2014 Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: January 6, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

 For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Archie Bradley, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

28.2

1.26

1.86

13.50

3.14

37.4%

8.7%

0.31

40.7%

AA

123.1

1.97

3.88

8.68

4.31

23.5%

11.7%

0.36

41.4%

Profile: Bradley finished the 2013 season with the lowest combined ERA, 1.84, of any MiLB hurler with at least 150 innings. The former seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft did most of his damage against the Southern League where the average hitter was about four years his senior.

Analysis: Among a very limited group of MiLB starters in the conversation for top pitching prospect, Bradley’s control/command still remains a bit raw. He was also a bit lucky in terms of strand rate and his HR/9 (0.35) is eventually going to start creeping north considering his average-ish groundball numbers (41.3%). With that being said, Bradley is nearing big league readiness and could have a Jose Fernandez-like immediate impact.

Ceiling: 6.0- to 6.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. Braden Shipley, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A-

19.0

758

2.98

11.37

2.84

25.8%

6.5%

0.47

40.3%

A

20.2

2.61

4.24

6.97

3.48

19.5%

9.8%

0.87

40.4%

Profile: A tremendous value at the 15th pick in last June’s draft, I had Shipley as the fourth-best eligible collegiate player, trailing only the vaunted trio of Kris Bryant, Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray.

Analysis: Shipley, a former infielder, has a bit more upside than most collegiate hurlers given his lack of experience on the bump. He showed above-average control during his final season at Nevada mixed with the ability to miss some bats. He’s not likely to be a frontline starting pitcher, but could settle in as a very good #2/#3. He could have a Tim Hudson-esque peak.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

3. Chris Owings, Position: SS, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AAA

575

121

.330

.359

.482

3.8%

17.2%

.152

31

8

12

20/27

MLB

61

102

.291

.361

.382

9.8%

16.4%

.091

5

0

0

2/2

Profile:  Despite falling apart in Class AA in the second half of 2012, the Diamondbacks pushed Owings straight to the PCL last season where he had his best showing to date, batting .330/.359/.482. According to Weighted Runs Created Plus, his offensive production was 21% better than the league average, the third best mark among PCL shortstops.

Analysis: The burgeoning power is nice, but the problem is his aversion to the free pass. In 2079 career plate appearances, Owings has walked just 73 times, or just 3.5%. Unless he shows improvement, he looks like .280/.320/.420-type hitter, adding 18 or so homeruns and 20 stolen bases.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

4. Jake Lamb, Position: 3B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

283

156

.303

.424

.558

17.0%

24.7%

.255

20

0

13

0/0

Profile: One of the more lethal bats in the California League in 2013, Lamb slugged .303/.424/.558 with 20 doubles and 13 homeruns in a 64-game shortened season. The former University of Washington alum was 56% better than the league on offense.

Analysis: Through the equivalent of one minor league season, give or take, Lamb’s sporting a .316/.405/.544 triple-slash line. He’s shown an above-average eye at the plate (12.0% BB-rate), power (.228 ISO) and a strong hit tool. Of course, that comes with the caveat that he really hasn’t been challenged in terms of competition quite yet. He’s likely headed to Class AA in 2014 where his name could start pop if he continues to perform. Lamb’s definitely – definitely – one player to watch in 2014.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Brandon Drury, Position: 3B, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

583

138

.302

.362

.500

8.1%

15.8%

.198

51

4

15

1/2

Profile: Originally viewed as an afterthought in the Justin Upton deal with Atlanta, Drury paced the minor leagues with 51 doubles last season, eight more than runner-up Tony Renda (Washington Nationals). He also nearly doubled his previous high in walk rate, from 4.3% to 8.1%. 

Analysis: Now the bad news: it was a do-over for Drury, who flopped during his initial go-round in low Class A in 2012 (.229/.270/.333), basically putting him in an age-appropriate level of competition in 2013. Even as he moves up in 2014, though, the basic skill set should translate well. He’s always shown doubles power and a strong contact rate. And his uptick in plate discipline could be maturity. The doubles could eventually turn into 25- to 30-HR power down the line.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

6. Stryker Trahan, Position: C, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

262

100

.254

.328

.462

9.2%

21.8%

.208

15

2

10

1/1

Profile: The organization’s first pick in the 2012 draft, Trahan took to wood bats rather nicely during his pro debut, hitting .281/.422/.473 in 49 Arizona Summer League games. Last season, however, the lefty-swinging backstop was the ideal league average stick in the Pioneer Leaguer, batting .254/.328/.462 with a perfect 100 wRC+.

Analysis: Through 108 career games, the power’s obviously present for Trahan, who’s slugged a combined 46 extra-base hits. The hit tool, though, seems to be lagging a bit – especially considering he just moved up one level. Defensively, well, he’s allowed 35 passed balls, but has nabbed 31% of would-be base stealers.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

7. Aaron Blair, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A-

30.0

2.90

3.93

8.13

3.77

22.1%

10.2%

0.58

41.7%

A

17.2

3.57

3.85

6.62

2.04

17.1%

5.3%

0.00

32.5%

Profile: The 19th collegiate prospect on my big board, the right-hander out of Marshall averaged just about one strikeout per inning during his amateur career while mixing in average to slightly below-average control. Blair’s first 11 professional starts were pretty much on par for his skillset: 48.2 IP, 41 K’s, and 17 BB’s. 

 Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “There is some concern that while Blair’s ability to miss bats has improved during the past two seasons his control has failed to do the same, basically remaining average-ish. He profiles as a decent option in the big league rotation with a ceiling as a #3 and a floor as a #5.”

 Ceiling:  3.0-win player

 Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

8. Sergio Alcantara, Position: SS, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

218

116

.243

.398

.320

20.2%

16.5%

.077

5

4

0

3/5

Profile: Signed for $700,000 out of the Dominican Republic, the switch-hitting 16-year-old shortstop topped the Arizona Summer League offensive production by 16%.

Analysis: Again, not a whole helluva lot to go on, but Alcantara’s displayed an impressive eye at the plate last season, walking 20.2% of the time. He didn’t display too much pop, but he was the ASL’s youngest player.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

9. Justin Williams, Position: LF, Age: 18

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

161

138

.345

.398

.446

5.0%

21.7%

.101

12

0

1

0/1

RK

52

147

.412

.423

.529

1.9%

13.5%

.118

6

0

0

0/0

A

11

29

.111

.273

.111

18.2%

18.2%

.000

0

0

0

0/0

Profile: Williams’ debut was nothing short of impressive last season, hitting .351/.397/.452 across three leagues.

Analysis: Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot of data to go on, but the initial returns are incredibly impressive, especially considering that he’ll play 2014 as an 18-year-old. Williams’ power could be something to keep an eye on in the coming years.

Ceiling: Too soon to tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A


10. Andrew Chafin, Position: LHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

31.0

4.65

2.81

9.29

4.06

23.2%

10.1%

0.29

46.7%

AA

126.1

2.85

3.38

6.20

2.92

16.6%

7.8%

0.36

50.3%

Profile: Chafin, a supplemental first round pick out of Kent State University in 2011, saw a dramatic decline in his K-rate as he moved from high Class A (10.7 K/9 in 153.1 IP) to Class AA (6.2 K/9 in 126.1) last season – eerily similar to fellow southpaw (and ex-D-Back prospect) David Holmberg.

Analysis: On one hand the decline in strikeouts is quite troublesome, but the fact that his control improved dramatically offsets some of that concern – at least a little bit. During his final season at KSU, the 6-foot-2 lefty issued just 2.2 BB/9, so the progress could be a tangible skill. If Chafin does flop in the rotation he could still be a useful LOOGY (.219/.314/.320 against LHs since 2011) at the very least.

Ceiling: 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 
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