Reviewing the Top 10 Prospect Lists: NL West

This post represents the beginning of a six-part series that will take a look back at the annual pre-season Top 10 lists for all 30 organizations. It’s a great time to review as the full-season leagues are starting their second halves, while the short-season teams are just getting started. As you can probably already guess, we’re starting off with the National League West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
2. Matt Davidson, 3B
3. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
4. Chris Owings, SS
5. Marc Krauss, OF
6. Bobby Borchering, 3B/1B
7. Pat Corbin, LHP
8. Wade Miley, LHP
9. Mike Belfiore, LHP
10. Keon Broxton, OF

Both Skaggs and Corbin – loot acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Dan Haren trade – have seen their values increase. Skaggs has a 2.68 FIP despite pitching in the potent California League (high-A). He also has a strikeout rate of 11.06 K/9 and has shown respectable control. Corbin has a FIP of 3.49 in 101.1 double-A innings. He’s also shown outstanding control with a walk rate of just 1.87 BB/9. None of the hitters on the Top 10 list have really broken out in a big way in 2011 but none have really hurt their value all that much either – save for Krauss. The 23-year-old slugger is hitting just .225/.321/.431 in double-A and the left-handed batter has hit just .191 against same-handed pitching.

Colorado Rockies
1. Tyler Matzek, LHP
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Wilin Rosario, C
4. Christian Friedrich, LHP
5. Peter Tago, RHP
6. Rex Brothers, LHP
7. Juan Nicasio, RHP
8. Charlie Blackmon, OF
9. Kyle Parker, OF
10. Chad Bettis, RHP

The Rockies Top 10 list has seen a lot of ups-and-downs in terms of prospect values. Matzek was one of my favorite prep pitching prospects available in the ’09 draft but the organization tinkered with his delivery and his effectiveness has plummeted. Similarly, Tago was again one of my key prospects available in the ’10 draft and he’s struggled to throw strikes in low-A. Nicasio, though, has seen his value increase with a very strong first half of the ’11 season. Bettis continues to move up the depth chart, too. On the offensive side of things, Blackmon, a Mr. Cistulli favorite, reached the Majors last month and has looked like a solid everyday player.

Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Aaron Miller, LHP
3. Zach Lee, RHP
4. Allen Webster, RHP
5. Trayvon Robinson, OF
6. Jerry Sands, OF
7. Ivan DeJesus, SS
8. Chris Withrow, RHP
9. Ethan Martin, RHP
10. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP

One way to save on your big league budget is to rely on your minor league system. The cash-strapped Dodgers organization has aggressively moved along a few prospects this season with Gordon, Sands, DeJesus and De La Rosa reaching the Majors (with mixed results). I was more aggressive with my assessment of Miller than the likes of Baseball America, Keith Law, and Kevin Goldstein and injuries have derailed his season. Withrow has had a nice bounce-back season after a poor showing in ’10 but Martin continues to struggle.

San Francisco Giants
1. Brandon Belt, 1B/OF
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP
3. Francisco Peguero
4. Ehire Adrianza, SS
5. Gary Brown, OF
6. Thomas Neal, OF
7. Charlie Culberson, 2B
8. Hector Sanchez, C
9. Brandon Crawford, SS
10. Jorge Bucardo, RHP

I’m pretty happy with this list even now, despite the fact that I deviated from the pack (BA, Law, Goldstein, etc) with a number of my rankings. Bucardo was a feel pick that hasn’t worked out given that he has yet to pitch this season, but sleeper Sanchez has been a breakout player who is getting quite a bit of attention now. I left both Jarrett Parker and Tommy Joseph off the Top 10 list and neither has really stepped forward this season. Eric Surkamp was ranked No. 11 on my list and just missed the cut; he’s been outstanding in double-A and should be in a big league rotation in 2012.

San Diego Padres
1. Casey Kelly, RHP
2. Simon Castro, RHP
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Reymond Fuentes, OF
5. Donavan Tate, OF
6. Cory Luebke, LHP
7. Jaff Decker, OF
8. Jedd Gyorko, 3B
9. Matt Lollis, RHP
10. Adys Portillo, RHP

I’d say that it’s time to drop Tate further down the list after yet another season filled with injuries and now a suspension due to a positive drug test. Luebke and Rizzo are both on the big league roster, and the pitcher has been quite good and has moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation. By focusing on pitching rather (after being a two-way player in high school), Kelly was supposed to take a huge step forward but his ceiling has settled in around a No. 3 starter. Castro struggled in triple-A and has been moved back down to double-A. I was the only prospect ranker to go with the ceiling of Portillo over the “reliability” of James Darnell and it looks like a very poor choice in hindsight.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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mickeykoke
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mickeykoke
4 years 11 months ago

Jedd Gyorko should be higher, and James Darnell should be mentioned.

Marc Hulet
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Marc Hulet
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, this is a look back at the list from December/January… not a new list. Hence the title of the article. I would agree Darnell would be on for sure; don’t know if I’d put Gyorko higher as his numbers are aided by a potent league/park. I had him higher coming into the year than most lists, if I recall correct.

jlebeck66
Member
jlebeck66
4 years 11 months ago

“Blackmon… has looked like a solid everyday player”

Not to be too douchey, but what makes Blackmon look like a solid everyday player? His 2.9% BB rate? .041 ISO? .261 wOBA?

Small sample size I know (102 PA), he’s been horrid since his first week in the bigs.

Don’t pay much attention to me though; I’m just a disgruntled Dex Fowler owner wondering why his .340 OBP is in AAA while Rox nation is in love with Blackmon.

Marc Hulet
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Marc Hulet
4 years 11 months ago

This comment would be based more on his minor numbers rather than small sample size from the Majors.

tristram
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tristram
4 years 11 months ago

I had the same reaction to that quote. To me Blackmon looks like a potential utility outfielder. He doesn’t hit for enough power to be an everyday corner outfielder and doesn’t have the range to play center everyday. He is just sort of competent in all phases much like Spilbourghs. I doubt he ever amounts to much but I hope I’m wrong.

jlebeck66
Member
jlebeck66
4 years 11 months ago

I brought up “Spilbourghs with a bit of speed” to a Rockies fan a few weeks ago and the guy protested heavily.

Blackmon’s best minor league season has been 2011: 138 wRC+ in 272 PA at Colorado Springs this year.

Spilborghs in Colorado Springs included:
2005 no wRC+ data
2006 136 wRC+ 306PA
2007 137 wRC+ 145PA

Maybe Blackmon takes the step that Spilborghs never did, but color me unimpressed til then.

Shaun Catron
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Shaun Catron
4 years 11 months ago

yeah Blackmons luck was pretty ridiculous the first week or so after he was called up. Never seen so many dink and dunk bloop singles/doubles in my life. Obviously the BABIP was gonna correct itself a bit.

Marc
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Marc
4 years 11 months ago

No mention of Goldschmidt’s breakout?

dirtbag
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dirtbag
4 years 11 months ago

They had him ranked behind Keon Broxton.

Seriously, they had Paul Goldschmidt ranked behind Keon Broxton.

S.M. Jenkins
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S.M. Jenkins
4 years 11 months ago

It seems everybody missed on Paul Goldschmidt despite the player doing nothing but produce since signing. I never understood the media outlets’ insistences on ranking Marc Krauss (for one) over Goldschmidt either for example, but I don’t think there can be much denying Goldschmidt’s bat anymore considering his performance in the Southern League.

DHolc
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DHolc
4 years 11 months ago

Free Brandon Allen!

Eric
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Eric
4 years 11 months ago

Just throwing this out there, Ivan DeJesus’ link leads to a guy born in 1953, and stopped playing in 1988. I hardly think he’s the making of a top 10 prospect…

Jason
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Jason
4 years 11 months ago

That guy happens to be his dad

jason
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jason
4 years 11 months ago

Holmberg has been really good for az

Tim E.
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Tim E.
4 years 11 months ago

Thats probably a link to Dejesus’ dad who is also of the same name

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

The Eastern League has historically been a very tough transition for Giants position prospects. Peguero was injured early in the season, but has hit just as well as in the Cal League in a small sample size.

Another guy who has hit surprisingly well since being promoted to Richmond is Chris Dominguez, .315 BA with power.

Gary Brown started the season red hot, but has cooled off a bit in the last month.

Parker’s BA is not impressive but he has shown a high walk rate with some power. Although the Cal League in general is a hitter’s league, San Jose stadium is neutral and suppressed power from the left side.

Tommy Joseph is the 3’rd youngest player in the Cal League, so while his numbers may not be impressive, they need to be seen in context.

Slightly off topic, but first round pick Panik signed right away and is off to a great start in the short season Northwest League.

Adam Duvall was moved from 1B to 3B and has put up huge power numbers in the SAL. He has made a lot of errors at 3B. We’ll see if he can improve and stick at the position.

Heath Hembree has flashed a high 90’s fastball as a closer in San Jose and has continued to dominate after promotion to AA.

Sleeper alert: Brett Krill drafted late last year out of UCLA off to an impressive start in the Northwest League.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the state of the Giants farm system right now.

Tim
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Tim
4 years 11 months ago

With the breakout of Goldschmidt, and hopefully the additions of Hultzen and Archie Bradley the Diamondbacks might end up with the best farm system in baseball when you account for graduations of prospects on the Royals and Rays.

Philip
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Philip
4 years 11 months ago

Signing Hultzen would be quite a coup.

Tim
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Tim
4 years 11 months ago

Whoops yeah my bad they drafted Bauer one position after Hutlzen, but they are both the same quality of prospect. Imagine the system with Bauer, Goldschmidt, Bradley, Skaggs, Corbin and Jarrod Parker. Definitely a top 5 system in baseball in my opinion.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Wait! Didn’t the D’Backs draft Trevor Bauer and not Hultzen? Bauer is a better prospect IMO. I think the D’Backs had a stupendous draft. Bauer should be a #1 or #2 as soon as next season. Bradley will take a bit longer but is a potential future #1. Then they added some other great arms like Anthony Meo later in the draft. Add in Jarrod Parker and the D’Backs rotation will be very competitive with what the Giants have now in another year of two.

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
4 years 11 months ago

I get this is a look back at the lists, but I do think it would be worthwhile to mention those players who have broken out. I wouldn’t have known about Paul Goldschmidt a year ago–I think a sentence about him would have been good.

Elijah
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Elijah
4 years 11 months ago

Hultzen was drafted number 2 by the mariners. The dbacks got Trevor bauer number 3 overall

chronicmastertrader
Member
chronicmastertrader
4 years 11 months ago

in response to jlebeck66:

Dexter Fowler is in AAA because his makeup is AWFUL, his baserunning is tragic, and he strikes out way too much. He is a switch-hitter with a self-imposed platoon split. The Rockies asked him to scrap it from the right side and he refused. So apparently he is a diva as well. I’m a hard-core Rockies fan, yet I hope to never see him at Coors Field again unless he grows up and figures it out.

jlebeck66
Member
jlebeck66
4 years 11 months ago

Despite all the strikeouts and the low batting average, Fowler still has an average OBP for a NL CF (DF .340 vs NLCF .335). Despite the horrible baserunning, Fowler still scores an average amount of times per plate appearance as other NL CF (DF 13.4% of PA result in a R; NLCF 13.3%). Runs/PlateAppearance is a pretty lame stat to throw out on a sabermetric type site, but it is just as valid analysis as “diva” and “tragic” baserunning.

Sure Fowler has flaws and is not what people thought he’d be a few years ago, but tossing him back to AAA so Tracy can trot out his next flavor of the week doesn’t make a boat load of sense to me.

Shaun Catron
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Shaun Catron
4 years 11 months ago

LOL? Where is Goldschmidt.

you mean to tell me Mike Belfiore and Keon Broxton are ranked higher than Goldschmidt?

Shaun Catron
Guest
Shaun Catron
4 years 11 months ago

Is it me or is the Dodgers farm system depressing as hell?

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

I think it’s quite exciting, myself.

S.M. Jenkins
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S.M. Jenkins
4 years 11 months ago

Marc’s rankings were pretty silly but the farm itself isn’t a bad one in my opinion.

Dustin Nosler
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

It’s just you. The system has some real bright spots. It doesn’t have as much upper-level potential as the likes of Kershaw/Kemp/Billingsley, but it’s still solid. And the OF depth (quantity) is second to none.

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