Welcome to the annual series that provides both a review of your favorite teams’ 2016 season, as well as a early look toward 2017. It also serves as a helpful guide for keeper and dynasty leagues.
The Graduate: Archie Bradley (RHP): Between 2012-13, Bradley looked like a future ace-in-the-making. However, the former first round draft pick was struck by the injury bug in 2014-15 and he hasn’t been the same since. His command and control just haven’t improved as much as hoped — which results in too many baserunners. Bradley also has a tendency to give up the long ball. Although he’s still only 24, it might be time to consider a permanent move to the bullpen where his heater might play up. That would allow him to abandon the below-average changeup and focus on the fastball-curveball combo. With so many question marks in the starting rotation for 2017, though, Arizona is no doubt going to give Bradley another shot to start for them.
The Riser: Anthony Banda (LHP): Banda, 23, started to make some noise in 2015 and carried his breakthrough into 2016. He split the year between double-A and triple-A and totalled 152 strikeouts in 150 combined innings. The southpaw isn’t flashy but he throws a firm fastball and backs it up with a potentially-plus curveball. His command continued to improve and should be average or better at the big league level; his control should be above-average. Banda doesn’t have the ceiling of some of Arizona’s other arms but he is very close to realizing his potential as a No. 3/4 starter and innings-eater.
The Tumbler: Yoan Lopez (RHP): The Lopez experiment seemed doomed from the start. He signed for more than $8 million and cost the Diamondbacks a boatload of penalties for exceeding signing limits (which also in turn limited their ability to sign high-end prospects in 2015-16 and 2016-17). As those opportunities flew by the Diamondbacks, Lopez accumulated 56 walks and just 78 strikeouts in 119 innings over parts of two years before he reportedly walked away from baseball while dealing with personal demons. The door hasn’t been firmly shut on Lopez’s pro baseball career in North America but he’s missed some key development time.
The ’16 Draft Pick: Ryan January (C): Arizona spent its second and eighth round picks in 2016 on catchers — an organizational weakness. Second-rounder Andy Yerzy, known for having a questionable glove but a strong bat, struggled in his debut. January, though, showed a lot of potential with the stick by producing an .846 OPS and 10 homers in 51 games. Just 19, he has some swing-and-miss to his game (63 in 51 games) but he also takes some walks. Like Yerzy, January has his struggles behind the plate but a strong arm gives hope that he might be able to stick back there is he can improve his receiving. He’ll likely need another three years in the minors, if not more, if he sticks behind the dish.
The Lottery Ticket: Marcus Wilson (OF): It’s not often that top draft picks spend parts of three years in short-season ball — and can still call themselves prospects after the fact. However, the ultra-toolsy, ultra-raw Wilson has shown improvements each year. He still has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game (72 Ks in 234 ABs in 2016) but he walked 51 times in 69 games this year. That should still allow his game-changing speed to have an impact on the base paths even if he struggles to get on base via the hit. Wilson, 20, should return to low-A ball in 2017 after spending just 26 games at that level in ’16 after opening the year in extended spring training.
For reference sake, here is the 2015 Review.
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