Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects Updated

The Diamondbacks have a solid system with some interesting players within the top 10-15 prospects in the system. But overall, the organization lacks depth.

Click here for the pre-season Top 10

1. Jon Duplantier | RHP | AA —> There is no denying Duplantier’s potential but the checkered medical sheet is worrisome, and the big right-hander (who attended Rice University, which has a reputation for misusing pitchers) has missed a significant chunk of 2018 due to injury. When he’s right, Duplantier shows three above-average offerings, has a great pitcher’s frame and induces a ton of ground-ball outs. There is No. 2/3 starter potential here if he can stay on the field long enough to polish his skills.

2. Daulton Varsho | C | A+ —> I’ve been a huge fan of Daulton since the D-Backs nabbed him with the 68th overall selection in the 2017 draft. He doesn’t have the strongest arm for a catcher but he makes it work and should be able to stick behind the plate (He’s caught 34% of base stealers so far this year). At the plate, Varsho shows the ability to hit for both average and power — and displays his athleticism on the base paths with above-average base running (15 for 18 in steals). He could be ready for The Show in late 2019 or early 2020.

3. Taylor Widener | RHP | AA —> Double-A is supposed to be a challenging jump in a players’ development journey but Widener has excelled. Opposing batters are managing a batting average of just .194 over 101.1 innings. He has an excellent fastball and an above-average slider. The changeup is coming along nicely. The biggest knock against him that I have is his lack of size. Originally a reliever, Widener looks like he’ll stick as a starter — and could development into a No. 3 starter.

4. Drew Ellis | 3B | A+ —> Ellis has the makings of a player capable of producing above-average on-base numbers to go with above-average pop. He may not hit for a great average due to his swing-and-miss tendencies but there is enough pop to look the other way. The biggest concern with Ellis is around his ability to stick at the hot corner, where he projects to be average-at-best — although I think he can be competent there for the foreseeable future. He may eventually slide over to first base or, maybe, left field.

5. Jasrado Chisholm | SS | A —> Chisholm, 20, has generated unexpected pop in 2018 after making adjustments to his swing in the search for more power. To do so, he’s sacrificed the ability to hit for average due to an increased swing-and-miss tendency but he offsets that with a healthy number of walks. Chisholm is a solid fielder but might be one of those shortstops that gets pushed off the position when a slicker fielder comes along.

6. Taylor Clarke | RHP | AAA —> Clarke has all the makings of an innings-eating fourth starter. He has a strong frame, throws lots of strikes and incorporates four pitches into his attack on hitters. None of his pitches really grade out as more than average, although his above-average control helps the low-90s heater play up. He’s almost big-league ready.

7. Kristian Robinson | OF | R —> Robinson is one of those prospects you can dream on. Just 17, he’s looked good in rookie ball. He is extremely athletic and is a quick learner. He swings-and-misses a lot right now but you can see him starting to make adjustments and he’s more than willing to take a walk. He has the frame to grow into some serious pop but he may lose some foot speed in the process.

8. Alek Thomas | OF | R —> I didn’t love Arizona’s 2018 draft but this 18-year-old first-rounder has shown an advanced approach so far in rookie ball. He’s currently hitting .333 and has shown a solid understanding of the strike zone with a BB-K rate of 12-15 through 24 games. He may not hit for a ton of pop but he has the potential to hit the ball hard into the gaps, producing a good average. He has the speed to steal bases and play a strong center field.

9. Pavin Smith | 1B | A+ —> After a strong debut, the 2017 first-rounder struggled in early 2018 but has hit better since April. Still, he doesn’t produce the power that teams look for from the first base position and it remains to be seen if he’s going to hit for average. On the plus side, he controls the strike zone well, keeps the Ks in check and takes a healthy number of walks. He could develop into a solid-but-unspectacular regular.

10. Emilio Vargas | RHP | A+ —> This 21-year-old hurler has really started to tap into his potential. He has a strong frame that should be capable of throwing lots of innings and his repertoire is solid. His fastball works in the low 90s and he also has a good slider, which helps him rack up the Ks.

Just Missed:

Jake McCarthy | OF | SS —> McCarthy has had a solid pro debut after being selected 39th overall in the 2018 draft. He has the excellent speed on the base paths and can play center field. He’s also shown the ability to hit for power with wood bats, although his output has been modest so far in pro ball.

Andy Yerzy | C | SS —> A cold-weather prospect out of Ontario, Canada, Yerzy has spent three years in short-season ball to take advantage of the early-season extended spring trainings to work on his defensive skills. He’s shown very well with the bat the last two seasons and is now starting to make the necessary adjustments behind the plate. I’m higher on him than a lot of people.



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

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