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, 2009.

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1. Jarrod Parker, rhp
2. Bobby Borchering, 3b
3. A.J. Pollock, of
4. Brandon Allen, 1b
5. Daniel Schlereth, lhp
6. Chris Owings
7. Mike Belfiore, lhp
8. Marc Krauss, of
9. Ryan Wheeler, 1b
10. Collin Cowgill, of
Best Hitter for Average A.J. Pollock
Best Power Hitter Bobby Borchering
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Ryan Wheeler
Fastest Baserunner Antonio Sepulveda
Best Athlete Keon Broxton
Best Fastball Jarrod Parker
Best Curveball Jarrod Parker
Best Slider Jarrod Parker
Best Changeup Josh Collmenter
Best Control Bryan Augenstein
Best Defensive Catcher Rossmel Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Reynaldo Navarro
Best Infield Arm Pedro Ciriaco
Best Defensive Outfielder A.J. Pollock
Best Outfield Arm Jeremia Gomez
Catcher Miguel Montero
First Base Bobby Borchering
Second Base Chris Owings
Third Base Mark Reynolds
Shortstop Stephen Drew
Left Field Gerardo Parra
Center Field A.J. Pollock
Right Field Justin Upton
No. 1 Starter Dan Haren
No. 2 Starter Jarrod Parker
No. 3 Starter Edwin Jackson
No. 4 Starter Brandon Webb
No. 5 Starter Ian Kennedy
Closer Chad Qualls
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 John Patterson, rhp Out of baseball
2001 Alex Cintron, ss Nationals
2002 Luis Terrero, of Kansas City
2003 Scott Hairston, 2b Athletics
2004 Scott Hairston, 2b Athletics
2005 Carlos Quentin, of White Sox
2006 Stephen Drew, ss Diamondbacks
2007 Justin Upton, of Diamondbacks
2008 Carlos Gonzalez, of Rockies
2009 Jarrod Parker, rhp Diamondbacks
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Mike Schultz, rhp (2nd) Hiroshima
2001 Jason Bulger, rhp Angels
2002 Sergio Santos, ss White Sox
2003 Conor Jackson, of Diamondbacks
2004 Stephen Drew, ss Diamondbacks
2005 Justin Upton, of Diamondbacks
2006 Max Scherzer, rhp Diamondbacks
2007 Jarrod Parker, rhp Diamondbacks
2008 Daniel Schlereth, lhp Diamondbacks
2009 Bobby Borchering, 3b Diamondbacks
Travis Lee, 1996 $10,000,000
Justin Upton, 2005 $6,100,000
John Patterson, 1996 $6,075,000
Stephen Drew, 2004 $4,000,000
Max Scherzer, 2006 $3,000,000
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Arizona Diamondbacks

How much can change in two years.

In 2007, the Diamondbacks were mentioned in tandem with the Rockies. Both National League West squads reached the NL Championship Series thanks to an influx of young, homegrown talent. Both missed the playoffs in 2008, and last season both fired their managers in May. The paths diverged there. Colorado made it back to the postseason after promoting bench coach Jim Tracy to replace Clint Hurdle and surging to a 74-42 finish. Arizona, on the other hand, compiled the sixth-worst record in baseball at 70-92. A.J. Hinch's move from farm director to manager was controversial and yielded roughly the same results (58-75) as predecessor Bob Melvin (12-17). (The Diamondbacks tapped Mike Berger, who had been working as a professional scout with the Blue Jays, to replace Hinch as farm director.)

What's more, the Rockies have more young talent, especially pitchers, ready to contribute in the big leagues. The Diamondbacks' best prospects reside in the lower levels of the minors. Baseball America ranked Arizona's farm system No. 1 in the game entering the 2006 season, but it has thinned as players such as Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds, Max Scherzer and Justin Upton have graduated to the major leagues and others, such as Brett Anderson, Alberto Callaspo and Carlos Gonzalez, have been used in trades.

Given the strength of the Dodgers, Giants and Rockies, about the most the Diamondbacks can hope for in 2010 is to climb out of last place and finish ahead of the Padres. But Arizona does have hope for the future after cashing in eight of the first 95 picks in the 2009 draft.

After focusing on pitching in previous drafts, the Diamondbacks used six of their top eight choices last June to select position players. Third baseman Bobby Borchering (first round) and outfielder A.J. Pollock (first) are the top two position prospects in the system. Shortstop Chris Owings (supplemental first), outfielder Marc Krauss (second) and first baseman Ryan Wheeler (fifth) also cracked the Top 10, as did lefthander Mike Belfiore (supplemental first).

Even after bringing in a new wave of talent, Arizona doesn't have many athletic, up-the-middle prospects beyond Pollock and Owings. That's an issue for a team that has an opening at second base and saw its shortstop (Stephen Drew) and center fielder (Chris Young) perform well below expectations in 2009.

The Diamondbacks allowed more runs than all but five teams last season, and their best hope for immediate pitching help took a hit when righthander Jarrod Parker, their top prospect, needed Tommy John surgery in October. Lefthander Daniel Schlereth raced from the 2008 draft to Arizona last summer, but he's a reliever who won't shore up the rotation.

If there was a silver lining to the struggles, it was that Arizona was able to trade several veterans for prospects. Brandon Allen (acquired from the White Sox for Tony Pena) and Tony Abreu (picked up from the Dodgers for Jon Garland) could start on the right side of the major league infield in 2010. The Diamondbacks also added depth with outfielder Cole Gillespie and righthander Roque Mercedes (from the Brewers for Felipe Lopez), and righty Kevin Mulvey (from the Twins for Jon Rauch).

Arizona also secured the No. 6 pick in the 2010 draft, the third-highest selection in franchise history and its best since taking Upton first overall in 2005.

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