We’re in the heat of the summer. There has still yet to be any Major League Baseball played (set to kick off July 23!) and the Minor League Baseball and Cape Cod League Baseball seasons have been canceled. Now is a great time to think about prospects though – be it for your dynasty leagues or even to consider which ones may see some MLB playing time in the upcoming shortened season. Several top Diamondbacks prospects played for Kane County in 2019, a team that I got to see play a number of times. Alek Thomas, Kristian Robinson, and Geraldo Perdomo are among the names you’ll see in this article. The Cougars were one of the best teams in Minor League Baseball in the 2nd half last year.
Some of the other names on this list are a blend of top prospects in the system, some of whom have been in the farm for multiple years, and one who happens to be their 1st Round pick from this recent 2020 MLB Draft.
Here is my Arizona Diamondbacks prospects 10 Names You Need To Know.
Current taxi squad players that were with Kane County in 2019
Geraldo Perdomo, SS
Perdomo is one of the best defensive shortstops in the minors and he’s also shown the ability to switch hit, although his bat is still farther away from the big leagues than his glove. One thing about Perdomo that you won’t see in the numbers is his absolute desire and passion to be out there and play all the time. In only his first full season he played in over 140 games and kept watching his batting average rise. This is something that’s quite impressive as sometimes young players in their first full season hit a wall. Perdomo kept getting better. He has an absolute passion for the game and it shows in how advanced he plays and adjusts to things for his age. He ended his first full season in a very impressive way last year hitting .316 in the Arizona Fall League while displaying tremendous defensive ability at shortstop.
Alek Thomas, OF
Thomas is an incredibly exciting young player to watch. Whether it’s watching him make a diving catch, steal a base, or hitting for the cycle, he was fun to watch play everyday last year at Kane County. He went on to win the Midwest League MVP while hitting .312/.393/.479 his most impressive highlight last year, and he had plenty, was at one point he went 9 for 10 while hitting for the cycle over two games in which he collected 18 total bases. He shows some power potential in BP and is an above average runner whose speed plays up even more once he’s on base. Alek tends to have a knack for coming up clutch in big situations as well. Another big highlight from 2019 was when he had the game winning hit which helped Visalia win the California League Championship. Thomas is definitely one to watch even though he might not make it to the majors this year.
Luis Frias, RHP
Frias has an electric arm and was considered the best pitching prospect in the short-season Northwest League in 2019. I didn’t get a chance to see Frias as much as I would have liked to, but he has a really good fastball that sits 92-97 and shows flashes of a plus or better curveball but will need to continue to improve his control.
Levi Kelly, RHP
Last year was Kelly’s first full season and he impressed posting a 2.15 ERA in addition to an impressive 11.3 K/9 with a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.2. For those that aren’t all in on the numbers, understand Levi is an absolute workhorse that’s willing to put in the work to be great. Last year his fastball was sitting usually 92-93. In one bullpen session back in May he touched 98. He is the type of pitcher that wants the ball at all times and has demonstrated the ability and desire to keep improving, he has a very bright future.
Dominic Fletcher, OF
I got a chance to see quite a bit of Fletcher over the last few years. The Arkansas Razorbacks team he was a part of made it two consecutive College World Series appearances in Omaha and were runners up in 2018. Watching him play live last year at Kane County I was able to get a better understanding and appreciation for his game. He is an above average or better defender in centerfield that you know can hit at the major league level like his brother David that plays for the Los Angeles Angels. I got a chance to see him once again back in February and he’d gotten a lot stronger and was able to drive the ball even more. It will be exciting to see how quickly he can make it to the majors as he’s already shown present major league ability with more to come as he continues to develop.
5 other names that you absolutely need to know
I got to see quite a bit of Robinson play last year and all I can say is, I was impressed with everything about this guy. He’s a special talent that has above average speed at times but could improve to plus or better speed which should allow him to stick in center field. If he were to lose speed and just add strength he has the body and the bat speed to possibly hit 40 plus home runs someday. He’s hit 21 HR in 126 pro games thus far and he would have been playing in the Midwest League this season as a 19-year-old prospect. He hits bombs, he runs, he throws. Robinson will need to improve as a hitter and if he does he will be a special talent. It will be exciting to see how his power plays in the High-A California League in about a year.
Kristian Robinson with two-run 💣 to center. @krobbie_242 @KCCougars @Dbacks @AZSnakePit @azsportsfien @Joe_Brand1 @ConnorOnion pic.twitter.com/Y2JoQdNkJ2
— Prospect.Report ⚾️ (@Prospect_RPT) August 21, 2019
Daulton Varsho, C
Varsho could be a part of the Diamondbacks lineup in the very near future and is the most major league ready of these young prospects. I believe he will be a very solid major league player as he has a lot to offer. He’s a catcher that hits from the left side that has a good knowledge of the strike zone, but he isn’t your typical catcher. Varsho played center field last year and I believe he’s versatile and athletic enough to possibly play 2nd base at some point. He had a great season last year with Jacksonville, not only helping them win the AA Southern League Championship, he also lead the league in OPS while hitting .301 with 18 HR and 20 SB. He is the son of former major leaguer Gary Varsho.
Corbin Carroll, OF
Carroll is a special talent that I was looking forward to watching play with Kane County this season. He’s very impressive as you can tell he really enjoys the game and is willing to put in the work to take his game to another level. He proved to be ready right away as he put up a slash line of .299/.409/.487 while earning a mid-season promotion. He has starred on many big stages, like the Perfect Game All-American Game where he won the MVP and was also a member of Team USA. He’s a smart baserunner with plus or better or speed that knows how to get on base. He currently shows a really good feel for hitting with a chance to develop some power. He was considered a potential top 10 pick a year ago and is the staple in Arizona’s 2019 draft class which looks to be a good one.
Blake Walston, LHP
Walston was another player I was really hoping to watch play this year. He’s a 6’5″, strong, lanky left handed pitcher that was sitting 96-97 as a pro. Scouts that saw him last year feel he has a chance to develop above average or better control. His curveball is a plus pitch that might be the best curveball in the Diamondbacks system. If everything can come together for him he will be a very special talent. He was a 2-sport star in high school that was a star quarterback recruit for North Carolina State. He also was the 2019 North Carolina Gatorade High School Player of the Year.
Bryce Jarvis, RHP
Jarvis was the Diamondbacks’ first round pick this year and is the only 2020 draftee on the Taxi Squad. There’s an outside chance that he could play in the majors this year but it’s very unlikely. It does say something about the Diamondbacks viewing him as quick to the big leagues type of pitcher however, and they feel his development will improve by being amongst the best prospects in their organization. He improved significantly during last summer and it paid off this spring. His fastball improved from 87-90 to 92-96 from last June until February, but besides the fastball improving, his command also improved. He has a chance to have 4 above average pitches in his change-up, curveball, and slider. His dad Kevin had a 12-year major league career and also pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bryce’s best start of 2020 came back in February when he pitched a perfect game against Cornell with 15 strikeouts.
James Weisser has been following prospects since 2003, when the Florida Marlins won the world series with players like Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera, and Dontrelle Willis. He has seen MVP's, Cy Young Winners, and All-Stars before they ever played in the majors, and is an avid college baseball fan who enjoys watching the SEC and ACC in the spring when often times the cold, wet weather of the Midwest allows him to follow some of the top players in both conferences. He also enjoys following/covering the Midwest League which is often players first full-season level. He also watches some of the top amateur talent that comes through Chicago and the Midwest like the Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field which features some of the top incoming seniors for the following year as well as the 17U Team USA which features some of the top juniors in the country. He currently resides in McHenry, Illinois which is located within an hour from the Beloit Snappers and Kane County Cougars which allows him to see 4 or more organizations Low A teams in a week at times. A White Sox fan growing up one of his favorite moments was watching them win the World Series in 2005. A few of his all-time favorite players to watch are Frank Thomas, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Clayton Kershaw, Barry Bonds, Mike Trout, and Ken Griffey Jr.
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