The Arizona Diamondbacks’ system is quite deep with three clear top prospects while the rest of the list has some very tantalizing names. There’s a lot of disagreement of placement of the D-backs’ prospects outside of the top three but no matter what kind of player a particular writer tends to favor, he found something to like in the Arizona system.
Consider this list a “consensus list.” Since we weren’t provided a list by our friends at Venom Strikes, I created it by looking at five different Top Prospects lists, assigning scores depending on placement and then ranking. The top three on the list were pretty clear and if Matt Davidson was still with the D-backs, we’d have a very clear top four. After that, however, things get very murky with quite a few fringey prospects hovering around the back half.
We had a three-way tie for 10th place which I broke by looking first at who was on the most Top 10s (Jake Lamb) and then I kind of went with my gut.
Triple A: Reno Aces (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Mobile Bay Bears (Southern League)
High-A: Visalia Rawhide (California League)
Class-A: South Bend Silver Hawks (Midwest League)
Short-Season A: Hillsboro Hops (Northwest League)
Advanced Rookie: Missoula Osprey (Pioneer League)
Complex-Rookie: Arizona Diamondbacks (Arizona League)
Date of Birth: February 19, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’2″/185 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2011 draft
|2013||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||ARI||1||5||.167||6.83||29||8||5||58.0||56||48||44||8||47||1||39||10||9||1.776||8.7||1.2||7.3||6.1||0.83|
Analysis: Meo makes it onto this list because he was ranked in the Top 10 by Jonathan Mayo despite a very disappointing year that saw him demoted from Double-A in 2013. He can still hit 94 mph on the radar gun as a starter but it’s looking like the D-backs are going to put him in the bullpen (or at least that’s where he ended up in Visalia). With a decent slider and no other pitches, he projects to a bullpen arm anyways. The control was obviously a big problem last year and if it’s a mechanical flaw that can’t be fixed quickly, Meo will be nowhere near this list next year.
2014 Prognosis: Back to Double-A Mobile for another shot.
Justin Williams – OF
Date of Birth: August 20, 1995
Height/Weight: 6’2″/215 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2013 draft
|2013||17||3 Teams||3 Lgs||Rk-A||ARI||51||224||208||32||73||18||0||1||37||0||1||11||44||.351||.397||.452||.849|
Analysis: I think that a lot of prospect writers are holding back on ranking Williams who had an outstanding professional debut as a 17 year old in three minor leagues. He showed some excellent contact ability and limited strikeouts to under 20% overall and displayed quite a lot of gap power that scouts think will translate into “over-the-fence” power as he matures. While, of course, he could improve his walk rate, the fact that he already has a solid season under his belt going into his Age-18 season is pretty impressive.
2014 Prognosis: Seeing how well Williams took to the professional game in 2013, the Diamondbacks could easily give him an aggressive assignment and have him play in South Bend in 2014.
Matt Stites – RHP
Date of Birth: May 28, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11″/170 lbs
Acquired: Traded from the San Diego Padres on July 31, 2013 with Joe Thatcher for Ian Kennedy; Drafted in the 17th round of the 2011 draft by San Diego
Analysis: Stites is showing a lot of polish as a closer and could very well make a big impression in 2014. He’s got a low-to-mid 90s fastball with a slider that scouts think can be above average to go along with a potentially average changeup. Baseball America rates his control the best in the system.
2014 Prognosis: With a strong season in Double-A, Stites earned a non-roster invite to spring training. He’ll likely start the season in Triple-A.
Sergio Alcantara – SS
Date of Birth: July 10, 1996
Height/Weight: 5’10″/150 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of the Dominican Republic; $700,000 signing bonus
Analysis: Alcantara’s age is the biggest thing to look at here and he makes the list because so many prospect writers are saying that he’s one to keep an eye on. At only 16 years old, he more than held his own in the Arizona League and impressed with his defense and plate discipline by walking more than he struck out. His power is still developing but he has a chance to really make strikes in 2014. Baseball America says he has the best infield arm in the organization.
2014 Prognosis: He’s so young that he could easily repeat the year at the Diamondbacks’ Arizona complex but he might head to Missoula for a bigger challenge.
Brandon Drury – 3B
Date of Birth: August 21, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’2″/190 lbs
Acquired: 13th round of the 2010 draft
Analysis: Somewhat of a sleeper until last season, Drury opened a lot of eyes by hitting a ton of doubles in the Midwest League. While he was repeating the level, he certainly wasn’t too old for the level, turning 21 in August really showed quite a lot of polish in his approach at the plate.
2014 Prognosis: Look for his numbers to jump out in 2014 playing in the hitter-friendly California League.