organization's prospect radar, with player development personnel anticipating a breakout season for years. He showed occasional flashes, including a 16-strikeout game in 2016, but it wasn't until 2018 that he managed to put together a strong season from start to finish. He reported to high Class A Visalia and led the California League in ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (140) through August before earning a promotion to Double-A Scouting Report: Vargas has a strong, durable build and a clean arm stroke. He throws a low-90s fastball with a high spin rate, allowing it to play as though it's in the mid-90s. His changeup turned into his best secondary pitch once he started using it more in Double-A, moving ahead of a slider that became less slurvy as the season progressed. He struggled with control early, but his strike-throwing improved significantly. Still, without a plus pitch, scouts aren't sure the command is where it needs to be. The Future: Vargas' command questions leave some wondering about his future role, but he'll get a chance to keep getting outs as a starter, likely beginning in Double-A in 2019.
Track Record: Mercer was undrafted out of high school after needing Tommy John the summer before his senior year and went 635 days--he counted--before pitching in his next game. After three years at Oregon, he finally got the call in the fifth round in 2018, then proceeded to turn in an impressive pro debut, capped by a dominant 12-up, 12-down performance in a Northwest League playoff start. Scouting Report: Mercer uncoils an aggressive delivery from an undersized but athletic frame, using a short arm action with an extremely fast arm stroke. His fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range, topping at 97. His high spin rate allows him to use his fastball effectively up in the zone, something he was discouraged from doing at Oregon but began incorporating more often in pro ball. His changeup, a potential plus pitch, comes out of the same slot and has downward action with armside run. His curveball shows flashes of developing into an above-average pitch. Mercer's delivery and size raise questions about whether he can maintain his stuff throughout a long season as a starter. The Future: Mercer should be in the mix for a rotation spot in high Class A Visalia to start 2019.
Track Record: Francis, whose older brother Bowden is a Brewers prospect, opened his first full pro season in extended spring training and made significant improvement throughout the year, showing better stuff across the board than when the D-backs signed him as a fourth-rounder in 2017. Scouting Report: Francis has a strong frame and an aggressive delivery. He gets a high number of swinging strikes on his fastball, a pitch with sink and run that ranged from 90-94 mph, averaging 92. His changeup isn't just his best secondary offering, it's one of the best changeups in the organization, and he had to scale back his use of it to work on his curveball, which showed improvement. There is a fair amount of effort in his delivery, including a head snap, leading some to believe the bullpen could be in his future, but if he continues throwing strikes, refining his pitch mix and missing bats, the Diamondbacks will give him every chance to start. The Future: Once viewed as a pitcher whose development could be gradual, Francis made big strides and showed excellent aptitude in 2018. He likely will open the 2019 season as part of a loaded low Class A Kane County team.
Track Record: Goddard, who spent three seasons in Kansas' weekend rotation, battled through an oblique injury that cost him six weeks in the middle of his junior season. Still, the Diamondbacks selected him with the 99th overall pick, the third-highest selection in school history, and signed him for $550,000. Scouting Report: Goddard had an inconsistent track record in college, but the D-backs believe he has the makings of a power starter. With a strong, athletic build, he has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s, and he's able to hold that velocity deep into games. He throws both a slider and a changeup, either of which could be his best secondary offering depending on the day. He sometimes has issues throwing strikes, but the D-backs think that will improve as he becomes more consistent with his delivery. He didn't look quite like himself after signing--his velocity was down, as was the bite on his slider and action on his changeup--perhaps the result of being tired from a long season. The Future: Depending on his camp performance, Goddard will open 2019 at either low Class A Kane County or high Class A Visalia.
Track Record: Sherfy has always been one of the smaller players on every team he's been on. But he's also always had a lightning quick arm, which he used to reach the big leagues in 2017 and 2018. Scouting Report: Sherfy has a mid-90s fastball and a sharp-breaking curveball. His fastball can be straight and he doesn't always command it, but when he does he can consistently put hitters away with the curve, a pitch that grades as plus. Sherfy's easygoing, laid-back nature seems to serve him well in pressure situations. His walk rate more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, but team officials point to the success of righthander Silvino Bracho as the reason Sherfy spent most of 2018 at Triple-A Reno. The Future: Sherfy figures to again have a chance to pitch his way into a big league role--even a prominent one given the uncertainty in the D-backs' bullpen.
Track Record: Ginkel had an inconsistent 2017 that left him on the periphery of the Diamondbacks' prospect radar. He found his way back on the map in a big way in 2018, finishing an impressive season with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: A year ago, Ginkel's fastball topped out in the low 90s and he was having trouble bouncing back from outing to outing. In the offseason, he worked to revamp his pitching mechanics, trying to become more athletic by incorporating his lower half more. He began to get extreme extension of nearly seven feet. His velocity picked up, sitting in the low-to-mid-90s, which allowed him to challenge hitters with his fastball. His excellent spin rate allowed him to pitch aggressively up in the zone. He also mixed in his slider and changeup effectively. He surprised even himself with his results, posting a miniscule ERA along with a strikeout rate of 12.9 per nine innings. The Future: Ginkel won't need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2019 season. He'll likely open 2019 back in Double-A Jackson and could turn himself into a candidate for the big leagues.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up