While we wait for the 2020 MLB season to get underway, it’s time to take a closer look at players who could one day be on opening day rosters. For the next month or two, we’ll be examining each team’s farm system, which will contain several prospects that will either one day be contributors for them, or could be used to acquire impact major leaguers.
Since we’ll be going in alphabetical order by city, our first farm system overview will be of the Arizona Diamondbacks. We’ll rank their top ten prospects, discuss some of their other notable minor leaguers, and then analyze the overall state of the farm system.
#1: OF Kristian Robinson
Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2017
Hit: 50 Power: 62.5 Field: 55 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 57.5
Overall Grade: 56.15
Signed out of the Bahamas for over $2.5 million in 2017, the Diamondbacks certainly had high expectations for Kristian Robinson. Though it’s still early, that investment appears to be paying serious dividends; he’s been excellent in his two seasons of pro-ball so far, and has already reached Single-A despite being 18-years-old. Not only does he possess extreme raw power with his 6’3” frame, but it’s showing up in games, and even better, his walk rate is already approaching an ideal level. Add in his plus athleticism, and you could be looking at a superstar in the future, if he can reach his potential. Now, Robinson’s swing does remain a work in progress, so expectations should tamper a bit for the time being. However, he’s certainly developing at a much quicker rate than anyone could have anticipated, and with another strong performance in 2020, will start to gain national attention as a blue-chip prospect.
#2: SS Geraldo Perdomo
Height: 6’3” Weight: 184 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2016
Hit: 60 Power: 42.5 Field: 57.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 52.5
Overall Grade: 53.5
At the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks made a very interesting trade, sending top shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm to the Marlins in exchange for young starting pitcher Zac Gallen. Gallen’s an impressive player, but given Chisholm’s high pedigree, it was confusing at first to find out why general manager Mike Hazen didn’t hesitate the move the Bahamian shortstop. Well, we now know why- Dominican shortstop Geraldo Perdomo may turn out to be a better player than Chisholm. The 20-year-old may not have much power at the moment, as had a rather funky swing, but still, his plate discipline numbers are incredible. He walks nearly as much as he strikeouts, which gives him a nice projection offensively should he reach the majors, and even better, he’s also an above-average defender at shortstop. That on-base/defense combination is extremely valuable, and because of that, I expect Perdomo to be Arizona’s starting shortstop, no later than 2022.
#3: RHP Corbin Martin
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 200 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- HOU 2017
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 52.5 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 53.5
Traded to the Diamondbacks in a package for Zack Greinke, Corbin Martin was once seen as a top 50 prospect in the MLB, but after undergoing Tommy John surgery, his stock is currently down. Still, once he returns, I have no doubts that’ll he’ll be a part of the major league rotation. Yes, he struggled in Triple-A and in the MLB before getting injured, but at the same time, he had been straight-out dominant before that, as his K-BB numbers were through the roof. His fastball command is great, and on top of that, he’s got two plus breaking balls and a decent changeup- there’s a lot to like with his pitching arsenal. The loss of a year in his development certainly hinders his stock, yet assuming he can return to full health, the future still looks bright for the 24-year-old right-hander.
#4: OF Corbin Carroll
Height: 5’10” Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 15th Overall- 2019
Hit: 57.5 Power: 45 Field: 57.5 Arm: 47.5 Speed: 70
Overall Grade: 53.35
The Diamondbacks, armed with four top-34 picks, were able to put together a draft class that could give this team an extremely bright future. At the top of it was their first pick, outfielder Corbin Carroll, who stood out as one of the top high-school prospects last season. Given his lightweight nature, Carroll may not have the high-end power or arm strength to make him a five-tool player, but overall, the 19-year-old brings a lot to the table. Not only does he have excellent bat-to-ball skills, but he also possesses an advanced approach, and as a result, will be able to utilize his elite speed by consistently getting on base. Furthermore, that athleticism should also make him a potential gold-glove defender in center field, and even with his 5’10” frame, he’s more powerful of a hitter than expected. Although there may be some limitations to Carroll’s ceiling, he figures to be an impact player on offensively and defensively, and in the end, should be well worth the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
#5: RHP Brennan Malone
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 205 lbs
Drafted: 33rd Overall- 2019
Fastball: 60 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 53.25
Since they had the most amount of bonus money in the 2019 draft, the Diamondbacks were not only able to add Carroll, but also lure in another high-ceiling prospect in Brennan Malone. With a projectable frame and a high 90s fastball, there’s a lot to like with the 19-year-old, but that doesn’t tell the full story with Malone. The North Carolina native also possesses a strong power slider, and perhaps most importantly, has already shown a great feel for his pitches- he flashes 50-grade command already. There’s still a wide discrepancy between Malone’s floor and ceiling, but still, he was a steal with the 33rd overall pick, and if they develop him properly, the Diamondbacks could be looking at a future front-line starting pitcher.
#6: RHP Matt Tabor
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 180 lbs
Drafted: 3rd Round- 2017
Fastball: 52.5 Breaking Ball: 52.5 Third Pitch: 57.5 Command: 52.5
Overall Grade: 53
If there was a polar opposite to Malone, it’d be Matt Tabor, who unlike Malone, doesn’t have the flashy pitching arsenal that will excite scouts. Rather, the 21-year-old’s main strength is that he doesn’t have a clear weakness- his floor was extremely high. In 95.1 innings at Single-A last season, the former third-round pick posted a 2.68 xFIP and a 1.51 BB/9, and overtime, his fastball should become a strong enough offering for him to combine it often with his excellent changeup. He’s probably a #3 or #4 starter, but that comes with plenty of value, and is a nice complement to some of the Diamondbacks’ boom-or-bust prospects.
#7: LHP Blake Walston
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 175 lbs
Drafted: 26th Overall- 2019
Fastball: 52.5 Breaking Ball: 65 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50
Overall Grade: 52.875
The third prospect from the 2019 draft that ranks as a top-ten Diamondbacks prospect, Blake Walston is the type of prospect that is extremely difficult to evaluate at the moment. His 6’5″ frame is extremely projectable, but at the moment, he clearly hasn’t filled out yet, and because of that, his low 90s fastball is likely to gain a few MPH in the future. If that happens, the 19-year-old southpaw’s stock will soar, as he may have the best power breaking ball in the entire minor leagues, and his changeup and command figure to be average in the future. We could be looking anywhere from a #2 or #3 starter to a multi-inning reliever, and ultimately, it’ll come down to how Arizona chooses to develop Gatorade’s 2019 high school player of the year.
#8: OF Alek Thomas
Height: 5’11” Weight: 175 lbs
Drafted: 2nd Round- 2018
Hit: 57.5 Power: 45 Field: 57.5 Arm: 40 Speed: 60
Overall Grade: 51.8
Currently ranked as the Diamondback’s top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Alek Thomas certainly doesn’t rank quite as high on my list. There’s certainly some clear appeal with him; he’s posted terrific on-base percentages and can play all three outfield spots. Yet, a lot of that success is due to his absurdly high batting average on balls in play, considering that his ground ball rate is nearly 50%, and at best, he’ll have average power. Essentially, he’s a lesser version of Carroll with meager upside, but given his high pedigree, there is a path to a major league future; an outfield of Robinson, Carroll, and Thomas could be in the works.
#9: OF Wilderd Patino
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 175 lbs
Signed: October 27, 2017
Hit: 47.5 Power: 52.5 Field: 52.5 Arm: 55 Speed: 57.5
Overall Grade: 51.75
As has been clearly demonstrated by now, the Diamondbacks have been major players in the international market in recent years. Venezuelan Wilderd Patino may be one of the lesser-known of their deep group of signees, but nevertheless, he’s yet another play that could eventually develop into a major leaguer. Right now, the 18-year-old is far from a finished prospect, as he flashes power and athleticism, yet also currently doesn’t have a sound approach at the plate at all. In a way, he’s a typical low floor/high ceiling type of international prospect, and his development should be monitored closely.
#10: SS Liover Peguero
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 160 lbs
Signed: July 2, 2017
Hit: 55 Power: 42.5 Field: 55 Arm: 55 Speed: 60
Overall Grade: 51.5
Though he right now is an inferior prospect to Perdomo, Liover Peguero shares many of the same qualities as the Diamondbacks’ #2 prospect. He may not has as sound of an approach as Perdomo, but at the same time, his swing is extremely smooth, and his hit tool is definitely above-average. That complement his defense and athleticism really well, so even though he won’t be much of a source of power, there’s certainly big-league potential with the 19-year-old. He’s another player that is developing quickly through Arizona’s system, and should they assist in that development properly, he could move up through their farm system rapidly.
Best of the Rest
These may be Arizona’s top ten prospects, but there is definitely some other notable talent in the farm system:
- Blaze Alexander, with his 75-grade arm, probably can be a depth piece in the future, but at the moment, his offense figures to be below-average
- Seth Beer will provide zero defensive value, but his plate discipline and power give him some hope to being a starting-caliber first baseman
- JB Bukauskas and Drey Jameson likely won’t end up as starting pitchers due to their issues command their pitches, though both could be in the majors quickly as high-leverage relievers
- Daulton Varsho isn’t advanced enough defensively for me to buy into him as a starting catcher, but he’s strong enough offensively to at least be a multi-position role player
- Jon Duplantier made some appearances out of Arizona’s bullpen last year, and still has a nice two-pitch mix with his fastball and breaking ball.
- Alvin Guzman is very similar to Patino, as he’s an 18-year-old international outfield prospect with tremendous raw power
Farm System Overview
A lot of credit has to be given to general manager Mike Hazen, as through his last couple drafts, international signing periods, and the Greinke trade, he’s transformed the Diamondbacks’ farm system into one of the deeper systems in the MLB. Outside of Robinson, they don’t have any potential blue-chip prospects, but with the likes of Martin, Carroll, Malone, and Peguero, they aren’t short on future major league contributors.