The Arizona Diamondbacks have two elite starting pitchers in their farm system, followed by solid infield and relief pitching depth. General Manager Kevin Towers has made multiple trades involving prospects over the past few seasons, and his actions have taken a toll on the volume of quality minor leaguers in the organization. However, Towers has shrewdly traded for overlooked players like Brandon Drury as well.
1. Archie Bradley, RHP 6’4” 225 lbs.
Bradley was the 7th overall pick in the 2011 draft and he finally began to realize his potential in 2013. He spent the majority of last year in Double-A, but made 5 starts in the California League. Bradley’s combined statistics were excellent as he posted a 1.84 ERA and had 162 K in 152 IP. His 1.21 WHIP was good and demonstrated improvement from 2012, but Bradley still needs to refine his command. His fastball works in the mid-90s and he has a plus power curveball. Bradley will be an ace if his consistency and command continue to improve.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP 6’3” 190 lbs.
2013 was Shipley’s first professional season and he split time between the Northwest League and Midwest League. Shipley’s numbers were fairly pedestrian last year, but they improved after his promotion to the Midwest League. His combined ERA (4.99) and WHIP (1.46) were hardly the results the Diamondbacks expected after drafting Shipley 15th overall in 2013. His fastball sits in the low- to mid-90s and he throws a plus curveball. Shipley has the tools to become a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors. However, he is unrefined at this point and needs to improve his command and overall feel for pitching as he is a converted position player.
3. Chris Owings, SS 5’10” 180 lbs.
Owings played in Triple-A and MLB in 2013, posting good stats at both stops. Owings hit .330 with 51 extra base hits (12 HR) and 20 SB in AAA. He also hit .291 with a .361 OBP in 61 Major League plate appearances, but didn’t show much power after he was called up. Owings should have good gap power in the majors and he needs to draw more walks in order to become a quality player. He is a good defender who can play both middle infield spots.
4. Jake Lamb, 3B 6’2” 200 lbs.
Lamb put up great numbers in the California League in 2013. He hit .303 with a .424 OBP, 20 doubles, and 13 HRs in 64 games. He can hit for average, power, and demonstrates good patience at the plate. Despite these qualities, Lamb strikes out more often than is desirable. While Lamb is a plus defender at 3B, he has the tools and athleticism to play other positions if necessary. This flexibility should only enhance his value to the organization.
5. Jake Barrett, RHP 6’3” 230 lbs.
Barrett has the tools to be a good Major League closer. He posted excellent combined stats last year in his time spent in both the California League and Southern League. His ERA (1.21), WHIP (0.98), and K/9 (10.2) were stellar. He made 52 appearances out of the bullpen and threw 52 innings. He still needs to refine his command to succeed at more advanced levels, but Barrett should develop into a productive member of a Major League bullpen.
6. Brandon Drury, 3B 6’2” 190 lbs.
Drury hit .302 with a .362 OBP last season in the Midwest League. He also had 51 doubles and 15 HRs. Drury was overlooked by scouts before this year and his 2012 numbers were terrible. Accordingly, scouts are divided on Drury as they are struggling to determine if 2013 was a fluke or indicative of growth. If he can repeat last season’s success, Drury will be much higher on next year’s list.
7. Aaron Blair, RHP 6’5” 230 lbs.
2013 was Blair’s first professional season. He pitched well in both the Northwest League and the Midwest League, but has yet to live up to his expectations as a former 1st round draft pick. His 3.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 7.6 K/9 were solid, yet unspectacular. Blair has a huge frame and his fastball works in the low- to mid-90s. Despite his frame and velocity, Blair is not a power pitcher and succeeds because of his mental makeup and approach. Blair may develop into a solid starter, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling.
8. Stryker Trahan, C 6’1” 215 lbs.
Trahan’s OBP and BA dipped significantly in 2013, but his HR and extra base hit numbers both increased. Due to this, Trahan is a hard player to figure out. He has the tools to be a solid hitter, especially for his position. However, he needs to continue to develop as a hitter and show consistency to become a good prospect. Last year, he hit .254 with a .328 OBP in the Pioneer League. Trahan cannot afford to put up similar stats again. While his hitting has been erratic, Trahan has improved defensively and should be able to stay behind the plate in the long run.
9. Matt Stites, RHP 5’11” 170 lbs.
Stites was outstanding in Double-A last season. His ERA was 2.08, his WHIP was 0.87, and he struck out 8.8 batters per nine innings in 46 relief appearances. His fastball touches 98 MPH, he has a plus slider, and he shows excellent control. Stites would be more highly regarded if he were taller. His height and slight frame raise durability concerns that will most likely relegate him to a middle relief role in the majors.
10. Sergio Alcantara, SS 5’10” 150 lbs.
Alcantara played in the Arizona League as a 16-year-old last season, which makes it difficult to determine the reliability of his statistics. While he didn’t flash much power or a respectable BA (.243), Alcantara’s OBP was .398. Alcantara is a high-potential prospect who has the tools to be a great defensive SS. If his bat continues to develop, Alcantara should be a solid gap hitter and an everyday Major League player.
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