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Top 10 Prospects: The Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted By Marc Hulet On February 21, 2011 @ 11:00 am In Minor Leagues | 39 Comments

The Arizona Diamondbacks
2010 MLB Record: 65-97 (fifth place, NL West)
Minor League Power Ranking: 10th (out of 30)
Click for: Last Year’s Top 10 Prospect List

The Prospects

1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
Acquired: 2007 1st round (Indiana HS)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: Injured
Opening Day Age: 22
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.5

Notes: Parker remains the top prospect in the system despite missing all of 2010 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The 22-year-old hurler still has No. 1 starter potential and the organization expects his stuff to rebound to pre-surgery levels. He throws a mid-90s fastball and rounds out his four-pitch repertoire with a plus slider, curveball and changeup. Parker looks a little smaller on the mound than 6’1” but he has a sturdy frame. He has a low three-quarter arm slot and a fairly smooth delivery. After an encouraging instructional league, Parker should open 2011 in double-A or triple-A and could be in the Majors by the end of the season.

2. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
Acquired: 2009 supplemental 1st round (California HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 19
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Arizona acquired Skaggs last season during the Dan Haren swap. The young lefty has the potential to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter. Skaggs spent 2010 in low-A ball and showed excellent control, while also missing a good number of bats. He posted a 3.07 FIP in 82.1 innings prior to the trade. Skaggs then pitched another 16.0 innings after the trade at the same level. It appears as though he may produce above-average ground-ball rates if the current trend continues through the upper levels of the minors and into the Majors. Skaggs has an 88-92 mph fastball, a curveball and a changeup. I’m a little surprised that he shows the control that he does; he doesn’t have the best balance in his delivery and follow through. Skaggs throws across his body, with some effort. He’ll open 2011 in high-A ball as a teenager so the club will likely be cautious with him.

3. Matt Davidson, 3B
Acquired: 2009 supplemental 1st round (California HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-/A+
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.0

Notes: The organization did an outstanding job of taking advantage of multiple picks during its 2009 draft haul. Unlike a lot of clubs in similar situations, the club did not go cheap or shy away from high-ceiling players. Davidson was nabbed out of a California HS and has posted solid pro numbers so far. In 2010, he had a triple-slash line of .289/.371/.504 in 415 at-bats. He showed a solid eye at the plate and posted a walk rate of 9.1 BB%. Davidson does strike out a lot (26.3 K%) but he does show good power (.214 ISO) which helps compensate for the high rate. His stance is fairly quiet. He has a  wide base and takes a small stride. The majority of his power is generated above the waist by his good bat speed, and quick wrists. The organization promoted Davidson to high-A at the end of the season and he played in 21 games at that level but looked a little overmatched (.269 wOBA). Defensively, he doesn’t have great range but he has a strong arm and solid hands. He should return to that level for 2011.

4. Chris Owings, SS
Acquired: 2009 supplemental 1st round (South Carolina HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 19
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Owings was another ’09 prep draft pick that has impressed in pro ball. In 2010, he hit .294/.320/.443 in 255 at-bats. He’s a little too aggressive for his own good and posted a walk rate of just 3.3 BB%. His strikeout rate sat at 19.6 K%, which was high for a player with modest power (.149 ISO). Owings has solid speed but he attempted just four steals in 2010, which lowers his value a bit as he also projects to have so-so power at the MLB level (10-12 homers per season). Like teammate Davidson, Owings has a pretty quiet stance with a wide base and small stride. Defensively, he’s shown enough skill at shortstop to stay at the position thanks to good range and a solid arm. Owings should move up to high-A in 2011 and won’t turn 20 until August.

5. Marc Krauss, OF
Acquired: 2009 2nd round (Ohio University)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A+
Opening Day Age: 23
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Krauss is… yet another ’09 draft pick populating the Top 10 list, which also gives you an idea of how empty the system was prior to the re-stocking. The first college draft pick on the list, he’ll likely open 2011 in double-A after a solid ’10 season in a hitter’s league. Krauss hit .302/.371/.509 in 530 at-bats and showed good power (.208 ISO). He has shown pretty good patience in his young career (9.6 BB% in ’10) but he does strike out at a high rate (26.6 K%). Krauss can get pull happy. The outfielder is limited to left field due to his lack of range and modest arm strength. He’s going to have to watch his conditioning. Because of a strong Arizona Fall League (.412 wOBA in 22 games), Krauss may not spend much time in double-A before moving up to triple-A or the Majors.

6. Bobby Borchering, 1B/3B
Acquired: 2009 1st round (Florida HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5

Notes: Along with Matt Davidson, Borchering was another prep third baseman taking prior to the second round of the ’09 draft. Although taken first, the latter prospect has been a little slower to development and his defensive woes at the hot corner will likely necessitate a permanent move to first base. Borchering has raw power potential (.153 ISO in ’09) but it doesn’t show up consistently in games. Overall, he hit .268/.339/.421 in 523 at-bats in low-A ball. On the plus side, he does show patience at the plate (9.2 BB%). His strikeout rate was high at 24.5 K% but not out of line for a power hitter. He has a well-balanced stance at the plate and a quick bat. He still has room to fill out his frame.

7. Pat Corbin, LHP
Acquired: 2009 2nd round (Florida JC)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-/A+
Opening Day Age: 21
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.5

Notes: Another part of the Dan Haren trade with Los Angeles (AL), Corbin projects as a potential No. 3 starter. The southpaw has a solid three-pitch mix with an 88-92 mph fastball, slider, and changeup. He produces average to slightly-above-average ground-ball rates. Corbin split the 2010 season between low-A and high-A ball and actually produced better strikeout rates as he moved up the ladder, but his control took a hit. He showed his durability – despite a slender frame – by pitching more than 140 innings. After coming over in the trade, Corbin pitched just 26 innings but posted a 2.43 FIP. He has a low-three-quarter arm slot and a fairly smooth delivery.

8. Wade Miley, LHP
Acquired: 2008 supplemental 1st round (Southeasern Louisiana U)
Pro Experience: 3 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A+/AA
Opening Day Age: 24
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.0

Notes: One of my favorite sleeper picks of the ’08 draft, Miley doesn’t have a huge ceiling (No. 4 starter) but he’s one of the top pitchers in the upper levels of the system. His stuff has fluctuated wildly during his pro career, but he flashes above-average velocity for a left-hander and his heater occasionally hits the mid-90s but he sits more in the 89-93 mph range. He has a diverse repertoire, which includes a curveball, slider, changeup and cutter. Despite his good velocity, Miley does not strike out many batters – his K/9 rates sat at 5.60 in high-A and 7.80 in double-A last season. He also struggles with his command and control. After spending half of the ’09 season in double-A with respectable results 3.56 FIP in 72.2 innings), the southpaw should move up to triple-A in 2011.

9. Mike Belfiore, LHP
Acquired: 2009 supplemental 1st round (Boston College)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 22
Estimated Peak WAR: 3.0

Notes: Belfiore isn’t going to appear on many Top 10 lists for the D-backs, but he’s a personal favorite of mine. He had a so-so season in 2010 at low-A, which is a little discouraging given that he’s a former draft pick out of a college program. I’m expecting big things out of Belfiore in 2011… and only time will tell if I’m right. The lefty has a strong pitcher’s frame and tossed 126.1 innings in 2010 while posting a 3.18 FIP (His ERA sat at 4.35). He showed solid control with a walk rate of 2.99 BB/9 and a modest strikeout rate of 7.48 K/9. His ground-ball rate was average in ’10 but he has a history of producing above-average worm-burning rates. Belfiore was a closer in college, so he’s still adjusting to life as a starting pitcher; Toronto had a lot of luck converting college closers to starters, including David Bush and Shaun Marcum. Value-wise, I can see Belfiore fitting in comfortably between those two pitchers (ie. a No. 3 or 4 starter in his prime). His repertoire includes a low-90s fastball, good changeup and an inconsistent breaking ball.

10. Keon Broxton, OF
Acquired: 2009 3rd round (Florida JC)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A-
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Broxton edges out first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for the final spot on the Top 10 prospect list for Arizona thanks to his athleticism and high upside. Because he’s so raw, Broxton is definitely going to be a long-term project. He reminds me a little bit of D-backs outfielder Chris Young, but with less raw power. The young prospect, 21 in May, hit just .228/.316/.360 in 531 at-bats in low-A ball in 2010. He could return to the same level to begin 2011 or move up to the better hitter’s league at the high-A level. Broxton needs to improve his pitch recognition, which will help trim his massive strikeout rates (32.4 K%). On the positive side, he does have some patience at walked at a rate of 10.8 BB%. He used his good speed to hit 19 triples and steal 21 bases (although he was caught 13 times) in ’10. He utilizes his speed in center field to help make up for miss-reads off the bat. With experience, Broxton should be able to stick in center but may have the arm (and future power) for right field.


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