The Diamondbacks have one of the best farm systems in terms of sneaky depth of any system in the league. It became clear a few seasons ago that they weren’t going to compete with the Dodgers and to an extent Colorado without restocking their roster with young, homegrown talent and that’s what they’ve been busy doing. They used some nice trades to bolster it as well as drafting well over the last few years in the next couple of seasons, we’ll see a brand new looking, young, and talented Arizona roster.
Top Prospects In The System
Pos. - OF Ht/Wt - 6’3” 190 lbs. Bats: R Throws: R Age: 19
Level - Class-A Signed - July 2017 ETA: 2022
Grades: Hit: 50 Power: 60 Run: 55 Arm: 60 Field: 55
Robinson was one of the top international prospects in his signing class of 2017 as very toolsy outfielder with a very athletic frame. That hype has paid off to this point as he’s been aggressively moved up through the system to full-season A-ball even though he’s still just 19 years old and a raw talent. The calling-card skill for Robinson is his prodigious right-handed power that could produce 35-plus home run power at the highest level and works well from line-to-line as there is little pull tendency in his approach even for a young hitter. The approach at the plate needs more discipline to remove some swing-and-miss from his game (144 Ks in 126 career games) but he also has patience with a .366 OBP through that span too. There is a nice amount of speed with Robinson right now as well with 29 steals in his career but keep in mind that he may lose a step as he continues to fill out his 6’3” frame and so the steals totals may drop off as he keeps moving up through the system. Because of the frame size and likely losing a step, he will more than likely move off of center field and to right field where his huge arm fits very nicely defensively and the bat profiles as well.
Pos. - OF Ht/Wt - 5’10” 165 lbs. Bats: L Throws: L Age: 19
Level - Short Season Class-A Drafted - 2019 (1.16) ETA: 2023
Grades: Hit: 60 Power: 40 Run: 70 Arm: 55 Field: 60
Taken in the middle of the first round of the 2019 draft out of the Washington High School ranks due to his plus-hit tool and double-plus speed which were too appetizing to pass up. Part of his draft profile reads as follows “Carroll’s height and size, or lack thereof, belies his playing abilities and promise as a true center fielder. He has a 60-grade hit tool and a 70-grade speed tool with everything else being average or below at this point, though there is still more filling out to do framewise that might add to his 40-grade power and bring it up to average when all is said and done. The swing utilizes a pretty big leg kick and a big first step right now that can make his swing long and have a bent front leg as opposed to a straight one but if he shortens it up more consistent contact can be made against better pitching.” In the first 42 games of his pro career, Carroll slashed .299/.409/.487 with two homers, 36 runs, 20 RBI, and 18 steals which pretty well fits with the breakdown above. There is hope that he will continue to physically mature and with that would come an uptick in power but even if the power doesn’t come, he’s a top of the lineup type hitter who can play very good defensive center field, giving him a high floor in the majors.
Pos. - OF Ht/Wt - 5’11” 175 lbs. Bats: L Throws: L Age: 20
Level - Advanced-A Drafted - 2018 (2.63) ETA: 2022
Grades: Hit: 60 Power: 45 Run: 60 Arm: 40 Field: 60
I promise I didn’t just copy and paste the stats for Corbin Caroll for Alek Thomas. They’re just that similar of players. Thomas was signed for a $1.2 million bonus to keep him from a TCU commitment when he was drafted in 2018 and so far that has paid off as he’s already completed a full season split between Class-A and High-A and was the Diamondbacks representative in the Futures Game. In 114 games last season, Thomas slashed .300/.379/.450 with 10 homers, 76 runs, 55 RBI, and 15 steals between both levels with 30 XBH thrown in. His left-handed swing is a nice line drive producing stroke already and the power will fill in to hit 15 or so home runs a year at the highest level while being a plus-hitter. He did ok against same-handed pitchers but did fare better versus righties with 37 of 40 XBH coming off RHP including all 10 of his home runs. Defensively and offensively he is a clean fit in Center or Left while being a likely candidate for the two-hole in the lineup in the majors.
Pos. - C Ht/Wt - 5’10” 190 lbs. Bats: L Throws: R Age: 23
Level - Double-A Drafted - 2017 (CBB.68) ETA: 2021
Grades: Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 55 Arm: 45 Field: 50
Varsho has been one of my favorite backstop prospects for a while now simply because of his skillset as an offensive catcher. Just like him coming out of college from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he’s continued to produce with little fanfare in the minors and among prospect writers. Varsho has played 241 games in the minors and is slashing .301/.372/.507 with 37 home runs, 169 runs, 142 RBI, and 47 steals which paces to that slash line with 25 home runs, 114 runs, 95 RBI, and 32 steals over a 162-game campaign. Clearly he won’t run that much at the higher levels but that stat line is eerily similar to J.T. Realmuto though he’s not the defensive catcher that Realmuto is. His arm strength and catch-and-throw ability are still a bit of works in progress but blocking and receiving-wise he’s where he needs to be already. He may get moved from behind the plate to make his offensive prowess shine a bit more but the Diamondbacks are willing to let him stay behind the plate for a while to come making him the most intriguing guy at the position in a while.
Pos. - SS Ht/Wt - 6’3” 184 lbs. Bats: S Throws: R Age: 20
Level - A-Advanced Signed - July 2016 ETA: 2022
Grades: Hit: 55 Power: 45 Run: 60 Arm: 60 Field: 60
Perdomo was a defensive and athletic standout in the 2016 international signing class and he’s put those calling cards to work as he’s already advanced to High-A in his first full season of pro ball. The soft hands, quick actions, and a great internal clock allow him to make all the flashy defensive plays you need from a shortstop while the plus-arm strength makes all the throws a shortstop needs to make as well. The bat shouldn’t be overlooked just because of his defensive abilities as the hit tool is above-average and the same speed that helps on defense allows him to be a serious threat on the basepaths when stealing bags. The power isn’t great yet, but he’s still lanky and young meaning there is physical projection left in his 6’3” frame for more power to develop especially with the bat speed and barrel control he already displays from both sides of the plate. The approach will help him develop the bat as well as he’s walked more than he’s struck out in his minor league career as well (169-148). Perdomo possesses Gold Glove abilities on defense while being a potential impact guy on the basepaths with double-digit home run upside if the power comes through.
Prospects To Watch For
LHP Age: 18 Short-Season Class-A ETA: 2023
Taken with the Diamondbacks’ second first-round pick in 2019 at 26th overall, part of his draft profile read as follows: “Walston is the definition of a projectable southpaw out of the North Carolina high school ranks. He needs to add about 40-50 pounds to his frame and with that will come increased velocity though he already sits low-90s right now. The curveball is his best pitch right now and is a plus-offering followed by his fastball and changeup. The velocity isn’t great right now but the stuff is there as the slider and curve and changeup are all thrown with good feel and knowledge of how to get hitters out.” His first taste of pro ball saw his velocity tick up to the mid-90s regularly and his curveball is already the best in the system and a weapon versus both handedness of hitter. The changeup and slider have been the focus of development right now to try and get him to a point where he has four above-average or better pitches. The arm action and delivery is clean and repeatable and should only gain durability with more strength added to his lanky 6’5” frame. That combined with the stuff projects him as a frontline starter in a few years from now.
OF/1B Age: 23 Double-A ETA: 2021
Beer was one of the most prolific hitters in recent memory in the College ranks throughout his career at Clemson but he slipped to the late first-round in the draft because of concerns about his hitting ability. That might sound like an oxymoron but it depends on what bat material we’re talking about. With a composite bat, like in college, he hit .321/.489/.648 in three years at Clemson with 56 homers and twice as many walks as strikeouts while in the Cape Cod League with wooden bats, the offense was significantly worse as well as concerns about his fielding ability sprang up. Since coming over from Houston in a trade for Zack Greinke , he has really shown a knack for hitting. He hit 26 homers in 2019 including 16 in his first 63 games at Double-A as some mechanical tweaks helped improve his plate coverage from the left side of the dish. However, his defensive issues continued to rear their ugly head as he moved from left field to first base exclusively in Double-A but still had several errors in a brief amount of games. His power is unquestioned and he’s got at least an average hit tool plus a great ability to draw walks, the problem is that if his defense doesn’t improve, he’ll need the universal DH to come to the NL to really make an impact for the Diamondbacks roster.
RHP Age: 21 Class-A ETA: 2022
Frias was a strong-armed third baseman when Arizona signed him in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic and almost immediately he made the move to the mound as the arm produced enough velocity to work as a pitcher. Not only does it work, he’s one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the system now with two plus-pitches and a third with potential plus upside. The fastball has major velocity as it sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and touches 99 mph routinely with devastating life to it. A spike curveball is the second plus-pitch he has at the moment and it’s a true 12-to-6 breaking pitch with huge depth to it and it’s a weapon against RHH. The changeup rounds out the arsenal as a split-changeup that sits in the upper-80s and bottoms out near the plate making him really tough against LHH as well. Across 76.1 innings over two levels of A-ball in 2019, he struck out 101 and walked 29 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. A loose arm mitigates the max effort delivery he has to hit the velocity but he will need to add weight to his 180-pound, 6’3” frame to really add durability and innings load. He’s got the upside of a high-strikeout number-three starter or potentially number-two starter.
OF Age: 18 Rookie Ball ETA: 2023
Patino was ranked as the 26th-best player in the 2016-17 international signing class, he was originally slated to sign with Texas but an elbow injury wiped out the deal and the Diamondbacks swooped in. A second elbow surgery followed before he hit his stride in rookie ball in 2019 where his advanced skills started to make an appearance. Patino can hit for average and once he matures physically, and stays healthy, the line drive swing he has now, that gets the bat to the ball quickly, will start to show more power and he should be at least an average power hit when fully developed. The speed is a plus-tool for him and allows him to play a solid defensive center field while also creating some havoc on the base paths. The biggest thing for Patino at this point is staying on the field and getting reps under his belt.
OF Age: 17 Rookie Ball ETA: 2024
Espinal was signed for $200,000 in the 2018-19 and Arizona wanted him for his premium athleticism that made him stand out from others in his signing class with plus-speed and plus-fielding tools. However, once he got into pro ball, Espinal surprised the Diamondbacks with his ability to swing the bat with a .358/.412/.460 slash line as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. He then made his stateside debut in the Arizona Rookie League and he kept up the hot bat. Being a lefty hitter and having plus-speed allowed him to post 26 steals in 56 combined games in 2019 while showing off the wheels in centerfield. The youngster still has physical maturing to do as he’s just 180 pounds and six feet even so that might help some power come into his game but right now he’s more of a hit and speed centerfielder with some potential ahead of him if power comes in. A potential Gold-Glove center fielder who could be a leadoff type hitter is how he profiles.
Other Top-300 Prospects of Note
RHP Age: 20 Class-A ETA: 2023
Kelly was an eighth-round pick in the 2018 draft out of the Florida Prep ranks and then signed for an above-slot deal, forgoing a commitment to LSU. The 6’4” and 205-pound frame are prototypical for a pitcher and he backs that up with a nice arsenal that’s anchored by his mid-90s fastball thrown with a great angle and life. The two-plane slider is a plus pitch and some put it as his main pitch and not secondary to the fastball. He’s been developing his changeup to make him less predictable and it’s coming along but it’s a distant third offering. Kelly profiles as a backend starter but his max-effort delivery could lead him to a fastball-slider reliever which could move him faster through the system.
1B Age: 24 Double-A ETA: 2021
Smith was the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 draft after having a monster Junior campaign at UVA but since then he’s struggled a bit to find his footing consistently in the pro game. The second half of the 2019 season with a .337/.407/.548 slash with seven homers and 15 doubles in the final 60 games of the Generals’ season. His plate discipline and hit tool are his best traits while he works on getting the power he showed in college to show up in pro games. He should still have a role as an everyday first baseman at least defensively and as a plus-hitter but he really needs the power to show up to lock in that role.