The D-Backs Prospect Oasis

At least they hope not. They have traded some pretty good prospects over the last two years. Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Touki Toussaint are three of the bigger names traded to the Braves. Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Bauer are two other names who were traded before they could get any production from them. The Diamondbacks hope the current group pans out better than what most experts predict. If not they will be forced to acquire expensive veterans to keep their playoff hopes alive or go into rebuilding mode.

Myworld is not too enamored with their prospect list. Last year they were rated last in myworld’s prospect list. The previous year they were up at number 23. In 2015 they were at the bottom of the top ten. Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley are two players from that list who made contributions to the 2017 major league team. Aaron Blair and Touki Toussaint are two of the players traded to the Braves. Dansby Swanson was the first player drafted in 2015 and traded to the Braves before he could be considered a D-back prospect. Now that they have hit rock bottom the only direction they can go is up.

Jon Duplantier and Anthony Banda give the pitching staff some hope. Jon throws from the right side with his mid-90s fastball producing a 1.39 ERA. The last minor league pitcher with a lower ERA was a now Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. Jon limited the opposition to a .192 average. The third round 2016 pick should rise quickly in 2018 checking in at AA. If he repeats his 2017 performance it will not take the Diamondbacks long to promote him to the big club.

Anthony Banda throws from the left side. He spent most of his season at AAA getting a major league promotion toward the end of the year. His fastball has decent velocity but it is his curveball that is his put away pitch. His pitches seemed hittable in AAA (.266) and the majors (.256). There is talk of trading Zack Greinke and this open a spot in the rotation for Banda. He did have good success retiring lefthanded hitters in the major leagues (,158) but the sample size was small.

Taylor Clarke is a pitcher high on many prospect lists but not on myworld’s radar. He has a good frame (6′4) decent velocity on his fastball and three pitches to fit in the rotation. The third round 2015 pick pitched well at AA (2.91) but was susceptible to the gopher ball in Reno, driving up his ERA (4.81). Expect him to start the season in AAA.

Pavin Smith was their top pick in 2017. He is a lefthanded bat who the Diamondbacks hope carries some power, though in over 200 rookie league at bats not one ball carried over the fence. For the Virginia Cavaliers, a tough park to go deep in, he hit 13 homeruns. The D-backs believe the power is there. Currently his bat is more contact oriented, drawing more walks than whiffs (27/24) and in college more homeruns than whiffs. Getting more loft in his swing could increase his strikeout total but put more balls into the seats. For the 2018 season he should begin the season in full season ball with spring training deciding the level. As a college drafted player he should rise quickly if he succeeds in the offensive game.

Socrates Brito had his opportunity to stick in the Diamondbacks lineup the last couple years, but injuries have set him back. Injuries prevented him from appearing on the major league roster this year. At 25 years of age time is running out. The speed is there for centerfield and the arm is strong enough for right. The bat is short in the power category so his best fit is up the middle. A major league spot is his with a good spring, but it could be as a fourth outfielder.

Another player whose prospect status is running near empty is Christian Walker. At 26 the only reason he gets a mention is he hit 34 homeruns last year, two in the major leagues. His best position is first base but that is occupied by All Star Paul Goldschmidt. Left field is an option but his slow foot speed makes him a defensive liability there. His best bet would be to hit a lot of homeruns in AAA to allow the Diamondbacks to trade him to the American League where he can be used as a DH.

Marcus Wilson carries good defensive tools for the outfield. His bat is not considered to be impactful enough, though last year he hit a career high .295 with a .383 OBA. His speed should produce more stolen bases if he continues to get on base. The 2018 season should see him start in High A where he will try to duplicate his 2017 season. This could determine his major league fate.

Myworld likes the name of Daulton Varsho. His dad Gary played for the Phillies and named him after their catcher Darren Daulton. Daulton has gravitated toward the catcher’s position with tools similar to Darren. There is power in his bat and speed in his legs, unusual for a catcher. The supplemental first round pick in 2017 may lack the arm for a permanent position behind the plate. If his power bat continues to develop a move to left field could be in his future.

Ildemaro Vargas was signed out of the Independent League. At 26 his shelf life is short but in 2016 he hit .354 in AAA. He followed that up last year with a .315 average and a major league debut (.308). His power is limited to the gaps. His best position is second base but his role may ultimately be as a utility player who also fills time in the outfield. Expect him to get more major league at bats in 2018, making the trip to Arizona in April with a good spring.

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