Diamondbacks Patch up Farm System

The Diamondbacks are hoping to patch up their farm system, ideally keeping some of their best prospects instead of trading them to the Braves for salary dumps (Touki Toussaint/Bronson Arroyo) or pitchers who failed to meet expectations (Dansby Swanson/Shelby Miller). The Diamondbacks also lost Ender Inciarte in the Miller deal. Both prospects they traded were number one picks who have turned the Braves franchise around. The players they received provided little contribution to the Diamondbacks playoff hopes. The only two players to make top 100 prospect lists last year for the Diamondbacks were Pavin Smith and Jon Duplantier. The Diamondbacks failed to sign their first round pick for 2018 shortstop Matt McLain who chose to be a UCLA Bruin instead.

Pavin Smith was a first round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2017. The concern is that he may not hit for a lot of power to fit at the first base slot. For the University of Virginia he hit for a high average, making good contact. The hope for the Diamondbacks is that he competes for batting titles with a modicum of power and a plus glove. The Diamondbacks opened up the position for him by trading Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals. Last year with High A he hit .255 with 11 homeruns, producing a slugging percentage of just .392. That is not what teams look for in a first baseman. Unfortunately, he lacks the speed to play the outfield.

Jon Duplantier made Top 100 lists based on his 2017 season when his 1.39 ERA was the best in the minors since Justin Verlander. His 2018 season did not go as well as injuries limited him to 16 starts. Duplantier struggled with injuries when he pitched for Rice before being drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Diamondbacks. His fastball is not overpowering, sitting in the upper tier of the low 90s but he complements the pitch well with two solid breaking pitches and a plus change. His pitches are also good at finding the strike zone.

Behind the plate the Diamondbacks will be happy if Daulton Varsho turns into a Darren Daulton. Varsho is the son of Gary, who played for the Phillies and named his son after Daulton. It was only natural that he found himself behind the plate. Like Darren, Varsho hits with power. Last year he slugged 11 homeruns with a .451 slugging percentage. His arm is a bit suspect and he still needs a lot of work understanding the intricacies of catching but the good news is he has the speed where left field is a possibility if catching does not work out.

San Francisco went out and spent $6 million to sign Lucius Fox and then traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays with a concern that his bat may never develop. The Diamondbacks went to the Bahamas to find his half brother Jazz Chisholm and only spent $200,000 on him. He may turn out to be a better hitter. Jazz showed some good power last year with 25 homeruns at the two A levels. He also has the tools to fit at shortstop, though they are short of putting him in the category of an elite defender. Chisholm should see some time in AA in 2019 with the possibility of getting a September callup, though that would speed up his service time.

The Diamondbacks found another prospect in Virginia, drafting Jake McCarthy with the 39th pick in 2018. That was their highest draft choice after not signing Matt McLain. Last year Jake peppered the gaps in Rookie ball hitting 17 doubles in just 55 games to up his slugging percentage to .442. He has the speed to patrol center and because of a perceived lack of power in his bat that will be the position he will have to master if he does not want to mold into a fourth outfielder type.

Marcus Wilson is a tooled up outfielder whose biggest flaw is an inability to make contact with the ball. Last year in the California League he struck out 141 times in 111 games, the worst of his minor league career. The increased swing and misses lowered his average (.235) and put a dent on his ability to hit for power (.369 slugging). The tools are there for him to play centerfield with his speed giving him the ability to be a 20/20 player in the major leagues. In order to accomplish that he needs to make better contact.

The Diamondbacks found outfielder Kristian Osprey in the Bahamas and paid him $2.5 million to wear a Diamondbacks uniform. If he learns the strike zone Kristian has the potential for big time power, which would fit his ultimate position, which could be left field. The speed is there to play center, but the arm is not strong. Last year as a 17 year old, when most teenagers are in high school ball Kristian was playing Rookie ball and hitting .279 with 7 homeruns. At 6′3″ he could be an impact player.

Injuries limited the 2017 season for Domingo Leyba to 23 games and delayed his 2018 season. Domingo is a good contact hitter who should be able to spray the ball for a high average. Last year he hit only .269. The tools are there to play shortstop and his ultimate position may be as a utility player. The power is not there for him to play third base on a regular basis. If Domingo has a good year in 2019 the Diamondbacks could call him up for a utility role.

Yoan Lopez is one of the Diamondbacks Cuban splurges in which they paid him a $8.25 million bonus. The Diamondbacks have not had a lot of success signing Cuban players and the hope is that Lopez will be the exception. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and reaches the high 90s but he lacks the secondary pitches and the command to fit in the starting rotation. The Diamondbacks moved him to the bullpen in 2017 where they hope he can develop into a setup reliever or closer. Last year he made his major league debut with 10 appearances.

Andy Yerzy was a second round pick in 2016. If he can iron out his defensive game his bat will bring some offense behind the plate. The arm is strong enough to throw out baserunners but the other tools need to be enhanced. The bat is there if he needs to move to first base.

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