I thought about how I would lead into this, the ranking of teams’ farm systems, but don’t have a good way to do it, other than say it is something that I like to tackle every year. Obviously, in the grand scheme of things my rankings aren’t going to make waves with Keith Law, John Sickels, or the staff at Baseball America. However, these rankings by any outlet are rather arbitrary in nature, and I like any of them, will try to give everybody some reasoning behind them. Scouting and prospects are a big part of the game. We can see that by how teams are clinging onto them in a lot of cases this year, instead of dealing them away for proven players. A lower ranked system doesn’t necessarily correlate to a bad team, and a highly ranked system doesn’t mean it’s a good major league team. It just gives us all a look at organizations who might get healthy in a few years, and which ones are going to have to find other means.
Anyway, this is supposed to be fun, so if you want to discuss, let’s do so….
Arizona had itself a pretty exciting 2011 draft, and for a system that was a little bit on the rise already, that just vaulted it to top 10 status heading into the 2012 season. The trade with the Oakland A’s weakened their system with the loss of Jarrod Parker and Colin Cowgill in particular, but there is still plenty to like here. Let me show you some of those players.
Top 10 Prospects:
1. Trevor Bauer (SP)- Bauer is more than likely going to end up pitching for the D-Backs by the middle of the summer. His two best pitches are a mid-90′s fastball and a hammer curve ball. There is several other pitches that he can throw including a change, slider, and a splitter, so you can never be sure what you will get from Bauer.
2. Tyler Skaggs (SP)- Skaggs was a minor league lefty that the Diamondbacks acquired for Dan Haren, and got ridiculed greatly for it. A year and some later, the deal doesn’t look so bad. Mainly because of Skaggs is potential 3 above average pitches and #2 starter ceiling.
3. Archie Bradley (SP)- Bradley is a scouts dream. His frame is outstanding. His fastball and curve ball already look like two major league pitches, and he is athletic enough to maintain his delivery. He will have to work on developing a change up, but most think he will. Top of the rotation potential.
4. David Holmberg (SP)- Holmberg is a lefty that is beginning to rocket up prospect rankings almost everywhere. For him, it was simply a matter of adding to his fastball. Holmberg can now get his fastball into the low 90′s regularly, and add that to an above average change up and command, and you have a potential mid-rotation starter.
5. A.J. Pollock (OF)- There are some that consider Pollock a 4th outfielder type, or at most just a solid regular. I personally believe he is a solid regular for sure, although I have only witnessed him in brief stints, I was impressed. The guy doesn’t have dynamic tools, but he can do everything well, and there is a place for guys like this.
6. Patrick Corbin (SP)- Corbin was the other left-handed pitcher acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Angels, and often can get overlooked. Not sure why though. He is still projectable, and already owns a low 90′s fastball, slider and change, all which can be above average. Throws strikes too.
7. Andrew Chafin (SP)- Chafin is a power lefty drafted in 2011, and could move quickly in 2012. Some see him as a power reliever, and he may have to be that, but for now, he will continue to sharpen his secondaries as a starter. Has mid-rotation type ceiling.
8. Matt Davidson (3B)- Davidson was drafted along with fellow 3B prospect Bobby Borchering. It appears that Davidson is the one that has taken the step forward out of the two. Projects as a pedestrian 3B defensively, but does have power, and also quite a bit of swing and miss.
9. Adam Eaton (OF)- Eaton is one of those guys that will have to prove himself off of the 4th outfielder label that was placed on him early. Not sure why again. He hits for average, has pop, can run well, and can throw well. Also has a love for the game and plays hard.
10. Anthony Meo (SP)- Meo is a guy that could start or relieve. Given the depth of pitching in the system, Meo might end up in relief. There is some effort in the delivery, but his fastball/slider combo can get swings and misses. He also throws a curve that needs work and owns a solid change.
Sleepers: Pedrotty and Tyler Green (SP). Pedrotty won’t wow you with stuff, but is able to locate well, keep hitters off balance, and has a frame that could generate more fastball. Green is a power pitcher that gets ground balls. If his secondaries come along, so will he.
Rebound Candidate: Krauss. While many considered Krauss the better prospect between him and Paul Goldschmidt, Goldschmidt left him in the dust in 2011. Krauss struggled with the bat, and is a candidate to bounce back some in 2012.
Verdict: If pitching is the most valuable commodity, the Diamondbacks have it in spades. They are carrying 3 of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball on the mound, and have some other guys that are intriguing. I didn’t mention young guys like Blake Perry, Robbie Rowland, Patrick Schuster, and J.R. Bradley either. Position wise, it is a little scarce. Guys like Davidson, Pollock, Borchering and Krauss all have some holes in their game and don’t project to be superstars. In fact, there is no superstar positionally in this system. Ryan Wheeler could provide the big club with help in 2012. Keon Broxton is an athlete worth watching, and of course one time uber-prospect Wagner Mateo is in their system. Overall though, the pitching strength puts this system in the top 10.