Arizona Diamondbacks 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Jon Duplantier - photo via Facebook (from Arizona Sports 98.7 FM)

Arizona Diamondbacks Top 50 Prospects for 2019

What a difference a year makes. Coming into 2018 the system was solidly in the bottom five of the league. Remarkably the 2018 Diamondbacks managed to both make a playoff push and revitalize their minor league system. So much so, I think the system is in the upper third in all of MLB. A lot of things came together. Jazz Chisholm, Kristian Robinson, Daulton Varsho, and Geraldo Perdomo became some of the most talked about and highest rising prospects in all of baseball. Arizona failed to sign their first round pick Matt McLain in the ’18 draft, but found some promising bats with Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, and Blaze Alexander. The Dbacks also showed some innovation in signing prospects from the Korean League (Merrill Kelly), and a Japanese Industrial League (Shumpei Yoshikawa). The Dbacks have hit the jackpot in the J2 international market lately (Chisholm, Perdomo, Robinson), and the 2018 crop looks promising as well (Abraham Calzadilla, Diomedes Sierra, and Teofilo Mendez). They also traded away franchise player Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals for prospects Andy Young, and Carson Kelly, SP Luke Weaver and a future 2nd round pick. They may continue to move assets for prospects with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray rumored to be on the block. 2019 will prove a pivotal year as the system’s top bats make the big jump from hitter friendly A+ California League to AA. Also, GM Mike Hazen will have 8 of the top 100 picks in next June’s draft making this a fun system to write up for years to come.


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for several years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

 

Tier 1:
1. Kristian Robinson, OF

Age on Opening Day: 18
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie League
Robinson was a highly rated prospect signed out of the Bahamas in 2017. KRob is rocketing up prospect lists on the strength of his outstanding ’18 season, despite being one of the youngest players in his leagues. He hit .279/.363./428 with 7 HR, 12 SB, a 10.3 BB% and 26.3 K% across two stops. He was signed for his premium athleticism, and 5 tool potential. He was expected to be raw, but showed a surprising, mature approach at the plate that sets him apart from other premium prospects his age. He’s 6’3″ with a great physique and room to add strength. There is already tons of helium on KRob, but if he performs as an 18 year old in A ball, it will be thru the roof. I debated not putting him in Tier 1 because he’s barely 18, and so far away, but I’ve seen 70 grade power, and 60 grade speed labels.  He has most upside in system, and is on a short list of  prospects with the most upside in all of baseball!


Tier 2:
2. Jon Duplantier, RHP

Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Followed up ridiculously good ’17 season with injury riddled campaign in 2018. He pitched well when healthy: 2.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 67 IP, 52 H, 68 K in AA. Got some extra work in Arizona Fall League to make up for missing time with bicep and hammy injuries. Notched 32 K in 21.1 IP there, but had 10 BB. His control took a downturn this year, but is hopefully just a blip because of injuries, and not getting a lot of innings. If he can harness even average control, he has the stuff to dominate. He throws a plus, heavy fastball that gets a ton of ground balls. He’s also got a great slider, good curve, and decent change. Hopefully he’s pitching in the humidor-aided Chase Field for the big league club by the 2nd half of this season. I’m higher on Duplantier than most. I’m targeting him in draft and holds, and targeting him in dynasty leagues where he’s discounted for his injury prone reputation.

3. Jazz Chisholm, SS
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Jazz exploded into the upper echelon of prospects with an amazing 2018 season. Jazz was having a decent but unspectacular season in A ball (.244/.311/.472). Then he went 5/6 with 2 homers in a game and got promoted to A+ and stayed on absolute fire thru the end of the season. The Dbacks have their best young prospects in A+ Visalia, and Jazz out-shined them all. He got on base in every game he played and went .329/.369./597, .415 wOBA, 156 wRC+ with an awesome 32.5 Line Drive%. Combined, that’s a good for a .272./329./513 on the year with 25 HR, 19 SB. And as if that wasn’t enough, in just 10 games he was a true star in the Arizona Fall League. He turned heads with some jaw dropping defense, long home runs and 80 grade swag. It’s clear he loves playing the game, and has matured a lot this year. The one caveat is his career K% hovering around 30. He’s only 20 so there’s lots of time to work on it. The ceiling is an all-star fantasy stud if he does.

4. Daulton Varsho, C
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Varsho is living up to the hype. Early worries about him sticking at C, are slowly fading. His defense has been good enough, with a decent CS%, and positive reviews of his athleticism and pitch framing. He hit .294/.367/.475 , 121 wRC+, with 12 HR in 354 PA. He missed over a month with a broken hamate bone, but returned and then finished off the season in the Arizona Fall League. His speed is real, not just for a catcher. Fantasy owners can dream on his 15+HR 20+ SB top 3 fantasy catcher upside.


Tier 3:
5. Andy Yerzy, C

Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Full disclosure, I’m founder and president of the Andy Yerzy fan club. The Dbacks have been taking it slow with Yerzy since drafting the left handed slugger out of Canada in 2016. They’re committed to try to make him stick at C, but I think his bat plays at 1B if need be. It wouldn’t bother me if he ditched catching to accelerate his development, but he’s been making progress as a backstop. His development has been slow but steady and the bat is coming along nicely. This year he hit .297/.382/.452 with a 10.1 BB%, 24.3 K%, and 133 wRC+. Hopefully, he improves his contact and gets the ball in the air more in his first stint of full season ball in 2019.

6. Jake McCarthy, OF
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Possibly overshadowed by Dback hitters drafted after him, McCarthy is an exciting prospect in his own right. His scouting report said he’s got speed, makes contact, takes walks, and has 10-15 homer potential. His pro debut proved the report accurate, hitting .288/.375/.443 with 21 SB in 58 games. He has a track record of success in college, and should move quickly in the system.

7. Alek Thomas, OF
Age on Opening Day: 18
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Thomas hit .333/.395/.463 across two rookie leagues. He did it all in his debut. He handled CF, showed speed, got on base, and hit the ball the all fields. He’s small and lacks physical projection but he’s super strong already. His approach is very mature for such a young high school draftee. Ideally Thomas becomes a lead-off hitter that gets on base and steals a ton, with a little pop. Thomas already appears to be a steal at #63 overall in the 2018 draft.

8. Taylor Widener, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Widener was acquired last offseason from the Yankees, and it’s been proving a win for the Diamondbacks. He was good for the Yankees, but took it to a new level in AA Jackson. He posted a 31.9 K%, striking out 176 in 137.1 innings. Just as impressive, he improved his BB/9 an entire BB from 3.8 in ’17 to 2.8 in ’18. He owns a plus fastball and plus slider, needs to improve his change up to really be an upper echelon prospect. I’ll be interested to see if he can keep the control gains, get that 3rd pitch, and work deeper into games in Reno in 2019. If yes, sky is the limit.

9. Andy Young, 2B
Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Young was acquired from St. Louis as part of Paul Goldschmidt trade. He’s the stereotypical Cardinal prospect in that he’s old, not a great defender, and has power. He was drafted in 37th round of 2016 draft and has earned his prospect status from producing at every level. He slashed .289/.379./479 with 21 HR across 2 levels in 2018, and capped it off with success in the Arizona Fall League. He can take a walk, and doesn’t rack up too many strikeouts. I think Young could hit in the majors, and be useful in fantasy leagues.

10. Blaze Alexander, SS
Age on Opening Day: 19
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Another 2018 draft steal for Arizona. Signed #339 overall in round 11 for above slot $500,000. Possessed the coolest name in the draft and the biggest arm, an 80 grade cannon. His hype went crazy after he came out of the gates blazing,  and stayed hot to a .329/.417/.538 line. The defense was a given, but the bat was a surprise. Some think his hands, hit tool, and power are legit…some people question if his contact and small stature will allow him to hit long term. If you believe in him you’ll have to pay a draft day premium at the moment.

11. Geraldo Perdomo, SS
Age on Opening Day: 19
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Perdomo is a breakout prospect from the 2016 international free agent signing class. He hit .322/.438/.460 with 24 stolen bases across three levels in 2018. He switch hits and should stay at SS long term. He’s compiled 99 BB to just 81 K as a pro. He’s also got room to grow and add some pop. Perdomo is an exciting, pesky player. If he proves 2018 was for real, his stock will soar in 2019.

12. Pavin Smith, 1B
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: A+
I’m trying to be optimistic about the #7 overall pick of the 2017 draft. He did raise his HR total from 0 in 2017 to 11 in 2018. His 11.3 BB% and 12.9 K% were both impressive. He only has 5 more Ks, than BB in his career. The hope is that he can mature into his power, but it’s looking less likely. He slugged .392 this season, and managed just one extra base hit in 76 PA in a poor Arizona Fall League stint. His line drive rate this year was 17.3% and fly ball rate was only 34%. Not exactly numbers you want from a major league first baseman, much less a fantasy baseball first baseman prospect.

13. Drew Ellis, 3B
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Ellis has been remarkably consistent in his pro career. Each stop has been near his .240/.330/.420 career line. He takes walks, K% isn’t that bad, and hits the ball in the air. However, the Dbacks were expecting more game power by this point. Ellis has proved he can hit homers in college, and needs to start doing it as a pro. Otherwise his prospect status will keep falling.

14. Merrill Kelly, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 30
Highest 2018 Level: KBO (Korea)
Kelly is a very interesting prospect. He made it to AAA in 2014 as a 25-year-old in the Rays system. He then went to play ball in Korea, and became a better pitcher for it. His velocity increased, he smoothed out his delivery, and he developed a 5 pitch mix. There aren’t many stories of pitchers from KBO having success in MLB, but this might be different. There was a lot of buzz around Kelly with as many as 10 teams expressing interest before the Dbacks ultimately signed him in December. He was a back end starter/swing man type in his first stint in American ball, but he’s improved his repertoire, durability and skills in the years overseas. Penciled in as a part of the Dbacks 2019 rotation, I’m intrigued, and he’s worth a flyer.

15. Yoan Lopez, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 26
Highest 2018 Level: 2018
Lopez turned his career around in 2017 turning into a flame throwing reliever. He has some control issues but it’s negated by a K% in the 30s. He pitched 10 games for the Dbacks last year and should be up all year in 2019. He’s my highest ranked reliever prospect in the system. His 70 grade fastball and plus slider gives him the stuff to pitch in high leverage 8th/9th innings.

16. Buddy Kennedy, 3B
Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Kennedy’s passed every test the Dbacks have handed him since drafting him in 5th round in 2017. This year he hit .327/.396/.463 , 10.2 BB%, 13.3 K%, 27.7 Line Drive %, and 123 wRC+ in 255 PA. He could use some work on defense, but he’s strong and athletic. Brought along slowly so far, I’m excited to see him in full season ball. You can probably get him cheap in dynasty leagues at the moment, but his stock is trending upwards. I think every blurb on Kennedy has to mention he’s from the same town as Mike Trout.

17. Emilio Vargas, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Vargas busted out in 2018 to dominate the California League and earn its Pitcher of the Year honor. He made huge gains in his K%, and a slight improvement in BB% although still higher than average. The improvement seems to have to do with a better slider and just maturing as a pitcher. We’ll see if the gains hold in 2019 at AA Jackson, but the breakout seems legit. The Dbacks thought enough of him to add him to their 40 man roster and protect him from the Rule 5 draft.


Tier 4:
18. Kevin Cron, 1B

Age on Opening Day: 26
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
The last two years Cron has been doing everything he can to prove he’s legit. In each of the last 3 seasons he’s improved his BA, OBP, SLG and K% every year. The right handed hitting slugger has more than held his own versus RHP. I hope he can get a shot in the MLB. Currently it’s just injury/slump/platoon prone Jake Lamb in his way. 2019 is the time to see if he hack it in the majors.

19. Carson Kelly, C
Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
Kelly was acquired from the Cardinals as part of the Goldschmidt trade. He was pretty highly thought of in prospect circles just last year, but never got an extended shot in St. Louis. The trade to the Dbacks will ensure at bats, and a longer leash to figure things out. Although he’s struggled to a pathetic .154/.227./188 line in 117 career MLB at bats, his stats in the minors show he has contact and on base skills. But defense is his calling card, 10 HR and a non-horrible BA is the ceiling here, not much to look at in terms of contributing to fantasy baseball leagues.

20. Matt Tabor, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Tabor was drafted out of high school in 2017 for his 96 mph fastball and plus change up. He’s shown near elite control with a 5.1 BB% in 60.2 IP at Hillsboro. He’s been successful so far, and there’s room for improvement as he gets bigger and stronger. An intriguing arm to keep tabs on.

21. Alvin Guzman, OF
Age on Opening Day: 17
Highest 2018 Level: no stats, did not play
Guzman was a 2018 J2 signing for $1.85M. From what I’ve read he’s got power and speed potential, a double plus arm, and a projectable frame. He was ranked #12 in the J2 class by Baseball America, and #16 by MLB pipeline. Given Arizona’s recent success in international signings I’m willing to bump him up a little bit. I expect Guzman to be stateside sooner rather than later, and for him to get some prospect buzz.

22. Jose Caballero, 2B
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: A
This is one of my favorite players in the system to watch. You can see his passion and love for the game in the way he plays. And he has skills too. Tallied 30 BB to 36 K across two levels in 2018, and posted a .295/.389/.473 line at Kane County. I would love to watch him continue to crush it at Northwestern Mutual Field, but he needs to be tested, and get the chance to continue his success and development moving up levels in the Dback system.

23. Kevin Ginkel, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Ginkel’s posted some gaudy stats in his career, but 2018 was his best. He put up 12.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9, both elite. He will probably get some more seasoning in AAA, but he’s near MLB ready. Hopefully the big club gives guys like Ginkel, Yoan Lopez, and Jimmie Sherfy a shot to have late inning roles this year.

24. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 27
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
Sherfy needs to be in the majors in 2019 auditioning for his role in the future of this rebuilding ball club. He’s conquered AAA in his 117.1 career innings. There are some BB concerns, but I think his floor is a 7th/8th inning high K RP, with a ceiling of being a closer. In fact, I think he’s a dark horse candidate to get some saves in 2019, and have been taking him in last rounds of 50 round draft and holds lately.

25. Joel Payamps, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 24
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Payamps broke out in a dominant AA stint in 2018. The main difference was his increased K%. It nearly doubled from his 2017 stint in Jackson 14% to 27.3%. He’s always had good control but it was elite (4.8 BB%) this year in AA. He struggled in brief promotion to Reno, and that’s where he’ll start in 2019. He was added to the 40-man roster and could see some time in Arizona.

26. Harrison Francis, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Francis has moved slowly thru the Dbacks system. He was drafted in 4th round of 2017 draft, and finally made a brief appearance in Hillsboro at the end of 2018. He’s showed some promise. The Dbacks are letting him develop as a starter for now. For what it’s worth his 48 GB% indicates he can keep the ball on the ground as also evident as he hasn’t allowed a HR in 56 career innings. I hope he gets to Kane County at some point next year so I can get a better look at his stuff.

27. Jorge Barrosa, OF
Age on Opening Day: 18
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Barrosa is one of the Diamondbacks many recent J2 international signing successes. He did well enough in the Dominican Summer League to earn a promotion to the Arizona League and another to the Pioneer League. He’s a speedy lead-off CF-type with good contact and on base skills. A lot to be excited about, but he’s so young and so far away. He’s not a power guy so I don’t think he’s ever going to be a buzzed about high prospect, but there’s talent there, and he can be had for cheap in dynasty leagues.

28. Matt Mercer, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A (Short Season)
Mercer was drafted in the 5th round, #159 overall out of the University of Oregon. In 29 pro innings he’s logged 38 K and 7 BB. He’s small and has a funky deliver so there are reliever concerns, BUT he’s got a 4 pitch mix that includes a plus fastball, great change, and potential for a good slider, so the Dbacks will let him start games til he proves he can’t. His stuff gives him more upside than a typical college 5th rounder.

29. Dominic Miroglio, C
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: A+
I’ve been a Miroglio fan since he was drafted. Loved his defense and leadership. His bat has been a surprising bonus. He hit .327/.394/.460 in Cal League. The Dbacks let him play with the top prospects in the system at Visalia, and let him get a brief stint in the Arizona Fall League. Both good indicators the club thinks very highly of him. I do too. I could see Miroglio making the majors someday.

30. Jose Almonte, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: DNP (A+ in 2017)
Almonte was on some potential breakout lists following his 2017 season in which he struck out 162 in 139.1 innings. I had him #24 in last year’s preseason top 50. Then he mysteriously didn’t pitch at all in 2018. I’m reading only recently that it was a very serious oblique injury. So let’s give Almonte a mulligan on his lost 2018 season, and see if he can regenerate the buzz he had after 2017. Once he proves he’s healthy he should take his electric three pitch mix and shaky control to AA Jackson.

31. Jackson Goddard, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Goddard is a big college pitcher drafted in the 3rd round last summer. He’s got a big fastball and potential for a good slider and change. He has an injury history and concerns about his delivery, but has had dominant stretches in college. He could move fast if he stays healthy, and be a workhorse type.

32. Eddie Hernandez, 2B
Age on Opening Day: 19
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Hernandez’s aggressive approach has worked for him so far. He’s tallied a .302 BA and .441 SLG stateside in his career. He’s a spark plug and exciting to watch…but he’s going to have to improve on his 2.0 BB% if he’s going to succeed at all moving up the system. Has a lot of work to do, but I consider a deep deep sleeper.

33. Abraham Calzadilla, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 17
Highest 2018 Level: DNP
Signed for $500,000 as a J2 international free agent last summer. He ranked as the #22 player in the class by Baseball America. Adjectives I’ve read about him include: “Right handed”, “Venezuelan”, “polished”, “fearless” and “good-stuff”.

34. Marcus Wilson, OF
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A+
2018 was by far Wilson’s worst season as a pro. His 8.8 BB% and 28.1 K% were the worst of his career at any level. His 84 wRC+ and .306 wOBA were by far the worst of his career since his debut pro season. High Ks with little power isn’t getting it done. However, he has a tool shed of plus speed, plus defense and a plus eye, so there’s reason for hope that he can be a great prospect if he figures out his approach. In a system that’s trending up, Wilson is going in the wrong direction.

35. Taylor Clarke, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 25
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Clarke has profiled as a #5 SP for years now, and 2018 did nothing to change that. He spent the full year in hitter friendly Reno, and did fine. He has 4 average offerings. He doesn’t strike many hitters out, and his command is about average, improving slightly in ’18 (2.6 BB/9). 2019 will be the year to prove if he can get major league hitters out or not. Not a lot of fantasy upside here however.

36. Levi Kelly, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 19
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Arizona League
Kelly was drafted in the 8th round 249th overall in last summer’s draft. He was committed to attend LSU until Arizona thought enough of him to pay him an over slot bonus of $350,000. He’s a big kid, with a potential big fastball and slider. He’s a bit of a project, a long ways off.

37. Eduardo Diaz, OF
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A
Diaz struggled mightily in 2018 after breaking out in 2017. With a 31.3 K% and 2.3 BB% he found himself on the bench and only getting 128 PA. He’s a premium athlete, and premium defender. I’m willing to bet on his tools and that he can improve his approach. I’m confident he turns it around in ’19 repeating the level.

38. Christian Walker, 1B
Age on Opening Day: 28
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
This is the year for the 28 year old “prospect” to prove himself. He’s not going to get a better shot than 2019 to get playing time. The right handed masher is currently in the mix at 1B behind Jake Lamb, and could platoon versus LHP. He might even get at bats in Arizona’s very thin outfield, and plenty off the bench as well. Should surpass his career AB total of 88 this year, and see if he’s more than a stereotypical AAAA slugger.


Tier 5:
39. Liover Peguero, SS

Age on Opening Day: 18
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Arizona League
Peguero was a 2017 J2 international free agent signee. He was less coveted than his J2 classmates, but was good enough to be promoted to the states in his first year. That’s always a good sign that the club values a J2 player. He had mixed success and played exclusively at SS. Very low on the radar, but a player to keep tabs on.

40. Wilderd Patino, OF
Age on Opening Day: 17
Highest 2018 Level: Dominican Summer League
Patino was coming off an arm injury at got 138 PA in the DSL. It’s tough to tell what the Dbacks have in Patino at this point, but his BB% was good, and he didn’t strike out too much. He slashed .261/.391/.315 and did nothing to change his lottery ticket status. If everything breaks right and he fulfills his potential he’s a 20 HR, 20 SB type of player. Would expect him to play stateside sometime in 2019.

41. Anfernee Grier, OF
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Grier has largely been a disappointment since being drafted in 1st round in 2016. 2018 was no different as he struggled on the field (.235/.304/.379) and with injuries. His tools just haven’t translated into baseball skills. Maybe he just needs to stay healthy. But he’s been passed on the system outfield depth chart by multiple players. In deeper leagues you can hold or buy for almost nothing. In shallower dynasty leagues you’ve probably already moved on.

42. Ryan Weiss, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
Weiss is a big college arm with a 3 pitch mix. He had a good pro debut as you should hope for from a polished college arm. He walked only 3 in 30.1 pro innings. He needs an upgrade in stuff to be more than a #4/5 starting pitcher type.

43. Diomedes Sierra, LHP
Age on Opening Day: 17
Highest 2018 Level: DNP
Signed for $420,000 this summer out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a lefty who has reached 92 mph at 16 years old. Has a slider and projectable body. Ranked #44 in the 2018 J2 class by Baseball America.

44. Shumpei Yoshikawa, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: Industrial League Japan
Got to give credit to GM Mike Hazen and staff for thinking outside of the box. Yoshikawa went undrafted in Japan’s Major League (NPB) out of high school and college, and was playing in the Industrial League, essentially an independent league. His skills improved to the point he was positioned to be drafted high in NPB’s next draft. However, he bucked tradition and decided to sign with an MLB team. The Dbacks gave him a $650,000 bonus. Big picture, this might be a sign of a larger trend of Japanese players being more willing to bypass the NPB and come stateside. Prospect hounds may have to widen their scope to Japanese high schoolers. Scouting wise, Yoshikawa has 3 decent pitches, a low 90s fastball, slider and splitter. He won’t overpower but he’s smart and has a plan on the mound. His story may be more interesting than his prospect status for now, but there’s room and time for improvement.

45. Domingo Leyba, 2B
Age on Opening Day: 23
Highest 2018 Level: AA
After an injury riddled 2017, Leyba went back to AA and had a very Domingo Leyba type year. He posted a 9.8 BB%, 12.8 K%, with just 5 HR and 5 SB. He’s doing what he does, but is getting passed in the system by better prospects. A good sign if you’re a Dbacks fan. He’s a solid, useful utility real life baseball player, but not much in the world of fantasy baseball.

46. Zack Shannon, 1B
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Shannon has a few strikes against him. He’s a less than athletic 1B-only profile, hits right handed, old for the level in ’18, and was drafted in round 15 from a division II school. It will be an uphill battle for him to get respect in the prospect world. That being said, he can mash. For what it’s worth he hit 14 HR in 228 Pioneer League plate appearances. Stat line included .354/.439./677 slash with a 12.3 BB%, 18.9 K%, .465 wOBA, 169 wRC+, and .323 ISO!! I’ll keep an eye on him, and hope he gets an aggressive assignment in full season ball in 2019.

47. Adrian Del Moral, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: A- (Short Season)
del Moral was an under the radar international free agent signing from Mexico in 2017. Dbacks gave him an aggressive assignment as a 19 year old in A+ Hillsboro. He more than held his own with a 23.4 K% and impressive 5.5 BB%.

48. Teofilo Mendez, SS
Age on Opening Day: 17
Highest 2018 Level: DNP
Signed this summer for $300,000 out of the Dominican Republic. From what I’ve seen he’s got a great swing, is one of my favorite signings out of the 2018 J2 class. While kids like this are sooooo far away, some dynasty leagues do draft this deep. And given the success of recent Arizona J2 signings I’m more willing to invest in their ’18 class.

49. Tra Holmes, OF
Age on Opening Day: 21
Highest 2018 Level: A
Holmes was raw when drafted in 2017, and has had a roller coaster pro career thus far. He looked absolutely lost in his debut at Hillsboro. But came back to crush it there in 2018, only to look lost again once promoted to Kane County. He’s had his struggles with his K%. The good news is he’s shown the ability to draw a walk, and he has ultra-elite speed. Hopefully he can show improvement repeating a level in 2019 like he did in 2018.

50. Bo Takahashi, RHP
Age on Opening Day: 22
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Bo made drastic improvements in both his K% and BB% in 2018. It came more from pitching smart, and honing his command than any drastic improvement in stuff. The Brazilian right-hander is a good story and a great kid, but his fantasy ceiling upside isn’t very high.

79. David Sanchez, OF
Age on Opening Day: 20
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Got a special request from a fan to rank Sanchez in the system.  He ranks #79.

About Matthew Hammerling 8 Articles
Matt Hammerling covers the Arizona Diamondbacks prospects for Prospects1500. Hailing from Southeastern Wisconsin, he plays in 20-30 fantasy baseball leagues a year including multiple dynasty leagues. Besides fantasy baseball, he enjoys tailgating, growing his beard, getting into bands 8 years after they're cool, and hanging out with his dog Monk. Follow him on Twitter at @AZdbProspector.

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