Arizona Prospects to Target in Single Season Redraft Leagues

Merrill Kelly - photo via Yonhap News Agency

Prospects are not just for drafting in dynasty leagues. Being aware of the prospects ready to contribute in the majors in 2019 can make a big difference. Drafting them intelligently in single season redraft leagues can be a huge source of value. The 2019 Diamondbacks’ system won’t appear in the upper echelon of MLB minor league systems rankings. However, as Brian Young noted in his article here at, the Dbacks have 7 prospects being drafted in the top 750 ADP in NFBC draft and holds so far this year. That total is 2nd in all of MLB. It ties them with the Braves and is behind only the Blue Jays (8). Granted, the Dbacks don’t have elite prospects getting drafted early in leagues like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Victor Robles, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those players are getting drafted high, and need to perform well just to earn their draft value. They just might, but leagues can be won by finding gems way later in the draft by means of under-the-radar prospects, the kind that are deep, deep sleepers and provide value if they find at bats or innings, and win league titles when they really take off.

Let’s look at the Arizona Diamondback prospects worthy of being drafted in 2019, starting from the earliest ADP to latest. For reference the ADP data is taken from NFBC draft and holds Jan 1-Feb 20. If you’re not familiar with the draft and hold format, it’s 5×5 roto, 15 teams, 50 rounds, (750 players), no pick-ups or trades. The team you draft is the team you have all year.

Carson Kelly (ADP 409) (#19 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospect list)

Carson spent years in prospect purgatory stuck behind Yadier Molina in St. Louis. He gets a new lease on life in Arizona having only Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy as competition. I fully expect Carson to get the large majority of at bats in 2019. He’s got the glove to keep him in the lineup every day. He’s struggled in his very short stints in the majors, but this is a guy who’s consistently posted .280+ BA and .370+ OBP for years in the minors. A line of 8-45-40, .265 in ’19 would not surprise me. While that’s not world beating, Kelly is currently the 30th catcher being drafted by ADP. That’s around the likes of Brian McCann, Chris Ianetta, Christian Vazquez and Manny Pina. In an era where you need catchers to just not hurt you, I think Kelly is a good low risk, late round choice in two-catcher and NL leagues.

Merrill Kelly (ADP 447) (#14 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospect list)

Kelly is the Diamondbacks prospect I’m most excited about drafting in deep leagues in 2019. He is very under the radar, spending years in the Korean League before signing a deal with Arizona in December. There is a lot unknown about Kelly, but here’s what I do know…he’s expected to be in the Arizona starting rotation, he will be pitching his home games in the now pitcher friendly humidor-aided Chase Field, and he is virtually free in drafts going around the 133rd SP taken. Washed out prospect goes overseas, and returns to MLB after honing his craft and arsenal…sounds a little like the Miles Mikolas story from last year. I think he will gain some helium as the fantasy industry starts to hear more about him or, if he has any success in Spring Training, so now’s the time to get him. He’s getting drafted after the likes of Danny Duffy, Gio Gonzalez and Lance Lynn. Even if you’re in a shallow league, keep Merrill on the radar as a pickup and streaming option.

Jon Duplantier (ADP 541) (#2 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospect list)

I’m a big Duplantier fan and 2019 should be the year he contributes to the major league squad. I expect him to be a midseason call up, but GM Mike Hazen has talked recently of breaking in their top pitching prospects in the bullpen. Either way, he’s a steal at his ADP. If he can stay healthy, and get a chance to start and keep rolling he’s going to earn huge value. If not, there’s no harm investing a pick in him this late. He’s being drafted in the same range as SPs Eric Lauer, Dan Straily, and John Gant.

Christian Walker (ADP 660) (#38 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospect list)

This deep in draft and holds, I look for talent, but more so look for an opportunity to get a significant role. Walker could be a LHP killer in a platoon role with Jake Lamb at 1B. It’s conceivable Lamb gets injured again and Walker gets even more at bats. It’s conceivable Lamb struggles and Walker gets more of his at bats. It’s conceivable that he gets at bats filling in for injuries at the corner OF positions. It’s within the range of outcomes that Walker gets at bats, gets hot, and mashes and never stops hitting and becomes a star!! OK, I’m dreaming now, but that’s what you have to do 660 picks into the draft. Walker is being drafted behind Dan Vogelbach on average…that’s just not right.

Kevin Cron (ADP 672) (#18 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospects list)

Cron basically has the same hopes as Christian Walker as far as getting a role with the Diamondbacks in 2019. He’s younger than Walker, and would probably get 2nd shot at any opportunities. Cron’s a beast with the bat, and has been coming on strong the last couple years, putting up good numbers, good peripherals, and turning himself into a legit prospect. I can’t imagine Arizona will pretend to contend too long into the season, and maybe Cron gets a shot. With his potential bat it’s worth a late round flyer.

Taylor Widener (ADP 676) (#8 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospects list)

Widener hasn’t pitched in AAA yet, so he probably doesn’t have much of a shot to make the club out of Spring Training. His potential is through the roof, with his ability to amass huge strikeout numbers. I personally think he’d be more effective in 2019 if he was a part of the Arizona bullpen. I’m more bullish on 2019 contributions from the other Dbacks on this list.

Yoan Lopez (ADP 688) (#15 on preseason Dbacks top 50 prospects list)

I reserve the final rounds of draft and hold to throw darts at relievers that might get some saves. Arizona is the perfect team to try this in 2019. They recently signed Greg Holland. Archie Bradley is in the mix, as is Yoshihisa Hirano. Hot take perhaps, but Yoan Lopez has better stuff than all of them. And they’ve invested a lot of money on him in the past and maybe want to get their money’s worth. I’m picking Lopez above his ADP to hope he can take over the shaky Arizona bullpen and get some saves and Ks.

Socrates Brito (ADP 778)  (not really a prospect but I’m a fan)

I’ve been throwing a couple Round 50 picks on Brito in my early draft and holds. He’s barely hanging on to an MLB roster spot, but he’s got MLB regular tools.  If he can stay healthy and perform, and stand out in Arizona’s awful outfield situation, maybe he can garner some at bats. I almost hesitate to include him here as I’m afraid of getting sniped in the Prospects1500 24 team, 50 round 1200 player redraft league!









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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  1. Monday, February 25, 2019 – Fantasy Baseball Links |
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects | Prospects1500

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