Arizona Diamondbacks 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Diamondbacks Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter
  • Corbin Carroll on the shelf
  • Kristian Robinson stuff
  • Injuries interrupting full-season debuts of exciting young prospects
  • Pitchers not living up to expectations

It’s been a bummer for this Diamondbacks system in 2021. Reno, full of old minor-leaguers, is the only team in the entire organization with a winning record. It’s not been the D’Backs year. Regardless, here we are midseason and I’m ready to share my first Prospects1500 Top 50 list. Plenty of change since January’s list. In addition to a new correspondent, we’re also adjusting from a skipped year of development (or lack thereof), player graduations, and the addition of 2021 draftees. Despite the pessimism, there are spatterings of silver lining here.


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of 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

None

Tier 2

1. Corbin Carroll, OF (January rank #2)
Age: 21
Current Level: Injured-Out for Season

Despite the unfortunate injury, Carroll and his hit tool, which proved too much for High-A pitchers during his short stint, are still the offensive dream of the system.

2. Bryce Jarvis, RHP (January rank #11)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A

Already possessing high swing-and-miss caliber secondary pitches, Jarvis is adding to the repertoire, and working to find the requisite level of consistency to join a Zac Gallen on top of a major league rotation.

 

(Striking out Osvaldo Abreu with his “new” curveball 7/11)

 

3. Jordan Lawlar, SS (January rank – N/A)
Age: 19
Current Level: Unsigned 2021 Draftee

The Diamondbacks added a five-tool dream selecting the Texas prep 6th overall, which some felt was a first-day steal, and others skeptical he’ll be as dynamic an offensive threat as billed. We shall see.

Tier 3

4. Seth Beer, 1B (January rank #10)
Age: 24
Current Level: Triple-A

It’s almost Beer time as he’s spent 2021, again proving capable of hitting for average and power at a high level, playing a fine first base despite the bad rap he gets for defense.

5. Alek Thomas, OF (January rank #3)
Age: 21
Current Level: Double-A

If baseball players were days on the calendar, Thomas is the fourth of July; working hard to get there, explosive, reliable, and a long day for firemen, but in the end, does the bat make enough noise to scare the big dogs?

6. A.J. Vukovich, 3B (January rank #19)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A

The plethora of raw power takes a back seat to the sprouting advanced approach, and although plenty of maturation is needed, as he might be the system’s best shot at the decade-long middle-of-the-lineup dream.

 

(vs Jose Salvador 7/8)

7. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP (January rank #14)
Age: 24
Current Level: MLB

Shifting to the bullpen makes sense, and the Diamondbacks are hoping to get a late-inning ace out of the former first-round pick with raw wipeout stuff.

8. Stuart Fairchild, OF (January rank #16)
Age: 25
Current level: MLB

A mid-July callup was well deserved as the former second-round pick beat up Triple-A, laying down a 1.083 OPS, 16.4% strikeout rate, 12.3% walk rate, six home runs, and swiping a few bags.

9. Dominic Fletcher, OF (January rank #21)
Age: 23
Current level: Double-A

Despite cooling off some of late, 2021 may prove to be a breakout season, as a .306 June bled into an even hotter early July and the centerfield glovework has been fantastic, keeping Alek Thomas in right field.

 

(7/11…helping preserve Matt Tabor’s 7 inning no-hitter)

 

10. Blake Walston, LHP (January rank #8)
Age: 20
Current level: High-A

Walston is moving through the low levels as a highly invested-in prep arm should, with plenty of enticing ingredients to be cake, but far from baked.

11. Geraldo Perdomo, SS (January rank #5)
Age: 21
Current level: Double-A

A brief MLB appearance early in the season was exciting, but the defensively skilled shortstop’s bat has disappointed, currently hitting .151 in Double-A with a 24.9% strikeout rate, and a nice 15.9% walk rate. Where’s the good contact?

12. Justin Martinez, RHP (January rank #28)
Age: 19
Current Level: Low-A (60-day IL)

The young Dominican’s season may have been cut short by injury, but the arm speed/talent is too exceptional to ignore, with a fastball capable of touching triple digits and a developing breaking ball to pair with it, the system’s highest upside arm may be here.

 

(vs Zac Veen 6/3)

 

13. Kristian Robinson, OF (January rank #1)
Age: 20
Current level: Restricted List

All the talent in the world and placement on ranking lists takes a way-back seat to Robinson hurdling his life’s challenges, whether legal, mental health, visa…let’s give the young man some good vibes and hope whatever it is he may need help with, it’s happening and he’s taking it.

14. Slade Cecconi, RHP (January rank #7)
Age: 22
Current level: High-A

The headline coming out of the Draft was the fastball, but the command has been loose, while the breaking ball seems more formidable.

Tier 4

15. Jake McCarthy, 1B/OF (January rank #26)
Age: 23
Current Level: Triple-A

The former first-round pick is cutting his teeth at Triple-A, and with eight home runs on the season, he may finally be adding power to the attractive athleticism that made him a high draft priority.

16. Luis Frias, RHP (January rank #9)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A

The 6’3″ 245-pound frame with a big-league four-pitch arsenal is still polishing up the consistency needed, particularly not leaving balls over the heart of the plate.

17. Matt Tabor, RHP (January rank #22)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A

After some rough Double-A starts early promotion, Tabor’s on a 25.2 innings scoreless streak (including a flukey 7 IP no-hitter), steadily improving as a clever command pitcher capable of getting outs at a high clip.

18. Adrian Del Castillo, C (January rank – N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Unsigned draftee

It wasn’t long ago some considered Castillo the top college bat in the 2021 Draft class, but questions about offense piled on top of the already-there defensive questions and he slipped to the third round, to a potentially catcher-needy organization offering the young backstop a great opportunity.

19. Andy Young, UT (January rank #30)
Age: 27
Current Level: MLB

No offensive slouch, Young is trying to carve out a big-league role, and the current roster provides him the opportunity.

20. Humberto Mejia, RHP (January rank #32)
Age: 24
Current Level: Triple-A

As part of the Starling Marte return, the big-bodied Panamanian is getting the ERA beating pitchers take in Reno, but it hasn’t changed his outlook as a potential rotation piece in the very near future.

21. Kenny Hernandez, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A

The 2015 J2 signee out of Panama is having a coming-out party with three offerings, striking out over eleven batters per nine, turning what looked like a relief pitcher profile into an offering capable of more turns through a lineup.

22. Corbin Martin, RHP (January rank #12)
Age: 25
Current Level: Triple-A (IL)

His Diamondbacks debut left much to be desired, along with the stuff, hinting bullpen as the final landing spot for the former highly touted arm after all.

23. Tommy Henry, LHP (January rank #29)
Age: 23
Current level: Double-A

Continued development of the secondaries is critical, and despite dominating lineups at times, the telegraphed delivery, particularly the difference in arm-action from fastball to secondaries, has got to play a role in walk and home run struggles.

 

(vs Jeremy Eierman 6/20/21)

24. Humberto Castellanos, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: Flip-flopping between Triple-A and MLB

With his physique and Reno #20, you’d think Castellanos were a position player up there, but he’s proven effective over 15+ MLB innings, four of which came in his lone start where he displayed his typically well-spotted fastball/changeup/breaking ball mix.

 

(Strikeout against LaMonte Wade 5/20)

 

25. Drew Ellis, 3B (January rank #49)
Age: 25
Current level: Triple-A

After seeming it wouldn’t happen, Ellis may have finally arrived, turning around struggles against right-handed hitters via a more planned aggressive approach, pairing the plus defensive glove with a viable big-league chance offensively.

26. Ryne Nelson, RHP (January rank #39)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A

Proving nothing more to be had starting in A-ball, where his bouts of substantial wildness didn’t hurt him too much, Nelson could still end up a future closer candidate (a role he filled as an Oregon Duck), as his stuff may play better out of the pen.

27. Drey Jameson, RHP (January rank #20)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

Since a mid-June blowup, Jameson has only given up three runs in four starts, with the big fastball leading the way, and he’ll need this consistency to continue moving through the upper levels, but there is still too much hard contact given up.

28. Ryan Bliss, 2B (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current Level: Unsigned draftee

High contact skills, with plenty of defense for second base, give the Diamondbacks a viable MLB prospect in the former Auburn shortstop.

29. Brandon Pfaadt. RHP (January rank #40)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A

The 2020 fifth-round pick is finding pro success, with plenty of strikeouts on the ledger, but there’s development to be had before a future rotation (or bullpen) role, where he may be better served pitching to contact and inducing groundballs.

30. Ryan Weiss, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: Triple-A

After four Double-A starts whereupon Weiss gave up 20 ER, he was moved to the bullpen with positive results, as well as a promotion to Triple-A, where it looks he will remain developing as a relief pitcher.

31. Levi Kelly, RHP (January rank #13)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A

Kelly has been coming out of the Double-A pen, where you’d think the electric fastball/breaking ball combo plays up, but that hasn’t consistently been the case.

32. Jose Herrera, C (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: Triple-A

Always lauded for defensive capabilities, there may be more offense than led on, at least from the left side, and the Diamondbacks rewarded with a well-deserved July Triple-A promotion.

Tier 5

33. Wilderd Patino, OF (January rank #6)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A

The projectable young prospect who tore up 2019 AZL pitching tore up something of his own, as he landed on the 60-day IL with an unknown injury after a brief ten-game struggle in Low-A.

 

(The last we saw of Patino)

 

34. Blaze Alexander, SS (January rank #23)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A

Where did the pre-COVID version go, because all I’m seeing are some pretty unremarkable at-bats?

35. Jacob Steinmetz, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 18
Current Level: Unsigned draftee

At 6’5″, with a fastball capable of upper-90s and a well-shaped curveball, there’s plenty of intrigue to keep an eye on the third-round prep investment.

36. Ben DeLuzio, CF (January – unranked)
Age: 26
Current level: Triple-A

From highly touted prep, to undrafted out of college, with the ability to hit for average, cover plenty of center field, and perhaps, now, chip in a few home runs, DeLuzio is pushing for 40-man consideration.

37. Jorge Barrosa, OF (January rank #37)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A

The small-statured switch hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills, a propensity to hit-it-where-they-ain’t, and cause problems on the base paths, is capped in the slugging department, as well as having a defensive profile more left field than center, presenting the exciting young prospect with a narrow path to the bigs.

38. Cam Duzenack, SS (January – unranked)
Age: 26
Current Level: Triple-A

Having shown the ability to hit for power in stretches, suddenly the defensive shortstop is also hitting for average in Triple-A (.303).

39. Conor Grammes, RHP (January rank #43)
Age: 24
Current Level: High-A

Looking like a typical raw arm trying to turn pitcher this early season, with plenty of ups and downs, just when things seemed to be settling down, a trip to the 60-day IL struck.

40. Luke Albright, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current Level: Unsigned draftee

With a great frame, four pitches, all with legit major league upside, and Div-1 success, Albright’s a pro pitching coach’s dream (or nightmare), with everything seemingly there except the keystone of it all; the elite consistency of command.

41. Liam Norris, LHP (January rank #24)
Age: 19
Current Level: Low-A

A WHIP over 2 and 10+ walks per nine are ugly for the 2020 third-round pick, but the repertoire capable of its fair share of swing-and-miss is tightening up.

42. Alvin Guzman, OF (January rank #38)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie

The Diamondbacks’ top 2018 international signing is finally stateside and just getting started in the ACL where we’ll finally start getting better looks at the offensive upside.

43. Franyel Baez, OF (January rank #36)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (IL)

One of the young prospects on schedule to debut stateside in 2021 who’s been struck with injury, we’ll have to wait a little longer to get a good look.

44. Buddy Kennedy, 3B (January rank #41)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A

The former NJ prep earned a well-deserved promotion with a steady bat, low strikeout rate, and a decent amount of pop, getting closer to 40-man consideration.

45. Josh Green, RHP (January rank #31)
Age: 25
Current Level: Triple-A

The line is blurred between 40-man addition and organizational depth, as Green may have maxed out his talent in Triple-A.

46. Andy Yerzy, C/1B (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

The Canadian college prospect has hit some long balls against some of the tougher pitchers in his leagues, but the promotion to High-A came with a 13.3 point jump in K%, which will be a box to check if big league dreams are to come true for the offensive catcher profile.

47. Neyfy Castillo, 1B/OF (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A

Castillo has physically transformed into a potential power corner outfielder, if only he and his 40% strikeout rate looked more hitter than swinger, I’d be more excited over the 13 home runs.

48. Spencer Brickhouse, 1B (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

Brickhouse might be in the midst of a breakout, as he’s been hot in July and adding some hit to the power profile.

49. Gavin Conticello, 3B (January – unranked)
Age: 18
Current Level: unsigned draftee

With signability in question, did the D’Backs get a prep bat with plenty of raw power and perhaps some foundation to build a legit major league hitter with?

50. Tristin English, 3B (January rank #35)
Age: 24
Current Level: High-A

Until opportunity comes at a higher level, as he’s now been in High-A for three years, there isn’t much reason to think the big leagues are the future for the former third-round pick, as he isn’t forcing the Diamondbacks’ hand.




About Nate Handy 6 Articles
Nate enjoys picking up the prospect scraps, turning over rocks to share what muddy treats he can find. Residing high up the Rocky Mountains with his wife and children, trying to stay cool, getting a broader view. A fan of the underappreciated, overlooked and disregarded. A true mud person trying to make informed mistakes.

2 Comments

    • Maybe. Mind you, this list was done in early July. I had watched plenty of him up until that point. Haven’t seen much since, thinking I’ll revisit some starts before I do this again. But here’s my thing with him…no doubt he has a couple of very nice offerings. No doubt he can strikeout a lot batters at his levels. But what I don’t like from what I’ve seen, is what feels like a propensity to pitch to results, rather than development. Now, pitching speculation can change on a dime, so maybe things look different now, I don’t know, but I don’t get too jazzed up when a pitcher with two good raw pitches is getting by on those, when not spotted consistently. Yes, you can’t argue with the production now, but I feel there is still a lot to be said about a projected major league starter here. The thing that kinda gets me with several pitchers in this system…there doesn’t seem to be a ton of emphasis on developing some third offerings with some guys. Offerings that I felt showed a little juice when they did make rarer appearances. We’ll see. I won’t lie…every time I get excited about some pitchers in this system and blather about it, they kinda disappoint. And then, whenever I share that disappointment, they tend to show out a little more. Lots of interesting arms here. Lots of investment in arms here. Be fun to watch.

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