Since I joined the staff here at Prospect1500.com after the season started, I didn’t get to do a Top 50. When I started looking at this article, I thought I would do a stock up, stock down style article, but honestly, I just didn’t think the Preseason 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Top 50 fit well. Therefore, I now present my revamped, updated Arizona Diamondbacks Top 50 Prospects right now!
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
Editor note: Following the Tuesday, July 18th J.D. Martinez trade, three of Arizona’s previously ranked Top 50 prospects, Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, were removed from this list and are now with the Detroit Tigers. See Nick Bradford’s piece on those three new Tigers prospects.
1. Anthony Banda, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 08/10/1993)
Little left to prove in the minors. He has held his own in the hitters paradise known as the PCL and should compete for a spot in the middle of the rotation next year.
2. Pavin Smith, 1B
Age: 21 (DOB 02/06/1996)
#7 overall pick in June Amateur Draft. Has not disappointed in debut in Low A, walking as many times as he has struck out (6/6) in his first 57 at bats.
3. Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS
Age: 21 (DOB 09/11/1995)
He missed almost the entire first half with a shoulder injury. No reason to believe numbers won’t be what we have come to expect in the second half.
4. Jasrado Chisholm, SS
Age: 19 (DOB 02/01/1998)
Arizona has continued to be aggressive with him, bumping Chisholm to his first full season assignment, but he took the challenge head on and survived the first half.
5. Jon Duplantier, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 07/11/1994)
If I could be more sure of his health, Duplantier would likely be much higher on this list after a completely dominant first half (7-1 1.34 ERA 9.6 K/9).
6. Drew Ellis, 3B
Age: 21 (DOB 12/01/1995)
2017 2nd round pick, 44th overall. 2 home runs in first 36 at bats, but comes with 28% K rate. The power is real if he can make enough contact.
7. Taylor Clarke, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 05/13/1993)
Flying through the Arizona system, Clarke started the season in AA and has improved over a solid first effort the second half of last year (8-4 2.66 ERA 9.5 K/9).
8. Daulton Varsho, C
Age: 21 (DOB 07/02/1996)
Competitive Balance pick in 2017, jumped to the top of the catcher depth chart in Arizona. While he may struggle to stay behind the plate, the bat will play (.345/.406/.571).
9. Anfernee Grier, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 10/13/1995)
Solid effort in first full professional season. Plus speed has shown (18 Steals) and he is getting on base (11% walk rate), ideally would cut down on K’s.
10. Curtis Taylor, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 07/25/1995)
Also in first full pro season with very solid results. After being eased in, in a bullpen role last year Taylor has transitioned to the rotation seamlessly (3-4 3.57 ERA 9.6 K/9).
11. Alex Young, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 09/09/1993)
Arizona has stayed very aggressive with Young, pushing him to a start in AA in 2017. He has struggled a bit, but has held his own for not spending more than half a season in one level yet in his career.
12. Jared Miller, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 08/21/1993)
Just promoted to AAA. More or less MLB ready at this point. Potential future closer with swing and miss stuff, proven by his very strong K/9 (12.2).
13. Brad Keller, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 07/27/1995)
I hoped to see Keller’s numbers return to where they were in 2015 after his promotion from the California League, but they have not. While he has never been a big strikeout guy he is allowing far too many baserunners at this point.
14. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 12/27/1991)
Sherfy struggled in his first shot at AAA, walking 13 in 23 and a third to temper the big expectations he had built. However, he still has high leverage stuff and the control is back in check and Sherfy is ready for the big club as soon as tomorrow.
15. Marcus Wilson, OF
Age: 20 (DOB 08/15/1996)
Wilson started 2017 on a tear. Finally tapping into some of the power the Diamondbacks had hoped would come. Wilson may have 20/20 potential if he doesn’t lose the wheels as he continues to fill out.
16. Victor Reyes, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 10/05/1994)
Outside of A ball, Reyes has always hit for a high AVG., he doesn’t strike out a lot and runs fairly well. The little power he showed in 2016 is down, but the extra base hits aren’t so it may just be a matter of time before he hits a few more homers.
17. Gabriel Moya, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 01/09/1995)
Moya has dominated at every stop since becoming a reliever, but he has been especially dominant in 2017. .89 ERA .81 Whip 13.7 K/9 17 out of 17 in Saves. Could find his way to the big club by September.
18. Cody Reed, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 06/07/1996)
Reed has clearly mastered A ball and has shown steady improvement in his second shot at High A in 2017. K/9 (9.1) and BB/9 (3.2) have drastically improved in a tough place to pitch in Visalia.
19. Andy Yerzy, C
Age: 19 (DOB 07/05/1998)
Knowing that Yerzy was a bit of a project behind the plate, it’s encouraging to see him in the Pioneer league to start the season. He has already out produced his debut in half the at bats. I see a high ceiling, but he’s a long way from reaching it.
20. Rodrigo “Bo” Takahashi, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 01/23/1997)
A bit of an unknown outside of Arizona, signed out of Brazil, has done nothing but produce in his minor league career. Bo has no plus pitches, but shows great command and movement.
21. Jose Almonte, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 09/08/1995)
Almonte has seen steady improvement every season since debuted in the DSL in 2013 with Boston. With his steady ascent through the system, the numbers have stayed very solid. With an 11.1 K/9, Almonte has plenty of upside to work with.
22. Gabriel Maciel, OF
Age: 18 (DOB 01/10/1999)
Very young, not a lot go on, numbers improved dramatically in second shot at Pioneer League. Plus speed with more walks than strikeouts (9/8 BB/K). Could be lots of upside.
23. Ryan January, C
Age: 20 (DOB 05/27/1997)
Currently suspended for use of amphetamines. Bat first catcher that may or may not stick behind the plate. The bat will play even if he moves to a corner infield or outfield position. HR every 16.8 at bats in debut.
24. Matt Tabor, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 07/14/1998)
Third round pick in 2017. Mid rotation upside. Fastball sits low 90’s, could be plus as he fills out. Will start career in AZL.
25. Jack Reinheimer, SS/2B/3B
Age: 23 (DOB 07/19/1992)
I think we all know what Reinheimer is at this point. Since being acquired from Seattle in 2015, he has put up nearly identical numbers across AA and AAA. Very little left to show in AAA, just a matter of the big club needing a utility infielder with a high OBP.
26. Socrates Brito, OF
Age: 24 (DOB 09/06/1992)
I think Brito is a lot like Reinheimer. Not much left to prove in AAA, but isn’t a full time regular at the next level. He hits for solid AVG (.312) but lacks the pop or wheels to be much more than a glove first fourth OF. Still prospect-rookie eligible with only 128 AB in majors.
27. Kevin Cron, 1B
Age: 24 (DOB 02/17/1993)
The power is real (71 HR since 2015). In 2016, his K rate exploded and he struggled mightily. However, the K rate has dropped from 27% to 22% and his walk rate has jumped from 6% to 12%. I think we’re seeing a breakout year from Cron.
28. Ryan Atkinson, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 05/10/1993)
Signed out of Independent ball just last year, Atkinson has been very good in four different levels in 2 years as he flies through the Arizona system. With a 3.33 ERA, 1.19 Whip and a 12.2 K/9 in the California League, I really like Atkinson as a back end starter.
29. Ildemaro Vargas, 2B/SS
Age: 26 (DOB 07/16/1991)
Made MLB debut this season (0-2 with a K). Has put together a solid season in AAA, assuming inflated number for PCL though. Vargas lacks the pop to be a next level starter.
30. Buddy Kennedy, 3B
Age: 18 (DOB 10/05/1998)
5th round pick in 2017. High BB rate (15%) and high K rate (28%) in very small sample size in start to career in AZL. Profiles as solid bat that should be fine defensively at 3B.
31. Colin Poche, LHP
Age: 23 (DOB 01/17/1994)
14th round pick in 2016. Has only thrown out of the Pen so far in 2017 with great results (15.7 K/9, .194 BAA), will be interested to see if he moves to rotation at some point. Moving quickly through system.
32. Mason McCullough, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 01/07/1993)
Career reliever with some major control issues (4.97 BB/9). However K/9 (15.6) and H/9 (4.5) are both fantastic. Must find a way to rein it in, but the upside is there.
33. Jose Herrera, C
Age: 20 (DOB 02/24/1997)
Glove first Catcher, who has hit for a reasonable average in small samples so far. Struggling with the bat so far this season (.216 AVG., 0 HR), but doesn’t strike out much (13 %) and walks a decent amount (8%).
34. Tommy Eveld, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 12/30/1993)
Eveld has been completely dominant since being drafted in the 9th round in 2016 (.131 BAA, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) and that has continued this year while being promoted to High A where he has allowed 1 hit in 7 and a third to lower his BAA this season to .098 with 14 Saves.
35. Tyler Mark, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 10/18/1994)
Moved to full time relief in 2017 and has much improved numbers. K/9 (7.5) will likely need to improve to see high leverage innings at the highest level, but he has time.
36. Justin Donatella, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 09/16/1994)
After a successful season in 2016 in A and High-A, Donatella started 2017 in High-A and has seen his stats decline a bit. The California league is always tough to pitch in, but I would have hoped for a step forward from the big righty.
37. Emilio Vargas, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 08/12/1996)
After spending 2 seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Vargas moved quickly in 2015 and 2016 seeing a small amount of time in High A both seasons. After a solid start in A ball in 2017, I would expect to see Vargas in the Visalia rotation soon.
38. Mack Lemieux, LHP
Age: 20 (09/06/1996)
I want to like Lemieux, but he just seems too hittable. After a solid start in the AZL, Lemieux has seen his K/9 (6.0) plummet and his H/9 (10.1) skyrocket. The 6th round pick in 2016 still has time, but I’d imagine we will see a repeat of A ball next year.
39. Jhoan Duran, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 01/08/1998)
The big, young righty has struggled to gain his footing a bit, but he will play this full season at 19 and should see full season ball next year at 20 he is being challenged and should be a better pitcher for it.
40. Ben DeLuzio, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 08/09/1994)
An undrafted free agent out of Florida State, DeLuzio has done nothing but hit since signing (.317 AVG 27 SB in his MiLB career). After passing on the Marlins in the 3rd round in 2013, DeLuzio had a solid but unspectacular career at FSU and chose to sign rather than return for his senior year. Keep an eye out for him going forward.
41. Eudy Ramos, 3B
Age: 21 (DOB 02/19/1996)
Ramos has great raw power but with that, come lots of strikeouts (35% k rate in 2016). However, Ramos has that down to 22% so far in 2017, so if that doesn’t cost him the power he may move quickly. Likely will end up at 1B.
42. Ryan Burr, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 05/28/1994)
Huge jump in K/9 from 2016 (7.8) to 2017 (12.5). If this jump is here to stay it makes Burr a much more attractive option for late inning work going forward.
43. Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 09/26/1993)
Huang had military service that caused him to get a late start to the 2016 season. That, paired with some on field struggles moved Huang to the bullpen where he has seen good success.
44. Matt Koch, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 11/02/1990)
After a solid MLB debut in 2016, Koch has had a trying 2017 season with injuries slowing him and assumedly causing the struggles we have seen thus far. Hopefully he can get things turned around in the 2nd half.
45. Ramon Hernandez, 1B
Age: 21 (DOB 03/02/1996)
Hernandez got a taste of full season ball late last season and has stepped up for a solid first full season in A ball. Showing solid power and an improving ability to take a walk Hernandez should continue to climb the ladder.
46. Sam McWilliams, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 09/04/1995)
McWilliams has turned in a very solid performance in his repeat of A ball in Kane County. With a BAA of .203 and a BB/9 of 1.7 the big righty is showing that his heavy fastball should continue to play as he rises through the ranks.
47. Frank Duncan, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB 01/30/1992)
Duncan will never wow you with his K numbers or on the radar gun, but he has plus sink on the fastball and a plus slider making you feel like it could all come together at the back of the rotation.
48. Christian Walker, OF
Age: 26 (DOB 03/28/1991)
Just the numbers alone make you think Walker has to get a shot at some point. Even being in the PCL, you don’t hit .303 with 22 Home Runs and 88 RBI by accident.
49. Kristian Robinson, OF
Age: 16 (DOB 08/20/2001)
Consensus Top 10 International signing for Arizona. Big Body (6′ 3″, 190 lb) for teenager, with plus plus speed and potential for plus power.
50. Mailon Arroyo, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 01/02/1998)
Converted from corner infield to pitcher in 2017 with great results. Not usually a lot of excitement about a 19-year-old reliever in the Dominican League, but I see lots of upside here. Remember this name.
Honorable Mentions – Joey Rose (1B), Kyle Smith (1B), Yan Sanchez (2B/SS), Henry Castillo (2B), Jorge Barrosa (OF), Harrison Francis (SP).
While lacking top end talent, the Arizona system has fairly solid depth with many pieces I could see helping the big club over the next few years.
An absolute sports fanatic. Be it at the office, a family gathering or my wife’s restaurant you can usually find me talking sports, especially baseball. When I am not at the office working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at a small bureau in the Dept. of Human Services, I love to golf, go to Baltimore to catch the O’s or Ravens and spend time with my amazing wife of 5 years. Follow me on Twitter @RyanJames5.