Arizona Diamondbacks Midseason Top 50 Prospects

The good news is the Diamondbacks are making the push for a pennant again in 2018. The bad news is an already sparse minor league system took some hits to acquire some extra pieces. Gone from the preseason top 50 via trades are Anthony Banda (#5), Jhoan Duran (#7),  Gabriel Maciel (#12), Sam McWilliams (#30), Brian Shaffer (#32), and Colin Poche (#44). Also traded away were players that were considered for the preseason 50 that probably would have made this Midseason Top 50 list in C Michael Perez,  RP Tommy Eveld,  and RP Wei-Chieh Huang. The only player to graduate off my Preseason Top 50 was #25 ranked Yoshihisa Hirano the 34 year old reliever who jumped into the 8th inning role and has performed fantastically. Failure to sign their first round selection SS Matt McLain doesn’t help matters either. It’s not all doom and gloom. They had a nice international free agent signing, a couple breakout performances, and a couple nice prospects from the draft. However, it’s not enough to keep the Diamondbacks out of the conversation for worst system in baseball.

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:
None


Tier 2:

1. Jon Duplantier, RHP, 23 (Preseason #1)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Following up healthy, breakout 2017 campaign, with injury riddled 2018 season. Recently back in AA Jackson after biceps problems. Pitching well when healthy, should be part of MLB rotation sooner than later.

2. Daulton Varsho, C, 21 (Preseason #4)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Crushing it. Might be in AA if it weren’t for a bean ball breaking his hamate bone. Healthy again and picking up where he left off. Has only played at catcher this year, and is proving he can stay there with positive grades on his defense and pitch framing.


Tier 3:

3. Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm, SS, 20 (Preseason #6)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Ks often and takes big hacks, leading to streaky hitting. Recently promoted to A+ to play with the other premium Dback prospects in Visalia. Approach needs work, but can do other things you just can’t teach.

4. Taylor Widener, RHP, 23 (Preseason #18 in NYY write-up)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Good get in the 3 team trade sending away Anthony Banda & Brandon Drury. Breakout 2018 seeing an increased K% and decreased BB%. 142 K in 112.1 IP, has a swing and miss fastball, and is learning to go deeper in games.

5. Andy Yerzy, C, 19 (Preseason #8)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Started 2018 in instructionals working on his defense, and was unleashed to A- where he’s been destroying baseballs to a .319 .378 .460 line thus far. Has exclusively played catcher, and will be given every chance to stay there.

6. Drew Ellis, 3B, 22 (Preseason #9)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Doing what was expected of him so far. Hitting for some power and getting walks. Has even lowered his K%, and solid year for Ellis so far.

7. Jake McCarthy, OF, 20 (Preseason not ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Drafted #39 overall out of Virginia in recent 2018 draft. Living up to pre-draft scouting report with good contact, good eye, and great speed. Hitting .282/ .388/ .427 with 14 SB in 32 games.

8. Pavin Smith, 1B, 22 (Preseason #2)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Not impressing so far. Power was a question, and he improved to 10 HR but still owns a weak .239/.338/.375 slash line. Scouts are souring on him too, saying he’s not driving the ball, making too much weak contact.

9. Marcus Wilson, OF, 21 (Preseason #3)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Another disappointment from a top Dback prospect. ’18 OPS is at .656 down from .829 in ’17. Too many tools to disregard at this point, but would like to see better results.

10. Emilio Vargas, P, 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Didn’t stand out in the crowd of Dback #5 SP type arms in the preseason, but made huge strides in 2018, and definitely generating buzz as a mid-rotation arm.  140 K in 108 IP in A+, recently promoted to AA.

11. Kristian Robinson, OF, 17 (Preseason #23)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Arizona League
Arizona showed faith in his maturity and skills by letting him skip Dominican League and come straight to the states in AZ League. He’s showing he belongs and the Dbacks have to believe they have a good player in Robinson.

12. Kevin Cron, 1B, 25 (Preseason #29)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Cron just keeps improving. Once a stereotypical 4A profile he’s now a legit prospect. He was Southern League MVP last year, and this year is doing even better, lowering his K%, upping his power, and only slightly decreasing his walk rate, and putting up gaudy counting stats. Maybe Cron gets the first shot at 1B if Goldy leaves after 2019, and never lets go of it?? It’s a possibility.

13. Matt Tabor,  RHP, 19 (Preseason #13)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Promoted to A- ahead of other high school pitchers from same draft class. Mixed results, but showing good control.

14. Yoan Lopez, RHP, 25 (Preseason #26)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Lopez was the lone Diamondback in the 2018 Futures Games. He’s closing games in AA Jackson, striking out a ton of batters, and has the potential to dominant the final innings.


Tier 4:

15. Domingo Leyba,  MI, 22 (Preseason #10)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
Leyba is doing about exactly what he did in 2016 pre-injury. Makes good contact, but power and speed are lacking. Will probably make the majors, but I can’t see him making an impact as more than a useful utility type.

16. Geraldo Perdomo, SS, 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest Level 2018: A-
Pop-up prospect from 2016 international free agent signing class. Slashing .323/.445/.457 across 2 rookie levels and A- this year over 155 plate appearances….yes that’s a .445 OBP. He has 87 BB to just 62 Ks over his pro career to go along with extra base hit power. One to watch.

17. Buddy Kennedy, 3B, 19 (Preseason #21)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Hitting .327/.385/.484 in hitting friendly Pioneer League. Improved K% to 16%, having an impressive start to pro career, and is trending upwards.

18. Harrison Francis, RHP, 19 (Preseason #27)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie
Doing well, moving slowly. Has over a strikeout an inning, about 3 BB/9 and hasn’t allowed a home run yet in about 39 innings as a pro.

19. Alek Thomas, OF, 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
I consider Thomas a bit of a steal at #63 overall in the 2018 draft. He’s an uber strong athlete, should stick in CF with good range and defense. I think his bat will play too, with good on base skills, some pop, and a mature approach for a high school draftee.

20. Jorge Barrosa, OF, 16 (Preseason #42)
Highest 2018 Level: Dominican Summer League
.289/.398/.405 and 31 SB in 45 games this season. K:BB ratio nearly 1:1. Showing legitimate skills and hopefully gets a call up to stateside ball by end of season.

21. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, 26 (Preseason #18)
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
Career long MLB scoreless streak ended June 30. Arizona opted to give up prospects for Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman to fortify the bullpen for the playoff run this year, so Sherfy is stuck closing games in Reno.

22. Matt Mercer, RHP, 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Drafted 159th overall last June. He has an electric arm. He’s small so some say he’s a reliever long term, but he’ll be given every chance to stay a starter. Has more upside than the other early round arms selected by the Dbacks.

23. Eduardo Diaz, OF, 20 (Preseason #11)
Highest 2018 Level: A
Struggling in his first taste of full season ball. It’s his first time scuffling in pro ball, but he should keep getting chances. Has too many tools and too good a track record to be doing as bad as he is. Optimistic he can turn it around.

24. Jose Caballero, 2B, 31 (Preseason #35)
Highest 2018 Level: A
Caballero is raking .315/.383/.500 across A- and A this season. He’s fun to watch, can hit, and plays with high energy. I like this kid, and hope he gets a fair shot. Deep sleeper.

25. Taylor Clarke, RHP, 24 (Preseason #14)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Plugging along in the tough pitching environment of Reno. Nothing has changed his projection of #5 SP type. You might see him ranked higher elsewhere, but for fantasy purposes I’d rather gamble on a younger arm with more upside.

26. Eddie Hernandez, 2B/3B, 19 (Preseason #22)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Building on past successes with .338/.352./.468 line. Exciting player, but almost never walks. Needs improvement, but I’d consider him a deep sleeper.

27. Socrates Brito, OF, 25 (Preseason #19)
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
Socrates is doing what Socrates does….Flopping in very brief MLB auditions and proving he’s too good for AAA. I can’t quit him, I think he has MLB regular skills. Probably not going to happen for him in Arizona.

28. Anfernee Grier, OF, 22 (Preseason #16)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Injuries marring his 2018 season. Recently returned to play some Rookie level games. Getting passed on the Arizona minor league depth charts missing time and under-performing when healthy.

29. Blaze Alexander, SS, 19 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: Rookie Pioneer League
Drafted #339 in last June’s draft, signed for $500k. HUGE arm, maybe strongest arm in the entire draft of any player. Playing some 2B, 3B and SS in rookie ball, and off to encouraging start with the bat as well hitting .349/.455/.566 with 20BB and 24K across 30 games to start his pro career.

30. Alvin Guzman, OF, 16 (Preseason Not Ranked)
no stats
Guzman signed as an international free agent for $1.85M. He was ranked #12 in the class by Baseball America and #16 by MLB pipeline. He has a plus plus arm, plays good defense. He has an athletic, projectable body. Arizona has had some successes in the international market lately, and I think this is another one. Put a star next to this kid.

31. Dominic Miroglio, C, 23 (Preseason #43)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Miroglio’s playing with the organizations top prospects in A+ Visalia and showing that he’s a prospect in his own right. He’s hitting a solid .327/.394/.460. The only caveat is that he is old for the level, but he’s been impressive with the bat and the glove, and hopefully gets promoted and gets tested to see what kind of player he could be.

32.  Jared Miller, LHP, 24 (Preseason #15)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Started the year hoping to be a part of the MLB pen, but it’s been a bad year.  After making big control improvements each year of his career, fell off the planet with 54 BB in 40 IP in ’18.

33. Christian Walker, 1B/OF, 27 (Preseason #17)
Highest 2018 Level: MLB
Tough to consider him a prospect anymore at 27 years old. Getting a handful of MLB at bats, but mostly just mashing in Reno. If you have him in a AAA fantasy baseball league, you might be winning your league.

34. Joel Payamps, RHP, 24 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Recently promoted to AAA after making big strides in AA. Maintained his plus control (4.8 BB%). Saw a big increase to a  27.3 K%. We’ll see if he can succeed in Reno’s tough pitching environment.

35. Liover Peguero, SS17 (Preseason #t48)
Highest Level 2018: Rookie Arizona League
His .309/.356/.457 line in DSL was good enough to earn him a recent promotion to Rookie Arizona League. He’s played exclusively at SS position.

36. Kevin Ginkel, RHP, 24 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
12.8 K/9 and just 9 BB in 57 IP as a reliever this year.

37. Ildemaro Vargas, IF, 26 (Preseason #31)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Vargas is a good ball player. Makes good contact, versatile on defense, might get a cup of coffee in the majors this year. Unfortunately, none of this helps you in fantasy baseball.

38. Jackson Goddard, RHP, 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
99th pick in 2018 draft. Mid-rotation workhorse type. Had an inconsistent college career of high highs and low lows. Could start 2019 in full season Kane County.


Tier 5:

39. Jose Almonte, RHP, 22 (Preseason #24)
Highest 2018 Level: none
Has not pitched in 2018 due to an undisclosed injury.

40. Wilderd Patino, OF, 16 (Preseason # 38)
Highest 2018 Level: Dominican Summer League
Holding own as a 16 year old in the DSL, not hitting for much, but walking and not striking out a lot. Should play stateside in 2019.

41. Ryan Weiss, RHP, 21 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Weiss was taken 129th overall after a successful career at Wright State. He’s a tall righthander with a 3 pitch mix. Seems like a tough kid, who has overcome some adversity in his life.

42. Levi Kelly, RHP, 18 (Preseason Not Ranked)
no stats
Has some upside for a player drafted 249 overall. He’s a big, hard throwing kid that was recruited to LSU. A long way off as a prospect.

43. Tra Holmes, OF, 21 (Preseason #47)
Highest 2018 Level: A
Holmes is much improved from last years rough pro debut. He slashed .284/.373/.463 in 34 games at A- to earn a recent promotion to A ball. Was raw coming out of college, and looked lost at times last year, so the improvement this year is very good to see.

44. Jack Reinheimer, MI, 25 (Preseason #33)
Highest 2018 Level: AAA
Reinheimer is having a down year, and wasn’t particularly exciting before that.

45. Ryan Atkinson, RHP, 24 (Preseason #36)
Highest 2018 Level: AA
109 K in 98 IP, but 53 BB as well. Atkinson’s had an uphill battle to even be where he’s at, we’ll see if he can overcome his first bout of adversity at the pro level.

46. Mack Lemieux, LHP, 21 (Preseason #46)
Highest 2018 Level: A
Repeating Kane County this year, increasing his K% but also seeing a rise in his BB%. Needs to make a significant improvement to be more than organizational depth at this point.

47. Joey Rose, 3B, 20 (Preseason #20)
Highest 2018 Level: A
Demoted to A- Hillsboro after struggling mightily in class A Kane County. Doing slightly better but very disappointing season for Rose.

48. Renae Martinez, C, 24 (Preseason Not Ranked)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Yes, old for the level, but this is a thin system. There’s stuff to like here, he’s never hit below .313 at any stop in the minors. .382 is his worst OBP at any stop as well, with a career OPS of .890.

49. Ryan January, C, 20 (Preseason #41)
Highest 2018 Level: A-
Hasn’t found the stroke he had in his successful 2016 season before missing all of 2017. Slashing only .194/.359/.301  splitting time at catcher and the OF. Still lots of time to turn it around.

50. Ramon Hernandez, 3B, 22 (Preseason #34)
Highest 2018 Level: A+
Increased power this year, but is striking out more and still cannot take a walk.

 

Featured image of Daulton Varsho – via BaseballCensus.com

About Matthew Hammerling 7 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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