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The Diamondbacks have shipped out their most recent top picks, improving the MLB rotation but at the same time leaving the farm a little thin at the top. I would have definitely considered Dansby Swanson in the first tier, and Touki Toussaint would have been my top prospect among the more distant ETAs. What’s done is done, and there are still some solid if not elite pieces in this system. The shine wore off of Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley a bit, but they are still strong options and should contribute to the rotation shortly. Meanwhile Brandon Drury and Peter O’Brien could have some value with their bats. Cuban import Yasmany Tomas made his much anticipated debut in 2015, and while the 25-year-old did hit nine homers, fantasy owners would like to see more of his raw pop surface in his sophomore season.

2015 Graduates
Jake Lamb | Nick Ahmed | Yasmany Tomas | Robbie Ray

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Brandon Drury, 2B/3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats:
567 PA, .303/.344/.412, 5 HR, 4 SB, 6% BB, 13% K

I’m a fan of Drury despite his lack of a big ceiling. The bat is solid, and there’s enough pop to get to 15-18 homers, especially in Arizona. A .280 batting average with 15 homers doesn’t do much in shallow leagues at the hot corner, but it’s just fine at the keystone. Drury has logged time at both positions and isn’t necessarily blocked at either spot. He’s still just 23, so there’s room for a little more power to develop as well.

Socrates Brito, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/MLB
2015 Stats:
522 PA, .300/.339/.451, 9 HR, 20 SB, 6% BB, 16% K

Brito might end up having the most fantasy value in this group when it’s all said and done. He can hit for some power and he’s a plus runner, so it’s not hard to see him getting to 15 homers and 20+ steals. At the moment it’s hard to see where he’d find playing time though. He’s on the same side of a platoon as Peralta, who’s currently penciled in at left field, and Tomas and Pollock have the other two outfield positions filled. Still, we should see Brito this season and an injury or trade could open the door for him after he polishes up his game in Triple-A.

Peter O’Brien, C/OF | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats:
534 PA, .284/.332/.551, 26 HR, 1 SB, 6% BB, 23% K

After bouncing around the outfield last season, the Diamondbacks seem committed to O’Brien as a catcher again. He was moved from the Yankees two years ago, and he’s always had big raw power (he hit 34 homers in 2014). The problem is finding him a defensive home and there are more than a few reports that question his bat. Since Welington Castillo is already handling primary catching duties, I could see the DBacks taking their time with developing O’Brien in AAA again. He works great as a second catcher with some upside, but I’m not sure I’d want him as my guy in one-catcher formats.

Archie Bradley, RHP | Age: 23 ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats:
29.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Bradley took a liner off his face, and the injury (along with a nasty 5.6 BB/9 in the majors) led to a disappointing big league debut. Certainly this is still a pitching prospect that should be owned in all formats, but it looks like there could be some hiccups along the way as he finds his control. The raw stuff (+FB/+CB) says there’s still a frontline ceiling, but the walk rates suggest maybe a #3 starter is a more realistic outlook.

Braden Shipley, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
156.2 IP, 3.50 ERA,3.2 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

The perception is that Shipley had a down year and the scouting reports aren’t as hot on him as they were before, but honestly his numbers weren’t that far off from what he did in 2014. The only thing that took a major turn for the worse was his strikeout rate that dipped from 9.1 to 6.8 K/9. Shipley’s relatively new to pitching, but he added another 30 innings to his workload from 2014 and the ceiling is still a #3 starter. He should see AAA this season and has a shot to get a cup of coffee later this year.

Gabby Guerrero, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
488 PA, .222/.258/.343, 7 HR, 11 SB, 5% BB, 22% K

Guerrero was a hot pickup after two impressive seasons in rookie ball and the Cal League, but Double-A proved to be a challenge. It’s tough to buy any prospect off of a big offensive season in High Desert, but there could also be a buy low opportunity when they let their owners down the following year as Guerrero has. He hit .300 in the AFL, and it could just be a matter of making adjustments to better pitching before his stats rebound. There’s pop, speed, and good enough defense to get a long look in an outfield corner. Plenty of upside here.

Jack Reinheimer, SS | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
547 PA, .270/.342/.363, 5 HR, 21 SB, 9% BB, 17% K

Reports on Reinheimer sound like one of these grinder middle infield types who hits for contact, steals bags, and just generally plays a little over his head. I don’t think he’ll have much value in shallow leagues, but he might be worth keeping on the radar in deeper formats if he sticks up the middle and carves out a utility role.

Yoan Lopez, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
54 IP, 4.17 ERA, 4.0 BB/9, 6.3 K/9

Lopez struggled in his first season out of Cuba, mainly due to his lack of control. There’s a plus fastball and slider in his arsenal, and of course there’s still the chance he makes it in a rotation. But at this point he’s probably best reserved for deeper dynasty formats since there’s the real possibility he tops out as a back end starter or even a reliever.

Others: Zack Godley, Victor Reyes, Jake Barrett, Dawel Lugo, Jimmie Sherfy


Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.

Isan Diaz, MI | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats:
312 PA, .360/.436/.640, 13 HR, 12 SB, 11% BB, 21% K

Even though the ultimate result might not be more than a 15/15 player up the middle, Diaz is a guy whose ownership I admittedly checked in on in my dynasty leagues while researching this list. It’s hard to ignore the high walk rate, power, and speed in such a limited number of plate appearances, even at this level. It’s early, but I’m definitely putting him on my radar.

Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats:
76.2 IP, 2.00 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Huang’s numbers are pretty, and there’s reason to believe in them despite the low minors competition. Huang has above-average command and two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup. I’m not saying run out and grab him in all leagues, but if he repeats this success in Double-A, don’t be surprised if he blows up.

Marcus Wilson, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats:
249 PA, .258/.357/.338, 1 HR, 7 SB, 13% BB, 24% K

Wilson is toolsy, but it’s mostly projection at this point and he’s a risky investment in dynasty leagues. His best tools are his speed and defense, and you’re hoping that the rest of the center fielder’s game gels together as he advances through the minors and matures physically. He’s not a total waste of a deep league minors slot by any means, but I’d rather wait until Wilson has shown us a little more on the offensive side of the ball.

Colin Bray, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats:
560 PA, .308/.370/.410, 3 HR, 27 SB, 8% BB, 19% K

There’s not much to Bray’s game outside of his double-plus speed, so at best we’re looking at some top-of-the-order SAGNOF that contributes runs and steals to your fantasy lineup. I like that he’s a switch hitter with good plate discipline, but realistically he’s not a name you need to worry about yet in most leagues.

Cody Reed, LHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats:
63.1 IP, 3.27 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 10.2 K/9

I’ll wager that at least one dynasty player drafts the wrong Cody Reed this preseason. Solid control and a tasty strikeout rate make Reed interesting in fantasy, but there’s a long road ahead with just 90+ pro innings under his belt. There’s some reliever risk here like with most pitching prospects, and personally I’d see how he fares against some tougher competition before diving in.

Alex Young, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk/A(ss)
2015 Stats:
7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

The Diamondbacks selected Young 43rd overall in the 2015 draft, and being a college arm he should move pretty quickly through the low minors. Young is average across the board, but the southpaw should carve out a role as a BORP or high-leverage reliever.

Domingo Leyba, MI | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats:
562 PA, .237/.277/.309, 2 HR, 10 SB, 5% BB, 16% K

Sunday Leyba is a better hitter than he is a power or speed guy, and it’s hard to recommend him in anything but really deep dynasty leagues. At this point there doesn’t appear to be a high enough fantasy ceiling to warrant burning a hole in your roster for three years.

Others: Stryker Trahan, Sergio Alcantara, Jeferson Mejia, Anthony Banda, Ryan Burr


2016 Minor League Preview Index

   
  1. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Not a Diamondbacks question, but my first round, first-year player draft pick has come up. At pick #7, it’s pretty much played out like your New Blood Top 25 article. I’m looking at Happ, Kyle Tucker and Eddy Julio Martinez. I guess Maeda too, but an SP4 in the first round seems….wrong, somehow.

    I like Tucker’s power potential, but Happ with 2B eligibility may swing me in his direction. EJM’s reports vary wildly from “Andruw Jones” to slightly above-average OFer.

    Help me separate Happ and Tucker.

    Thanks.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      different ETAs…I’d go with Happ personally

  2. Theo says:
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    Hey Mike

    Who would you rather have over the next 3 years…
    Schwarber or Seager?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      prolly Seager

  3. Mike Schwab says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Keeper question. 8 team H2H points based league. Can keep 15 forever. Sample of our scoring. Top 10 hitters from last year scored from 897 to 798 and top 10 pitchers from 847 to 639. I have Encarnacion, Rendon, Machado, Baez, Carlos Gonzalez, Harper, Pollock, Miggy, Hosmer, Heyward, Sano, Monchado, Devon Travis, Teheran, Taijuan Walker, Lester Giolito, Kluber, Richards & Corbin. What 5 to drop? Thanks.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      hmmm Corbin, Walker, Baez, Teheran, Travis would be my cuts there

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      lol

      • Shill Team 6 says:
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        @Mike: I really missed that Dean clip. I’m bringing it back.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Peter O’Brien! There’s a flashback name… I remember he was the hot name to grab for a 2nd catcher last year for about a week… Swept through draft season, then did nothing… Maybe that’s the O’Brien’s hurricane I’ve heard about…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      haha I think we’re due for another visit from the O’Brien hurricane this year

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nah, they’re all Welington and good

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          pun points…congratulations…you’ve unlocked “Tuffy Gosewich” gold card

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Can I put it back in the stack and pick again?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              sure…but beware the dreaded Benito Santiago

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                You threw that name out from one knee, didn’t you?

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  I did! that damn card was the bane of my existence growing up…every dang pack

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Topps only made 45 million of them, why is mine worth $.00001?

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      haha

        • Christine Michael: one Unlucky Whitehead (just pop him or not) says:
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          @Grey: most of last season they did only play beef welington about 60ish % of the time, lower than most catcher starters. i’m not saying for normal leagues that this really bumps o’brien too much, just takes away from beef welington (just like last year). he still ended up very valuable catcher of course, esp if you had bench space for a 2nd catcher for all of his off days, so not really for most leagues of course.

  5. Richard says:
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    Took over a team in a 10 team, standard roto at the end of last season that needed an overhaul. Made trades to get younger and now have to decide on keepers and would appreciate your insight.
    I can keep up to 10, which would count as my first 10 rounds of drafting.
    Here is the list.
    Bryant, Freeman, Schwarber, Chris Davis, Puig, Adam Jones, Cano, A. Russell, Moncada, Judge, Gallo, Peraza, Chapman, Giles, Cueto

    Which 5 (or more) would you drop?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      this is really tough…Peraza and Gallo. One of the two closers. Maybe Judge and either Freeman or Cueto?

      • Richard says:
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        Yeah, In I’m thinking about trading the pitching to people who are planning to contend. Maybe trying to trade older bats like Cano and Jones as well. Then keeping 10 mostly young bats and building back up my pitching staff for when I’m ready to contend in a couple years.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I think that’s a solid plan

          • Richard says:
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            So out of the really young guys that I have, you would value Schwarber, Russell, and Moncada ahead of Judge, Gallo, and Peraza?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              yup, exactly

              • Richard says:
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                Much appreciated!

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  anytime

  6. claw dog says:
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    How would you rank Russell as a starting SS this season in a 12 team 5×5. Do you think he will be a very solid option with a possibility to go off? I have him as a minor leaguer still and I figure he could fill in perfectly while also saving me from wasting a pick on a SS

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      yeah I think he’s got Top 5 SS upside

  7. Regan says:
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    Yo Prospect Mike, thoughts on Peraza with the Phils? I’m assuming based on your pitcher your a Philly fan?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yup I’m a Phils fan…Peraza went to the Reds though, no? He’s a bat/speed guy, so def potential for 30+ steals, runs, and a good average at the top of the lineup

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @Mike: Even with Hamilton there? assuming they move Phillips, do you think Peraza might bad up top and Billy lower in the order?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          not sure of the batting order, but Peraza profiles as a top of the order hitter

  8. Left Hangs Lower says:
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    Hey Mike,

    So in my upcoming 16-team, 12-round MiLB draft, we pretty much agreed that a 10/2, 9/3 batter/pitcher split was the way to go.

    For the SP, is there a certain round that you wouldn’t want to pass without already having one? Is there a profile that first pitcher drafter should fit?

    Example: You should own a pitcher that’s a top 100 prospect that’s close to MLB. That puts it about the 5th or 6th round.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      yeah round 6 is about where I’d start to get the itch

      • Left Hangs Lower says:
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        @Mike:

        Sweet. You’d be aiming for an arm that’s close to ready, right?

        Also, when we talk about prospects that are almost ready, how far off are you thinking exactly? No later than one year? So for example, if I draft a SP that isn’t going to be ready until 2017, does that qualify as someone that’s close to the majors?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          2016 ETA

  9. S.H says:
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    Hey Mike I love your stuff. My prospect players are deep thanks to you. I have my first offer this off season. My L.Sardinas and Carl Edwards for Baez. Is that a deal that you would consider .?

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks! glad it helps…yup, grab Baez there

      • S.H says:
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        @Mike:

        One more for today Mike. A guy wants Lawrie and Josh Bell, I would get either Yunel Escobar or Plouffe and Berrios. I love Berrios’s upside. What do you think.?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I’d take Bell and Lawrie there

  10. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    Hey Mike – so I want to believe in Peraza, really I do…. I have my presumptive keepers *’d below… would you change any to Peraza (or others) with this news yesterday? Phillips is surely traded soon right? Also, how does Hamilton impact Peraza’s lineup spot, steals, etc.?

    12 team standard roto keeper league – Yahoo (2 C’s, CI, MI, + 5 OF)
    Can keep 8 total, with up to 4 undrafted Free Agents (listed below)

    Rd – Player – Years of control
    4 – Hamels – 3 more
    *6 – Cruz – 3 more
    *10 – Keuchel – 1 more
    *17 – T. Walker – 4 more
    *18 – Crush Davis – 1 more
    *19 – Gallo – 4 more
    *21 – Sugar…Cain – 3 more
    24 – Melancon – 4 more
    26 – Peraza – 4 more
    28 – Vogt – 4 more

    AND/OR Free Agents:
    * Hector Olivera
    * Patrick Corbin
    Aaron Nola
    Jeurys Familia

    (25th rd for 1 year, and then once in the 10th the year after (If there are two players in the same round, one moves to the previous round)

    Kind of want to go Corbin > Peraza, and then take a flier on Olivera…

    What do you think? Tell me Peraza will hit .300 and steal 50 bags!!

    Cheers

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      not sure how Hamilton affects him, but 300/50 is a little aggressive. I think 280/30 is doable in a full season though. those keepers look good, I might go with Peraza over Olivera at this point though

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @Mike: so you like corbin over olivera? or would you take a chance on one of the closers with that late value (Melancon 24th, Familia 25th )

        and that was my dream world scenario for Peraza

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          hmmm, keep peraza and olivera and throw corbin back is prolly how i would play it

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