It’s probably time to acknowledge that Arizona is good at this baseball thing.
I’m not saying they’re perfect, but they are kind of proving they belong in the circle of trust.
They’re going to make the occasional mistake like any organization, but the entire baseball world jumped down Arizona’s collective throat when people saw Paul Goldschmidt sold to the Cardinals for Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver and Andy Young. Now maybe Luke Weaver can’t stay healthy and maybe Carson Kelly is not as good as he looked last season, but you could argue that each comes close to the value of Goldschmidt in their own right, which does not account for Goldschmidt’s impending free agency and the Diamondbacks’ desire to get something in return for him while they still could.
And while I don’t mean to say anything negative about Jazz Chisholm, I think the Marlins sold a little early on Zac Gallen, which worked out well for Arizona, who has more positional players than places to play them with another couple talent waves cresting on the horizon.
1. OF Kristian Robinson | 18 | A | 2023
This is what you want atop your favorite team’s list. Robinson is the kind of elite that takes a half a glimpse for anyone to notice. “Explosive” is a decent word for his swing and speed. Might be my favorite player in the minors.
2. OF Corbin Carroll | 19 | A- | 2023
3. OF Alek Thomas | 19 | A+ | Late 2021
4. C Daulton Varsho | 23 | AA | Late 2020
I could definitely see myself caroling with Corbin this Christmas. He figures to fall outside the top five in most First-Year-Player drafts in dynasty leagues, and I think that’s that windfall profit born from a phat draft class. Man, I haven’t seen phat in a long time. What happened to phat? Anywho, Corbin Caroll is skinny and brings plus-plus speed along with a plus hit tool and burgeoning power. His outstanding professional debut gave us a taste of his elite fantasy profile.
After being selected 63rd overall in the 2018 draft, Alek Thomas got busy making the Arizona front office look smart, and he’s been rewarded with three aggressive promotions. He’ll turn 20 on April 28 and will be among the youngest players in the California League. If he hits there the way he has everywhere else, he’ll be promoted around midseason and finish 2020 as a 20-year-old in AA. Pretty unique piece: this plus hit, plus speed outfielder with above average power setting himself up to begin 2021 as a soon-to-be 21-year-old in AAA.
Speaking of unique pieces, prospects don’t get much rarer than Daulton Varsho. My estimated time for his arrival says late 2020, but that might be dependent upon Arizona deciding to stop developing him as a catcher. He struck out just 13.9 percent of the time while walking in 9.3 percent of his plate appearances. That along with his .301/.378/.520 slash line and 159 wRC+ in a decent pitching environment suggests he might be ready for the leap to MLB pitching right now. The Diamondbacks AAA affiliate is in Reno, which might as well be on the moon with this new juicy ball, so we might be wise to use AA as the final proving ground for Arizona’s youngsters.
5. SS Geraldo Perdomo | 20 | A+ | 2022
6. 1B Kevin Cron | 27 | MLB | 2020
Perdomo is the archetype of a plate-skills guy who might bounce when he finds his man strength and puts good wood to the juicy balls.
I can’t help but feel for the Kevin Crons of the baseball universe. Dude can’t really win at AAA Reno. If he keeps hitting there—and boy did he hit there in 2019—he’s stuck anyway. If he doesn’t hit, some will speculate that he’s pouting because he’s not in the majors. Which would be fair, considering he’ll be 27 and slugged .777, which is apparently a thing that can happen when you hit 38 home runs in 82 games while walking almost as much as you strike out.
7. OF Jeferson Espinal | 17 | R | 2024
8. SS Lliover Peguero | 19 | A- | 2023
9. OF Wilderd Patiño | 18 | R | 2024
10. 1B OF Seth Beer | 23 | AA | Late 2021
I like OF Jeferson Espinal best of this next trio, but I wouldn’t quibble with the order. They all have the power/speed profile you want in a low-minors dynasty play. OF Wilderd Patino’s swing is a long way from ideal, so he’s lowest for me. SS Liover Peguero is probably the best blend of situation, position, track record, and talent.
I guess it’s almost closing time now, so . . . shots?
Oh, you gotta wake up early for work?
Got time for a Beer?
Time for Seth Beer?
It’s fine if not. I myself am hesitant because I tend to err in the direction of athleticism, and Beer is more a bet on skill than upside, but I can certainly see the merits in a guy who’s always gotten the job done in the batter’s box.
Pavin Smith is a different shape of flier given that he was selected 7th overall in 2017 before he struggled to hit, which was the one thing people were sure he’d do. But something changed last summer. From July 1st until season’s end, Smith slugged .589 with a 186 wRC+. He also walked 11.8 percent of the time and struck out in just nine percent of his plate appearances. Tack that atop the fact that he’s adapting to the outfield, and you’ve got an interesting piece in everything from dynasty leagues to 50-round draft and holds.