Arizona Diamondbacks Top 30 Prospects

1. Kristian Robinson, OF

Age: 17 (12/11/2000)

Highest Level: ROK

.279/.363/.428, 7 HR, .149 ISO, 119 wRC+, 10.5% BB, 26.2% K, 12 SB

The Diamondbacks signed Kristian Robinson for $2.55 million out of the Bahamas. Robinson is exactly the type of player you dream on. He’s got a pair of tools (70-power and 60-speed) that are as big and physical as his 6-foot-3 frame. As you can imagine a young player with big power and long limbs has strikeout concerns, but for a 17-year-old the strikeout rate isn’t as problematic when they walk at a 10.5% clip. Robinson will likely slow down as he fills out but he’s a very interesting prospect to track and invest in. As a teenager Robinson actually played travel baseball in Florida, so get acclimated to the states won’t take long here. The upside is that of a more athletic Eloy Jimenez. That’s a scary thought for pitchers everywhere. ETA: 2023

2. Jazz Chisholm, SS

Age: 20 (2/1/98)

Highest Level: A+

.272/.329/.513, 25 HR, .241 ISO, 131 wRC+, 7.8% BB, 29.7% K, 17 SB

The Diamondbacks signed Jazz, their first ever prospect from the Bahamas, for a mere $200,000. Jazz is one of the most underrated but exciting prospects in all of minor league baseball. He has above-average power and speed with the ability to stick at short. He has elite athleticism with quick hands, actions and explosive hips. Jazz is an aggressive, all-fields hitter that takes big hacks but hits plenty of fly balls. He will strikeout but also has the ability to take a walk. He has average defensive tools but will stick up the middle somewhere, I think he’s probably a centerfielder longterm. He’s been slowed down a bit by a torn meniscus and a hamstring injury. Jazz should report to Double-A to begin 2019 and see the big leagues at some point in 2020. ETA: 2020

3. Jon Duplantier, RHP

Age: 24 (7/11/94)

Highest Level: AA

67 IP, 2.69 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 9.13 K/9, 3.76 BB/9, .215 AVG

Statistically Duplantier has been one of the most productive arms across minor league baseball since getting drafted out of Rice in the third round in 2016. His career minor league ERA is a microscopic 1.79 for his professional career to this point. He’s battled injuries throughout his career. He had a shoulder impingement while at Rice that led to a complete delivery overhaul. In 2016 his season was shutdown after just one appearance due to elbow soreness and his 2018 was limited by a hamstring injury and a bout with biceps tendonitis. Duplantier lives down in the zone with his heavy sinking fastball with arm-side run. He compliments his 60-grade fastball with three above-average off-speed pitches. He recently added a slider to the mix and I think it’s his best secondary pitch. In addition to striking out over a batter per inning, Duplantier is a worm-burner with ground-ball rates over 50% in every season. It was at 53% in 2018. We should see him in Arizona during the second half of 2019. ETA: 2019

4. Daulton Varsho, C

Age: 22 (7/2/96)

Highest Level: A+

.286/.363/.451, 11 HR, .164 ISO, 121 wRC+, 8.8% BB, 20.8% K, 19 SB

Athletic catchers don’t come around very often, but that’s exactly what we have here with Varsho. The former UW-Milwaukee star has above-average speed, power and hit tools, but defensive questions to match. He’s a gap to gap hitter that will rack up extra base hits and control the zone. He’s rough around the edges behind the plate with the most glaring issue being a lack of arm strength, but still managed to gun down 34% of baserunners last year. If he sticks behind the dish he can be a top-five fantasy backstop. If he moves off the plate the bat can take off as well. He’s that type of player. ETA: 2020

5. Alek Thomas, OF

Age: 18 (4/28/2000)

Highest Level: ROK

.333/.395/.463, 2 HR, .130 ISO, 133 wRC+, 8.9% BB, 13.7% K, 12 SB

The Diamondbacks selected the Chicago prep bat with the 63rd pick in this past June’s draft. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound TCU commit is the son of the White Sox’s strength and conditioning coach so you know he will add on some good weight. Thomas is tooled up, with a hit tool that can be plus with slightly below home run power. He may not hit more than 15 homers a year, but should chip in another 30-plus extra base hits without an issue. He’s athletic as hell with easy centerfield range and actions. He has an advanced understanding of the strike zone and profiles as a future top of the lineup piece. ETA: 2023

6. Taylor Widener, RHP

Age: 23 (10/24/94)

Highest Level: AA

137.1 IP, 2.75 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 11.53 K/9, 2.82 BB/9, .196 AVG. - AA

The Yankees selected the former University of South Carolina reliever in the 12th round in the 2016 draft. Arizona acquired the righty as part of the three-team deal involving Brandon Drury and Steven Souza. The Yankees moved Widener to the rotation full time before the trade and the results were encouraging. He really took off in 2018 as the strikeout rate took a considerable jump while also managing to cut the walks down. The fastball sits in the 93-96 range and can nudge higher. His slider is a plus pitch, but the changeup needs significant work and will ultimately define his role. ETA: 2020

7. Geraldo Perdomo, SS

Age: 18 (10/22/99)

Highest Level: A-

.322/.438/.460, 4 HR, .137 ISO, 153 wRC+, 15.2% BB, 17.1% K, 24 SB- Low-A/ROK

The switch-hitting Perdomo put up eye-popping numbers in 2018, and they are backing up his impressive 2017 campaign in the DSL where he walked 60 times to only 37 strikeouts. Perdomo is an athletic kid that’s starting to fill out, but should still stick at the six. In the box Perdomo has an advanced feel for hit from both sides, and he uses all fields. He’s not a burner but he’s an advanced baserunner capable of 12-15 swipes when he gets to the big leagues. ETA: 2023

8. Blaze Alexander, SS

Age: 19 (6/11/99)

Highest Level: ROK

.329/.417/.538, 5 HR, .210 ISO, 152 wRC+, 12.6% BB, 21.1% K, 10 SB

The Diamondbacks selected Blaze Alexander in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of highly regarded IMG Academy. He slipped to the 11th round due to strong commitment to South Carolina. The loudest tool here is the 80-grade arm, and its strong enough to make any throw. The hands, footwork and range all show me a guy that can stick at short longterm. He’s a plus athlete with plus speed. He hit for a surprising amount of power despite his small 6-foot, 160-pound build, and I think the swing will generate plenty of loft. He’s a guy I’m betting on because of his elite hands and power protection. ETA: 2023

9. Jake McCarthy, OF

Age: 21 (7/30/97)

Highest Level: A

.288/.375/.443, 3 HR, .155 ISO, 131 wRC+, 9.1% BB, 16.2% K, 21 SB

The 39th-overall pick out of the University of Virginia; McCarthy combines strong plate skills with plus speed to make an interesting offensive skill set. He’s an extremely athletic kid, but he did battle some injuries during his final season at UVA. He has enough range to stick in center, but his lack of arm strength likely forces a move to left field. A move to left would be a problem because his extreme ground-ball slant limits his power upside. There’s also the whole stigma surrounding UVA hitters and their swings and McCarthy is going to have to make some changes to reach his ultimate ceiling. ETA: 2020

10. Emilio Vargas, RHP

Age: 22 (8/12/96)

Highest Level: AA

143.2 IP, 2.88 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 10.65 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, .227 AVG. - A+/AA

Vargas is the definition of a late bloomer. The 2013 IFA had a true breakout campaign while pitching for Visalia in the California League. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Vargas has the ideal pitchers frame. He’s got the athleticism to repeat his delivery with the size and strength to go deep in games. His fastball is 91-94 and can tick up higher. His low 80’s slider is a plus pitch coming out of that three-quarters arm slot. His changeup isn’t a reliable pitch. It’s too firm and has little movement. I’m very interested to see how Vargas rebounds from a homer-prone 35 inning stint in Double-A. ETA: 2020

11. Andy Young, 2B/3B

Age: 24 (5/10/94)

Highest Level: AA

.289/.379/.479, 21 HR, .190 ISO, 144 wRC+, 7.6% BB, 16.9% K, 4 SB- A+/AA

The Diamondbacks acquired the former 37th round pick out of Indiana State in the Paul Goldschmidt trade along with RHP Luke Weaver and C Carson Kelly. Young has taken advantage of every opportunity throughout his career and turned himself into a legitimate prospect. The right-handed hitter has played all over the diamond in his pro career, but is now a good enough hitter that he is potentially worthy of an everyday role. He’s a rare power over hit up the middle infielder, but he also has enough bat to be a second division starter at the hot corner if that’s what Arizona decides to do. He has gotten a few Jedd Gyorko comps on this site, and I think those are appropriate. Like Gyorko, he will never win a Gold Glove, but is a lock for 20+ homers if given full-time at bats. It’s a clearer path to playing time in Arizona, and Young should open 2019 in Triple-A Reno with an eye towards a big league debut in 2020. This is an underrated prospect. A potential sneaky add in your fantasy league. ETA: 2020.

12. Andy Yerzy, C

Age: 20 (7/5/98)

Highest Level: A-

.297/.382/.452, 8 HR, .155 ISO, 133 wRC+, 10.1% BB, 24.3% K

I’m probably a little bit higher on Yerzy than most, but I’m a sucker for power-hitting catchers. It’s been a long slow grind for Yerzy as he spent part of three seasons in short season ball before hitting Low A in 2018. The book hasn’t changed much on the Canadian since the Diamondbacks took him the 2nd round in 2016. He has above-average power, good plate skills, and major defensive concerns. He made some defensive improvements this year and has a frame to add strength and up that power output. Yerzy is trending up. ETA: 2022

13. Drew Ellis, 3B

Age: 22 (12/1/95)

Highest Level: A+

.246/.331/.429, 15 HR, .183 ISO, 105 wRC+, 10.4% BB, 19.5% K, 2 SB- A+

Ellis was a second round pick out of the University of Louisville in 2017. Ellis was regarded by some evaluators as being the best power hitter on that Louisville squad which also had Brendan McKay. Ellis has plus raw power and huge power upside due to his nearly 50% fly-ball rate. There’s legitimate 35-plus homer upside here. He won’t hit for a strong average but he has the strong walk rates to make up for it. He may have to move to first base or left field, but the bat should be strong enough to survive the move. ETA: 2020

14. Pavin Smith, 1B

Age: 22 (2/6/96)

Highest Level: A+

.255/.343/.392, 11 HR, .137 ISO, 101 wRC+, 11.3% BB, 12.9% K, 3 SB- A+

I’m the low man on Pavin. I’m skeptical that the University of Virginia product will ever hit for enough power to hold down first base, but there are some skills here. The plate skills are solid though and I do think they are enough to be a low-end regular at first base or even on an outfield corner in the right situation. Defensively he’s an above-average first baseman with a good arm. He did raise his fly-ball percentage from 2017, and he uses all fields. The hit tool and plate skills are the saving grace here. ETA: 2020

15. Yoan Lopez, RHP

Age: 25 (1/2/93)

Highest Level: MLB

61.2 IP, 2.92 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 12.70 K/9, 3.79 BB/9, .170 AVG.- AA

9 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 11.0 K/9, 1.00 BB/9, .206- MLB

I try to avoid putting relievers on lists like this, but (after forgetting about him initially) I made some room for the high priced Cuban import. Lopez is more famous for things off the field than on them currently, but that will change soon. When former General Manager Dave Stewart signed Lopez out of Cuba for $8,000,000 the club had to pay a significant tax on that (whether he understood the rules or not) and were unable to sign any international free agent for over $300,000 for a couple years. So Lopez was annoying to Diamondback’s fans for that, which isn’t even his fault. Lopez has gone AWOL before also, and he almost stopped pitching entirely. He’s also had shoulder and blister concerns when he’s been on the field. When healthy and on the field, Lopez is a lanky fire-breather that flat out embarrasses people on the mound with his 97-mph heater and 80-grade, mid-80’s slider. He has some control issues, but he strikes out enough batters right now for it to be manageable, but his command appeared to get better in his nine-inning, MLB-September sample. He’s absolutely a future closer and it could happen as soon as 2019. ETA: 2018.

16. Buddy Kennedy, 3B

Age: 19 (10/5/98)

Highest Level: A

.327/.396/.465, 4 HR, .137 ISO, 123 wRC+, 10.2% BB, 13.3% K, 2 SB

Buddy Kennedy also calls Millville, New Jersey home, just like Mike Trout. They even work out together during the winter. (They must do the same neck workouts. Neither guy has one.) Kennedy has an average hit tool with strong plate skills and high line-drive rate. He uses all fields and has a very appealing batted-ball profile. The 2017 5th-rounder is on the verge of breaking out at the plate. On the defense side he’s a bit below average, but he has a strong arm and can play third at least during his prime years. ETA: 2022

17. Alvin Guzman, OF

Age: 16 (10/20/2001)

Highest Level: N/A

N/A

The Dominican teenager signed with the Diamondbacks for $1.85 million this past July. It’s rare for me to include prospects that haven’t played stateside on lists like these, but I just love the skills and projection here for Guzman. He’s got the arm and speed to play a strong centerfield, and has the wiry projection to be at least a 20-homer bat. Mechanically Guzman has a leg kick and smooth weight transfer and shouldn’t have an issue generating loft and hitting balls in the air. ETA: 2024

18. Kevin Cron, 3B/1B

Age: 25 (2/17/93)

Highest Level: AAA

.309/.368/.554, 22 HR, .245 ISO, 137 wRC+, 8.2% BB, 22.8% K, 1 SB

C.J.’s brother has been one of the more consistent power threats in the minors posting home run totals of 27, 26, 25 and 22 over the last four years. He’s especially adept at crushing left-handed pitching as he’s slugged .518 and .598 against southpaws the last two seasons. The 14th-round pick out of TCU in 2014 is a massive human. Cron is 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and is a physical presence in the batter’s box. He spent a majority of his time this year in Triple-A playing third base, but at the Major League level he can only survive at first base. Cron seems like a quad-A type, but I think there’s a bit more than that here because he doesn’t strike out a ton and uses the whole field. ETA: 2019

19. Taylor Clarke, RHP

Age: 25 (5/13/93)

Highest Level: AAA

152 IP, 4.03 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 7.40 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, .252 AVG.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty was the Diamondbacks 3rd-round pick out of the College of Charleston.  Clarke is a prototypical number four starter. He has four average offerings led by his low-90s fastball and average slider. He also throws an average curveball and a changeup, which is a little firm for me. The best attribute here will be his ability to suck up innings. Reno is a tough place to pitch, but Clarke still attacked hitters and threw strikes. He’s major league ready and could step up to fill the void when/if Patrick Corbin leaves in free agency. ETA: 2019

20. Joel Payamps, RHP

Age: 24 (4/7/94)

Highest Level: AAA

116.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 9.44 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, .237 AVG.- AA/AAA

Joel Payamps is an intriguing arm. Everything I’ve seen and read about him entering 2018 was that he had a strong arm and threw in the low 90s with a slurvy breaking ball but above-average command. The reports of the changeup were that it would flash at times, but it wasn’t a pitch Payamps could rely on. Payamps creates a lot of bad swings and leaves hitters well out front. It could be due to more advanced sequencing, or the changeup could’ve taken a step forward. He ran into a bit of a rough patch when he hit Reno, but I’m willing to let the five homers allowed in 26 innings slide for now. It’s a tough place to pitch and it was at the end of the season. The most likely role for Payamps is a utility type pitcher similar to how Jesse Chavez has been used in his career. He’s a guy to watch in 2019. ETA: 2019

21. Eduardo Diaz, OF

Age: 21 (7/19/97)

Highest Level: A-

.225/.262/.350, 2 HR, .125 ISO, 72 wRC+, 2.3% BB, 31.3% K, 3 SB- A-

Eduardo Diaz’s first taste of full season ball did not go well. It’s hard to look past what he was able to do in the Pioneer League in 2017. Diaz hit .312/.357/.510 with 30 extra base hits (7 homers) and 11 stolen bases. He was also voted as the best defensive outfielder in the organization. He’s an aggressive hitter, and that aggressiveness led to a lot of strikeouts and very few walks. He has 55 game power, but will have trouble tapping into it if the approach doesn’t improve. Diaz should repeat Low-A Kane County next season after an aggressive jump over the AZL earlier in his career.

22. Marcus Wilson, OF

Age: 22 (8/15/96)

Highest Level: A+

.235/.309/.369, 10 HR, .134 ISO, 84 wRC+, 8.8% BB, 28.1% K, 16 SB

Marcus Wilson was the 69th-overall pick in the 2014 draft. I’ve seen Wilson play quite a few times when he was in Kane County, and he’s an above-average athlete that can be an above-average big league centerfielder. His speed is his other above-average tool. Prior to this season he posted strong walk rates, but this season was a down year for Wilson. It was a down year across the board actually, and Wilson also hit the disabled list twice with two minor injuries. Wilson needs to add strength and also recapture the strides he made in the pitch recognition and plate discipline departments. He’s a nice bounce back candidate. ETA: 2021

23. Matt Tabor, RHP

Age: 20 (7/14/98)

Highest Level: A

60.2 IP, 3.26 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 6.82 K/9, 1.93 BB/9, .251 AVG.- A

The 20-year-old Massachusetts prep is an athletic arm with a projectable frame and advanced secondaries. Tabor has an average 91-93 mph heater with an above-average curveball and a potentially plus changeup. The combination of stuff and a high floor make Tabor an arm to track. He has the ceiling of a mid-rotation arm for the snakes.

24. Matt Mercer, RHP

Age: 22 (9/1/96)

Highest Level: A

29 IP, 3.10 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 11.79 K/9, 2.17 BB/9, .194 AVG.- A/ROK

The University of Oregon product was the 5th-round pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2018 draft.  Mercer sits 91-94 with sink and run, and can touch 96 but it will straighten out at that velocity. His changeup flashes plus, and has a chance to remain at that level with more consistency. His breaking ball is fringy and might send him to the bullpen, but we’re a long way from that. Mercer has a little bit of deception in his motion and will add to it by varying his start and stops to throw off a hitters timing. Mercer has a frame that should be able to add about ten pounds or so of muscle which could increase his velocity. This is an arm to gamble on, because unlike the changeup, I think a breaking ball can be taught.

25. Dom Miroglio, C

Age: 23 (3/10/95)

Highest Level: AA

.306/.366/.427, 4 HR, .121 ISO, 119 wRC+, 5.3% BB, 13.7% K, 5 SB- A+/AA

The Diamondbacks liked Miroglio enough that they almost drafted him out of high school, but still got their man in the 20th round in 2017. While at the University of San Francisco the Dom developed quite a reputation as a strong defensive catcher with a strong and accurate arm. His footwork is nice and he even runs above-average for a catcher. The surprise has been the bat. Miroglio was in the running for the California League batting title before he was promoted for Double-A Jackson’s playoff run and hit well enough that he was named to the Southern League’s postseason All-Star team. Of any catcher on this list, Miroglio is by far the most likely to stick there. Ultimately it will be his bat that decides if he’s a top the depth chart or just a part of it. He’s in the right organization though; Arizona hasn’t gotten much offensively out of their catchers in recent years.  ETA 2020

26. Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS

Age: 23 (9/11/95)

Highest Level: AA

.269/.344/.381, 5 HR, .113 ISO, 109 wRC+, 9.8% BB, 12.8% K, 5 SB

Leyba spent the entire season in Double-A and put together the same type of season he always does, except the average was down a bit. Leyba has a 60 hit tool with good control of the zone and elite bat-to-ball skills. The issue with that is he has no other offensive tools. He’s a 40 runner with 30 pop and a 50 glove at second base. He played a little shortstop, but it’s not a position he could ever play for a long stretch in the big leagues. He really needs to get that batting average back up into the .300 range to be a major contributor in the desert. ETA 2020

27. Jorge Barrosa, OF

Age: 17 (2/17/2001)

Highest Level: ROK

.279/.373/.389, 3 HR, .109 ISO, 123 wRC+, 9.4% BB, 14.6% K, 39 SB- ROK

The Diamondbacks signed the 5-foot-7 Barrosa for $415,000 as part of their 2017 International Free Agent class. Barrosa was widely regarded as the best bat to ball contact kid in that class, and it showed with his sub-15% strikeout rate. He’s a switch-hitter with almost zero power but he can run and projects to play an above-average centerfield. He’s got a thick(er) lower half for a 17-year-old so there doesn’t appear to be much projection left. Barrosa controls the zone very well for a teenager and that skill combined with has bat to ball and feel for hit make him a prime candidate to be a future leadoff hitter. He’s not a burner but he does have above-average wheels and the 39 stolen bases really jump off the page. Barrosa reminds me a lot of Gabriel Maciel, who was a nice player that was sent to Minnesota in the Eduardo Escobar trade. ETA 2023

28. Wilderd Patino, OF

Age: 17 (7/18/2001)

Highest Level: ROK

.261/.391/.315, 0 HR, .054 ISO, 118 wRC+, 11.6% BB, 17.4% K, 6 SB- ROK

The Diamondbacks signed Patino to a deal for $985,000 after Patino’s deal with the Rangers was voided because of an elbow injury that required surgery. The arm strength has come back and still projects to be average but Patino missed the first portion of the DSL season. Patino projects to be a defense first centerfielder with no glaring weakness. His gap-to-gap power will become more than that as he fills out. His strong walk rates and contact rates are something to get excited about, especially if he becomes a 20-homer centerfielder, which I believe is possible. ETA 2023

29. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP

Age: 26 (12/27/91)

Highest Level: MLB

45 IP, 1.60 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 11.60 K/9, 4.00 BB/9, .190 AVG.- AAA

16.1 IP, 1.65 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 9.37 K/9, 5.51 BB/9, .145- MLB

Sherfy has the travel itinerary memorized at this point. He’s bounced back and forth between Triple-A Reno and the Diamondbacks several times over the last few seasons. He was a very successful reliever at the University of Oregon, but he has below average command, and can look helpless when he isn’t throwing strikes. Sherfy comes at you with a 93-94 mph heater, and also has a plus breaking ball that misses bats. It has been classified as a slider and a curveball, but it comes in at the 77- to 78-mph range so I’m going to call it more of a curveball. The 2013 10th-rounder will look to get a firm grasp of a setup role in the Diamondbacks bullpen, and maybe he can push Boxberger, Hirano, Bradley, and Lopez for saves. ETA 2017

30. Jose Caballero, 2B

Age: 22 (8/30/96)

Highest Level: A

.292/.378/.468, 9 HR, .176 ISO, 138 wRC+, 9.7% BB, 11.7% K, 17 SB- A/A-

I’ve seen Caballero play a few times, and I love this kid. After watching him take quality at-bat after quality at-bat, I dug in and was pleasantly surprised that he was actually a 7th-round pick in 2017 out of Chipola Junior College despite being born in Panama. High energy isn’t even the word here. Caballero puts on a show in the box and he’s a skilled hitter. He struck out as many times as he walked in his full season debut, and nearly ended up 1:1 on the season. He covers the plate extremely well and handles the bat just the same. Caballero is an average runner but it plays up due to his high baseball IQ and tendency to play with his hair on fire. I love this kid, and if he climbs the latter like I think he can he will be a fan favorite soon enough. ETA 2021