11) Wei-Chieh Huang – RHP
Date of Birth: September 26, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’1”/170 lbs.
Acquired: Signed with Arizona in 2014 (International)
Wei-Chieh Huang signed with Arizona out of Taiwan for $450,000. He had a back issue that delayed his pro ball debut, but that debut final came in May of 2015. Reports are that Huang has arguably the best command in the system, with the ability to work both sides of the plate and thus, keep his walk rate down. Huang offers a fringy above average fastball that he can locate very well coupled with an above average changeup that is a strike out pitch. He also sprinkles in a decent curveball to keep hitters off balance.
In 76.2 innings, Huang posted a 2.00 ERA, .97 WHIP, .208 batting average against and a minuscule 16 walks, which are impressive numbers, despite the level of competition. These numbers allow point to Huang being a prospect to watch in 2016. Huang’s durability is what will hold him back so he will need to work on strengthening his core as much as he can to become a middle of the rotation Major League starter.
Jack Reinheimer seemed to slip under the radar in the Trumbo deal with Castillo and Guerrero being more of the initial headliners, but I was very impressed with what I saw from him in The 2015 Arizona Fall League. Reinheimer demonstrated that he is a baseball player, period. He has incredible instincts not only on the base paths and at the plate, but also at the shortstop position. He has average range and arm but they play up due to his ability to anticipate.
At age 23, it is hard to imagine he ever develops average or above average power, but at the middle infield position that isn’t a necessity. Reinheimer needs to get stronger in order to make it through a full 162 game season, and be an every day shortstop. If by bulking up he loses a step or two on his range, his game might be better suited for second base, but given his instincts it might not be an issue. Reinheimer’s floor is a valuable utility man, with the potential to be solid everyday contributor at a premium shortstop position.
9) Domingo Leyba – 2B/SS
Date of Birth: September 11, 1995
Height/Weight: 5’11”/160 lbs.
Acquired: Traded from Detroit in three-team trade
Domingo Leyba is a 2012 international signee that was moved to The Dbacks, along with Robbie Ray, in the trade that sent Didi Gregorius to The Yankees. Although Gregorius is more well known, Leyba has the potential to have a bigger Major League impact, especially at the plate. Leyba can hit the cover off the ball as he has an advanced approach at the plate, which profiles very well in the middle of the infield. He is only 20 years old and is way ahead of the developmental curve, which will only help him as he continues to move up through the ranks.
Given his age, there is reason to believe he will add some muscle and that could improve his power, which would be a bonus considering he has good hands and instincts both at the plate and on defense. He may be better suited for second base given he is an average runner, but he did play shortstop exclusively in 2015. Leyba will be a fun prospect to watch grow as he could very well be the starting shortstop or second basemen for The Dbacks for years, especially considering his age.
8) Isan Diaz – SS
Date of Birth: May 27, 1996
Height/Weight: 5’10”/185 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted 2nd round in 2014
Arguably the most exciting hitting prospect in The Dbacks system is Isan Diaz, who was a Vanderbilt commit before signing a $750,00 bonus with Arizona. Diaz struggled to start his pro career, but had quite the bounce back season in 2015 highlighted by winning The Pioneer League MVP honors. In 68 games, he batted .360 with 13 home runs, 12 stolen bases, and an 1.076 OPS.
Diaz possesses plus bat speed, which allows him to make hard contact and drive the ball with power to all fields. It has been reported that he has made changes in his swing, which shows his willingness to adapt and make adjustments. The ability to make adjustments is what often makes or breaks a prospect in the Major Leagues. If Diaz can make adjustments now, chances are he will do it when needed in The Major Leagues. He has the instincts and knack to stay at shortstop but he profiles better at second base in the Major Leagues. This time next year, my guess is that he is a top 5 prospect in Arizona’s system. He is a few years away from big league impact, but this is a prospect to keep a close eye on, as it is going to be a fun rise to the desert.
7) Taylor Clarke – RHP
Date of Birth: May 13, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’4”/195 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted 3rd round in 2015
Another Hillsboro Hops contributor in 2015, Taylor Clarke worked strictly out of the bullpen. Whether they did that to keep his innings in check (see Alex Young), or see Clarke as a future bullpen arm remains to be determined. What doesn’t need to be determined is that Clarke can get hitters out. In 21 innings, he gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 27 strikeouts. He clearly appeared advanced for low A, so it will be interesting to see where he starts the year in 2016.
Clarke’s 6’4” frame combined with his over-the-top delivery makes for a deadly downward plane combination. The downward plane Clarke creates deception and allows his 91 to 93 mph fastball to play up. He has a decent changeup and curveball, but neither has strong out pitch potential at this point in time. Given Clarke’s durable frame, if he can develop his secondary pitches then he can be a middle of the rotation starter. If he doesn’t develop those pitches he could remain in the bullpen and accelerate himself to becoming a 7th/8th inning Major League bullpen arm.
6) Alex Young – LHP
Date of Birth: September 9, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’2”/205 lbs.
Acquired: Drafted 2nd round (43) in 2015
Alex Young marks the top Dbacks prospect that played for The Hillsboro Hops in 2015 (previously held by Dansby Swanson). The Dbacks certainly treated Young that way, as they had the kid gloves on when it came to their young lefty. He was on a strict innings limit while with The Hops, but in limited time he flashed why he was taken 43rd overall.
Young has a solid four pitch mix with a fastball, curve, slider, and changeup. He doesn’t have an overwhelming fastball, sits 90 to 92 mph, but he is able to spot it on both sides of the plate and for strikes. His curveball is the best secondary offering with good command and bite. He uses both his slider and changeup effectively, throwing both to right and left handed hitters. Young has the ability to be a Major League number two starter and with a solid 2016 campaign, he will be on his way.