With the 2015 draft officially wrapped up it’s now time to take a quick look back at each organization’s updated Top 10 Prospect list. Here’s a list of the preseason rankings and here’s a link to my book, The 2015 Prospect Digest Handbook.
Brief System Overview: Arizona’s farm still has plenty of high end caliber talent despite graduating Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed, and Robbie Ray at various points this season. The franchise added college baseball’s top prospect, Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, and promising southpaw Alex Young with their first two picks in the draft.
1. Dansby Swanson, SS: The best collegiate player in this year’s class, Swanson should start pushing incumbent Nick Ahmed quickly. The former Vanderbilt star looks like a quality top-of-the-lineup caliber stick. Pre-draft evaluation here.
2. Aaron Blair, RHP: After pegging the former Marshall standout as a #3 type arm before the 2013 draft, Blair’s continued to live up to his potential. This season the right-hander has continued to limit free passes – he’s walked just 6.9% of the batters he’s faced – though he’s not missing nearly as many bats as he has in the past. Blair’s a candidate to get called up down the stretch.
3. Braden Shipley, RHP: The club’s first round pick in 2013, Shipley’s production has taken a noticeable step backward this season as he’s set career worsts in strikeout and walk rates (6.41 K/9 and 4.77 B/9). And since his best performance of the season – a six-inning start against Jacksonville in early May where he punched out nine and walked two – Shipley has posted a 20-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last 35.1 innings.
4. Touki Toussaint, RHP : The lanky right-hander’s had some up-and-down moments during his first taste of full season ball. In half of his first starts Toussaint tallied a 16-to-3 K-to-BB ratio in 15; in his other three starts he’s posted an 8-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 innings.
5. Peter O’Brien, OF: The former backstop recently made the move to a corner outfield spot in hopes of hiding his porous defense. Offensively speaking, O’Brien’s been nothing short of dominant as he moved up to Class AAA for this first time, hitting a robust .317/.359/.583 with 33 extra-base hits in 59 games. His overall production has been 46% better than the league average.
6. Brandon Drury, 3B: After slugging a career best 23 round trippers split between Mobile and Birmingham last season Drury has slugged a modest .362 with just a pair of homeruns through his first 63 games this season. More importantly: after taking strides in improving his well below-average walk rate over the past couple of year’s it’s declined all the way down to a career low 4.1%.
7. Alex Young, LHP: The 2015 second rounder was a main cog in TCU’s vaunted pitching staff this season, averaging more than a punch out per inning while issuing just 21 free passes in a career high 89.2 innings of work.
8. Yoan Lopez, RHP: The Cuban import’s made just six starts this season as he’s landed on the DL due to a blood blister. Like Toussaint, Lopez has made his great moments – he’s punched out eight without walking a batter in seven innings against the Montgomery Biscuits – and he’s had some poor moments as well (see his May 4th start against Biloxi).
9. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP: One of the liveliest arms in the system, Sherfy’s fanned 24 and walked 10 in 25.2 innings of work out of Mobile’s bullpen. He’s probably not headed for a future closer’s role in the big leagues but should settle in as a competent setup arm.
10. Sergio Alcantara, SS: The 18-year-old shortstop has looked…rough. During his first 20 games this season Alcantara’s sports of putrid .113/.169/.127 triple-slash line. It should be noted that he made the leap straight from the Pioneer League.