Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (16) | 2013 (8) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [64-98] NL West
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [79-58] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [75-65] California League – Visalia
A: [83-56] Midwest League – South Bend (2015: Kane County)
A(ss): [48-28] Northwest League – Hillsboro
The Diamondbacks made a splash this offseason with the signing of Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who immediately becomes their best fantasy prospect. Apparently they weren’t finished though, recently signing Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez. This system has five legitimate pitching prospects, three of which are close to contributing at the major league level. Despite the hitter-friendly home park, these arms have solid fantasy upside thanks to their strikeout potential. Recently graduated prospect Chris Owings will now man shortstop on an everyday basis. His combination of power and speed make him an interesting late round target in 2015 drafts. And while we’re here…don’t forget about Randall Delgado, who is currently slated for long relief but could run with another opportunity in a rotation.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Yasmany Tomas, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
Here’s what we know about Tomas – there’s enough power in his bat to hit 25+ homers but the consensus is that his approach is questionable. He’s 24 years old so he hasn’t reached his peak yet, and now he finds himself in one of the better hitting environments in the major leagues for right-handed hitters. So what we have is a player with a fair amount of risk, but who is also MLB ready and could supply some much-needed power over the next 4-6 years – even if it comes with an average in the .250-.260 range. The Diamondbacks are going to try Tomas at third base this spring, but really he profiles as a corner outfielder. I would temper expectations for 2015, but Tomas should be off the board in the first 5 picks of first-year dynasty drafts this winter.
2. Archie Bradley, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
Despite a down year, Bradley is still the best pitching prospect in this system and one of the best fantasy pitching prospects in baseball. The 22-year-old was supposed to be in the bigs last year, so there could be some prospect fatigue already. Bradley has been consistently ranked in the top 50 overall on traditional lists each of the last three years and I wouldn’t expect that to change now. His fastball and curve are both plus pitches and could lead to the big strikeout numbers we love in fantasy. Some of his struggle this year could have been injury related, but the bottom line is Bradley needs more polish if he’s going to reach his frontline starter ceiling. That will require some patience from fantasy owners.
3. Braden Shipley, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Shipley started out as a position player before making the switch to pitcher in college. So while he’s the same age as Bradley, he’s a little behind in both raw stuff and development. Shipley has the edge when it comes to his change-up though, and it gives him three plus pitches in his arsenal. The 22-year-old’s ceiling is more #3 starter than frontline starter or “ace”, but he’ll provide plenty of fantasy value thanks to his ability to miss bats. Shipley should see Triple-A this summer with a real shot at the rotation sometime in 2016.
4. Jake Lamb, 3B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
If Tomas doesn’t pan out defensively at third base, Lamb is ready to step in and fill that role (he can already field the position well). He’s at play in 2015 fantasy leagues thanks to that proximity to the majors. The 24-year-old has enough pop to get to 20 homers and has already spent time in the bigs. In 133 plate appearances in 2014, Lamb hit .230/.263/.373 with four homers and four doubles. Take the triple slash with a grain of salt since his MLB debut came earlier than expected. Unfortunately for Lamb, he currently has Tomas in front of him and Drury behind on the third base depth chart, so there’s pressure on his bat. He’ll likely start the year in Triple-A to add more polish if Tomas indeed wins the third base job, but should still see the majors in some capacity this summer.
5. Brandon Drury, INF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Drury was acquired as part of the Justin Upton trade two offseasons ago. Should Tomas or Lamb take the third base job and run with it, the 22-year-old third baseman could reach the majors at second base instead. Evaluators seem to like his hit tool better than Lamb’s, which could give him a better shot at panning out. However, Lamb has more power and is closer to the bigs already. Drury doesn’t run well but should contribute a little of everything else for fantasy regardless of where he plays. With no standout tool he’s more valuable in deep leagues, but has a chance to be more relevant if he taps into his power (potentially 15-20 HR) as a second baseman. He’s about a year behind Lamb and should see Triple-A by the end of the year.
6. Aaron Blair, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Blair has three plus pitches in his fastball, curve, and changeup. His ceiling is similar to Shipley’s (#3 starter) but he’s a little closer to the majors. Blair made a big jump in both his innings and performace this year. He threw at three different levels, eventually earning a promotion to Double-A where he posted a 1.94 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched. With good control already, Blair could see Triple-A this summer and may even get a cup of coffee in Arizona by the end of the year. Bradley, Shipley, and Blair give Arizona fans three legitimate pitching prospects to look forward to over the next two years.
7. Touki Toussaint, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018
Toussaint was selected 16th overall in the 2014 draft and the 18-year-old already possesses two double-plus pitches in his fastball and curve. He is still far away from contributing in the majors, but that nasty combination could eventually lead to big strikeout numbers and in turn a fantasy ace. Toussaint should be one of the first few arms off the board this winter in dynasty drafts despite his distant ETA (I ranked him 19th overall). There’s frontline starter potential here but it will require some patience.
8. Yoan Lopez, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
In addition to Tomas, the Diamondbacks also signed Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez this offseason. Not only is his $8.25 million dollar signing bonus the biggest we’ve seen to date, but it limits Arizona to $300,000 in the next two signing periods. In other words…they really liked him. We’ll know a lot more about Lopez once he’s had a season’s worth of eyeballs on him here in the States. At the very least we know he has a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a good slider, and has had some success in Cuba as a starter. He’ll probably start the year in A-ball to get his feet wet, but could advance quickly.
9. Peter O’Brien, C | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016
The big debate over O’Brien is whether he will be able to remain behind the plate or eventually move off and become a 1B/DH type. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Yankees in the Martin Prado trade last summer and has plus raw power. How much of it he will be able to get to in games against more advanced pitching is questionable. From a fantasy perspective, you’d like to see him stay at catcher, and he’ll get a chance to keep developing at the position in 2015. The 34 homers in his stat line are pretty, but the K/BB percentages are sitting there too. If his approach is poor and he doesn’t really have a home on defense, it’s going to hurt his fantasy value.
10. Domingo Leyba, MI | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
Leyba was acquired from the Tigers this offseason. Here’s what I wrote in their top ten: “Leyba is still raw at just 19 years old, but he’s another middle infield prospect in the Tigers’ system that does a little bit of everything. He’s a switch hitter that can play both middle infield positions and should add some more pop as he matures. After his promotion, Leyba was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League this season. He more than held his own, hitting .397/.431/.483 with a homer and a steal in 30 games. There is still a lot of development left but it’s easy to get excited about Leyba’s potential.”