Prospect Reports: Arizona Diamondbacks

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on thes 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. -Eric Longenhagen

The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections. -Chris Mitchell

Other Lists
NL West (ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF)
AL Central (CHW, CLE, DET, KC, MIN)
NL Central (CHC, CIN, PIT, MIL, StL)
NL East (ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS)
AL East (BAL, BOSNYY, TB, TOR)

Diamondbacks Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Anthony Banda 23 AAA LHP 2017 50
2 Socrates Brito 24 MLB OF 2016 45
3 Mitch Haniger 25 MLB OF 2016 45
4 Jasrado Chisholm 18 R SS 2020 45
5 Domingo Leyba 21 AA 2B 2018 40
6 Anfernee Grier 21 A- CF 2019 40
7 Taylor Clarke 23 AA RHP 2018 40
8 Alex Young 23 A+ LHP 2018 40
9 Wei-Chieh Huang 23 A+ RHP 2019 40
10 Dawel Lugo 21 AA 3B 2018 40
11 Jon Duplantier 22 A- RHP 2019 40
12 Andy Yerzy 18 R C 2021 40
13 Matt Koch 25 MLB RHP 2016 40
14 Vicente Campos 24 MLB RHP 2016 40

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 10th Round, 2012 from San Jacinto
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 175 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/55 55/55 45/50 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Strikeout rate dropped from 17% to 13% after promotion to Triple-A, while walk rate held steady at 8.5%.

Scouting Report
The Diamondbacks drafted Banda out of high school in 2011. He didn’t sign, though, and then matriculated to JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto in Houston. The Brewers drafted and signed him the next year and Banda spent two years struggling in Rookie-level ball before the Diamondbacks acquired him in the Gerardo Parra deal (along with Mitch Haniger) in July of 2014. Banda took off after that, went to the Futures Game this year and had success at Triple-A in the hitter-friendly environs of Reno.

Banda’s fastball was 93-96 in his one-inning Futures Game stint and while he will occasionally run it into the mid-90s during games it typically sits beneath that in the 90-93 range. He can miss bats with it up out of the strike zone, but it isn’t quite explosive enough to miss bats inside of it with any real consistency. His best pitch is his breaking ball, a curveball with two-plane movement that is most effective down and away from left-handed hitters but plays down and in against righties as well.

It’s difficult to project Banda’s changeup which will flash plus but is consistently fringe average. While he has exceptional arm acceleration, his arm action can get a little long at times and his feel for the pitch is pretty inconsistent, as was on display in the Futures Game when Yoan Moncada hit a hanging Banda cambio to La Jolla. At 23, it’s tough to project anything more than an average changeup. Given Banda’s arm speed, though, it can’t be totally discounted, either. He has below-average command, mostly caused by a tendency to lose his line to the plate, but scouts think enough of Banda as an athlete to project it around average at peak. It’s a league-average starter, No. 4 type of profile.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 4.3 WAR

anthony-banda-likelihood-of-outcomes

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2010 from Dominican Republic
Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 205 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/40 60/60 50/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced roughly league-average exit velocity during 2016 big-league stint but recorded only .191 BABIP during that span. Reduced strikeout rate to 15% in 2015, but regressed back up to 20% figure this year, 24% in the big leagues.

Scouting Report
Brito does not have enough major-league at-bats to exhaust his rookie eligibility but he does have enough service time (45 days on the active roster), so he may not be eligible for some prospect lists depending on the criteria of the publication you’re reading. Mostly I included him to avoid reader questions about why he isn’t on here and where he’d rank if he were.

Brito has retained his plus speed even as his body has filled out and he has the range and feel to be viable in center field should A.J. Pollock’s injury woes continue. If Pollock, the superior defender, is healthy, Brito and his plus arm kick over to right field where the glove could be plus.

There’s doubt about Brito’s bat. He has poor barrel control and fringe bat speed, but enough strength to generate average raw power during batting practice. The in-game power is limited by Brito’s swing which only allows for power on pitches down and in that he can golf out to right field. But given the defensive profile (which is either average in center or potentially plus in a corner) there’s some margin for mediocrity on the offensive side. If Brito finds himself playing center field every day, he could be a fringe regular who hits around 12 homers at maturity (mostly off of right-handed pitching) and strikes out a lot. As a corner guy, he’s more of a platoon option or below-average regular with a fourth outfielder’s floor.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.0 WAR

socrates-brito-likelihood-of-outcomes-2

Drafted: 1st Round, 2012 from Cal Poly SLO
Age 26 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 60/60 45/50 60/60 50/50 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded line of .321/.419/.521 between Double- and Triple-A with 64 extra-base hits. Hit just .229 in 34 big-league games but produced 93.6 mph average exit velo during that span (average is 89 mph).

Scouting Report
While big-league pitchers were able to exploit Haniger’s vulnerability to pitches down and away during his late-season cup of coffee, he’s an above-average runner with plus raw power. Players with that tool combination aren’t exactly easy to come by. Haniger was demoted to High-A as a 24-year old in 2015 after slugging a paltry .379 for Double-A Mobile. It looked like bad news to those of us on the outside who thought the Diamondbacks were souring on him, but in reality Haniger proactively told the D-backs he’d accept a demotion if it meant he could play every day which, with prospects Evan Marzilli, Socrates Brito and Gabriel Guerrero also in Mobile by mid-year, wasn’t going to happen at Double-A. Haniger made a swing change (profiled here and here by excellent D-backs beat writer Nick Piecoro) and took off. You can see the old swing here.

Scouts are a little bit apprehensive about Haniger’s propensity to swing and miss and think there’s a good chance he either ends up as a platoon bat or power-first fourth outfielder who can play center field in a pinch. Given Haniger’s purported makeup and clear ability to make significant adjustments, I think there’s a non-zero chance he’s a late-blooming average regular but it’s more likely he falls just short of that. The Diamondbacks acquired Haniger along with Anthony Banda from Milwaukee in exchange for Gerardo Parra.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.9 WAR

mitch-haniger-likelihood-of-outcomes

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Bahamas
Age 19 Height 5’11 Weight 165 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 30/45 20/40 50/50 40/50 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Hit .281/.333/.446 with nine homers and 22 extra-base hits in Pioneer League. Recorded 27% strikeout rate.

Scouting Report
Born in Nassau, Chisholm played high-school ball at Life Prep in Wichita and then went back to the Bahamas to sign as an international free agent. He signed during the 2015 J2 period and made his pro debut in 2016. He looked polished enough during spring training that the D-backs felt comfortable letting him skip the AZL and sent him straight to the Pioneer League at age 18 where he had success.

Chisholm is a solid athlete with the requisite actions for shortstop and enough range, though he only has average arm strength and will have to grow into more to comfortably profile as a shortstop. He’s on the small side but the body is good — and I do think Chisholm will develop enough explosion and arm strength for him to remain at short long-term — though I can’t see him being better than average there overall.

He has above average bat speed, loose, whippy wrists and generates hard contact to all fields. While most of that contact was on the ground this year, Chisholm has shown the ability to hit the ball in the air as well and did it more consistently as the year went on, hitting four of his nine homers in the last month of the season.

If Chisholm has to move off of short, then his chances of remaining an everyday player take a substantial hit, as it’s unlikely that any of his offensive traits will play at plus or better at maturity. But Chisholm moving off of short likely means he’s added some strength and probably enough game power to profile as a low-end regular at second base or as a high-end utility luxury. Scouts with whom I’ve spoken at least think he’ll attain the latter.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.0 WAR

jazz-chisholm-likelihood-of-outcomes

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic
Age 21 Height 5’11 Weight 160 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/60 40/40 30/40 50/45 45/50 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced 4.8% walk rate in High-A last year, 7.8% in High-A this year, and then 9.8% at Double-A after promotion. Also cut four points from strikeout rate after promotion to Double-A and hit .301/.374/.436 with Mobile as a 20-year old.

Scouting Report
Leyba suffered from Josh Vitters disease throughout the early part of his career and tried to hit everything lower-level pitchers were offering him because, often, he could. He has exceptional hand-eye coordination and bat control as well as above-average bat speed. The Diamondbacks emphasized a more patient approach with Leyba this year and he responded with improved numbers in both his strikeout and walk rates while also improving his slash line.

Despite spending most of 2016 at shortstop, Leyba falls short of viability there in range, arm and general explosiveness and thus projects to second base, though he should be at least average there. Moving to second might make it hard for Leyba to profile as an average or better everyday player as he only projects to have below-average game power at peak. His body is stocky and mature, so we can’t justify power projection based on natural maturation and it doesn’t seem prudent to ask a player with such a good feel for hitting to change his swing or approach. Hitting 8-12 homers per year may not be enough to profile at second base, especially if the power spike we saw across baseball this year (and especially at second) holds. Then again, Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez, with whom Leyba shares similar swing traits, just got done with a 4.4 WAR season in which he hit six home runs.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.7 WAR

domingo-leyba-likelihood-of-outcomes

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Auburn
Age 21 Height 6’0 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 40/50 60/60 40/50 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics:
Entered SEC play (after 17 games) this spring with a .428 BA, .545 OBP, 11 stolen bases and 17-game hitting streak (18 dating back to 2015). Finished junior year at Auburn hitting .366/.457/.576 (30 total games). Recorded sub-.300 OBPs in both low-level pro stops after signing.

Scouting Report
Grier was a monster in non-conference play this year and had some first-round buzz early in the spring because of it. Then SEC play began and better, more prepared pitching diluted his production.

A plus runner without an overly projectable frame, Grier should be able to retain his impact speed into his prime and projects to least average in center field at maturity. If for some reason he can’t stay there, his below-average arm will relegate him to left field.

There’s power here, too. Grier has average raw right now and, despite lacking much room for weight on his modest frame, arguably has some power projection left as a young-for-the-class college bat who only just turned 21 in early October. Grier was getting to that power in games early in the spring and even showed the ability to move the bat head around and make airborne contact with pitches in various parts of the zone. He tracked less consistently as the year went along and scouts who saw him late during the draft process or in pro ball (he struck out 27% of the time 78 Northwest League PAs) aren’t sold on his bat to ball. Scouts thought he looked sluggish and aloof during instructional league, not uncommon for a college draftee who had been playing games since March.

Though not as explosively talented as many of the other archetypal power/speed center fielders in the minors, Grier qualifies for that bucket and has a solid chance to be an everyday player — even if he always strikes out a lot — because of his defensive profile.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Charleston
Age 24 Height 6’4 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 40/45 55/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 17.6% strikeout rate and 5.1% walk rate in 17 starts at Double-A.

Scouting Report
Clarke began his collegiate career at Towson and missed much of his sophomore year there recovering from Tommy John surgery. Clarke transferred to a talented College of Charleston club and became the highest-drafted player in CofC history, surpassing Brett Gardner who went 109th overall in 2005.

Clarke has a plus fastball that has been up to 96 in short stints. He creates impactful movement on it despite a very vertical arm slot. His slider will also flash plus and should settle in there at peak. The changeup is below average and doesn’t have all that much projection considering Clarke is just an average athlete, has a fairly long arm action and turns 24 next spring. If it can even become an average offering (or if he learns a split, which I think may be appropriate considering his arm slot) then he’ll have three average or better pitches and a starter’s control, the profile of a No. 4 or 5 starter. Considering how murky the changeup projection is and that Clarke has already had a surgery, I think it’s justifiable to fast track him as a reliever, which some evaluators think is his likely future role.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.0 WAR

taylor-clarke-likelihood-of-outcomes

8. Alex Young, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from TCU
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
45/45 55/55 40/40 45/50 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Allowed 10 homers in 12 Cal League starts (68 innings) while recording a 66% fly-ball rate during that span. Allowed just one homer in 50 Midwest League innings before promotion (55% fly-ball rate).

Scouting Report
Young was a top-five-round talent as a high-school senior but fell to the 32nd round of the 2012 draft due to signability concerns. He matriculated to TCU, where he never really added any velocity. He pitched out of the Horned Frogs’ bullpen as a freshman and sophomore (which many hoped would save him from going through the same meat grinder that beset Matt Purke) and then moved into the rotation as a junior, where he garnered some late-first-round consideration as an advanced lefty with a plus-flashing slider and good body and arm action. His slider was most dominant after the draft in a postseason start against Vanderbilt.

Young’s stuff hasn’t ticked up since signing and his slider (78-83 mph with varied shape and depth) hasn’t been quite as effective as it was at the end of his tenure at TCU (it was most dominant in a postseason start against Vanderbilt after the 2015 draft). The Cal League didn’t take too kindly to Young’s fringey, 88-91 mph fastball either, as is evident in the metrics above. Young’s changeup projects to average. Once considered a safe and potentially quick-moving No. 4 or 5 starter, his prognosis is dipping toward the bottom of that range and it’s unlikely he bears big-league fruit as quickly as we once anticipated.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.6 WAR

alex-young-likelihood-of-outcomes

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Taiwan
Age 23 Height 6’1 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 40/45 60/60 40/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded a 30.1% strikeout rate in 30.1 Northwest League innings but was old for the league at 22.

Scouting Report
Huang’s plus changeup is his best pitch and the lynchpin of his entire prospectdom. It’s effective thanks to both excellent arm speed and runaway movement, and Huang uses it as a swing-and-miss pitch to close out hitters or just to get ahead of batters hunting first-pitch fastballs.

The rest of Huang’s profile is fringey. His fastball sits 89-92 but plays down because of a lack of movement. This issue is compounded by mediocre extension and a lack of downhill plane. Flat, upper-80s fastballs get whacked, and while Huang has been up to 94 in the past and his slender build appears projectable, he’s 23 now and this is likely all the fastball we’ll see from him. He has two fringe breaking balls, the most frequently used of which is a low-70s curveball that has average depth but lacks bite. He has had durability issues, too, missing time with injury during each of the last two seasons.

If Huang can develop plus control/command – and there’s a non-zero chance he does but his on-paper control went backwards this year – then he could be a fifth starter who pitches off of his changeup and command/sequences his way through the lineup a few times. He’s more likely an up-and-down starter or reliever.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.5 WAR

wei-chieh-huang-likelihood-of-outcomes

10. Dawel Lugo, 3B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 188 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 40/50 40/30 40/45 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded just 8.5% strikeout rate in 177 Double-A plate appearances. Also had just 2.5% walk rate. Hit 17 homers this year between two levels.

Scouting Report
The Diamondbacks acquired Lugo from Toronto late in 2015 in exchange for Cliff Pennington and he has performed well since changing organizations. He has looked horrendous so far during Fall League, taking poor at-bats and looking sluggish defensively. It appears the body has gone backward since mid-year as well.

But the above-average raw power (and potential for future 60 raw) remain, as does Lugo’s plus arm. His indiscriminate approach has been his undoing this fall rather than an issue with bat speed or something mechanical, and if he becomes more selective I think he has enough bat control to be an above-average hitter and really tap into that power, enough to profile in right field. But Lugo has been an impatient hacker for four seasons now and won’t profile as an average regular unless the fires of failure somehow forge a new approach.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR

dawel-lugo-likelihood-of-outcomes

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Rice
Age 22 Height 6’3 Weight 225 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 40/45 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Was second in Division I with 148 strikeouts during 2016 season. Also walked 47 in 111 innings, though.

Scouting Report
Duplantier would be higher on this list if not for his propensity to get hurt. He missed 2015 with a shoulder injury, was shut down with elbow soreness after his singular pro inning and didn’t throw during instructional league because of a minor hamstring issue. He is expected to be fine by spring training.

When Duplantier is pitching he’ll sit in the low to mid-90s, touching 96, with some late wiggle. He also has a power curveball in the low 80s that is consistently above average and flashes plus. His changeup and control are both below average but he’s a solid athlete and missed a year of development because of that shoulder issue during his sophomore year, so it’s possible the command and change are just going to come late. He could be a league-average starter but his injury track record, as well as the infamous shadow cast upon the arms of pitchers from Rice, makes him quite risky and a more likely candidate to be fast-tracked as a pen arm to keep him healthy.

12. Andy Yerzy, C
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from York Mills, Toronto
Age 18 Height 6’3 Weight 215 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 55/60 30/50 30/20 30/40 30/40

Relevant/Interesting
There really aren’t any for 18-year-old Canadian catchers in Rookie ball.

Scouting Report
It’s rare to find catchers with this kind of raw power, let alone this kind of raw power projection. Yerzy can hit balls out to all fields right now and projects for at least plus raw power at maturity. He has an aggressive approach which exacerbates already extant swing-and-miss issues caused by a stiffness that pervades Yerzy’s entire game. A below-average athlete, evaluators are bearish on Yerzy’s chances of catching long-term. I’ve recorded several pop times in excess of 2.1 seconds from Yerzy and think his ultimate home is probably first base. He’ll have enough power to profile there, though his hit tool and approach seem unlikely to.

Because we’re talking about a raw, teenage catcher from a cold-weather part of the continent, it’s fair to project liberally on Yerzy’s tools. I’m more comfortable doing that when the prospect in question is exceptionally athletic and neither I nor scouts I’ve talked to consider Yerzy to be one.

13. Matt Koch, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2012 from Louisville
Age 26 Height 6’3 Weight 215 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command
50/50 45/45 40/45 50/55 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 2.00 ERA in 18 MLB innings. Is also due for regression, though, after allowing just .156 BABIP.

Scouting Report
The Diamondbacks got Koch (pronounced like “Cook”) form the Mets in exchange for Addison Reed in August of 2015 and he pitched his way to the big leagues this year with a low-90s fastball that features varying amounts of sink and a heavily used upper-80s cutter. Both pitches are average offerings, maybe a tick above, and are the primary jab/hook combination with which Koch negotiates opposing lineups. He can take a little off the cutter and lengthen it out into an 82-85 mph slider and he has an inconsistent and fringey mid-80s change he can use to change speeds and show different movement.

Koch has better control than he does command, living around the strike zone but rarely pinpointing exactly where he wants, which I think he’d have to do to get the most out of that cutter. As such he profiles as a fifth- or sixth-starter type or solid, multi-inning middle reliever. He has had recurring blister issues.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.2 WAR

matt-koch-likelihood-of-outcomes

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2010 from Venezuela
Age 24 Height 6’4 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 50/50 55/55 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 21% strikeout rate with Trenton before trade from Yankees.

Scouting Report
Campos’ career has been wrought with elbow injuries, including an ulnar fracture in 2012 and Tommy John surgery in 2014 and then another ulnar fracture late this year that will require eight months of recovery time after surgery. He was a high-upside, tertiary piece in the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade of 2012 and then sent from New York to Arizona in exchange for Tyler Clippard before this year’s trade deadline.

When Campos is healthy, his fastball will climb into the mid-90s — as it did when I saw him mid-year with Trenton — but he was sitting 88-90 and touching 91 in his sole big-league appearance. He works in an above-average, mid-80s changeup to both left- and right-handed hitters and its effectiveness is more predicated on movement than it is changing speeds. His mid-70s curveball has good depth and is consistently average while flashing above and he’s shown the sbility to throw it for strikes.

If Campos’ velocity returns to pre-injury form after he recovers from his latest fracture then he has a fourth starter’s repertoire, but he’s riskier than your usual close-to-the-big arm because the injury rap sheet is so long.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.7 WAR

vicente-campos-likelihood-of-outcomes

*****

Other Prospects of Note (In Order of Preference)
Jose Herrera, C (Video) – A switch-hitting catcher who I think has a chance to be an average everyday player as an average defender with an average arm, 50 bat and 40 game power. He’s this low on the list because he’s been fragile and has only caught in 33 total games over the last two seasons because of it — to say nothing of the already unfavorable attrition rate of teenage catching prospects.

Jack Reinheimer, SS, 2.8 KATOH+ WAR (Video) – Reinheimer isn’t explosive but he has passable range and arm for shortstop and the body control to tie it all together. There isn’t enough bat here for him to profile as a regular but he’ll probably have a long, prosperous big-league career as a utility man.

Oscar Hernandez, C, 2.4 KATOH+ – Hernandez was the top Rule 5 pick in 2015 but missed much of that year with a hamate injury and missed time this year as well, appearing in just 76 games between High- and Double-A. He has well below-average bat speed and doesn’t project as an everyday player because the bat is so light, but he’s an average defender with an above average arm and, provided he can stay healthy, should settle in as a backup at the big-league level.

Sergio Alcantara, SS, 0.6 KATOH+ (Video) – Alcantara has a 70 arm, is an above-average runner and plays an adequate defensive shortstop. A switch-hitter, his swing is better from the right side where he has better barrel control, is quicker into the hitting zone and integrates more explosion from the lower half. He profiles as a utility man but is a long shot to be a low-end regular at shortstop as well.

Gabriel Maciel, OF, 0.9 KATOH+ – This might be the guy who you see much higher on next year’s list. The Brazilian Maciel is a 70 runner who made a lot of contact in the AZL as a 17-year-old and stole 11 bases in 12 attempts there. He held his own after he was moved up a level to the Pioneer league, hitting .266 there. His swing is completely devoid of power and his frame is relatively small, so I don’t expect much to come, but his ability to play center field will take a lot of the pressure off of his bat.

Marcus Wilson, OF, 0.9 KATOH+ (Video – Wilson has an enticing collection of tools (plus run, should be average in CF with time) but his bat remains raw. His swing has been in flux since signing and Wilson only just turned twenty, so he actually has some of the more intriguing upside in the system but every year Wilson doesn’t hit is a step closer toward a future as a fourth outfielder.

Tyler Wagner, RHP (Video) – Wagner has been out since May with a lat injury but should be ready for spring training. Gone are the days when Wagner would reach back for 96 when he wanted as his fastball average 89mph in his big league stint this year. He profiles as a multi-pitch middle reliever.

Jared Miller, LHP, 1.3 KATOH+ — Miller has been a deceptive 90-93 in the Fall League for me but I don’t see a secondary that plays in the big leagues against both left0 and right-handed hitters. I think he has a LOOGY profile and probably debuts next year.

Luis Alejandro Basabe, UTIL, 1.4 KATOH+ (Video) – Basabe has more power than his diminutive frame lets on, with sneaky strong wrists and good extension through contact the primary drivers of that stealth pop. Like many of the others in the system, he profiles as a utility type.

Jose Almonte, RHP, 1.4 KATOH+ – Acquired with Basabe in the Brad Ziegler deal, Almonte has a low-90s fastball and fringe curveball and changeup. The body is somewhat projectable but not so much that scouts see much more velo coming and both secondaries project to average. He could be a fifth starter but is too far away to crack the upper sections of the list in my opinion.

Gabby Guerrero, OF, 0.8 KATOH+ (Video) – An over-aggressive approach is often cited as Guerrero’s most significant bugaboo, but he hasn’t hit for power in games since 2014 either, and unless that comes back with a vengeance Guerrero is at best a Quad-A type of prospect.

Ildemaro Vargas, SS, 3.0 KATOH+ (video) – An inferior defensive option to Reinheimer and the trio of solid big-league infielders (Owings, Ahmed, Segura) but passable at short, Vargas will be back with the org next year as Reno’s second baseman. He makes plenty of contact, and has a utility ceiling.

Mack Lemieux, LHP (Video)  – A relative of the objectively detestable Mario, this Lemieux is loose, projectable, and up to 91 with two average breaking balls. He struggles to repeat his delivery.

Brad Keller, RHP, 2.0 KATOH+ (Video) – A big body with middling stuff, Keller profiles as an up and down arm or fastball/changeup middle reliever.

Joey Rose, 3B — He flashed some physical tools in the AZL but looks as raw as one would expect from a northeastern position player, and he struggled to deal with pro pitching.

Nowhere Man
Yoan Lopez, RHP (video) (0.3 KATOH+)
Lopez’s tenure in Arizona has been tumultuous, and publicly so. I saw him up to 94 mid-year but he was mostly 88-92 during instructs with below-average control and an average breaking ball. I suppose he’s still somewhat of a prospect because of the body, delivery and the chance that the mid-90s velocity we saw in his 2015 Fall League debut somehow returns, but he turns 24 in January and, given his off-field issues, is either going to sink or swim in the D-backs system because nobody is going to trade for this guy.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Ildemaro Vargas, 2B/SS
Vargas profiles as one of the most interesting fringe prospects not merely in the Arizona system, but all of baseball. Signed by Arizona out of the independent Atlantic League towards the beginning of the 2015 season, he proceeded to record the second-lowest strikeout rate among affiliated hitters who also recorded 300 plate appearances. This past year, facing Double- and Triple-A opposition, Vargas produced the third-lowest strikeout rate among affiliated hitters who also recorded 300 plate appearances. Those contact skills don’t necessarily portend major-league stardom; however, they do create a significant margin of error where his power on contact is concerned. The offensive skills, combined with the likelihood of a net-plus defensive contribution, create the real possibility of a league-average player.

*****

Additional Viewing
Maciel and Chisholm squared off in the World Baseball Classic qualifier last month and you can see both of them in action here.

System Overview
This system is rather weak despite some depth in the middle infield and a few long-shot catching prospects who have a chance to be quite good if everything comes together. The system has obviously been gutted by the club’s previous leadership and its likely next year’s No. 7 overall pick will become the club’s best prospect as soon as his name is called.

We hoped you liked reading Prospect Reports: Arizona Diamondbacks by Eric Longenhagen!

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Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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asaw780
Member
asaw780

Great debut, Eric. Shame that you had to start with such a lackluster system, but you have good insight, and I like the inclusion of the KATOH projections. Looking forward to the rest!

Dave Stewart
Member

Oh yeah. Really could have used these last year instead of those handwritten notes that Tony spilled his Hennessey on. Much easier to comprehend.