Top 23 Prospects: Arizona Diamondbacks

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All the numbered prospects here also appear on THE BOARD, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. Click here to visit THE BOARD.

D-backs Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Jon Duplantier 23 AA RHP 2019 50
2 Kristian Robinson 17 R CF 2023 45
3 Jazz Chisholm 20 A SS 2022 45
4 Pavin Smith 22 A+ 1B 2020 45
5 Daulton Varsho 21 A+ C 2021 45
6 Drew Ellis 22 A+ 3B 2021 40
7 Marcus Wilson 21 A+ CF 2021 40
8 Matt Tabor 19 R RHP 2022 40
9 Taylor Widener 23 AA RHP 2019 40
10 Taylor Clarke 24 AAA RHP 2018 40
11 Eduardo Diaz 20 A CF 2022 40
12 Domingo Leyba 22 AA 2B 2019 40
13 Yoan Lopez 25 AA RHP 2018 40
14 Jhoan Duran 20 A RHP 2022 40
15 Gabriel Maciel 19 A CF 2022 40
16 Joey Krehbiel 25 AAA RHP 2018 40
17 Jared Miller 24 AAA LHP 2018 40
18 Wei-Chieh Huang 24 A+ RHP 2019 40
19 Socrates Brito 25 MLB CF 2018 40
20 Jimmie Sherfy 26 MLB RHP 2018 40
21 Christian Walker 27 MLB 1B 2018 40
22 Andy Yerzy 19 R C 2022 40
23 Michael Perez 25 AAA C 2019 40

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Rice
Age 22 Height 6’4 Weight 225 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 50/50 45/55 45/50

Duplantier was held back in extended this year due to a minor hamstring issue but has had no arm issues as a pro after dealing with shoulder trouble at Rice. He sits 93-96, will touch 98. His delivery is odd, but it’s been a while since Duplantier has been hurt, so, for now, it’s not a concern. He projects as a mid-rotation starter.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Bahamas
Age 17 Height 6’3 Weight 190 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/70 30/60 60/60 40/50 60/60

This is a very physical teenager. I’ve watched Robinson play while Jake Lamb and Steven Souza have rehabbed next to him and he’s bigger than both of them. His build has been compared to Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jorge Soler’s — and he’s faster than two of those guys when he reaches top speed. He’s a monster who has already made significant progress developing a more polished feel for baseball after barely playing last fall while the D-backs kept playoff reserves sharp during instructional league. He has big power right now and is going to grow into more as he fills out, though he probably won’t be a 7 runner underway into his mid-20s. Some people in baseball think he’s Arizona best prospect. He’s unquestionably their most exciting.

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
20/40 50/55 30/55 55/55 40/50 55/55

More entertaining than actual jazz, Chisholm missed almost all of 2017 due to a torn meniscus and so remains a 45 FV on this list despite possessing top-100 tools. He’s a twitchy little shortstop who takes big, aggressive hacks at the plate, and Chisholm’s swing has a lot of natural lift to it, so we’re confident that he’s going to hit for power even if he has strikeout issues in the big leagues. And that will be fine, because he’s going to play somewhere up the middle.

Chisholm suffered a hamstring injury in late April, his second lower-body injury in as many years. He’s shown no ill effects since returning and projects as a power-hitting middle infielder.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Virginia
Age 21 Height 6’2 Weight 210 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 60/60 30/50 40/40 45/50 45/45

We’re on the low end of the Smith evaluation spectrum because we’re not confident that the power will play at first base. There are paths to the big leagues for Smith that don’t necessarily include a swing change and more power, and instead involve him developing elite plate discipline, which is less likely, but not out of the realm of possibility. We have him projected as a low-end regular at first base and consider changes to his batted-ball profile an important sign of relevant progress.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from UW-Milwaukee
Age 20 Height 5’10 Weight 190 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/55 20/50 55/55 45/50 45/45

It was tough to evaluate Varsho as a catcher at UW-Milwaukee because he wasn’t typically catching pro-quality stuff. He’s not a complete or dynamic defensive catcher, but he has looked better back there as a pro and has a decent chance to stick. What is remarkable about Varsho is his speed. There aren’t many plus-running catchers, and while his power is largely of the doubles variety due to his swing path, every gapper he hits is going to result in a double because of how quickly he gets out of the box. Their swings aren’t remotely the same, but Varsho’s skillset on paper looks much like Jason Kendall’s did.

40 FV Prospects

6. Drew Ellis, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Louisville
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/60 30/55 40/30 40/45 50/50

Ellis is a big-bodied third baseman who may not remain at the position. He has enough power to profile at first if he hits enough, and optimists think you can hide his lack of quickness with good defensive positioning.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from JSerra HS (CA)
Age 20 Height 6’3 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/50 20/45 60/60 45/50 50/50

Wilson made some minor swing adjustments in 2017 that lead to more in-game power, but much of his profile is grounded in his eye for the strike zone and ability to play center field. He’s now about as old as a college draftee and has tools on par with late first-/early second-round picks. He’s a potential everyday center fielder so long as he keeps hitting and reaching base, even if last year’s power spike was a bit of a mirage. His timing at the plate was a bit off this spring, but he’s made adjustments before and is likely to do so again.

8. Matt Tabor, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Milton Academy HS (MA)
Age 18 Height 6’2 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
45/50 50/55 50/60 30/50

Tabor’s velocity exploded as his wiry frame filled out later in high school. He’s been 91-93 in my four looks at him in pro ball (three last year, one this spring), with a breaking ball and changeup that each flash above average. Most Northeast high-school arms are not showing secondary stuff like this so soon and even fewer of them are as athletic as Tabor. He’s a high-risk fourth starter right now, but there’s a chance the secondaries come along beyond where we have them projected and he’s better than that.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2016 from South Carolina
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 45/50 40/45

Widener was acquired from the Yankees as part of the Steven Souza three-team deal. The D-backs think he has starter stuff and we tend to agree. He sits 92-94 and will touch 97 with the flat, up-in-the-zone plane that generates lots of swing and miss, and he gets down the mound well, so the heater plays up. Our changeup projection is pretty conservative, but sometimes guys with this kind of arm speed find a new grip and the pitch becomes their best secondary. A move out of the bullpen certainly gives him a better chance to find it now that he’ll be throwing more changeups.

10. Taylor Clarke, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Charleston
Age 24 Height 6’4 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command
50/50 55/55 45/50 45/45 50/55

Clarke is likely to debut this year amid the Diamondbacks’ injury woes. He was 89-94 this spring and touched 96 last year. He manipulates the movement on his fastball and has enough secondary stuff to navigate a lineup multiple times. Don’t be discouraged by poor results at hellish Reno: Clarke’s a stable back-end starter prospect.

11. Eduardo Diaz, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/50 55/55 40/50 60/60

There’s general agreement among scouts who have seen Diaz that he’s poised to do solid-average damage with the bat. Almost unanimously they expect him to be a 50 or 55 hitter with 50 or 55 raw power. There’s disagreement regarding his long-term viability in center field, though. In a corner, the bat plays like second-division regular. In center field, it plays every day pretty easily.

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
35/60 40/40 30/40 50/45 45/50 50/50

Leyba has had a lot of injury issues, and his size inflames concerns about his durability. We have him pretty rigidly projected as a second baseman and think he either hits enough to be a 50 there or falls short and is basically unrosterable due to a lack of defensive versatility. From a skills perspective, I think Leyba has the bat control to get there, but he hasn’t developed a sound approach yet and the injuries are concerning.

13. Yoan Lopez, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Cuba
Age 24 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command
70/70 55/55 40/45

Lopez has had one of the more bizarre careers among prospects, signing amid rumors that a now defunct D-backs regime wasn’t clear on the international bonus rules and then going AWOL twice and nearly quitting baseball. Throughout the past few years, Lopez’s stuff has been up and down, anywhere from 90-92 at times, 94-97 at others. In 2017, his average fastball velocity was up 5 mph. He was 95-98 touching 99, plus a tick for good extension, and the repertoire that once made him a viable starting pitching prospect plays really well in the bullpen. He’s a potential late-inning arm, but is obviously a volatile prospect because of the makeup.

14. Jhoan Duran, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic
Age 19 Height 6’5 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/60 45/50 45/55 30/45

Duran’s delivery is silky smooth and he generates big heat, sitting 93-96 and touching 99. His strike-throwing ability and secondary stuff were both better when I saw him this spring, with the slider and changeup each flashing plus. Duran has some maturity issues — or at least he did last year — but if he were a college righty with this stuff he’d probably go somewhere in the first round.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Brazil
Age 18 Height 5’10 Weight 170 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 30/30 20/30 70/70 45/55 50/50

Maciel is a little sparkplug center fielder with premium speed and a good idea of how to use it in games. His contact is weak, so he often tries to slap and bunt his way on in lieu of taking actual swings. Maciel is able to make this approach work, as he has terrific bat control and pitch recognition as well as plus speed. All of those things might work together to create an offensive profile that enables Maciel to profile everyday in center field. It’s more likely that he becomes a bench outfielder (he lacks physical projection), but he has everyday ceiling.

16. Joey Krehbiel, RHP
Drafted: 12th Round, 2011 from Seminole HS (FL)
Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/55 50/50 60/60 40/40

Krehbiel’s fastball velocity ticked up last year, when he was 93-96, touching 99. His changeup is the primary outpitch, but the slider is a viable third offering. He should make his debut this year and carve out a bullpen role.

17. Jared Miller, LHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2014 from Vanderbilt
Age 23 Height 6’7 Weight 240 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command
60/60 55/55 55/55 45/45

Miller’s arm slot was a bit higher in 2017, and his velo was up in the 92-94 range. There’s good downward plane on the pitch due to his size and the heavy sink he imparts on it, and those two aspects complement one another to create a plus sinker despite vanilla bullpen velocity. This, plus the two breaking balls, should enable Miller to play a valuable bullpen role, at least as a dominant lefty specialist — and perhaps more.

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

Huang is a changeup artist, and those guys tend to outperform projections. We think he profiles as a fifth starter or Tyler Clippard-ish bullpen piece, especially if his fastball ticks up out of the bullpen.

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

Brito is an impressive physical specimen, but his baseball acumen hasn’t developed as hoped. He’s stalled out at Triple-A and has barely been prospect eligible for nearly two years now because he can’t collect those last few at-bats to graduate. He’s likely a bench outfielder at this point.

20. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP
Drafted: 10th Round, 2013 from Oregon
Age 25 Height 6’0 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command
55/55 55/55 40/40

Sherfy’s velocity was down a little bit last year but still plus. He’s had issues staying healthy, but his fastball/breaking-ball combo are standard relief fits.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2012 from South Carolina
Age 26 Height 6’0 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 70/70 55/55 40/40 45/45 50/50

Walker has huge raw power, it’s just unclear if he has the bat-to-ball skills to get to enough of it to profile at first base. Sometimes guys like this have sustained bursts similar to what Jesus Aguilar has done; others fade away. Th opportunity for at-bats in Arizona depend upon Paul Goldschmidt’s health, and Goldy has laced up his spikes every day since 2014.

22. Andy Yerzy, C
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from York Mills Institute (Ontario)
Age 18 Height 6’3 Weight 215 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/55 30/45 30/30 40/45 50/50

Yerzy was drafted as a developmental catching project with power, and he initially looked like a lost cause, defensively. He’s improved behind the plate and kept his sizable frame lean and lithe. He’s still in the early stages of development and was kept back in extended spring training, but he’s trending up.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2011 from Colegio Vocacional Para Adultos (PR)
Age 24 Height 5’11 Weight 180 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/45 20/40 40/40 45/50 50/50

Perez is a twitchy little catching prospect with great feel for the strike zone and for moving the barrel around. He’s small, so there are questions about his durability and power, but he’s a viable defensive catcher with some on-base ability, so he’s likely to stick on a 40-man.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Young (mostly) Latin American Hitting Talents
Geraldo Perdomo, SS
Liover Peguero, SS
Anfernee Grier, OF
Juan Araujo, RF
Didimo Bracho, LF
Jesus Marriaga, CF
Wildred Patino, OF

Perdomo and Peguero are athletic, projectable shortstop prospects who have looked good this spring in Arizona. Grier still runs well, but his bat has regressed since college. Araujo has a big frame and big power. Bracho has power, but the body is maxed out. Marriaga is a good defensive center fielder with a good frame but zero feel for hitting. Patino was a big bonus July 2 prospect who had a deal with Texas that was voided due to an arm injury,

Corner Power Bats
Francis Martinez, 1B
Kevin Cron, 1B
Joey Rose, 3B
Buddy Kennedy, 3B
Ramon Hernandez, 3B

Martinez has come along very slowly, but he’s kept his sizable frame in check and has rare power for a switch-hitter. He’s still a long shot due to swing-and-miss issues, but he’s showing some signs of progress. Cron has many Quad-A traits. Rose and Kennedy are fringe defenders at third with average offensive tools. Hernandez has power but might not stick at third.

Utility Infielders
Ildemaro Vargas, SS
Jack Reinheimer, 2B

Lotto Ticket Catchers
Ryan January, C
Jose Herrera, C

January has missed time due to suspension. He’s a work-in-progress catcher with good bat speed. Herrera has been hurt a lot and is mostly 45s and 50s across the board.

Chance to Start
Elvis Luciano, RHP
Emilio Vargas, RHP
Mack Lemieux, LHP
Jose Almonte, RHP
Harrison Francis, RHP
Juan Hernandez, RHP

Luciano sits 90-94 and has a 55 curve. He’s only 18 but isn’t especially projectable, physically. Vargas is 21, touches 96, and has a 50 curve and change. Lemieux can really spin a breaking ball, but the rest is fringey. Almonte’s velocity was way down this spring, in the mid- to upper 80s. If he bounces back, he’s a solid 40. His curveball, cutter, and pitchability all scream “fifth starter.”

Relief Depth
Jordan Watson, LHP
Junior Garcia, RHP
Kevin Ginkel, RHP
Tommy Eveld, RHP
Erbert Gonzalez, RHP
Mason McCullough, RHP
Cameron Gann, RHP
Ryan Atkinson, RHP
Jake Winston, RHP

Lots of these guys, so I’ll be quick. Waston has been hurt a lot but is 91-94 with a 70 curve when healthy. Ginkel is 92-95 with a plus change. Eveld is plus fastball, plus curve, average slider. Erbert is 92-95 with a plus curve. McCullough has a plus fastball and average slider. Atkinson is 91-94 with a 55 change. Garcia has a 50 fastball, but the slider and change each miss bats. Winston is a 50/55 sinker/breaking-ball guy.

Deception Guys
Bo Takahashi, RHP
Cody Reed, LHP

Essentially, we can’t find scouts who like these two as anything more than up-and-down depth, but they’re missing bats for some reason. Takahashi has a 55 slider and curve but a fringe heater and change. Reed gets plus swing and miss on a fastball that has fringe velocity.

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

Ildemaro Vargas, 2B/SS
Vargas appeared in this space last year for almost precisely the same collection of reasons he appears here now. 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. In 2016, facing Double- and Triple-A opposition, Vargas produced the third-lowest strikeout rate among affiliated hitters who also recorded 300 plate appearances. Last year, faced Triple-A competition almost exclusively and once again recorded the second-lowest strikeout rate among affiliated hitters who also recorded 300 plate appearances. Between his bat-to-ball skills and capacity to play the middle infield, Vargas needn’t do much else to provide an adequate baseline of value.

System Overview

The way we apply FV grades makes this system look worse than it really is. The logic behind Future Value is grounded in “value,” which — and this is the case with several of these D-backs prospects — docks individual prospects pretty severely for being far from the majors, because teams increasingly value quick prospect actualization. So value? No, this system doesn’t have much immediate value, because most of these prospects are either in the lower levels, have volatile skillsets, or both. But talent? Yes, this system has plenty of that, and we’re optimistic about the growth potential of 10 to 12 of the top-14 prospects in this system. If we line up all the systems based on total FV, I suspect this would be near the rear of MLB, but that could change in a year without anyone being added to the system if the guys already in it mature.

We hoped you liked reading Top 23 Prospects: Arizona Diamondbacks by Eric Longenhagen!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

newest oldest most voted
MRDXol
Member
MRDXol

saving the best two systems (approximately) for last, huh? will the WSox/Padres lists have more than 30 guys written up, or did y’all want to see their affiliates this year before making the lists?

mikecws91
Member

I think they’re waiting to see if Eloy makes the Hall of Fame.