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Alright 12 readers still with us in late October, get your firecrackers, noisemakers, and elated cheers ready. For the return of Minor League Preview season is upon us. I know, I know, exciting times across Razz Nation. With that said let’s curb your enthusiasm a little, we’re starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lower case yay…. What can be said about the Diamondbacks system that hasn’t already been said about Detroit? It’s been decimated, depleted, and burned to the ground. Mostly by Dave Stewart, but I’m sure Tony LaRussa had a hand in that too. Top prospects like Dansby Swanson, Isan Diaz, and Aaron Blair were shipped off, and to make matters worse they lost their first round draft pick after signing Zack Greinke. So we’re looking at a handful of second division regular types, some back of the rotation arms, and some long term toolsy players. Not exactly the bang you were looking for, but at least we have the Braves to look forward to. Heck they have at least 70 former Diamondback prospects. Holla Touki!!!

So going forward we’re going to be utilizing the tiered system set forth by my prospecting fore-father Prospector Mike. A tip of the cap, and raise of the axe to you sir. So we’ll be reviving the tried and true tiers of “Specs on the Beach” for your top 100 darlings, “Floorboreds” for your less exciting, but safe prospects, and “Long Shot Lolitas” for your long term projection types. Keep in mind not everyone has a “Spec On the Beach”. The D-Backs don’t.

 

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

Socrates Brito, OF | Age: 24 | ETA:2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/A+/RK

In what was supposed to be a breakout year for Brito, things went south very quickly. He struggled after breaking camp with the club, and ended up back down in AAA before the third week of the season had come to a close. He shuttled back and forth between AAA and Arizona for most of the season, was injured in his second stint in the majors, and missed a month. All this to say Brito’s season was tumultuous. He still posses an enticing power/speed profile, but his lack of on-base skills limits his base stealing upside. His power has increased throughout his minor league career, and prior to this year his strikeout rates had dropped. The swing and miss is not out of control though. Even throughout his struggles during his time in the majors, he only struck-out at a 23.7% rate. In 2017 I’d anticipate he once again sees a time share situation in the D-Backs outfield, but he offers the promise of a .270 average with 20 homers and 20 steals in a full-time gig.

Mitch Haniger, OF | Age: 25 | ETA:2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA

The long shot has-been prospect acquired in the Gerardo Parra trade, had a major breakout in 2016, putting up arguably the best numbers in the minors. Unfortunately it’s tough to figure where he fits into a crowded Major League outfield situation. So, to pinpoint his exact playing time next year is difficult. With that said, if he wins a job out of camp he immediately becomes an interesting late round flier in deeper leagues, and one to add to your watch list early in 12 teamers. He’s always possessed elite bat speed, and raw power, which he finally tapped into this season. His issue has never been ability as much as health. After dealing with several injuries early in his career he finally had a full healthy season. More than likely a 4th outfielder, but he has hope for more.

Jamie Westbrook, 2B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA

After a breakout 2015 in the California League, Westbrook struggled in 2016 upon promotion to AA Mobile of the Southern League. In his breakout campaign he flashed the kind of power that could make him a future fantasy star at the keystone, so the drop in ISO of 100+ points was a real let down. However he possesses the type of bat control that should keep his averages on the high side. He keeps his strikeout rates in the low teens, and has refined his approach. He possesses the ability to leg out some hits, and steal about 10-15 bags. Overall Westbrook could develop into a poor man’s Dustin Pedroia with a .270-.290 average, 15 homers, and 10 steals with weaker counting stats.

Anthony Banda, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

Banda is not only the very definition of a Floorbored pitcher, he’s also a good mix of the last two prospects profiled? I know you’re asking right now (not asking at all) “How so Ralph?” Well, he had a breakout 2015 much like Westbrook, but was also acquired in the Gerardo Parra deal alongside Haniger. Banda is a close to the majors back end of the rotation starter. I’d anticipate a ERA in the low 4’s, a K rate around 8, and a walk rate in the mid 3’s. Arizona isn’t an ideal location for any pitching prospects, but particularly depth guys like Banda. Mostly because fringe BORP guys need a home ballpark bump to be mixed league relevant. More your depth starter for deep leagues than a player to keep tabs on in re-draft.

Vicente Campos, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA/A+

Another back end of the rotation starter that could see some time in AZ this year. He was acquired from the Yankees in the Tyler Clippard trade at the deadline. He sits 94-97 with the fastball, mixes an average curve, and change and throws them all for strikes. His fantasy potential is limited by middling k upside, and his lack of workhorse makeup, having never thrown 100 innings in a season. While some see a potential mid-rotation type, I see a bullpen arm or Taxi-starter.

Alex Young, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA:2018 | 2016 Level: A+/A

A very safe college lefty taken out of TCU with the first pick in the second round of the 2015 draft. The D-Backs decided to really limit his innings after a long college season. As a result he only saw only 7 innings over 7 appearances in 2015. So in many ways 2016 was Young’s first year in proball. He mixes a plus fastball with a plus-plus wipeout slider, and a change. The slider is by far his best pitch, though it hasn’t yielded a ton of strikeouts. There in lies the rub for Young, on paper and in scouting reports he sounds exciting. The truth is he’s just a really boring potential streamer, or a solid middle reliever.

Peter O’Brien, OF | Age: 54 | ETA:2014 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Okay, so he’s neither 54 or with an ETA of -3 years, but it feels that way no? While the talk of 2015 into the 2016 pre-season was of O’Brien giving it another go as a catcher. He didn’t play an inning behind the plate last year, and instead split his time between the left field and first base. His power is as legit as it gets, but so are his swing and miss issues. He could probably carve out a niche as a DH, particularly if he can keep his batting average above .220. O’Brien is a name to keep an eye on if there’s a rash of injuries to D-Backs outfielders.

Taylor Clarke, RHP| Age: 23 | ETA:2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+/A

Was excellent as a reliever for Hillsboro in his pro debut, but was developed as a starter this season. He moved quickly through two levels of A ball, earning promotion to AA Mobile by late May. There he came back down to earth a bit, but the control remained good. Clarke keeps his walks at a minimum, and as a result has had solid ratios throughout his climb. The downside is his k upside took a major hit with the jump to AA. If he can recapture the 8ish K rate he had in A ball he’ll have some relevance in deeper leagues.

Jimmie Sherfy, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA/A+

Throughout his minor league career Sherfy has shown flashes of brilliance. However, he’s also shown great inconsistency and a true lack of control. Last year the control improved before really struggling at AAA Reno. He shows closer stuff with a high 90’s fastball with good action, and a slider with some bite. Should be in the Arizona bullpen this year. Could pop up onto the mixed league radar if he gets a shot at the closer job.

Others: Tyler Wagner, Jack Reinheimer, Matt Koch, Wei-Chieh Huang

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

Anfernee Grier, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A-/Rk

The Diamondbacks first selection in the 2016 draft, Grier is a young athletic college outfielder with strong numbers in the SEC to back it up. A speed first prospect, Grier has developing power that he began to flash last season at Auburn. The early returns in proball weren’t great, but he’s got a lot of promise as a toolsy speed/power player.

Andy Yerzy, C | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

A bat first catching prospect from the great white north, Yerzy is a power hitter through and through. He doesn’t have a ton of hit tool, so a high average won’t be part of the package but his power lefty swing generates hard contact naturally.

Cody Reed, LHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+/A

Reed was cruising through the lower levels of the minors before hitting the Cal League. There, like many a pitching prospect, he faltered. Prior to that, he flashed double digit K rates, and good ratios. Might be a good rebound candidate to scoop in deeper dynasties.

Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018| 2016 Level:

The switch-hitting middle infielder has a lot to offer fantasy owners with a nice tool set consisting of a good power/speed profile, and solid hit tool. Has the ability to hit double digit homers, and match that with a dozen or so steals. Looks like a player that will maintain a high batting average while getting on base at an above average clip. Mosty due to his low K rates, and high walk rates, that have improved throughout his pro career. Leyba is an interesting prospect for your deep dynasty leagues, where off the radar, higher floor players have good value.

Others: Dawel Lugo, Brad Keller, Gabriel Guerrero, Victor Reyes, Jasrado Chisholm, Marcus Wilson

 

Follow me on Twitter @RalphLifshitzbb and Subscribe to the Fantasy Prospect Podcast on iTunes

   
  1. Packers says:
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    Ralph, who would be your 1st 12 choices in a brand new dynasty league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Packers: Trout, Bryant, Mookie, Harper, Machado, Correa, Arenado, Rizzo, Goldschmidt, Seager, Altuve, and Lindor.

  2. Count de Monetball says:
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    Always enjoy these Ralph! Thanks for the tremendous amount of work it takes to do these. Are you proceeding in a worst ranked farm to first type format? Also, any chance you could put a link to the previous year for each team such as:

    https://razzball.com/2016-minor-league-preview-arizona-diamondbacks/

    Thanks Bud!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Count de Monetball: I’m going to break it up into alphabetical order so we get some good and bad farms in the mix.

      I”m going to do an index as well to link all the previews of last year and this year, as well as my top 100’s and first year player draft rankings. So all the important offseason stuff for all dynasty and keeper formats.

      • Count de Monetball says:
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        : awesome! Thanks Ralph!

  3. Biff Pocoroba says:
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    Ralph,

    What are your thoughts on the future of Braden Shipley? His K rate is alarming but I don’t know much about him. Thanks for these minor league previews, so good I’ll turn my ad blocker off dammit!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Biff Pocoroba: He’s a mid rotation guy, with some upside still. Not real exciting, he’s a depth guy for the back of your rotation in a 14 team plus league.

  4. Ekard says:
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    What are your thoughts on Christian Arroyo? He isn’t talked about much but I’m almost 600 picks into my dynasty draft and he’s still available. Is he a must add at this point?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ekard: He’s worth a flier, I had high hopes for him going into 2016. Not exciting but he should be a major leaguer.

      Anyone take Verdugo? Bellinger? Heath Quinn or Bobby Dalbec yet? How about guys like Thomas Szapucki? Jordan Yamamoto? Dakota Hudson?

  5. Tweak says:
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    Hi Ralph. Great stuff, as usual. I really enjoy the write-ups on the up-and-coming players in each organization.

    The first three listed here (Brito, Haniger, Westbrook) all give me a Cardinals vibe. Unspectacular, but good, players with reasonable upside that could perform well given a full-time job and in the right environment. Maybe they won’t succeed in Arizona, but elsewhere could do well.

    Also, I’m wondering why so many people seem to dismiss O’Brien while praising Joey Gallo. Other than Gallo having some better walk numbers, they have a pretty similar profile on the stat sheet. Is there something to O’Brien’s game that is missing when compared to Gallo?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Tweak: Thanks for reading, and your take on the top three is quite astute. They are very Cardinals like.

      I agree on Gallo and O’Brien, I think OB is Joey Gallo’s ghost of Christmas future. Meaning if he doesn’t figure it out he’s going to toil like O’Brien.

      • Tweak says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Definitely on Gallo.

        As for the Cardinals: heck, in their search for a CF, they could make a cheap deal with the D’backs and pull in Haniger to play there; he’s a decent enough fielder. Have guys like Pham, Hazelbaker, Grichuk and Wong all fight it out to play. Maybe Haniger sticks. Toss in a bag of balls and get Miller back.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Tweak: A bag of balls and a few dead cats to break the curse of Shelby!!!!

  6. Big Odio says:
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    The D-Backs are so bad. HOW BAD ARE THEY? They are so bad that you have to put Brito O’Brien and Hanniger in here to make it an acceptable length. It’s like when your teacher tells you to write a 1000 word essay and after 500 words you got to bullshit the rest to not fail.

    I know some of these are going to be brutal to get through this off season, we still have the Angels, but at least you got a tuffy out of the way

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      haha! Love your strait forward blunt comments Big Odio!

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Count de Monetball: ever since Truss re-named me I feel revitalized

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Big Odio: Dude seriously. I like Grier, everyone else is meh. Brito and Haniger are ownable In deep dynos. At least the Angels had a solid draft. D-Backs blow.

      Good news Atlanta next

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I guess my commentary was that those three in most organizations wouldn’t be talked about because they all played at mlb level this year.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Big Odio: Still under limits though. I felt the need to include all of them just because not everyone is digging for far out their prospects.

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: still feels like filler

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Superfly Jimmy Sherfy!

    I need Yerzy to hurry to the majors so he can one day face J-Z

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Yerzus!

      BTW I’m on a plane! Lol

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I hope you’re filming a rap video on said plane

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: I am, only instead of babes I have babies.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Hoeings?

              • Ralph Lifshitz

                Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                @Grey: New rap moniker Micah Hoeings.

                “I superman all dem hoes”

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Crank dat!

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Grey: it was a step brothers joke. YOU probably never saw it

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  The you needed to be capped? What else would you emphasize in that sentence? I saw the movie…

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Grey: that wasn’t capped on purpose. My auto correct will randomly cap you, the and was from time to time. You got it …BRO!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Haha… Don’t hate, LIBERATE

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      Like liberate my phone and get a new one.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Get a new phone, baller!

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Big Odio: We were making Solja Boy jokes….;)

    • Ante GALIC says:
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      @Grey: Grey!

      Hey, sailor! Fancy meeting you here.

      There once was a man from Verdun
      (who wrote his poems in lines of one, so that’s the end of the poem)

      Cheers,
      Ante

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        HA, hey, Ante!

        • Ante GALIC says:
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          @Grey: Grey!

          a. So, looks like only the Cleveland Browns left to win a championship! I hope these greedy owners give something back to the community.

          b. Too bad it wasn’t Cleveland Indians versus Buffalo Bisons! The two armpits of America fighting each other for who is the smelliest!

          Cheers,
          Ante

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            A. I wouldn’t count the Cubs out yet… I would’ve counted the Indians out though if they lost yesterday (was it yesterday for you?) B. HA

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ante GALIC: Ante! This is your shortest comment ever!

        • Ante GALIC says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: Ralph!!!

          Amen. Next year with John J. Rambo quotes (and I have to find 150 to tie me over for the season starting April 2, 2017), brevity will be the key! Like even ‘Ugh’ will be a valid quote.

          Cheers,
          Ante

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Ha!

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Ante GALIC: Rambo!!

  8. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Wow the D bags farm is like a prospect dumpster, full of garbage..

    Nothing to see here, other than another stellar write-up by Ralph!

    Prospector Mike who?

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      oooh MP, I know ur clowning, but I loved Mikes work too!

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Count de Monetball: Mike’s spirit guides me when I look to the night sky like Simba and Mufasa.

        • Count de Monetball says:
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          That’s funny, my boy was sick the other day, so I was watching Lion King with him… Nice reference!!!!

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Count de Monetball:
        Mike was awesome, very knowledgeable and Ralph is right up there with him!

        There is no site that comes close to razzball for quality, content & slapstick..hehe

        • Count de Monetball says:
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          Word! That prospector dude that had the centaur/polo gravatar (not of A-Rod) was good too, can’t remember his name, only that he compared Baez to Miggy prior to his call up and, as a cub fan (especially during that horrid state of futility) gave me the tingles in that special place…

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Count de Monetball: who scott? He knew prospects but didn’t know dick about fantasy baseball. Ever since he left the content has been more slanted towards fantasy. If you go to mlb site all the info is about who they are as real world players not fantasy assets which makes it hard to gauge for our purposes

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Thanks MP! It’s awful! Lol

      At least they have Shelby Miller……oh wait

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