After a prolonged time spent on the NL Central I finally move on to the NL West. I would like to remind everybody that "top 15 prospect" articles for any NL East, or NL central team can be found below, or by clicking the "Top 15 Prospects" tag.
I created this blog series to get the casual fan acquainted with their favorite team's top prospects. My rankings are constructed by me using a variety of factors: what a prospect's potential can be, how the prospect has performed in the past, how well the prospect performs in 2008, age, and the minor league level (MLL) the prospect is currently playing at. The success of teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, and the World Series champions, the Philadelphia Phillies has stressed the importance of having a good farm system, and impact prospects. So, I have made it my task to pull out the top 15 prospects of every organization, and analyze them for you.
One thing I like is interaction from different members, and readers. So, if you do read the article, please just leave a comment at the bottom. I am perfectly ok with the comment ranging from your appreciation, to total disgust of my negative thoughts about your favorite team's future. I am not an expert, and am bound to make some mistakes, so if you see one point it out. I would like to this blog to have a forum style atmosphere, if you feel I am missing a prospect, or overvaluing/undervaluing a prospect, tell me, and tell me why you think so, also if you have any questions leave them for me, and I will answer to the best of my ability.
Arizona Diamondbacks Top 15 Prospects
1. Jarrod Parker RHSP Age: 20 MLL: A-
Parker takes over for Max Scherzer at the top of this list. In 2008 Parker pitched 118 innings with an ERA of 3.44, and striking out 117 batters. I am a little disappointed he did not move beyond low A, but Parker is only 20, and could start 2009 in AA. Parker has excellent stuff with a mid-high 90s fastball, which he has good command of. He also throws a possible plus slider, which he tosses in the mid 80s, a curveball he throws in the high 70s, and a developing changeup which should be an average pitch in the future. Parker could become an ace in the future – and at worst he is a great number three – could you imagine a D’backs rotation featuring four legitimate aces in , , Scherzer, and Parker?
2. Daniel Schlereth LHRP Age: 22 MLL: A-/R
I do not like to rank relievers this high, but the Diamondbacks are pretty thin in the farm these days and Schlereth is going to make an impact on the major league team. Schlereth throws a live fastball up to 94 mph, but his best pitch is his power fastball, which may be a plus, plus pitch in the future. Schlereth was great in his pro debut – which was 12 innings – totally an ERA of 1.50, and 20 strikeouts. Schlereth is definitely a late innings reliever, but whether he is best suited for the eighth inning or in a closers role is yet to be seen.
3. Gerardo Parra OF Age: 21 MLL: AA/A+
Parra hits for a good average - .286 in 2008 – and has good speed, but still is lacking power. He also has pretty good plate discipline, with a K:BB ratio of less than 2:1. Parra is an average fielder, with a slightly above-average arm, which may best be suited for a corner, rather than centerfield. I have been high on Parra in the past, but he has only produced limited power, which most likely only going to equate to doubles in the big leagues. He is 21, and the power could come, but if it does not Parra will only be a slightly below-average everyday outfielder.
4. Wade Miley LHSP Age: 22 MLL: a
Miley is a 2008 draftee – like Schlereth – Miley only pitched eleven innings in short-season A ball over the summer. Miley throws his fastball between 87, and 92 mph with good sinking action. He also throws a plus two-plane breaking curveball, and a changeup. Miley is inconsistent with the command of his fastball – but, does not have that problem with his curveball. Miley is probably a back-end of the rotation starter.
5. Cesar Valdez RHSP Age: 23 MLL: AA/A+
Valdez is the best major league ready pitcher in the Diamondbacks system. In 2008 he pitched 160 innings striking out 140 batters, and finishing the season with a 3.14 ERA. He does not, however, have overpowering stuff. He throws his fastball in the high 80s, on occasion touching 90 mph. His two best pitches are his above average changeup, and curveball. He profiles at the back-end of the rotation.
6. Reynaldo Navarro SS Age: 19 MLL: R
Navarro is a young hitter who repeated rookie ball in 2008. He is great defensively, with excellent range, and an average arm – maybe a little below average arm. Navarro has some power, which may grade as average in the future, but is still raw as a hitter. In 2008 he hit .258, with a .323 OBP. He also stole 17 bases, despite bad base running instincts, and tallied a K:BB ratio of 3:1 – not good by any means, but he is still young, and raw offensively. Navarro could be an average defensive minded shortstop with some pop, or he could be a utility infielder, either way I think he is a major leaguer.
7. Bryan Augenstein RHSP Age: 22 MLL: A
Augenstein pitched 131 innings in 2008, with a 2.74 ERA, and 99 Ks. His velocity has jump a bit, and now throws his fastball up 94 mph, and consistently keeps it in the low 90s. His secondary pitchers, a slider and changeup, are below average, and are at best only average in the future. He has great command of all three of his pitches, though. Augustein can be a very solid number four or five starter because of his plus command.
8. Collin Cowgill OF Age: 22 MLL: A-
Cowgill had a pretty good 2008 season. He hit .266, with a .366 OBP, and .845 OPS (on base + slugging). He also hit 12 home runs in 280 at bats (22-28 over the course of a full season). His K:BB ratio was a mediocre 2:1. Cowgill is average defensively with the versatility to play all three outfield positions, he has an average arm. Cowgill grades average across the spectrum, for the most part. Assuming he sticks at center he can be an average everyday centerfielder.
9. Josh Collmenter RHSP Age: 22 MLL: A-
Collmenter throws a deceptive fastball in the high 80s-low 90s with cutting action. He also throws a big loop curveball and a changeup, he also will throw a knuckleball, and eephus pitch once in a great while. In 145 innings, in 2008, he had a 3.41 ERA, and struck out 123 batters. His stuff profiles him as a middle reliever, but he is a great competitor so, he may compete for a rotation spot one day if he continues to find success in the minors.
10. Jaime D’Antona 3B Age: 26 MLL: AAA
D’Antona turned to fire in 2008, hitting .365, with a .405 OBP, and an OPS of 1.009! He also hit 21 homeruns, while producing a K:BB ratio slightly over 2:1. He is an older prospect, yes, but, he will get a shot in spring training to prove last season was not a fluke.
11. Brooks Brown RHSP Age: 23 MLL: AA
Brooks finished 2008 by pitching 144 innings with a 4.18 ERA, and 112 strikeouts. His velocity dropped a couple mph, as he was throwing in the high 80s, and low 90s. His slider is his best pitch, but his slider is below-average. He could be a fifth starter, or middle reliever.
12. Ryne White 1B Age: 22 MLL: A-/R
Another 2008 draftee, White was taken in the fourth round of June’s draft. He finished the year with a .286 batting average, and .358 OBP. He hit 7 HRs in 287 ABs, and had a K:BB ratio of under 2:1. He is a short first baseman, which is bit of an oddity, and may limit his homerun potential. If the power does come, however, he can be a starter in the majors. Next season, if he plays a full season, I would like to see close to 20 homers, and a K:BB ratio near closer to 1:1 than 2:1.
13. Barry Enright RHSP Age: 20 MLL: A+
Enright pitched in 164 innings in 2008, his first full season. He had an ERA of 4.44, while striking out 143 batters. He lacks a true out pitch, relying on his command of his fastball to get batters out. He also throws a slider, and changeup, but neither is a plus pitch. He has seen some success in pro ball, so I do not see hwy he can’t be a major league reliever, it may be too much to say he could ever start for a big league team.
14. Bryan Shaw RHRP Age: 21 MLL: A-/R
Shaw throws a mid-low 90s fastball, as well as a hard slider. He did not have much success in his first stint in pro baseball, but it is too early to make that a knock on his back-end of the rotation potential.
15. John Whitesell 1B Age: 26 MLL: AAA
Why not? The Diamondbacks need a fifteenth prospect, and it was either Whitesell who tore up AAA – more on that in a sentence, or two – or, Wes Roemer a meh pitcher who is best suited for the bullpen or, Pedro Ciraco who had a K:BB ratio of 4:1. Whitesell hit .328 in 2008 with 26 homeruns, he is probably going to get a chance in spring training, or at least at some point in 2009 to see if he can hit in the majors.
Strengths: How about The Diamondbacks have two potential aces in those two, and they have Webb and Haren in front of them, so the rotation is set for a little while. Daniel Schlereth is a great LEFT-HANDED reliever at the back-end of the bullpen.… and – although he is not a prospect anymore.
Weaknesses: After Parker, and Schlereth there are not many big impact prospects. They have a few good prospects, who may or may not become viable major leaguers, but they lack a true second tier of prospects. Due to recent trades, most notably the Dan Haren trade – which sent Carlos Gonzalez, and to the A’s, along with others – the Diamondbacks have gone from one of the best farm systems, to one of the worst.
Next Up: The Rockies