The snakes have a strong system with several waves of help on the way. They have a lot of pieces to sort through and just this week designated OF Stone Garrett for assignment, trading for Kyle Lewis in a separate move that feels connected. Third base could be a platoon between Josh Rojas and Emmanuel Rivera. Roster resource has Pavin Smith penciled in at Designated Hitter, but I imagine that spot’s earmarked for Kyle Lewis or Rivera. Smith slugged just .367 last year as a rag-ball casualty. Lewis would have to get healthy and stay that way to make the lineup, where he could be a key right-handed cog amid a lot of promising lefties. I still think they should find room for Garrett and suspect he’ll clear his own path unless someone else claims him. You just don’t see many weak-hitting teams releasing power hitters who post a 131 wRC+ in their first 27 games as a major leaguer.
1. OF Corbin Carroll | 22 | MLB | 2022
A lightning-quick lefty, the 5’10” 165 lb Carroll calls Mookie Betts to mind for his surprising core strength and plus barrel control. It’s a lofty thought, but Carroll warrants the optimism, cruising through the minors despite losing a season to a major shoulder injury. His all-fields power and double-plus speed helped him to 15 extra base hits in 32 big league games. In 93 games across three levels, Carroll slashed .307/.425/.610 with 24 home runs, 31 stolen bases, 22 doubles and eight triples. I’m not sure how high is too high for redraft leagues, but I suspect his ADP will rise month-over-month from here through April.
2. SS Jordan Lawlar | 20 | AA | 2024
Some sources have Jones above Lawlar, for what it’s worth, but I can’t deny what Lawlar has put on paper so far. He played at four levels, slashing .303/.401/.509 with 16 home runs and 39 stolen bases. He couldn’t keep up that pace for the 20 games he spent in Double-A at season’s end, but that’s no reason to worry. It’s probably good for him in the long run, especially if he comes back strong in 2023. I don’t have all the high school game logs, but I’m guessing Lawlar has never struggled like that for a month. The 6th overall pick in 2021, he’s on a short list of contenders to be the number one overall prospect by this time next year.
3. OF Druw Jones | 19 | NA | 2026
Jones suffered the mandatory D-Back shoulder injury shortly after draft night, when Arizona landed him with the 2nd overall pick. Their top three prospects here all feel like windfall profits. You can make a pretty good case none of them should’ve been on the board, but there they were, and Arizona didn’t overthink it trying to pinch pennies or find the Vitruvian man in the case of Carroll, who was clearly an elite prospect who fell to 16th due to his size. At 6’4” 180 lbs, Jones looks like the 2.0 version of his old man. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say he’s an impressive variation on the young version of his dad, one with more speed.
4. RHP Brandon Pfaadt | 24 | AAA | 2023
If you can see this name without thinking “Pretty hot and tempting,” you have a better mind than mine. The 6’4” 220 lb Pfaadt got better outcomes than anyone could expect from a Triple-A Diamondback, posting a 0.99 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. Pitching coach Brent Strom has gotten great results from a lot of arms over the years, and Pfaadt comes gift wrapped with all the bells and whistles, carrying his plus velocity deep into starts and commanding his four-pitch arsenal like a veteran.
5. RHP Drey Jameson | 25 | MLB | 2022
His 6.95 ERA in Triple-A might’ve made someone forget about Drey, but inflated damage is the nature of pitching at Triple-A Reno. It’s unrealistic to expect the kind of numbers Pfaadt posted. Survive and advance, is the lens I’m trying to use with young Diamondbacks, and Jameson didn’t miss his first big opportunity to pitch with the help of gravity on the main stage. His 1.11 WHIP in Arizona was closer to his Double-A self (0.91) than the Triple-A version (1.59), so it’s not like the 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings came out of nowhere. Jameson’s pitch-mix is lab-built for our game: a double-plus fastball at 95 that thrives atop the zone, a dynamic slider at 85 and a sinker that tunnels so well with both it adds deception to the 6’0” Jameson’s release. When he’s really in rhythm, the changeup flashes plus and provides a finishing weapon. He repeats his delivery well and will be a late target of mine in redraft leagues.
6. 3B Deyvison De Los Santos | 19 | AA | 2024
A powerhouse wunderkind at 6 ‘1” 185 lbs, De Los Santos has been rushed to get here: well below average age for Double-A. His 32.5 percent strikeout rate and .307 OBP should not be graduating metrics for a player who has spent just 38 games in High-A, but it’s a little hard to quibble with bumping a guy up after he hits nine home runs and bats .278 with a 120 wRC+ over that same stretch. For what it’s worth, he did more than double his walk rate and slice his K-rate down to 20 percent in ten games at Double-A. He didn’t hit particularly well, so there’s some fear here that he’ll make power trades to survive the level, but that might not be the worst thing in the long arc of DDLS’s career.
7. OF Jorge Barrosa | 22 | AA | 2024
After hitting 13 home runs and stealing 26 bases in 120 games across two levels last year, Jorge Barrosa feels a little underrated for our purposes. His Double-A slash line is unlikely to wow anyone, but .276/.374/.438 looks pretty good for a 21-year-old against older players, especially considering his 12.7-to-15.7 percent walk-to-strikeout rate, plus speed and solid centerfield defense. Would probably help his outlook to get traded somewhere with a little less depth.
8. OF Wilderd Patino | 21 | A+ | 2025
He’s 6’1” 175 lbs of electrical current running through a ballpark. In 92 games across two levels populated by older players, Patino hit nine home runs and stole 67 bases, slashing .290/.365/.432 with 109 strikeouts and 27 walks.
9. RHP Ryne Nelson | 25 | MLB | 2022
I’m not going full Nelson on Ryne. This ain’t Sandberg, is all I’m saying. I might be low here, but he ended the season with right scapula inflammation, and no sir, I don’t like it. Like Drey Jameson, he pitched much better in the majors than he did in Triple-A. Or at least, the results were much better when he wasn’t pitching on the moon. A 6’3” 184 lb prototype innings eater, Nelson is a good athlete who played both ways in college. His moneymaker is a plus fastball he threw 70 percent of the time in the majors. Probably can’t get away with that, long term. His other pitches are solid, but he’ll probably need to throw the changeup more than the 6.3 percent he did as a D-back last year. Only trouble is he had more control than command in general but especially of his off-speed stuff, but one of Strom’s specialties seems to be off-speed command, so I’m interested here even if I’m not eager.
10. SS Blaze Alexander | 23 | AAA | 2023
Could’ve easily put a half-dozen names here: AJ Vukovich, Kristian Robinson, Dominic Fletcher, Ivan Melendez, Manuel Pena, Blake Walston, Carlos Vargas and more, but Alexander gets the spot for his offensive consistency. Alexander had a 2021 hiccup after the pandemic layoff but has produced above average lines every other time he’s played, culminating in seven good games at Triple-A Reno to close out his 2022. Ironically enough, the 6’0” 160 lb right-handed hitter doesn’t run especially fast, but he picks his spots and could contribute to our cause out of an MI spot. The carrying tools are plate skills and surprising thump with just enough contact skills to let the profile sing. He’s in a tough spot here, with talent bubbling up beneath him and a front office that might seek to add veterans even as it sorts through a glut of high-minors tweener types.
Thanks for reading!