Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (8) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [60-84] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [79-60] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [77-63] California League – Visalia
A: [81-58] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss):  [34-42] Northwest League — Hillsboro

Graduated Prospects
A.J. Pollock (OF); Didi Gregorius (SS); Adam Eaton (OF); Will Harris (RHP); Tyler Skaggs (LHP)

The Run Down
The Arizona farm has been one of great interest to fantasy players over the past few years, and that trend holds true for 2014.  The D’backs have done a fine job in acquiring impact talent through recent drafts, and the trade market has been friendly to their system too.  I’ll admit, though, that this 2014 crop of prospects is a little more top-heavy than what we’ve grown used to seeing from Arizona — once Archie Bradley, Chris Owings, and Braden Shipley surface in the bigs,  this will be a system in need of high-end talent to emerge.  Fortunate for them, lower-levels prospects like Stryker Trahan, Justin Blair, and Jose Martinez seem poised for breakouts in the year ahead.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Archie Bradley, RHP:  Bradley is an elite-level pitching prospect with an explosive fastball-curve combo that’s ready to start missing bats at the big league level.  He’s the premier SP prospect in the game, and he’s likely the only arm capable of stepping out of the minor leagues and offering the sort of immediate impact that Jose Fernandez did last season.  The D’backs have some rotation depth at the moment, so they won’t feel pressed to use him out of camp, but once the presumed Super Two cutoff rolls by in June, it’ll be hard to keep Bradley down much longer. Here’s Grey’s Archie Bradley fantasy.  ETA:  2014

2.  Chris Owings, SS:  #33 in my top 50 for 2014, here’s what I had to say:  “Owings brings a polished offensive skill set, and he’s ready to put it to work at the highest level.  A shortstop capable of batting north of .300 while offering modest contributions in the power and speed departments, Owings is only waiting for an opportunity to present itself.  A poor spring or an early-season slump from Didi Gregorius could provide that opening.”  ETA:  2014

3.  Braden Shipley, RHP:  The 15th overall pick last June, Shipley spent time at two Low-A stops (Hillsboro, South Bend) in 2013, looking sharper and sharper as the season progressed. The 22-year-old is a superb athlete, and he’s a polished thrower, with a fastball-changeup combo that’s reminiscent of Michael Wacha’s.  All things considered, Shipley has a skill set that has him projecting as a front-end starter, and he’s a prime candidate to push through the next levels quickly.  He should spend some time in Visalia before surfacing in the upper levels during the summer months.  ETA:  2015

4.  Stryker Trahan, C:  Trahan’s fantasy ceiling is quite large when considered among catching prospects.  The 19-year-old is an impressive athlete with enormous raw power, and a pretty solid all-around offensive projection, but there are plenty of evaluators who doubt his ability to stick behind the dish defensively.  A shift to outfield would significantly damage Trahan’s fantasy appeal, but let’s not close the book on his catching days until the D’backs officially make that transition.  He’ll make his full-season debut this season.  ETA:  2017

5.  Brandon Drury, 3B:  Drury arrived in the Arizona org via Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade.  In a full season at Low-A South Bend, the 21-year-old hit .302/.362/.500 with 70 XBH (15 HR) in 583 PA.  That’s some outstanding XBH production, and it certainly indicates a prospect who’s ready for the next level, but the 2013 line needs to be approached with some degree of caution considering it was his go at Low-A.  An impressive follow-up at High-A will go a long way in establishing Drury as a must-own guy in dynasty formats.  ETA:  2016

6.  Jacob Lamb, 3B:  Drafted in the 6th round out of University of Washington in 2012, Lamb has done nothing but hit as a pro, posting a cumulative line at .316/.405/.544 with 22 HR in 136 career games.  As a 3B with upside in average and power, the 23-year-old’s outlook is similar to Drury’s, but long-term scouting reports are in favor the younger party, which is why he has the edge on this list.  ETA:  2015

7.  Aaron Blair, RHP:  Arizona followed up their Braden Shipley pick by selecting Blair — another college starter — at 34th overall.  The 21-year-old is on the same developmental track as Shipley, having spent time at both Low-A stops in 2013, posting a line at 3.14/1.25/41 in 48 IP along the way.  The physical projection is great, the repertoire is solid (although it lacks the oomph of the arms ahead of him on this list), and there’s plenty of reason to believe that Blair can develop into a workhorse starter in the bigs.  He should continue his development alongside Shipley at High-A in 2014.  ETA:  2015

8.  Justin Williams, OF:  A 2nd round pick out of high school last June, Williams surprised folks in his pro debut, posting some big numbers in a couple stops at the rookie-level, and even earning himself a cup-of-coffee at the full-season level.  Clearly there’s a long way to go with the 18-year-old who projects as a corner outfield slugger, and it’s far too early to start digging into his rookie-ball numbers, but the positive pro debut provides a great foundation to build from. We’ll know a lot more a year from now when his first full season is in the books.  ETA:  2017

9.  Jose Martinez, RHP:  Like Williams, Martinez features an impressive raw skill set that is yet to be tested at the full-season level.  Behind Bradley, this 19-year-old Dominican might have the most impressive stuff in the system, with a fastball that works in the upper-90s to go with a promising power curve.  I’m anxious to see what Martinez can do over a full-season workload, and we’ll get the opportunity to witness that phase of his development this year.  If all goes well, this is a prospect who could climb near the top of this list next offseason.  ETA:  2017

10.  Andrew Chafin, LHP:  After drawing whiffs in 2012 at a rate of 11-per-nine, Chafin regressed in that department in 2013, posting a K/9 at just 6.8 in 27 starts between High-A and Double-A.  That drop-off was a concerning development, considering the 23-year-old had been touted mostly for his bat-missing arsenal.  There are also command issues that, amid a SP-heavy org, could lead to an eventual shift to bullpen work.  Chafin will get back to work in the upper levels in 2014, looking to surface in Arizona before year’s end.  ETA:  Late 2014

For a retrospective look at the Diamondbacks farm, last year’s MiLB preview is here.

  1. Ryan says:

    In my 20 team h2h dyansty league. I’m almost next to pick in my prospect daft which of the following players do I take? I think any of these guys should be available. Also who are the top 3 available in your opinion?

    Lucas giolito, joc pederson, Aaron Sanchez, Albert almora, Raul mondesi jr, Clint Frazier, Andrew Heaney, Julio uriad, rougned odor, Eddie butler, Tyler glasnow, arismendy alcanrara, Austin meadows,

    c evan gattis
    1b miguel cabrera
    2b brandon phillips
    3b evan longoria
    ss jurickson profar
    lf justin upton
    cf shane victorino
    rf michael cuddyer
    util prince fielder
    bn kris bryant
    bn carl crawford/neil walker/michael morse/

    sp clayton kershaw
    sp yu darvish
    sp cliff lee
    rp jose veras
    rp sean doolittle
    rp dan delarosa
    p zack wheeler
    p dan straily
    p tanner roark
    bn garrett richards
    bn matt thornton

    • Dead Head says:

      @Ryan: It depends on what the time frame you are looking to get production from them is. Lucas Giolito would be my first choice by far, he has no shit ace potential, with many people saying by this time next year he will be the number 1 prospect in baseball with the upside of being the best pitcher in baseball. Although Tommy John on the resume that kind of upside is hard to pass up. His timeline is a little longer than some others on this list but it’s worth the wait in my opinion. Pederson, Odor, Frazier, Butler, Alcantara are other good choices, but Frazier is probably the only one who has the upside anywhere near Giolito, although I’d still favor Giolito.

      • Ryan says:

        @Dead Head: I have narrowed it down to giolito pederson and frazier. What upside can you see from pederson and frazier?

      • Ryan says:

        @Dead Head: I think my team is built to win now. Can I afford to wait on giolito and frazier and still contend for a title?

      • Ryan says:

        @Scott Evans: can my vets hold down the fort until someone like giolito or bryant get the call or should I get a player that can hellp now? Maybe someone like pederson?

        • @Ryan: Bryant will be ready for big league ball by year’s end… Giolito more like late 2015, early 2016 (same time frame for Frazier)…

          • Ryan says:

            @Scott Evans: perfect! I was just worried that I had to pick up someone like pederson for the short term, but it looks like I can easily get yrs of solid production out of my veteran players. So I take it frazier is a better pickup than pederson?

  2. Eric W says:

    Do you think baseball needs to rework the rules when it come to calling up prospects in regards to super two and all that jazz? Can not say I am highly versed in the subject but seems like it leads to a lot of guys that could not only help a team win but also bring more excitement to the game getting stuck in minor league limbo.

    Thanks for the read, awesome as always

    • @Eric W: It’s an imperfect setup, but they’ve adjusted it recently to make it tougher on the teams to pin down the specific “super two date”… actual 2013 super two status won’t be clear until 2015… I don’t think they should scrap it, necessarily — it’s a team’s prerogative to micromanage those financial situations if that’s what they want to do…

  3. goodfold2 says:

    nice to see another decent upside type like drury unowned. i’ll be targeting him along with souza at all star break bidding time (unless souza comes up before that, then i hope stealth wins out by me. pretty soon i may be able to cut roster chaff like c.phelps/a.gumbs/l.jimenez for these nice upsidey types. league caps this season at 20 minor guys and i’m only at 16.

    • @goodfold2: Yeah, Drury could be a hot add in lots of dynasty formats depending on how he does at Visalia…

      • goodfold2 says:

        @Scott Evans: with the assumption that he’s still worth a gamble even if not producing by early july i’ll grab him then, esp since he’s so young this could come around later too, also other than Jagielo i’m all sorts of weak at CI prospects.

        • goodfold2 says:

          @goodfold2: actually, i suppose 21 isn’t too young for that level.

          • @goodfold2: I’m projecting his stock to soar this year… maybe higher than his actual value… the Cali league can be extremely friendly to hitters… could be a nice trade chip for you if everything goes well…

  4. Zaclo24 says:

    Awesome stuff!
    Really non-related but could you tell me of these pitching prospects which ones you like best(Sorry if it’s kind of a long list). I’m trying to rebuild my minor league pitching staff and I can only pick 3-4 of them.
    Edwin Escobar, Miguel Almonte, Pierce Johnson, Mark Sappington, Lewis Thorpe, Alexander Reyes, Alberto Tirado, Daniel Norris, Joe Ross, Jose Ramirez and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez.

    • @Zaclo24: Almonte, Thorpe, Reyes, Tirado & Johnson are the guys I’d target, in that order… Almonte probably the safest bet… Thorpe, Reyes & Tirado all have big time ceilings, but are a long way off…

  5. Yescheese says:

    Very excited for Justin Williams for fantasy. Plus power with avg… More of these types please!!

    • Yescheese says:

      @Yescheese: more on this. Had a choice between Justin and Billy McKinney in Oak. Both fine bats with high ceilings, but for fantasy, how can you not go for the power!

      Who would you pick in a dynasty today?

      • @Yescheese: both are dice rolls, but i’ll take my chances with McKinney…

    • @Yescheese: power? yes… avg? maybe… reports on his approach aren’t necessarily promising, but time will tell… first full season always a great indicator…

      • Yescheese says:

        @Scott Evans: what can I say. I’m a homer for the homers !

  6. MB says:

    In my dynasty league, I have jaso and gattis at C. Daily moves. Wanna trade for derek norris for play vs lefties.

    He wants a minor leaguer.

    Is Tom Murphy, Nick williams or Dan vogelbach too much to give up for norris?


    • @MB: All three are nice prospects with much greater upside than Norris, but if you need that platoon to win now, I’d move Murphy.

  7. Swfcdan says:

    Thoughts on Dan Vogelbach? Not only a cool name and bat, but he says he’s working hard to stay at 1B rather than just become a future DH. Grabbed him late in my draft for my farm team and I like his potential. When do you think we could see him by and would he need a trade with Rizzo around?

    Also quick thoughts on these other guys I took late if you can: Anthony Ranaudo (SP), Hak Ju Lee (SS), C Bethancourt (C).

  8. Swfcdan says:

    Wonder if you could chime in on this keeper question bud, with our contracts soon to be announced in my long time keeper. Got a nice keeper in Kipnis and torn over to go 2 years (£12) on him or 3 years (£14). Thinking 2 years because you can only have 8 keepers per year, and the contracts carry over (so Kipnis would count as 1/8 in 2015). Grey says 3 years but im still not so sure, think power/speed guys with limited power that people go gaga over are a bit overrated really (e.g Segura too).

    What do you reckon, would you go 2 or 3?

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