Just like other outlets, we are starting our very own Baseball Essential prospect lists. We will have one for each and every organization. We will start off with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

1. Jon Duplantier, RHP

Rating: A-

Risk: Relatively High

ETA: Mid-2019

Even though he is certainly an injury risk, Duplantier looks like an absolute ace. He typically sits mid-90s with his fastball, but he can go a bit higher if necessary and his slider is a legitimate out pitch.

 

2. Marcus WilsonOF

Rating: B+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Wilson has been a personal favorite of mine since he was drafted out of high school, and he has finally broken out. This kid is a 15/30 threat with exceptional plate discipline and a solid glove.  

 

3. Cody Reed, LHP

Rating: B+

Risk: Medium

ETA: Early 2019

Reed has a very solid ceiling, overall. If he remains a starter, he looks like a good mid-rotation starter who shows flashes of absolute dominance. As a reliever, he looks like a possible closer.

 

4. Pavin Smith, 1B

Rating: B+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Pavin Smith has outstanding plate discipline to go along with solid power potential. He looks like a guy who the Diamondbacks can rely on as a force in the line-up day in and day out. A .270/.380/.460 line seems like it could be a realistic expectation.

 

5. Gabriel Maciel, OF

Rating: B+

Risk: High

ETA: Late 2019

Maciel has flown under the radar for a year or so now, but he deserves to be much higher than the usual 10-20 rating that he gets. He’s a leadoff hitter in the making with game changing speed, a plus glove, and while he may not offer much in terms of power, he can hit .310/.370/.400 with 40 stolen bases and Gold Glove level defense in left field.  

 

6. Socrates Brito, OF

Rating: B+/B

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

There was no reason for him to have been in Triple-A all season in 2017. Now that Brito is out of options, he should be given every opportunity to earn a starting job whether it be with the Diamondbacks or someone else. The tools are there and he has been learning how to use them the right way. He looks like a possible leadoff hitter in the big leagues.

 

7. Daulton Varsho, C

Rating: B/B+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

How many other catchers can you remember being fast and powerful? The arm is a bit fringy, but he makes up for it with a very strong glove behind the plate. While he is young, there is a very high ceiling here. The sky’s the limit here, however he should, at the very least, be a solid starting catcher.

 

8. Domingo Leyba, INF

Rating: B

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2018

Leyba looks like Alexei Ramirez, in that he can flash some power, some speed, some ability to hit for average and a solid glove. It doesn’t look like there will be enough room for him in Arizona for him to be a starter, however, if given the opportunity to start on another team, he looks like a .260/.320/.390 hitter with about 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases.

 

9. Brian Shaffer, RHP

Rating: B/B-

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2019

Shaffer doesn’t have much in terms of stuff, however his control is absolutely amazing. He’s a guy who is a sleeper who could be a No. 3 or a No. 4 in the major leagues much sooner than anyone would expect. He just needs to watch as upper level hitters might take advantage of that lack of “stuff.”

 

10. Taylor Clarke, RHP

Rating: B-

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

While he may have struggled in Triple-A last season, there are multiple signs that he can be a big league starter, including decent control and no-doubt durability. At the very least, he’s a good spot starter, but he should land as a No. 5.

 

11. Brad Keller, RHP

Rating: B-

Risk: Low

ETA: 2019

Keller seems like a lesser version of Taylor Clarke. There are no doubts about the durability, and he has very solid control, but the question is, how hard will he be hit? His ceiling is a No. 4, and his floor is a swing man out of the bullpen, but he seems like the kind of player who will fall somewhere in the middle, either as an underwhelming No. 4 or a solid No. 5.

 

12. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP

Rating: B-/C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

He should break camp with the big league club with the opportunity to play himself into a high-leverage role in the club’s bullpen. Sherfy has a very dangerous fastball, and has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. He’s definitely a name to know.

 

13. Jared Miller, LHP

Rating: B-/C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Miller is ranked below Sherfy due to the fact that he comes with a bit more risk, however he looks ready to go. He’s a high octane lefty and he could wind up as a high-leverage reliever within the year.

 

14. Matt Tabor, RHP

Rating: C+/B-

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2022

Tabor’s ceiling is as high as anyone in the organization, Duplantier included, coming out of high school in the Massachusetts area. In his first taste of professional action, batters hit .348 against him over 4.2 innings. He was, however, impressive in terms of control, striking out nine batters compared to no walks. Tabor is a guy who needs to be watched closely, as this time next year, he could be the organization’s best prospect or their No. 50 prospect.

 

15. Jose Almonte, RHP

Rating: C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2020

Almonte has the potential to be a very strong mid-rotation starter, as he has a good fastball and a very promising change-up. However, his control is a little bit of an issue. There is work to be done without question, but there is a very strong ceiling for Almonte. In the event that he is moved to the bullpen, he could wind up as a late-inning reliever.

 

16. Ryan January, C

Rating: C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2021

January has seen his stock fall a bit, seeing as how he spent the entire 2017 season on the restricted list, as he served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for the banned stimulant Amphetamine. That being said, he certainly has the offensive talent to jump right back on these lists. There’s certainly risk, but he could be an everyday catcher assuming he can come back strong.

 

17. Jasrado Chisholm, SS

Rating: C+

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2022

Chisholm has the tools scouts drool over, but he hasn’t been able to put them into action on the field just yet. There’s All-Star potential here, but there’s a ways to go. He’s far too young to give up on just yet, but, the rating will be exceptionally elastic over the next year or so.

 

18. Kristian Robinson, OF

Rating: C+

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2024

Robinson’s ceiling is the moon. He’s exceptionally toolsy with above-average power and plus speed, but it would seem like an act in futility to attempt to put a label on him. We could have an All-Star or a Jiwan James.

 

19. Victor Reyes, OF

Rating: C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

You could do a lot worse for a fourth outfielder. Reyes has a very solid ability to hit for average with speed that’s considered above-average. He’s probably not going to get on base enough to justify placing him as a starter, but he seems like a good bet to make an impact as a major leaguer sooner rather than later.

 

20. Anthony Banda, LHP

Rating: C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Banda looks like a reliever more than a starter. He got killed last season in Triple-A Reno, but considering he’s a left-handed pitcher with good control, he seems like he could be a very solid multi-inning reliever.

 

21. Lldemaro Vargas, UTIL

Rating: C+/C

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Overall, Vargas is going to hit for good average, provide decent, albeit unspectacular power off of the bench, and decent speed with good defensive versatility. However, he isn’t an All-Star or even a guaranteed starter. He’s not the type of guy who fans will be buying his jersey, but he looks like a productive major leaguer in the making.

 

22. Andury Acevedo, RHP

Rating: C/C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2018

Acevedo has looked amazing when he has been healthy. So good, in fact, that the Cubs thought he was worth giving a big league deal, but he got hurt. There’s a lot to love the upside as an eighth inning guy, but again, he needs to stay healthy.

 

23. Christian Walker, 1B/OF

Rating: C/C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Walker is a difficult case. Talent-wise, he should be hitting seventh on a big league team, but he is beginning to get up there in age. Unless he’s traded to a team that can use him as an everyday guy, he looks destined to be a power bench bat.

 

24. Kevin Cron, 1B

Rating: C/C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Cron is a very similar player to Christian Walker in that he has undeniable power and a decent eye. Overall, he’s been an underrated prospect throughout his career, despite hitting 27, 26, and 25 home runs in each of the past three minor league campaigns. He has an outside chance at being selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, however, as long as he’s in the National League, he’s a power bench bat. If he is moved to the American League, we could be looking at a power source who can hit seventh in a big league lineup.

 

25. Jack Reinheimer, SS

Rating: C/C+

Risk: Low

ETA: 2018

Reinheimer is a slightly below-average bat, but he offers defensive versatility and good speed, which would be exceptionally valuable off of the bench. At this stage of the game, he’s looking like a very serviceable utility option that may get 200 plate appearances in a season.

 

26. Jamie Westbrook, 2B

Rating: C/C+

Risk: Medium

ETA: 2018

Westbrook could be a very solid utility infielder who brings some power off of the bench. One thing people tend to forget is that he’s still 22. It seems plausible to expect that Westbrook can post a .240/.310/.400 line off of the bench with about 10 home runs and decent defense as a part-time infielder.  

 

27. Anfernee Grier, OF

Rating: C/C+

Risk: High

ETA: 2020

Grier just looks like a Ben Revere with better plate discipline, in my opinion. There’s no reason he can’t be a starter, however, the question will be whether or not he can hit enough (and walk enough), which is certainly debatable. At the very least, we should be looking at a fourth outfielder.

 

28. Alex Young, LHP

Rating: C

Risk: Low

ETA: 2019

Young has the makings of a solid, albeit unspectacular back-end starter. However, it doesn’t look as though he will receive a call-up until he is at least 25, and furthermore, the stuff just isn’t there. He looks like a very good swing man, with the ceiling of a No. 5.

 

29. Drew Ellis, 3B

Rating: C

Risk: Low

ETA: 2019

Ellis has outstanding plate discipline and power, but the question is with his hit tool. It’s certainly debatable as to whether or not he will be able to hit for enough average at the major league level.  

 

30. Andy Yerzy, C

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: 2021

Yerzy has a promising bat with nice power and decent plate discipline. That alone will get him to the big leagues in some way, shape or form, but where he plays is the question. He’s not very good defensively behind the plate, or anywhere for that matter. He’s young though, and has a pretty high ceiling.

 

31. Tyler Mark, RHP

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: 2019

The fastball velocity is certainly there, however he has control issues and a noticeable lack of “stuff.” Mark seems like the type of player who is signed as a minor league contract, spends most of the season in Triple-A and could receive a cameo if his team is hit hard by injuries in August or September.

 

32. Jhoan Duran, RHP

Rating: C

Risk: Very High

ETA: 2020

Duran has a very decent fastball and he’s a big kid, however, he has struggled mightily in the low-minor leagues. The fact that he has struggled so much, regardless of age, is a concern. Unfortunately, at this juncture, he looks like an organizational depth piece.

 

33. Mack Lemieux, LHP

Rating: C

Risk: High

ETA: 2019

Unfortunately, the only thing that Lemieux has going for him is that fact that he’s a southpaw. He has the ceiling of a LOOGY, however it remains to be seen if he can reach it. He looks like organizational filler.

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