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Parker has ranked No. 1 on this list for three straight years, but he almost didn't become a Diamondback. If the Royals had taken Josh Vitters with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, the Cubs would have followed by selecting Parker. But Kansas City switched to Mike Moustakas on the day of the draft, Chicago went for Vitters and Arizona landed Parker with the ninth choice. He signed for $2.1 million at the Aug. 15 deadline, too late to make his pro debut, and then jumped on the fast track. He began his pro career at low Class A South Bend in 2008 and reached Double-A Mobile by May of the following year. Parker had no trouble handling Double-A hitters as a 20-year-old and ranked as the Southern League's top pitching prospect. Elbow tightness forced him to the sidelines in late July, however. After skipping planned stints with Team USA and in Arizona Fall League in an attempt to recover with rest, he had Tommy John surgery in October 2009 and sat out the entire 2010 season. After rehabbing at the Diamondbacks' Tucson complex early in the year, Parker spent the second half with Mobile, throwing side sessions and simulate games. He didn't pitch in a real game until instructional league. Parker appeared to be back to full strength during instructional league, with more confidence and better mechanics than he had before he blew out his elbow. His delivery was smooth before he got hurt, however, and wasn't blamed for his injury. Parker has a quick arm that easily generates above-average velocity. During instructional league, his fastball sat at 94-95 mph and touched 97. His streamlined mechanics give him good fastball command as well. Despite the quality of his fastball, his slider is his best pitch. He throws it in the low 80s with nice tilt and two-plane depth, making it a true swing-and-miss pitch. Parker also throws an 80-83 mph changeup that was on its way to becoming a plus pitch before he got hurt. He also has an effective mid-70s curveball he uses mostly as a show-me pitch. Parker has the stuff to become an ace. The track record for pitchers coming back from Tommy John is encouraging, and from all indications, he'll return as strong as before. Arizona hasn't ruled out the possibility that he could break camp in the big league rotation with an impressive spring training, and scouts who saw him in instructional league say he's ready to pitch in the majors. It's more likely that the Diamondbacks will be more cautious, having him start 2011 in Double-A and limiting him to 130-140 innings in his first year back. Regardless, Parker soon will be a key cog at the front of their rotation.
The Diamondbacks hoped to take Skaggs with the 41st overall pick in 2009, but the Angels took him one choice earlier and signed him for $1 million. Arizona got him in the Dan Haren trade last July, with Skaggs the key player in a four-pitcher package that also included Joe Saunders and prospects Pat Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez. Skaggs has a long, lean athletic body with plenty of projection. His primary weapon is his above-average curveball, which he throws in the low 70s and locates where he wants. His curve ranks as the best in the system. He also commands his 88-92 mph fastball, and could add more velocity as he fills out his lanky frame. He's refining a changeup that could give him a third plus pitch down the road. Scouts note his aggressiveness and confidence on the mound, and they like how he goes about his business. Skaggs profiles as a solid No. 3 starter right now, and he can become a frontline starter if his fastball and changeup develop as hoped. He's still just 19 and has just 108 innings of pro experience, so the Diamondbacks won't rush him. He'll likely move through the minors one level at a time, which put him on schedule to begin 2011 at high Class A Visalia.
The first of three Diamondbacks supplemental first-round picks in 2009, Davidson signed for $900,000. Arizona has pushed him aggressively, sending him to short-season Yakima for his pro debut and promoting him to high Class A at age 19 last August. He looked overmatched at those stops, but in between he earned all-star honors playing against competition closer to his age in the low Class A Midwest League. One Diamondbacks scout proclaimed Davidson as the "crown jewel of the system," and MWL observers clearly preferred him to fellow South Bend third baseman Bobby Borchering, a 2009 first-rounder. Thanks to his quick hands, Davidson has above-average power to all fields. He's not afraid to let balls travel deep and should hit for a solid average as well. With below-average speed and fringy range, he won't be more than adequate at third base, but he's better than Borchering defensively. Arizona thinks Davidson can stay at the hot corner. With his strong arm, he could move to an outfield corner if necessary. A potential cleanup hitter in the majors, Davidson will return to Visalia, where he'll once again team up with many of the system's top prospects. The downside is that he'll have to share third base with Borchering again rather than getting daily reps at the hot corner.
Another 2009 sandwich pick, Owings signed just before the Aug. 15 deadline for $950,000. He has batted .300/.344/.421 in two pro seasons, but didn't play after appear-ing in the Midwest League all-star game last June because he came down with plantar fascitis, an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. He did return for instructional league. When he was drafted, there were questions about whether Owings could stay at shortstop or would need to move to second base. Scouts now believe he has a future as a solid big league shortstop, with solid quickness and agility, dependable range and a strong arm. Owings has very quick hands at the plate and could develop 12-15 home run power. He needs to address his plate discipline, but his short swing and willingness to use the whole field could translate into a .280 average in the majors. He's a slightly above-average runner with good instincts on the bases. He has the work ethic to continue to improve his game. Ticketed for high Class A in 2011, Owings may not quite be ready when Stephen Drew will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. If Drew stays in Arizona, Owings could move to second base, and he has the bat to profile at either middle-infield position.
Krauss was advanced enough offensively that the Diamondbacks sent him straight to low Class A after signing him as a second-rounder in 2009. His pro debut was cut short by an ankle injury, yet Arizona was aggressive again and assigned him to high Class A last year. He hit at both stops, as well as in the Arizona Fall League after the 2010 season. Krauss can rake and he'll have to, because that's his only route to the big leagues. He's a patient hitter with a clean swing, though he doesn't have blazing bat speed and his stroke can get long at times. He uses the whole field and developed more pull-side power last season, continuing that trend in the AFL. He hits southpaws as well as he hits righthand-ers, so he won't get pigeonholed as a platoon player. With below-average speed and athleticism to go with a fringy arm, Krauss is limited to left field. He does take good routes to the ball. Scouts question whether he could handle a move to first base. Krauss will open 2011 in Double-A and could see Triple-A Reno before season's end. The Diamondbacks need outfielders and power bats, so he'll move quickly if he continues to hit. He's a good bet to be the first member of Arizona's 2009 draft class to reach the majors.
Pollock parlayed Cape Cod League MVP honors in the summer of 2008 into becoming the 17th overall pick in 2009, signing for $1.4 million. After a solid pro debut at South Bend, where he starred collegiately at Notre Dame, he missed all of 2010 after a freak injury during a spring-training fielding drill left him needing surgery to repair a fractured growth plate in his right elbow. He spent his downtime working on conditioning, espe-cially strengthening his lower half, before returning to play in instructional league and the Arizona Fall League. Other than his bat, Pollock may not have a plus tool, but he has well-rounded skills and instincts that let him play above his physical ability. He uses his quick hands to stroke line drives from gap to gap. He won't have big-time power but could develop into a 15-homer threat. His speed is slightly above average and he runs the bases well. Pollock reads balls well and covers a lot of ground in center field, and he had an average arm before he hurt his elbow. Pollock projects as a solid big league regular or at least a quality fourth outfielder on a contender. He was on the fast track prior to his injury, so he could jump to Double-A to begin 2011.
One of the top high school hitters in the 2009 draft, Borchering went 16th overall as the first of five Arizona picks before the second round. Signed for $1.8 million, he joined many others from his deep draft class last year at South Bend, where he split time at third base with Matt Davidson and also DHed. A switch-hitter, Borchering has all-star caliber raw power from both sides of the plate, but he struggled with his swing and approach in his first full pro season. He started using the whole field more later in the season, which was reflected in his .305/.385/.532 numbers in the final month. He'll have to continue adjusting to make more consistent contact and hit for average against more advanced pitching. He's a better hitter from the right side, as he tends to get out in front and a little jumpy batting lefthanded. Borchering has little chance of remaining at third base, because he lacks quick feet and has slightly below-average arm strength. He has below-average speed, so his only potential destinations are first base and left field. Borchering is still far from reaching his potential. He'll likely move one level at a time and figures to spend 2011 in high Class A, once again in a third-base timeshare with Davidson.
No Diamondbacks farmhand improved as much in 2010 as Miley, a supplemental first-round pick two years earlier who signed for $887,000. After his stuff and prospect status began to slip in 2009, he hired a trainer for the offseason. The improvement in his conditioning and confidence showed as he took his game to another level after a midsea-son promotion to Double-A, and Arizona considered him for a big league promotion. Miley's fastball dipped to 87-88 mph at times in 2009, but he pitched at 92-93 last year and spiked as high as 96. He uses his 79-83 mph slider as a strikeout pitch, though it gets a little slurvy at times. His changeup flirts with being a plus pitch, improving as he threw it more and with better arm speed. Miley also throws a curveball, which is basically a softer version of his slider, and a cutter. He's still working to improve his command but showed more ability to pitch deep into starts in 2010. He's athletic and fields his position well. If Miley can prove that the strides he made at Mobile were for real, he could get his first big league callup in 2011. Arizona needs pitching, and he'll be just one level away in Triple-A.
While Tyler Skaggs was the centerpiece of the Dan Haren trade from the Diamondbacks' perspective, Corbin could give them a second lefty starter out of the deal. He began his college career playing baseball and basketball at Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) CC in 2008 before transferring to Chipola (Fla.) JC and going in the second round the following year. Because Corbin already had pitched 118 innings at the time of the trade, Arizona limited him to three innings per start afterward. Corbin's fastball ranges from 88-92 mph with very good movement. He has the ability to throw nothing but fastballs for long periods because it tails and sinks and is never straight. Both of his secondary pitches have the potential to become at least solid if not more, and his slider currently rates ahead of his changeup. Corbin commands all three of his pitches, has an athletic delivery and possesses a feel for his craft. He has a projectable body, though there are questions about whether his slight build will allow him to hold up over a full season in the rotation. Corbin is ready for Double-A. He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter and could get his first chance in the big leagues in 2012.
Broxton had a football scholarship to play wide receiver at Florida Atlantic, but he decided to focus on baseball and attend Santa Fe (Fla.) CC after the Phillies drafted him in the 29th round out of high school in 2008. He went 26 rounds higher a year later, adding athleticism to a system sorely in need of toolsy up-the-middle talent. Broxton is a classic high-risk, high-reward player. For all his tools, he lacks baseball instincts and the ability to make consistent contact. He has a sound swing and a quick bat, but he struggles to recognize pitches and handle offspeed stuff. He's a free swinger who doesn't have much usable power, accumulating most of his extra-base hits with his above-average speed. Broxton has the raw ability to be a plus defender in center field, though he needs to upgrade his jumps and routes. He has arm strength but needs more accuracy on throws. Broxton has one of the highest ceilings in the system and a lot of adjustments to make to get there. The Diamondbacks will be patient with him, as he's still only 20 and may need close to a full season at every minor league level. He figures to advance to high Class A in 2011.
Goldschmidt has a proven track record as a power hitter. He set a school record with 36 career home runs at Texas State, after first coming to scouts' attention in 2006, when he and Kyle Drabek (now the Blue Jays' top prospect) led The Woodlands (Texas) High to the national championship. He led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in homers (18) and slugging percentage (.638) in his debut season, then jumped two levels to high Class A and topped the California League in doubles (42), home runs (35) and slugging (.606) en route to winning the MVP award. He also struck out 161 times, which some scouts see as an indication that he may struggle against better pitching as he moves higher in the system. There's no denying Goldschmidt's legitimate power to all fields, and his supporters believe he has a swing path that will allow him to improve as a hitter. He was especially dangerous against lefthanders last year, batting .413/.453/.860 with 16 homers in just 143 at-bats, so even those who don't believe in him as a regular in the big leagues believe he can at least have a solid career as a platoon player. His defense right now is adequate, and he has the potential to be an average major league first baseman because he's rangy for his size. His speed is well below-average, so he'll have to make it as a first baseman or DH. Goldschmidt will move up to Double A, where he'll be tested by better pitching.
After the Diamondbacks withdrew their offer to first-round pick Barret Loux last summer due to concerns with his shoulder and elbow, they pursued two later picks with the extra money. They were unsuccessful in steer-ing lefthander Kevin Ziomek away from Vanderbilt but signed Linton for $1.25 million at the Aug. 16 deadline, after he had already started football practice at North Carolina. He's extremely athletic and is an above-aver-age runner, with plus bat speed and raw power. He draws Matt Holliday comparisons for his physicality. The Diamondbacks still aren't sure exactly what kind of player they're getting because, as a two-sport athlete, Linton never dedicated himself completely to baseball. It was obvious in instructional league that he was still in football shape. The big question mark with Linton is his swing, as some scouts saw him as a front-foot hitter in high school. During instructional league, coaches worked with him to improve the rhythm of this swing in order to get the lower half and the upper half working together. His arm strength has already improved, from below-average when he signed to average in instructional league. He profiles as a corner outfielder and is learning the nuances of defensive play as well. Linton will start the year in extended spring training before heading to one of the Diamondbacks' short-season teams for his official pro debut.
After picking projectable, high-risk pitchers with their second- and third-round choices in 2010, the Diamondbacks went with a safer choice in Munson, who served as closer for James Madison. He went straight to South Bend after signing for $243,000 and pitched well there before ending the season with Visalia. Munson is a sinker/slider pitcher with deception to his delivery. His fastball sits comfortably at 92-94 mph with good life, sink and run. His hard slider, a legitimate above-average offering, is a swing-and-miss pitch that he can throw in any count. He has a curveball but it's not functional right now, and he may not need it out of the bullpen. He's a gamer with great makeup. Munson spent part of his time at James Madison as a catcher, so his arm is relatively fresh. He relies on his slider too much at times and will have to sharpen his command. He never started a game in college, so the Diamondbacks will keep him in the role he's comfortable with. He projects as a solid reliever but probably not a closer. New GM Kevin Towers is noted for his bullpen construction, so Munson's development will be watched closely. In all likelihood, he'll be the first player from Arizona's 2010 draft class to make the big leagues, but it may not be until 2012.
The Diamondbacks made Smith the highest-drafted player in University of Rhode Island history when they took him in the second round of the 2009 draft and signed him for $605,700. He split his first season between Rookie-level Missoula and South Bend, returning to low Class A to open his first full season and earning a pro-motion to Visalia for his last 10 starts. Smith throws three pitches for strikes and has the ability to pitch deep into his starts. He has a good frame and played basketball in high school. His fastball ranges from 88-93 mph with good movement and plus sink. His slider is an average offering, and his changeup has good dive. Smith throws with a three-quarters, short-arm delivery, hides the ball well and works quickly. He pitches to both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down. He needs to use his lower half more in his delivery and continue to improve his command. He has also worked on a curveball, which would give him a fourth legitimate pitch. Smith may return to high Class A or move up to Double-A with a strong spring training. He could be a middle-of-the-rotation starter, and his tendency to pound the bottom of the zone is well suited for hitter-friendly Chase Field.
Belfiore was a closer during his college career, but the Diamondbacks moved him into the rotation after signing him for $725,000 as a sandwich pick in 2009. He had proven himself suited for the role with 92⁄3 innings of scoreless relief in Boston College's epic NCAA regional game against Texas, which it finally lost 3-2 in 25 innings. He made a strong first impression by dominating Rookie-level hitters after signing, but he wasn't as effective in low Class A in 2010. Belfiore is still learning how to be a starting pitcher, and showed some positive signs in the second half of the season when his velocity increased a few ticks to 92-93 mph. He throws a slider and a changeup in the low 80s. His major league-average changeup is regarded as his best pitch and could get better since he really didn't start using it until he joined the pro ranks. He throws with an easy arm action, and his average command could grade as plus in the future, but he doesn't have swing-and-miss stuff. Belfiore has a No. 4 starter's upside, but he does look like he'll have the stuff and stamina to remain in the rotation. One scout sees him as a late bloomer who will come on later in his career, similar to former big leaguer Jeff Fassero.
The Diamondbacks continued their run on corner infielders in the 2009 draft by selecting Wheeler, whose stock had fallen after a disappointing junior season at Loyola Marymount. He returned to form after signing, however, batting .361/.462/.540 between Yakima and South Bend and earning the organization's minor league player of the year award in just half a season. Because he's not viewed as a true masher, Wheeler moved across the infield to third base last spring and spent most of 2010 playing there, though he also played a little first base and left field. Wheeler is a bat-first player who stands right on top of the plate and uses the whole field. He shows the ability to drive the ball out to the big part of the park at times. He has a good approach and has worked hard to improve. Wheeler is a fringy defensive player at third base with limited range and footwork, but he did improve as the season went on. He has an average arm and some scouts think he can be an average defender at third, in spite of well below-average speed. He'll need to make that happen or show consistent power to all fields to avoid becoming a tweener, with not enough bat for first base and not enough defense for third. He'll return to Double-A to open 2011.
New GM Kevin Towers wasted no time in beginning his makeover of the Arizona bullpen, sending Mark Reynolds to the Orioles for David Hernandez and Mickolio. The Mickolio scouting report is starting to sound like a broken record, but when you can throw a fastball at 95-96 mph and touch 98 with nasty life in the zone, you'll get every possible chance to succeed. Mickolio was one of the players the Orioles got from the Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade before the 2008 season, and he has received big league looks in each of the last three seasons. He won a quick promotion to Baltimore last April, but he didn't throw enough strikes and got lit up in the big leagues, going back down after just three appearances. He was shut down for about six weeks in June and July with a shoulder strain. The dominant Mickolio reappeared in the Arizona Fall League, as he posted a 0.75 ERA with 18 strikeouts and two walks in 12 innings, including a scoreless inning in the league championship game. When he's on, Mickolio can pile up the scoreless innings, unleashing power fastballs and hard sliders from an intimidating 6-foot-9 frame and unorthodox crossfire delivery. He uses his changeup on occasion, though it's a below-average pitch and not an essential part of his arsenal. His ultimate success depends on his ability to repeat his delivery and establish better command. He shows it in flashes but so far has not done it consistently in the majors. The Diamondbacks are counting on him to contribute right away.
Arizona has few legitimate prospects who have significant playing time above the high Class A level, but Cowgill performed well for Mobile in his third professional season. He's a versatile outfielder who can play all three positions with average defense. Cowgill sports the best outfield arm in the system, combining strength with accuracy. It's his top tool and grades at 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale. Cowgill also is a slightly above-average runner and an instinctive basestealer. He made great strides in his approach at the plate this year, becoming more selective and working on his swing mechanics. He wraps his bat almost like Gary Sheffield and has a high finish, and he sometimes struggles against good fastball velocity. Cowgill's intangibles are off the charts. He's competitive and has a great work ethic, and scouts frequently observed him working out before games. He probably won't have enough bat for an outfield corner or enough speed to play center field every day, so Cowgill profiles better as a versatile fourth outfielder, but he's a good bet to have a major league career. He is sometimes compared to Cody Ross, primarily for the grinder mentality and the fact that both players bat right and throw left. He'll head to Triple-A this year with the chance for a callup when the need arises.
Mateo was one of the most heavily recruited Latin players during the 2009 international signing period, sign-ing with the Cardinals on July 2 for a $3.1 million bonus. The Cardinals later voided the deal when their doctors found problems with Mateo's vision. He tried out for various teams during spring training 2010 and eventually came to terms with the Diamondbacks in May for $512,000. He made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the United States for instructional league in the fall. Mateo has a strong, athletic body and has a chance to be a major league corner outfielder. He has a good swing path, and the ball screams off his bat. His power is better to left-center. To become more consistent, he'll need to stop trying to yank everything and trust his natural power. He would benefit from better control of the strike zone after ranking second in the DSL with 83 strikeouts. Mateo has well-above-average arm strength, but his throws aren't very accurate and he's still a raw defender in the outfield. His speed is average right now, and he'll probably slow down as he gets big-ger. As for his eyesight, the Diamondbacks believe Mateo's problems in 2009 resulted from using hard contact lenses without the proper solution. The true test will be when he plays for one of the Diamondbacks short-season affiliates in his first season in the States.
Green was one of the better two-way players in the Texas high school ranks in 2010, but he fell in the draft due to signability concerns related to his commitment to Texas Christian. Arizona signed him for an above-slot bonus of $750,000 just before the Aug. 16 signing deadline. He was better known as a hitter during his high school career, and would have been a two-way player in college, but professional scouts focused on his fastball. His first action with the Diamondbacks was in instructional league, and he opened a lot of eyes by flashing a mid-90s fastball and displaying a bulldog mentality on the mound. He also throws a hard overhand curveball that has plus potential. Green's delivery will need of a lot of work. Though he has no problems throwing strikes, he doesn't do anything easy. With his 6-foot-1 frame and the effort in his delivery, he projects better as a relief pitcher, but the Diamondbacks will use him as a starter at the outset to get him plenty of innings. One scout who saw Green in instructional league called him a poor man's Brian Wilson. Because he's inexperienced as a pitcher, Green will start the year in extended spring training before launching his pro career with one of the Diamondbacks' short-season teams.
The son of former major league catcher Rich Rowland, Robby could have gone to Oregon on a baseball scholarship or pursued a basketball offer, but instead he signed with the Diamondbacks for $395,000 after being taken in the third round. His older brother Richie joined him on the Missoula roster as a nondrafted free agent catcher. Rowland has a tall, strong body with room to fill out. He carries himself with confidence and has an outgoing personality. His 87-91 mph fastball has late run, and he offers projection with possibility of an increase in velocity as he fills out. His curveball, which he throws at 69-75 mph, has good spin and has 12-to-6 potential. His slider is slightly better than the curve, and he also throws a forkball, his swing and miss pitch, in the low 80s with diving action. He has a clean, over-the-top delivery and commands all of his pitches. Rowland projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter at present, but he could become more than that if the fastball becomes a plus pitch. He could move up to low Class A to start the 2011 season, but more likely will stay in extended spring training before reporting to Yakima in June.
The White Sox signed Holmberg away from a Florida scholarship in 2009, giving him $514,000 as the fourth of four picks they had before the third round that year. He opened the 2010 season in the Rookie-level Pioneer League before being included in a trade to the Diamondbacks (along with Daniel Hudson) for Edwin Jackson. Holmberg moved from Great Falls to Missoula and pitched his first two games with his new organization against his old Voyagers teammates. Holmberg is a typical strike-throwing lefty with three pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup), and he is also working on a slider that he previously threw in high school. Despite his big body, Holmberg rarely gets his fastball over 90 mph. His curveball has a tendency to get loopy, but later in the season he was becoming more aggressive in trying to finish the pitch. His above-average changeup is a better pitch. Holmberg's mechanics are smooth, and he has a better idea of pitching to the glove side than other southpaws. He's mature for his age and stays within himself on the mound. Holmberg may offer a little bit of projection, but realistically looks like a back-of-the-rotation workhorse. He'll get his first full-season assignment in 2011 with South Bend.
The Diamondbacks stocked up on projectable righthanders early in the 2010 draft, starting with Bradley. He passed on a scholarship to North Carolina State and signed for a $643,500 bonus. Bradley's debut with Missoula was uneven, and his velocity fell off as the season progressed. His two-seam fastball sits at 92-93 mph when he's at his best, and he throws it with a fluid, easy delivery. He projects to gain velocity as he adds weight to his tall, slender frame. His secondary pitches are only rudimentary right now, and he lacks much feel for pitching, though he shows a knack for throwing strikes. At times he relied too much on his curveball and slider instead of working on his fastball and changeup. Bradley will be a bit of a project, but he's a hard worker who enjoys playing the game and wants to succeed. He likely won't be ready for a full season assignment in 2011 and will start the year in extended spring training.
Brewer played his high school ball in the Phoenix area and was drafted by the Angels in the 18th round in 2006, but instead he headed to UCLA for three years. The Diamondbacks took him in the 12th round in 2009 and he started his career with a nice season in Missoula. He built on it in 2010 and turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises in the system, splitting the year with good performances at both of Arizona's Class A affiliates. Brewer has a prototypical pitcher's body and throws with good arm action. He throws all three of his pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup) for strikes. His fastball ranges from 89-93 mph but is straight and doesn't offer a lot of deception. The changeup improved this year to an average pitch and is now his best offering. Brewer has the ability to locate his pitches in the strike zone from side to side and works up in the zone. Scouts are skeptical about how well his repertoire will work at higher levels, so a move to Double-A at some point in 2011 will be a good test for Brewer.
Navarro made his stateside debut with Missoula in the same season when his older brother, Yamaico, reached the big leagues with the Red Sox. Both Navarros are shortstops, not surprising since they hail from San Pedro de Macoris, long regarded as "the cradle of shortstops." They come by their abilities naturally, as their mother was a star softball player with the Dominican national team. Raul had a strong season in Missoula, and while projections on how he'll hit at higher levels vary, the Diamondbacks believe he can be an above-average hitter with gap-to-gap power. He has a good feel for hitting and is short to the ball. Navarro's strong arm is regarded as the best infield arm in the system. He has average range and his glove-to-hand speed is good, but he needs to improve his preparedness on defense in order to take advantage of his tools. The Diamondbacks believe Navarro turned a corner with regular instruction during the season and in instructional league. With older shortstops ahead of him in the lower levels of the system, Navarro will likely spend another year in short-season ball with an assignment to Yakima.
Anderson is another college righthander who pleasantly surprised the organization with his progress in his first full season. The Twins used late-round picks on Anderson out of high school and junior college in Texas in 2006 and 2007, but he headed to Oklahoma instead. He jumped to Visalia after just seven starts at South Bend last season. Anderson was a reliever in college, but the Diamondbacks believe he can be a starter and will continue to work him into a rotation to get him more innings. Anderson's best pitch is his changeup, a legitimate plus pitch that he will throw in any situation. It's considered the best in the organization. His fastball arrives at 89-92 mph with good sink, and he throws a slider and curveball as well. He has a clean delivery and above-average command. Anderson is not big or overpowering, but he mixes his pitches well and keeps hitters off balance. Anderson will move up to Double-A in 2011. If he can't make it as a starter long-term, he's expected to have a future as a middle reliever.
The Diamondbacks drafted Shaw in the second round in 2008 based on his impressive work as the closer at Long Beach State. He has bounced between the bullpen and rotation in this three years as a pro and pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League following the 2010 season. While Arizona would have been delighted if he had blossomed as a starter, Shaw primarily has been in rotations to get innings. He profiles better as a reliever. His velocity is more consistent coming out of the bullpen, and he feels more comfortable there. Shaw has a four-pitch mix, and all are at least average offerings. His 90-94 mph fastball has plus movement and sink. His curveball has the potential to be a plus pitch, and he throws a good slider with cut action. Shaw will move to Triple-A in 2011 and could get a call to the big leagues when a reliever is needed.
The Diamondbacks made two big acquisitions from Venezuela during the 2010 international signing period, signing outfielder Yorman Garcia for $200,000 and Mejias for $320,000. Mejias, a switch-hitting shortstop from Zulia who pitched and played shortstop in the Little League World Series in 2007, had one of the best swings in the Latin American class. He has projectable power from both sides of the plate, and a swing that allows the bat head to stay in the zone a long time. His lefthanded stroke is more advanced than his righthanded swing. He has above-average speed and was timed at 6.8 seconds in the 60-yard dash during workouts last summer. It's questionable whether Mejias will be able to stay at shortstop as he grows stronger, but he has the skills to play there now and the Diamondbacks will not move him off the position to start his career. His bat is projected to play at any position, and his average arm would allow him to handle third base or left field. Mejias will likely start his pro career in the Dominican Summer League, but could make it to the United States with the Diamondbacks' new affiliate in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
Walters was the first position player drafted by the Diamondbacks after they selected eight straight pitchers to start the 2010 draft. He missed part of his junior season with a dislocated thumb but returned to help San Diego advance to NCAA regional play. Signed for $97,500, Walters was a favorite of short-season Northwest League managers in his pro debut. He's a smart, physical player whose aptitude for the game will probably outweigh his tools. He showed surprising pop from both sides of the plate, with the ability to hit for average. He's a good runner who shows instincts on the bases. He has a loose body with good actions on the field and the ability to slow the game down. He's a good, accurate thrower with good hands, but some scouts question whether he'll have the arm and range to play shortstop in the big leagues. Walters projects more as a utility player who can play all infield positions, drawing one comparison to major league veteran Geoff Blum, who coincidentally signed with Arizona for the 2011 season. Walters will move on to low Class A for his first full season.
Arizona's biggest surprise of the 2010 draft came in a small package. Selected in the 19th round and signed for $35,000, Eaton turned out to be the best pure hitter in the Diamondbacks' draft class. He led the Pioneer League in hitting (.385) and on-base percentage (.500) in his pro debut. Eaton may be undersized at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, but he has a strong, developed body. With a short stroke and an all-fields approach, he puts the bat on the ball and makes consistent hard contact. He has surprising pop, though most of his power is to the gaps rather than over the fence. Eaton has solid speed that plays up on the bases and in center field due to his instincts. His arm strength is average. It would be simple to look at his size and write Eaton off as a fourth outfielder, but some scouts believe he could develop into a starter in the big leagues. Arizona will have a better idea of what it has in Eaton once it sees him in full-season ball in 2011, and he may start the year by jumping to high Class A.
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