Arizona Diamondbacks: Top 10 Prospects

Arizona Diamondbacks

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

1.Justin Upton, of
2.Chris Young, of
3.Carlos Gonzalez, of
4.Alberto Callaspo, 2b
5.Miguel Montero, c
6.Micah Owings, rhp
7.Mark Reynolds, if
8.Dustin Nippert, rhp
9.Tony Pena, rhp
10.Brett Anderson, lhp
Best Hitter for AverageJustin Upton
Best Power HitterMark Reynolds
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineAlberto Callaspo
Fastest BaserunnerEmilio Bonafacio
Best AthleteJustin Upton
Best FastballTony Pena
Best CurveballDustin Nippert
Best SliderTony Pena
Best ChangeupGreg Smith
Best ControlBrett Anderson
Best Defensive CatcherMiguel Montero
Best Defensive InfielderEmilio Bonafacio
Best Infield ArmPedro Ciriaco
Best Defensive OutfielderChris Young
Best Outfield ArmCarlos Gonzalez
CatcherMiguel Montero
First BaseConor Jackson
Second BaseAlberto Callaspo
Third BaseChad Tracy
ShortstopStephen Drew
Left FieldCarlos Quentin
Center FieldChris Young
Right FieldJustin Upton
No. 1 StarterBrandon Webb
No. 2 StarterMicah Owings
No. 3 StarterDustin Nippert
No. 4 StarterDoug Davis
No. 5 StarterBrett Anderson
CloserTony Pena
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Travis LeeDevil Rays
1998Travis LeeDevil Rays
1999Brad Penny, rhpDodgers
2000John Patterson, rhpNationals
2001Alex Cintron, ssWhite Sox
2002Luis Terrero, ofOrioles
2003Scott Hairston, 2bDiamondbacks
2004Scott Hairston, 2bDiamondbacks
2005Carlos Quentin, ofDiamondbacks
2006Stephen Drew, ssDiamondbacks
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Jack Cust, 1bPadres
1998Darryl Conyer, of (3rd round)Out of baseball
1999Corey Myers, ssAngels
2000Mike Schultz, rhp (2nd round)Diamondbacks
2001Jason Bulger, rhpAngels
2002Sergio Santos, ssBlue Jays
2003Conor Jackson, ofDiamondbacks
2004Stephen Drew, ssDiamondbacks
2005Justin Upton, ssDiamondbacks
2006*Max Scherzer, rhpNone
* Has not signed
Travis Lee, 1996$10,000,000
Justin Upton, 2005$6,100,000
John Patterson, 1996$6,075,000
Stephen Drew, 2004$4,000,000
Byung-Hyun Kim, 1999$2,000,000
Corey Myers, 1999$2,000,000
Mike Gosling, 2001$2,000,000
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Arizona Diamondbacks

You'd be hard-pressed to find an organization more excited following the completion of a season when it finished tied for last place. But that's the vibe coming from the Diamondbacks.

In part, that's because of what happened in Arizona last season. The team actually was on the fringes of playoff contention until Labor Day, and it finished in the top half of the National League in scoring, pitching and fielding. Brandon Webb solidified his status as a legitimate ace by winning the NL Cy Young Award, and the Diamondbacks solidified their commitment to him and Chad Tracy as franchise cornerstones by signing them to long-term extensions. The club also gave manager Bob Melvin a two-year extension.

Arizona also worked in the first wave of its touted prospects into the big leagues. Conor Jackson took hold of the first-base job by putting up a .368 on-base percentage and 15 homers as a rookie. Stephen Drew seized the shortstop position with an .874 on-base plus slugging percentage in his first half-season in the big leagues. Outfielder Carlos Quentin had his moments and an .872 OPS in his first half-season, and Enrique Gonzalez and Tony Pena showed they're ready to contribute to the pitching staff.

And there's even more excitement about the talent that's still on the way. Drew, Jackson and Quentin ranked as the top three prospects on this list a year ago, but the system remains loaded despite their graduations to the majors.

Outfielder Justin Upton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, takes over as the top prospect after signing before the 2006 season began. His pro debut had its ups and downs, but his talent is undeniable. The Diamondbacks also have been successful adding talent via trades, with outfielder Chris Young and do-everything infielder Alberto Callaspo the most notable examples. And their successful Latin American program has produced outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and catcher Miguel Montero, who will be ready for the big leagues soon, and a younger generation of prospects coming up behind them.

The organization also had the depth of talent to bring Randy Johnson back from the Yankees in the offseason. Arizona did give up three talented prospects in shortstop Alberto Gonzalez and righthanders Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson (as well as big league righthander Luis Vizcaino), but it didn't give up any potential cornerstones and has plenty of depth to compensate.

One of biggest keys to the steady flow of talent has been the successful drafts of former scouting director Mike Rizzo, who left to take a job as assistant general manager with the Nationals after another promising draft. The most promising member of Arizona's Class of '06, Missouri righthander Max Scherzer, isn't even on this prospect list because he has yet to sign. The Diamondbacks are expected to land him before spring training, and also found plenty of good arms behind him, led by Brooks Brown (supplemental first round) and Brett Anderson (second).

With its influx of talent, Arizona has had to say goodbye to a lot of veterans, including franchise icon Luis Gonzalez after the 2006 season. But while the Diamondbacks fondly remember a past that included the 2001 World Series title, they're firmly focused on the future. The deferred salaries that weighed down the club's finances finally are coming off the books, and it's no accident the team unveiled a new logo and color scheme for the 2007 season.

The transformation of the Diamondbacks is well under way, and the outlook is bright.