Disclaimer: Razzball is not responsible for the cowboy drivel you are about to read. The author – against the sound advice of his family and friends – has ignored eating, bathing, and socializing for the past three months to play Red Dead Redemption 2. Our sincere apologies.
Hey mister! We shared our woes over a pint of whiskey at the Top 100 saloon. Now it’s time to mount our horses and head out into the NL West. Just over there beyond that mesa we’ll come across a bed of Diamondbacks. These surly sums-a-b*****s are know for their bad temper, so approach cautiously. I recommend a small game arrow for a perfect skin. Ten perfect skins and we can craft ourselves a purdy saddle! Why lookie here! Exactly ten Diamondbacks! Whoa boah! Settle down. Let’s get a good look at ’em…
1. Jon Duplantier, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Duplantier was this system’s lone rep in my top 100 prospects. He threw around 74 innings in 2018 before he cried uncle with arm fatigue. He picked things up again in the Arizona Fall League, throwing another 20ish innings with a 13.3 K/9. I’m a little concerned with how durable he’ll be, so let’s call him a “bouncy” three…meaning some outings he’ll look like an ace, and others like refried dog doo…averaging out to about a third starter.
2. Jazz Chisholm, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
I missed the boat to name my kid Jazz. What a cool name. He’s also from the Bahamas, which is pretty neato. Anythehoo, Chisholm is a good bet to stay on the left side of the infield, and his healthy 2018 revealed what he can do offensively. Splitting time between A and A+, he hit .272 with 25 homers and 17 stolen bases. That 20-20 ceiling is there, but the strikeout rate is a concern (nearly 30%) in 2018. One to watch as he’ll face better arms in AA this season.
3. Kristian Robinson, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2022
Another signing from the Bahamas, Robinson is a big dude for 18 (6’3″, 190). He has 60-70 grade power and plus speed to boot. He’s probably not as well-known as some other international signings, but his tools are just as interesting. My guess is he’ll slide to a corner outfield spot down the road but that doesn’t really affect fantasy value. The 10+ walk rate in 2018 is a good omen. Want to get in on the ground floor of possibly the next Eloy? This could be the guy.
4. Pavin Smith, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Smith has a decent hit/power combo at first base. We probably won’t see him early in 2019 with options like Lamb, Walker, and even Flores ahead of him, but he could hit his way into the lineup late this season/early next. He has plus raw power, but for a former first-round pick, you’d like to see him tap into more of it in games (11 dingers in 2018).
5. Kevin Cron, 3B | Age: 25 | ETA: 2019
When I’m researching these lists, I look at a lot of different reports. I couldn’t find Cron on a lot of radars though, and I’m hoping I’m not missing some key news like he fell off a roof and will never play again or he was traded to the Korean League indefinitely. Dude hit .309 with 22 bombs in 104 Triple-A games. Granted PCL is hitter friendly and such, but I dig it. He probably doesn’t have anywhere to play this year, but I could see a Jesus Aguilar type situation where he gets a chance somewhere else and surprises.
6. Daulton Varsho, C | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Varsho spent most of 2018 in High-A, where he hit .286 with 11 homers and – surprisingly – 19 steals. Catchers are a slow burn and not a great investment, but I like the offensive potential even if he eventually calls it quits as a backstop. He’ll likely spend all of 2019 in Double-A with a chance to reach the majors the following year.
7. Andy Young, 2B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Young reminds me of Cavan Biggio from Toronto. He’s a chippy second base / utility type that can play anywhere and just hits. In 2018 he hit .319 in AA (old for the level yes) with nine homers. I see him as a future bench bat with some offensive value in deeper formats.
8. Taylor Widener, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Widener could have some mixed-league value this season with a strong start in Triple-A and an opportunity to fill a rotation slot. He’s basically working with a plus fastball/slider combination. In 137 innings in Double-A this past season, he struck out 176 batters. That’s the type of strikeout potential I look for in the non-elite pitching prospects when I’m trying to hit on one. I mean, like, buy low and have them be successful. Not like, ask them what their sign is and buy them a drink.
9. Emilio Vargas, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
I think Vargas has a good shot to make it as a starter in the Bigs…good control, decent strikeout stuff, nothing flashy but solid average across the board. He’s flashed some brilliance (17 strikeouts in a game). He’ll likely spend most of 2019 in Double-A. Not the worst arm to look at in a deep format.
10. Drew Ellis, 3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2020
Obviously I’m not as high on Ellis as Cron, mainly because Ellis has displayed less in-game power and hasn’t reached the upper minors yet. He has some pop and some patience (I don’t hate him), but at 23 years old, I’d want to see things come together against better competition to upgrade him to the next tier.