Arizona Diamondbacks Top 44 Prospects

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Diamondbacks Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Corbin Carroll 22.8 MLB LF 2023 65
2 Druw Jones 19.6 A CF 2026 60
3 Jordan Lawlar 20.9 AA SS 2024 55
4 Brandon Pfaadt 24.7 MLB SP 2023 55
5 Drey Jameson 25.8 MLB SP 2023 50
6 Ryne Nelson 25.4 MLB SP 2023 50
7 Jansel Luis 18.3 R SS 2027 45+
8 Cristofer Torin 18.1 R 2B 2027 45+
9 Slade Cecconi 24.0 AAA SP 2024 45
10 Jorge Barrosa 22.3 AAA CF 2023 45
11 Deyvison De Los Santos 20.0 AA DH 2024 40+
12 Justin Martinez 21.9 AAA SIRP 2023 40+
13 Ruben Santana 18.4 R 3B 2028 40+
14 Yilber Diaz 22.8 A+ SIRP 2025 40+
15 Ivan Melendez 23.4 A+ 1B 2026 40+
16 Dominic Fletcher 25.8 MLB CF 2023 40
17 Blake Walston 22.0 AAA SP 2024 40
18 Yu-Min Lin 19.9 A+ SP 2026 40
19 Dylan Ray 22.1 A+ SP 2026 40
20 Gian Zapata 17.8 R CF 2029 40
21 A.J. Vukovich 21.9 AA CF 2025 40
22 Ricardo Yan 20.6 A SP 2026 40
23 Luke Albright 23.5 AA SIRP 2025 40
24 Landon Sims 22.5 R SIRP 2026 40
25 Ryan Bliss 23.5 AA 2B 2025 40
26 Wilderd Patino 21.9 A+ CF 2025 40
27 Christian Cerda 20.5 A C 2026 40
28 Jose Fernandez 19.8 A SS 2026 40
29 Juan Corniel 20.7 A 3B 2026 40
30 Yerald Nin 17.8 R SS 2027 40
31 Jeremy Rodriguez 17.1 R SS 2028 35+
32 Blaze Alexander 24.0 AAA SS 2023 35+
33 Dominic Canzone 25.9 AAA RF 2024 35+
34 Adrian Del Castillo 23.7 AA C 2025 35+
35 J.J. D’Orazio 21.5 A+ C 2026 35+
36 Carlos Vargas 23.7 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
37 Bryce Jarvis 25.5 AAA MIRP 2024 35+
38 Conor Grammes 25.9 AA SIRP 2023 35+
39 Jake Rice 25.9 AA SIRP 2025 35+
40 Spencer Giesting 22.0 A+ MIRP 2026 35+
41 Jacob Steinmetz 19.9 A SP 2026 35+
42 Michel Otanez 26.0 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
43 Andrew Pintar 22.2 A 2B 2027 35+
44 Nate Savino 21.4 R SP 2026 35+
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65 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Lakeside HS (WA) (ARI)
Age 22.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 50/55 50/60 80/80 60/70 40

For players written up as Imminent Big Leaguers, the late-cycle list blurbs have taken on more of a reflective tone, a chance to check in on how things are going compared to the earlier report. They’re almost easier to execute for players who aren’t performing as expected, and Carroll, who signed an eight-year, $111 million extension this offseason, has been one of the best players in the majors so far this season. If anything, the fact that he was ranked as the second-best prospect in baseball behind Gunnar Henderson has been incorrect to this point. If there’s one thing about Carroll that I was consistently wrong about as he traversed the minors, it was that he’d become a better center field defender than Alek Thomas. He hasn’t, but it hasn’t mattered. This dude is getting MVP chants at Chase Field.

His offseason report, which follows, has been on target thus far: Just seven games into his 2021 minor league season, Carroll sustained a posterior capsular avulsion fracture and a labrum tear during a swing on which he homered. The rip was more explosive than his shoulder could handle, and part of it tore away from the bone. He spent most of the rest of the year rehabbing in Arizona, often attending Diamondbacks games in his sling. This isn’t a common injury and the industry wasn’t quite sure what to make of its impact on his trajectory. There was some worry that Carroll wouldn’t be quite the same player when he returned, but he quickly allayed those concerns by dominating the upper minors as soon as the 2022 starter pistol fired, notching an amazing 53 extra-base hits in just 91 Double- and Triple-A games before he slashed .260/.330/.500 during a September big league call-up.

Carroll has evolved in some surprising ways as a hitter. His amateur look was that of a slash-and-dash leadoff man with doubles power and a great idea of the strike zone. While some of those skills are still bricks in Carroll’s baseball-playing foundation, he has developed much more power than even the most optimistic amateur projections. His forearms have grown like the Grinch’s heart, and Carroll can now bang wall-threatening contact to all fields with the flick of his wrists. The compact nature of Carroll’s body and swing gives him a little extra time and distance to diagnose pitches, and his strength makes him a threat to do damage on the ones that he lets travel deep into the hitting zone. He rarely chases and spoils lots of well-executed pitches, grinding away at opposing pitchers. Because Carroll runs such deep counts, his strikeout rates have been higher than one might expect given his reputation as a plus contact hitter. He did show some swing-and-miss vulnerability at the top of the strike zone throughout 2022, but seemed to be remedying that toward the end of the season.

He’s a complete hitter who will likely produce some 25-30 home run seasons by virtue of his contact quality and frequency, as well as some .400-plus OBP seasons because of his plate discipline and speed. And Carroll can really motor: he’s a no-doubt 80 runner and routinely posts sub-4.00 second times to first base. His speed makes him a defensive fit in center field but a lack of arm strength and the presence of young Alek Thomas in Arizona will likely push Carroll to left (he’s played a mix of left, center, and right in 2023), where he might be the game’s rangiest defender at that position. Poised to make an immediate impact as Arizona’s leadoff hitter, Carroll is the tip of the spear the Diamondbacks are pointing at the Dodgers and Padres.

60 FV Prospects

2. Druw Jones, CF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Wesleyan HS (GA) (ARI)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/70 20/70 60/60 45/60 50

Jones’ combination of present baseball ability and physical projection were unmatched in the 2022 draft class. At age 14, thin as a rail, he was already hitting balls out of big league spring training stadiums during workouts. Now he’s 6-foot-4 and has grown into considerable raw power for his age, all while maintaining premium up-the-middle defensive ability. The ceilings of Jones and Jackson Holliday were a level above the rest of the 2022 draft. The guy with the safer hit tool went first, then Jones was picked second overall. Just three days after signing, Jones suffered a left posterior labral tear while hitting, another glitch in the Matrix that seems to be causing every high-profile Diamondbacks prospect to suffer a severe shoulder injury. Jones had surgery, missed the back half of the summer and instructs, and only began hitting again in January. He suffered a quad strain just a few weeks into the 2023 season and began rehabbing in Arizona in May, hanging around long enough to be the leadoff hitter on one of the D-backs two ACL teams once they began playing actual games.

So far Jones has looked very rusty in the batter’s box — his breaking ball recognition has been especially poor — and fantastic on defense. It’s helpful to have proper context for these early struggles, as it prevents one from becoming alarmed by how Jones has looked out of the gate. As of list publication, he has played in fewer than 20 actual baseball games in the last 12 months and has had to work through a shoulder rehab and hamstring injury. I’m not apt to alter Jones’ long-term evaluation based on how he’s looked on the complex the last few weeks. I wrote about the concerns I had with his swing before the draft (ultimately, his tools foundation was so good that I ranked him no. 1) and his operation remains the same, but it’s far too early to consider that an actual problem, so let’s just let him be healthy and play baseball for a while.

Recall the game-changing attributes Jones has shown us: He’s a plus rotational athlete, his hands are exceptionally strong, he can drive his top hand through contact to punish pitches at the top of the zone, and he sometimes alters his footwork and the bend in his lower half to dip down and barrel low pitches. Even though his stride is relatively conservative, he still generates so much force with his legs that his back foot will sometimes come completely off the ground as he’s making contact, à la Bryce Harper. Nitpicking about his swing actualization is fine because we’re talking about one of baseball’s best prospects, but the foundation of present skills and tools, combined with Jones’ physical projection, makes him a potentially franchise-altering superstar. A meteoric rise is unlikely and the injuries add volatility to Jones’ profile, a profile that still features among the highest ceilings in the minors, that of a power-hitting center fielder with an elite glove.

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Jesuit Prep HS (ARI)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 55/60 45/55 60/60 45/60 50

A relatively complete prospect and a total baseball rat, Lawlar had been a touted amateur as an underclassman and held serve as a near top-of-the-class talent for two or three years, even amid the volatility of the 2020 draft process. He has continued on that path as a pro, reaching Double-A and the Arizona Fall League at age 20 after he had torn his labrum the year before. His OPS has only hovered around .750 during about half a season’s worth of games combined between last year and this year at Amarillo, unspectacular on its face, but solid for a Double-A hitter who only turns 21 in July, and trending up significantly of late.

Lawlar’s hit tool projection is a bit of a conundrum. There are aspects of his swing that are very exciting and consistent with those of great big league hitters. His raw power and bat speed are uncommon for a shortstop, and his bent-at-the-waist hitting posture is akin to Mike Trout and Dylan Crews, but his bat path is fairly grooved, and Lawlar is struggling to recognize breaking balls. When the cement dries on Lawlar’s hit tool, it will probably be a little south of average, but he’s so incredibly strong and has so much more power than a typical big league shortstop at such a young age that his overall offensive output should still comfortably clear the bar at short.

Lawlar’s throwing stroke to first base can sometimes be a little odd, but he finds all kinds of crazy ways to contort his body and send the baseball where it needs to go, which is especially true of his feeds to second base. There is some risk that his size moves him off of shortstop down the road, and if Geraldo Perdomo keeps performing the way he has, it might force an earlier situational shift to the hot corner. But in a vacuum, Lawlar is a capable shortstop, albeit one with an atypical style. Paul DeJong’s peak years are a fair representation of the kind of output that’s projected for Lawlar here.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Bellarmine (ARI)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 50/55 45/55 45/55 92-95 / 97

The Diamondbacks selected Pfaadt with their final pick in 2020’s abbreviated draft. The righty had only made 11 career starts at then-Division-II Bellarmine University, but a successful 2019 summer on the Cape and a lights out draft spring suggested that he was a real prospect. Pfaadt pitched at 2020 instructs, then rocketed through the bottom of Arizona’s system in 2021, making brief stops at both A-ball levels before closing the season with six starts at Double-A Amarillo. He then spent most of 2022 at the upper levels dominating to the tune of a 32% K% and 4% BB%. After five dominant starts with Reno to start the 2023 season, Pfaadt was called up to Phoenix and got knocked around for the better part of another five starts before being sent down. Pfaadt’s breaking ball wasn’t finishing consistently during his first stint in the big leagues, and his fastball command would waver as his outings wore on.

He still has all the characteristics of a mid-rotation starter on a contender. His delivery is a bit more violent than is ideal, but pitchers who are built like Pfaadt, and who move like he does, tend to pan out over time. His fastball sits 92-95 mph and its line is tough to get on top of. He has spurts where his misses with the fastball are very small; with command refinement, this will play like a plus pitch even at average velocity. For a pitcher from Bellarmine to have three plus-flashing secondary pitches after just over two years of actual in-game reps is an impressive feat and a feather in the cap of Arizona’s ops group.

Pfaadt throws a deep, vertical mid-to-upper-70s curveball for strikes and uses his lateral slider for chase. His slider looks best when it has something more like two-plane movement, which wasn’t often the case during his debut big league stint, but the pitch was still plus on occasion. Pfaadt’s fading change flashes bat-missing action, but it also flattens at times, and even though Pfaadt is comfortable enough to use it against righties, it’s the pitch he has the least consistent feel for locating. Again, pitchers this size tend to get better feel for their bodies in their mid-20s, when their feel becomes a little more precise and the monster stuff that has been lurking really starts to play. Despite his stale cup of coffee, there’s no real change to how I have Pfaadt graded.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Ball State (ARI)
Age 25.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/70 50/50 50/50 40/45 95-96 / 99

Jameson entered the year evaluated as the more likely of the Jameson/Ryne Nelson duo to pan out as a starter, though both were projected to have a significant impact on a pitching staff in whatever role. Jameson had to take a turn in the rotation a few times earlier in the year, but lately he’s been deployed as a multi-inning fireman. He’s pitching about six innings per week in this role, so his workload is very similar to a starter’s, just spread out over multiple days.

Jameson sits 95-96 mph and touches 99, and he can add and subtract sink from his fastball. His mid-80s slider has been performing like a plus-plus pitch (24% swinging strike rate as of publication) so far. A slower curveball and occasional mid-80s changeup give Jameson the weapons to work through a lineup multiple times even though they’re just fair. While his delivery features a lot of effort, Jameson has held velocity like this across a starter’s workload every year since he was drafted. He lacks precise command, but he throws enough strikes to start and bully hitters with his velocity and slider for five and six innings at a time. Jameson is also a extremely competitive and has the makeup for a late-inning role should he have to make way for some of Arizona’s other good young starters in perpetuity.

6. Ryne Nelson, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Oregon (ARI)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 45/45 45/55 50/50 40/45 93-96 / 98

Nelson spent most of his college career in the bullpen showing huge stuff, fringe command, and repertoire depth that led to optimism surrounding his development as a starter. He also dealt with an eye condition that would later require surgery to strengthen the collagen fibers within his cornea, a procedure he had in 2020 while he also reworked his mechanics. Nelson had a dominant 2021 season spent mostly at Double-A Amarillo, striking out 163 hitters in 116.1 total innings, all as a starter. His strikeout numbers have backed up each of the last two seasons, including during his 2023 rookie season.

Nelson’s velocity tends to fluctuate; as of list publication, it’s been trending up over the last month or so, and he has averaged 95 mph. His changeup usage is also trending up, and he added a cutter this year. Similar to Pfaadt, it’s important for Nelson to develop more precise feel for his fastball location, as too often, he mislocates lower in the zone where his fastball is vulnerable. If he can live in the tempting upper third of the strike zone and above, where his heater is almost impossible to hit due to its riding life, he’ll miss more bats than he has to this point in the big leagues. Nelson used his fastball about 65% of the time in 2021 and 61% in 2022, both at the upper boundary of what is typical for a big league starter. That rate is down to 55% in 2023 as he mixes in his three different breaking balls and the changeup. Both his sequencing and location are unpredictable. Nelson will probably always work inefficiently, but he has too many weapons to put in the bullpen unless the D-backs think a move like that is the only way to get him missing bats again.

45+ FV Prospects

7. Jansel Luis, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/55 25/55 50/50 40/50 50

Luis has been one of this spring’s complex-level revelations, a projectable switch-hitting shortstop with advanced bat-to-ball skills and burgeoning power. One of several really interesting infielders splitting time at a couple of different positions as part of Arizona’s two-team complex contingent, Luis has the most complete toolset. In fact, he’s among the most well-rounded prospects currently at the complex-level across all of baseball. Luis has a chance to mature in the Goldilocks Zone, where he adds power while remaining at short. He’s an above-average athlete who plays low-to-the-ground defense, his hands are fine, and his arm should be sufficient for the left side of the infield at maturity. He’s not a lock to stay at short, but he has a shot, and if not, he’ll be a plus second baseman.

Most importantly, Luis can hit. His combination of feel for the barrel and airborne contact, especially from the left side of the plate, is very exciting. He has a very authoritative top hand through contact for a switch-hitting teenager, and he has flashed feel for oppo lift, rolling his wrists uphill through contact to hit the ball in the air to left field. This kid has a chance to be really good, though it’s tough to truly know anything about his plate discipline yet. He’s expanded fairly often in my handful of looks, but I’d sooner trust a few months data once we have it. Luis could have an airtight offensive skill set while staying on the middle infield and might be an impact big leaguer.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 18.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/70 30/40 20/40 40/40 40/50 45

Torin stole 21 bases and barely swung and missed in the 2022 DSL, but he didn’t hit a single homer down there. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, those measurables and a glance at his stats probably paints a picture in your mind of a speedy, slap-and-dash middle infield prospect. That is not quite what this guy looks like; Torin is short, but he’s not small. He’s powerfully built, and his body unwinds from the ground up with beautiful connectivity throughout his swing. He does tend to work a lot of low-lying contact to the opposite field, but when he unloads on a pitch to his pull side, he has impressive pop for a hitter his age. His swing-and-miss rates in the DSL were absurdly low, and he’s made a ton of contact on the complex, looking extremely hitterish since first arriving last fall. There isn’t a ton of raw power projection here, but there’s definitely more than is typical for a player this size because of the kind of rotational athlete we’re talking about. He’s more likely to be a long-term fit at second base than shortstop (he’s played a mix of both so far this year), but with a premium hit tool driving the bus, Torin has a chance to be an impact regular.

45 FV Prospects

9. Slade Cecconi, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Miami (ARI)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 219 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 50/55 40/45 35/50 92-95 / 97

It appears that the Diamondbacks have altered Cecconi’s delivery this year, opening up his stride direction so he isn’t quite as cross-bodied as before. It looks like it has helped his fastball’s playability, as he’s getting more chases and whiffs on that pitch than he did last season, and his ability to locate his slider has also improved. As of list publication, Cecconi has an ERA well over 7.00 with Reno, but that’s the PCL talking. His peripherals are actually quite good, as Cecconi has maintained starter-quality walk rates for the third straight year and has been healthy for the last two. He sits 92-95 mph and will peak around 97 while making heavy use of two distinct breaking balls, an upper-70s curve and a mid-80s slider. Cecconi has three average or better pitches and average command, enough to project him as a no. 4/5 starter, and probably soon. He’ll likely tussle with the likes of Blake Walston and Tommy Henry for a rotation spot next spring.

10. Jorge Barrosa, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 5″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 30/35 20/30 55/55 55/60 50

Barrosa was added to Arizona’s 40-man in the offseason after slashing .276/.374/.438 at Amarillo. His power production (12 homers, as many as he had in his entire career up to that point) was caricatured by the offensive environment at that affiliate, but Barrosa has plus bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate and can really go get it in center field.

This is a slash-and-dash style hitter who sprays light contact all over the place. He makes in-flight adjustments to breaking balls, is naturally short to elevated fastballs, and can get deep into his legs to dip and impact pitches in the lower third. While his somewhat elaborate footwork can sometimes disrupt his timing, it’s essential to Barrosa winding up his body and swinging hard, and his stroke is otherwise short, direct, and flat, which is conducive to making contact all over the zone. From the left side, the momentum of Barrosa’s swing naturally carries him toward first, and he can get down the line in under 4.10 seconds. He is also an excellent defensive center fielder and especially good at breaking on balls hit over his head. He doesn’t have the pop of an everyday guy, but Barrosa’s ability to put the ball in play from both sides of the plate and play great outfield defense should make him an important complementary player.

40+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 70/70 25/60 40/30 20/20 45

De Los Santos is barely 20 years old and already has plus-plus raw power. When a contingent of Diamondbacks prospects scrimmaged against the University of West Virginia during the spring, De Los Santos dwarfed the whole team, which was comprised entirely of players who were about his age. His peak exit velos and hard-hit rate are already comfortably plus on the big league scale and elite for a 20-year-old.

But De Los Santos isn’t a good baseball player right now. He’s a butcher on defense, chase-prone at the plate, and his swing this year looks incredibly unnatural and disconnected. De Los Santos’ in-the-box footwork is not well-timed. His weight can start to drift to his front side very early and leave him helpless to adjust to secondary pitches out of hand. This is true despite De Los Santos using a comically simple stride, one that arguably dilutes his explosivity. He has the power to do damage even with a minimalistic operation, and it makes sense to try to keep things simple to help Deyvison’s hit tool play, but it just isn’t working. When he does make contact, it’s often on the ground, so there are power actualization hurdles to overcome on top of everything else. He’s struggling very badly on both sides of the ball at Amarillo so far in 2023.

The D-backs shouldn’t stop playing him at third base. It’s not like this guy’s kicking down the door with his bat, tempting you to DH him and call it a day. Even if he makes adjustments over time, it’s unlikely he’ll fix everything, and his profile will have some room to breath if he can play an actual position. There are a lot of Quad-A hitter traits happening here, but there’s too much power at such a young age to dismiss De Los Santos as a prospect. I’d be scared to trade him, especially at this stage when the D-backs would be selling extremely low, because if things click for him even part of the way, he’s going to hit 30 bombs.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
65/65 40/45 60/70 30/40 97-100 / 102

Martinez was working in the upper 90s before his 18th birthday, but command, fastball shape, and the lack of a true plus secondary pitch marred his early-career performance. So, too, did injury. Martinez had Tommy John in 2021, which put him in a bit of a developmental bind since he came back in the middle of 2022, his 40-man evaluation year, and only had a couple months to earn a roster spot. He did. After moving to the bullpen post-surgery, Martinez saw his velo leap into the 97-100 mph range, and a brand new splitter not only gave him a plus secondary weapon, but the pitch might end up being even better than that. It comes out of his hand with bullet spin (but barely any spin at all), which sometimes makes it look like a slider when it finishes to his glove-side, but it often just has bat-missing sink. There are even times when Martinez will mis-release his splitter and it accidentally tails back over the glove-side corner of the plate, freezing hitters.

There is still an actual slider here (83-86 mph) and it still isn’t great, but the 100-mph fastball and the splitter should both be enough for Martinez to work in the later innings of big league games assuming he ends up with at least 40-grade command as he continues to shake off the rust post-op. He’s been struggling to find the zone, walking about a batter per inning at Reno as of list publication. The Diamondbacks could use a door-slamming reliever at the back of their bullpen, and Martinez looked like an internal candidate for the job entering the year, if a bit of a longshot. He’s been too wild at Triple-A to play any kind of role yet this season, let alone a high-leverage one. There’s still big variance here, but Martinez’s stuff is much nastier than the average middle reliever’s and his FV grade reflects that.

13. Ruben Santana, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 18.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 25/50 60/60 35/55 60

Santana is a toolsy corner infield prospect with huge showcase tools, and he plays with such consistent effort that you’re guaranteed to see some of them on any given night. He’ll sizzle balls to his pull side, hose runners from deep in the corner of the infield, and run sub-4.3s from home to first or haul ass to second, legging out a hustle double. Power, speed, and arm strength are Santana’s most promising prospect ingredients. I have doubts about his swing’s long-term viability, as it has Andujarian elements that I think will lead to more eventual swing-and-miss than Santana has shown so far. He’s going to perform against low-level pitchers by virtue of his immense physical ability and be tested (and probably forced to adjust) by more mature arms.

14. Yilber Diaz, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/60 30/40 95-96 / 97

Diaz is a high-octane relief prospect with a mid-90s heater and a plus curveball. He’s been deployed as a starter so far in pro ball, but with a frame and delivery like his, Diaz is almost certainly destined for the bullpen. And it’s possible he will be an impact reliever, as he’s sitting 95-96 mph as a starter and has an absolute hammer curveball. He’s a short, open strider with a flat, riding heater and a deep breaker that’s about 20 mph slower than the fastball. He’s a post-2024 40-man add in waiting, and Diaz has until then to develop a third pitch and improve his command in order to outperform expectations and continue to start.

15. Ivan Melendez, 1B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Texas (ARI)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 35/60 30/30 30/40 45

Melendez has one of the most impressive physiques in baseball and the power to match. He has titanic, plus-plus raw juice that plays to all fields, the kind of pop where he doesn’t even have to get all of it to hit a ball out. After he wasn’t drafted high enough to sign in 2021, Melendez returned to Texas, cut his strikeout rate from 26% to 16%, led the NCAA in homers, and won the Golden Spikes Award. In the same way hitters repeating a pro level should show a drastic improvement in the second year, Melendez’s improvements were, to some degree, to have been expected. His K rates are way up in 2023, around 35% with High-A Hillsboro. He is swinging and missing more often than he is putting balls in play, which isn’t a great sign for a 23-year-old in A-ball.

Once a catcher, Melendez is now playing both corner infield spots, but his best fit is at first due to arm accuracy issues at third. He presents a huge target at first and is great at stretching for throws that end up short of the bag. Because he’s played other spots and missed most of 2020, his long-term ceiling as a first base defender could be very high once he focuses solely on the position. The track record for hitters who were passed over as juniors and had big breakouts the following year (guys like Brent Rooker and Kody Hoese) isn’t great, and there’s clearly hit tool-related bust risk here. But Melendez has a different level of physicality than Hoese and Rooker (and most other baseball players), so let’s let this air out for a little while longer before sliding Melendez down from his pre-draft grade.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Arkansas (ARI)
Age 25.8 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 50/50 40/45 50/50 45/45 45

Fletcher was a tweener SoCal high school prospect who matriculated to Arkansas, where he developed in unexpected ways. First, he filled out and added more power than his 5-foot-9 frame would suggest. He also chased more than was anticipated at Arkansas and early on in pro ball, which inflated his strikeout rate in the latter setting. As Fletcher has traversed the minors, his K rates have stabilized in the teens and his underlying contact data (88% Z-contact, 71% overall contact%) was very strong in 2022. He was put on the 40-man in the offseason and made his big league debut in 2023 when the Diamondbacks decided to rework the swing of a struggling Alek Thomas at Reno.

Fletcher has worked to become incredibly strong (his arms are gigantic for a person his size) while retaining fluidity in his hips and shoulders, both of which are evident as he finishes his swing. The sweeping nature of his bat path means Fletcher does most of his extra-base damage against slow stuff he can scoop at the bottom of the zone. He inside-outs a lot of fastballs the other way, and pitchers can limit his damage by approaching him with heat. Fletcher is an average runner from home to first, and his routes in center field are direct and polished, but he doesn’t have the pure speed to play out there regularly. And so he still has a tweener’s skill set, falling short of everyday power and on-base output to profile in a corner, and not quite swift enough to play center unless it’s necessary. He’s not a player you’re going to win because of, but he is a player you can win with as part of your outfield picture.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from New Hanover HS (NC) (ARI)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
30/30 50/55 50/50 45/55 45/50 45/60 88-93 / 96

Walston was a young-for-the-draft pop-up arm who made a rapid ascent up teams’ boards during his senior spring. He was a very projectable lefty with lovely natural curveball shape and what seemed like burgeoning velocity. He also had feel for a changeup, precocious command, and a fastball with life that enabled it to compete for swings and misses in the zone even though it wasn’t all that hard. As he’s climbed the minors, Walston has shown flashes of more heat during instructs and backfield activity, peaking in the mid-90s but never sustaining that velo for long stretches. He’s settled into the low-90s, with his fastball only averaging 91 mph in 2023 as of list publication.

Walston managed to strike out more than a batter per inning up through Double-A because of the quality of his secondary stuff, but his K rates have plummeted since arriving in Reno, with his changeup’s performance taking an especially stark dip. Walston has added a cutter, giving him three distinct breaking balls — a low-80s slider and a mid-70s breaking ball are the others — and it’s been his most-used secondary pitch so far this year. He’ll throw his curveball for strike one, and he’s unpredictable against right-handed hitters with two strikes because he’ll turn over the changeup and back foot his slider against them. It’s unclear whether his cutter usage is temporarily high because he’s making an effort to develop the pitch, or if it’s a long-term aspect of his mix designed to keep hitters off his vulnerable fastball. Walston has shown in the past that he has the tools to get outs despite his 30-grade heater, but the changeup had been a big part of that. I’m not projecting any more velo here (Walston is young and lanky and his delivery is easy-looking, but he’s not a premium athlete), so it’s pretty important for the cambio quality to rebound if Walston’s going to hit his previous no. 4/5 starter projection. He slides into the 40 FV tier (looking more like a pure fifth starter at the moment) on this update, but he’s still jockeying for an offseason 40-man add and is likely to make his big league debut next year.

18. Yu-Min Lin, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Taiwan (ARI)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/40 30/40 60/60 35/60 87-91 / 93

Lin is a pretty standard soft-tossing lefty with a plus changeup and plus command. His fastball will dip into the mid-80s during many of his starts and only tends to sit about 89 mph, which is basically a 20 on the scale these days. He commands it to his arm side with precision, which is as important for keeping it from getting crushed as it is for setting up his excellent changeup. Lin’s slider is a 30 on the scale a lot of the time, as it’s soft and lacks depth. He’s young and athletic, and even though there are fewer pieces in place here than I’m typically comfortable 40’ing when the prospect in question is in A-ball, the track record of lefties with changeups and command this good is so consistent and strong that Lin is a low-variance fifth starter even at this stage.

19. Dylan Ray, SP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Alabama (ARI)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 55/55 40/50 30/50 90-94 / 95

Ray only threw about 31 innings (all in relief) in college because of a Tommy John surgery and entered the D-backs system as a tip-of-the-iceberg sort set to be developed as a starter. So far things are going well. Ray is throwing lots of strikes at High-A Hillsboro and his repertoire is impressively deep for someone who hasn’t been starting for very long. He works a riding fastball (with 20 inches of induced vertical break) at the letters and has a deep, vertical curveball that pairs well with the fastball. Ray also has a changeup that flashes bat-missing tail, and it looks like he also has a two-plane slider that is tough to distinguish from his curve. As of list publication, he has a walk rate around 7%. Ray doesn’t have a typical starter’s build or athleticism, but it seems like he’s going to have the repertoire and control of one. He’s tracking like a backend starter.

20. Gian Zapata, CF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/55 20/55 60/55 40/50 60

Among the most physically projectable athletes in the 2023 international class, Zapata is a typical Diamondbacks international prospect in the Alvin Guzman mold. You can dream on how much power Zapata will grow into while also hoping that he’ll stay in center field, though his rocket arm will be an asset in right if he eventually has to move. He signed for just shy of $1 million in January and his pro career is just underway in the DSL. He’s a long-term dev project of extreme variance.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from East Troy HS (WI) (ARI)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 40/50 50/50 35/45 55

Vukovich’s position isn’t a typo: He’s begun to transition to the outfield and has been playing a lot of center field in the weeks leading up to list publication. Vukovich is a special run-and-jump athlete for his size, but he’s never had the movement skills or hands of a big league third baseman and had been projected to first base here at FanGraphs since before he was drafted. A transition to the outfield makes sense, but I was shocked to see how many center field reps he’s getting and even more shocked to put on the tape and see that Vukovich actually looks okay out there. The deafening winds of Amarillo make it hard to hear yourself think, let alone track fly balls swirling in all kinds of directions over your head, and there are times when Vukovich’s inexperience at the position shows, such as the way he approaches the wall and anticipates caroms. But for a guy who has only been playing a premium position for less than a month, some of what he’s doing is very impressive.

Defensive fit and versatility are going to be extremely important for Vukovich, because he doesn’t have the offensive skill set to be a regular first baseman or even a left fielder. Righty-hitting corner guys with loose plate discipline like Vukovich’s tend not to pan out, but he does have impressive power and he’s been able to get to it in games so far despite having contact and chase issues. Had this list been done two weeks ago, I’d have been fine moving on from Vukovich entirely, but because he looks like he has a shot to be a passable center fielder with time, I’m keeping him alive toward the bottom here. His prospectdom is largely predicated on things working out in center, however. His 40-man evaluation year is next season.

22. Ricardo Yan, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/50 50/60 45/55 30/50 88-92 / 94

Yan is an extremely projectable low-slot righty with a sinking and tailing fastball, and two secondary pitches that will flash plus. He’s only sitting in the upper-80s and low-90s, but he’s so lanky and loose that he might yet throw harder. The divergent lateral action of his fastball and slider has given Low-A hitters fits. Guess wrong and you’re either whiffing at the slider, which at times has huge two-plane wipe, or the fastball is going to run into your knuckles mid-swing. The run on Yan’s heater isn’t crisp yet and it’s not nasty enough to be a good big league pitch at this velocity; he needs to throw harder. His changeup finish in inconsistent, but Yan is so loose and whippy that it’s very likely he’ll be able to sell it with his arm speed as he gets feel for it. He’s a good low-level starting pitching prospect who has the floor of a “look” reliever.

23. Luke Albright, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Kent State (ARI)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 40/50 30/40 92-93 / 95

Albright is tracking like a post-2024 season 40-man add, missing bats at Double-A with his combination of deception and riding fastball life. He’s only sitting 92-93 mph, but he hides the baseball forever, generates nearly seven feet of extension, and mixes in hard cutter/sliders that sometimes back up on him. The ones that back up are sometimes nastier than the ones that finish correctly, especially against lefties. He seems to have scrapped the mid-70s curveball and low-80s changeup he had last year, which is part of why he projects in relief even though he’s currently part of the Double-A rotation. Here the future fastball projection anticipates a a velo bump in shorter outings.

24. Landon Sims, SIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Mississippi State (ARI)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 216 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/55 55/60 40/45 30/45 90-92 / 93

As an underclassman, Sims was a high-leverage, multi-inning reliever at Mississippi State with a power fastball/slider combo. His slider was incredible, with curveball shape at slider speeds, averaging about 85 mph. Mississippi State’s starting pitching departures from the prior season cleared the way for Sims to prove he could start during his draft spring and maybe go in the top half of the first round; instead, he blew out and had Tommy John in mid-March of 2022. He has made a couple rehab appearances on the complex in Arizona so far in 2023 and, in single-inning outings, his fastball has been parked in the 90-92 mph range and his slider lacks its trademark depth. As of list publication, we are 15 months removed from the surgery. Velocity is normally back at this stage. If I saw a random 22-year-old sitting 91 on the complex, he wouldn’t even make it into my notebook. This is a high-profile prospect who in college looked like he was a mean cuss who’d at the least make a bullpen impact very quickly. That context is important, and we shouldn’t write Sims off after two outings, but rather than line him up as if he projects to have a meaningful big league impact, we’re now in wait and see mode with his velocity. If he starts breathing fire again, he’ll move back up the list.

25. Ryan Bliss, 2B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Auburn (ARI)
Age 23.5 Height 5′ 6″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 45/45 30/40 55/55 40/50 45

Bliss is still playing shortstop on occasion, but realistically he’s a second base-only defender (and not a particularly good one), which is a tough profile if you’re not hitting enough to play everyday. Bliss is a flawed offensive player (he’s underneath a lot of fastballs and is a bit chase-prone), but the things he does well, he does very well. He’s great at making inflight adjustments to breaking balls, he swings hard enough to spray hard contact all over the field even when he isn’t taking his best hack, and he can make an impact with his legs. He punishes pitches in the bottom and outer portions of the zone and can produce power from pole to pole with the flick of his wrists. Yes, his 2023 statline is heavily influenced by the hitting environment at Amarillo, but it isn’t entirely a mirage. If you gave Bliss a full season of at-bats at second base, he’d produce above replacement level, in the 1-WAR area. His 40-man evaluation year isn’t until 2024, and between now and then, it’d be worthwhile to try Bliss in center field so he’s more likely to occupy a consistent big league role at various positions rather than operating as a de-facto backup second baseman in the upper minors.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 50/50 30/40 60/60 45/60 40

Patino originally agreed to a deal with Texas as an amateur, but it was voided due to an elbow injury and he eventually landed with Arizona. Toolsy and physical, Patino has an exciting combination of speed, raw power, and center field capability. His ability to close on balls in center will enable him to play a bottom-of-the-roster role. Actual center fielders are tough to find and Patino is one. He’s climbing uphill as an offensive player because he is neither an especially discerning hitter, nor does he have precise barrel feel, and Patino’s swing isn’t actualized to get to his power in any way.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/55 20/40 30/30 30/45 45

Cerda was hitting a robust, BABIP-aided .315/.464/.519 in the Gulf Coast League prior to joining the D-backs in the 2022 David Peralta trade. He was walking a whopping 21% of the time, his second consecutive season with more walks than strikeouts. Some cracks in his hit tool have begun to show at Low-A in 2023, and Cerda’s overall game is pretty rough around the edges, but his plate discipline is for real (a miniscule, sub-20% chase rate), he has uncommon power potential for a young catching prospect, and his defense is fair enough to continue projecting him as a catcher. That’s not to say Cerda doesn’t have things to work on behind the plate. He is a below-average defender in all facets, but he plays with a ton of effort. He has the physical tools for the job in his size and mobility, but he needs a lot of technical refinement. His throwing stroke is naturally short but his release isn’t consistent, impacting his accuracy on throws to second. He’ll also tip pitch types with his feet, bowing his legs out in anticipation of a breaking ball early enough for a runner to relay information to the hitter. These are things that should be polished over time. Cerda isn’t a catching savant but he’s not terrible, either.

He’ll likely end up with a below-average hit tool, but his power potential and on-base skills give him a puncher’s chance to be a primary catcher. Cerda has in-zone whiff issues against fastballs up and away from him, but he’s a threat to do big pull-side damage if you leave one down-and-in. His swing is geared for launch, which, in concert with his selectivity, will help actualize the power he grows into. The 2023 season is Cerda’s 40-man evaluation year, but there’s no way he’s in the mix for a spot at this stage. If he progresses defensively next year, perhaps he’ll be rostered and spend his first option year entirely in the minors, though even that seems like a stretch. This is more likely to be a slow burn.

28. Jose Fernandez, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 35/50 20/40 60/60 45/60 60

The slick-fielding Fernandez is similar to former prospect, and current White Sox Triple-A shortstop, Erik González. He has a glove-first skill set (his hands and actions are sensational) and a prototypical baseball frame that invites sizeable power projection, but his feel to hit is not good. He’s late on lots of fastballs and has slightly worse-than-average breaking ball chase, really only able to damage hanging breakers. Because we’re talking about a plus defender at a premium position, Fernandez has likely big league utility. But his offense makes it tough to project him as anything more than a glove-oriented bench piece. Note that Fernandez is ranked ahead of Blaze Alexander even though Blaze has a similarly-shaped skill set and is closer to the big leagues. I think there’s a meaningful gap in their ultimate defensive ability such that Fernandez will be able to live on a roster more consistently while Blaze is more of an injury replacement with viable, but not plus, shortstop defense.

29. Juan Corniel, 3B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 30/45 20/40 60/60 35/60 70

At a projectable 6-foot-1 or so, Corniel is an amalgam of twitch, athleticism, and body projection right now, but has very little present skill aside from his infield defense. When he and Jose Fernandez are on the left side of Visalia’s infield, the two of them create an airtight leather seal. Corniel’s max-effort arm strength is incredible. He doesn’t have the supreme body control needed to make all the weird throws from shortstop with the same laser speed, but you can see the arm from third base with regularity. Though his swings are short and explosive, an exciting combination, his feel for contact is quite raw. This is common for switch-hitters Corniel’s age, but it makes it tough to envision him developing an impact bat of any kind since he doesn’t seem to have special innate bat control or feel for the strike zone. Instead, he looks like a utilityman.

30. Yerald Nin, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 30/45 20/40 50/50 40/50 60

Nin, who is as old now as Nine Inch Nails was when Nin was born, signed for $900,000 in 2022 and spent his first year in the DSL. He came to the states for 2023 extended spring training on a little bit of a delay compared to the rest of the group and has comported himself well on defense since arriving, though he’s been more of a mixed bag with the bat. Nin is of medium build and projection, he is an athletic defender who has a good shot to play shortstop, and he has good bat speed for such a young hitter. His swing cuts downward, and he really struggles to scoop down-and-in pitches and to either spoil or lay off of back-foot breaking balls. In all probability, his defense gives him a long-term bench infielder floor. Whether or not Nin develops better feel for the barrel will dictate whether he has a bigger ceiling than that.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 17.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 30/40 20/40 50/50 40/50 55

Slick and smooth on defense, Rodriguez has a well-composed, medium frame and a balanced, compact swing. He’s a well-rounded prospect without a premium tool, but he’s also the youngest player among all the 2023 DSL Diamondbacks at just 16 as of the start of the season. His skill set foundation is fantastic for a player his age, and as he adds strength through maturity, all of his tools might improve. For now, he’s a high-profile (he signed for $1.2 million) wait-and-see prospect in the DSL.

Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (ARI)
Age 24.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 50/55 30/40 45/45 50/50 80

A broken thumb in April has limited Alexander to just a few week’s worth of 2023 games as of list publication. He recently rehabbed in Arizona for about a week before returning to Reno. He really struggles to get on top of high fastballs, and even though his 2021 strikeout rate (32%) is anomalous when compared to the rest of his pro track record (23-25%), readers should still regard Alexander’s hit tool as role-limiting. He is, however, a viable defensive shortstop with a huge arm, and Alexander hits for enough power when he actually makes contact to be a viable, lower-impact bench infielder. Keep in mind that recovery from the thumb issue might sap his power output for a little while.

33. Dominic Canzone, RF

Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Ohio State (ARI)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 60/60 45/50 40/40 40/45 50

Canzone is in the middle of a monster season at Triple-A Reno, where the nearly-26-year-old (who’s repeating the level) has as many walks as strikeouts and is on pace for over 30 bombs. He has above-average pop from the left side and has kept his strikeout rates hovering around the 20% mark as he’s hit for power at Arizona’s upper-level affiliates. His hard-hit rate (41%) is a shade above the big league average, which is true of most of Canzone’s power-measuring underlying metrics, but his contact rates tend to be a shade below (he’s a bit of a bucket strider and can open up too soon on stuff breaking away from him) and he’s a corner-only defender. The defensive component likely played a role in Arizona leaving Canzone off of their 40-man roster while they added Barrosa and Fletcher, as Canzone’s offensive ability is about the same as the latter’s. He still projects as an above-replacement corner platoon bat, probably one of relatively low impact because the power isn’t monstrous. The Diamondbacks outfield mix is very crowded and it’s perhaps more likely that Canzone is dealt somewhere with roster opportunity.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Miami (ARI)
Age 23.7 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/45 30/40 30/30 30/40 45

Del Castillo raked as a freshman at Miami while slugging 12 homers, 22 doubles, and playing some third base and right field in addition to catching. He followed that up with a good summer on Cape Cod and a strong start to his COVID-shortened 2020 sophomore year, then struggled to hit for any power in 2021 and began to look like a first base-only athletic fit.

After a rough first full season in pro ball, Del Castillo has rebounded in 2023 at Double-A. His conditioning and defense have both improved to the point where he looks like a viable big league catcher. He’ll pop in the 1.95-2.00 range, his receiving around the edges of the strike zone is usually quiet and clean, and when Del Castillo moves his feet he’s a suitable ball-blocker, though he still tries to backhand pick too many pitches to his right. Without a plus tool on offense or defense, Del Castillo is more likely to be a third catcher on the 40-man who will try to earn a long-term backup job over time. His smooth lefty stroke isn’t very explosive. He can golf down-and-in pitches to his pull side and tends to work the oppo gap against fastballs that catch the meat of the plate. It’s doubles pop and fair plate coverage bolstered a bit by a discerning eye for the zone, fine for a reserve catcher.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/50 20/45 35/30 40/50 50

D’Orazio was one of the two Players to Be Named Later who came back from Toronto in the 2021 Joakim Soria trade. He’s a lanky, projectable teenage catcher with a plus arm and feel for the barrel. Right now a lack of strength impacts several areas of D’Orazio’s game. He’s a heavy-handed receiver whose glove tends to sag when he’s presenting pitches near the edges of the strike zone, and D’Orazio is sometimes late on hittable pitches because it takes a lot of effort for him to really get his swing moving. His arm and defensive mobility are very promising, and so is D’Orazio’s barrel feel. His front side is so stiff and high throughout his swing that he struggles to cover the outer third of the zone; he isn’t bending at the waist to get out there, but he does move the bat around with his hands with some feel and precision. He remains a fairly interesting, young catching prospect who has to start to make good on his physical projection in the next year or so to stay in the mix for the list.

36. Carlos Vargas, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 30/40 97-99 / 101

Peak Vargas will sit 97-101 mph with huge riding life and a plus, upper-80s slider. Even as he’s shortened what was once a very violent, Kimbrel-esque arm action, Vargas has a hard time repeating his release and goes through stretches where he is extremely wild. Cleveland put him on the 40-man after the 2020 season, and Vargas ended up having Tommy John before his first spring on the roster had even concluded, causing him to miss all of 2021 and the start of 2022 to rehab. Part of a crowded bullpen field in Cleveland, and volatile-seeming due to his lost time and control issues, he was tough for the Guardians to keep after the 2022 slate. But for a Diamondbacks club in need of bullpen upgrades, he presented an opportunity to acquire a hard-throwing 23-year-old with late-bloomer traits and hand him to Brent Strom.

The big velo was there as soon as the 2023 starter pistol fired, with Vargas touching 101 throughout the year. His lower half seemed much more balanced throughout his delivery compared to his LIDOM look during the 2022-23 winter, which I thought might help him find a more consistent release, but he’s been as wild as ever at Triple-A and has a career-low strikeout rate at the moment. Vargas has two option years left to find more stable command and earn a permanent role in the big league bullpen. Right now he’s just a hard-throwing up/down reliever.

37. Bryce Jarvis, MIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Duke (ARI)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 60/60 45/45 55/55 40/40 94-97 / 98

Jarvis has sustained the 2020 velocity spike that helped him become a first rounder — his fastball averaged 95 mph in 2022 and has been in the 94-97 range during the 2023 season — but the line on his heater is very easy for hitters to get on top of. It just doesn’t move very much and has played well below a mid-90s pitch in pro ball. Jarvis will still show you plus secondary stuff, and his changeup especially has incredible tailing action on occasion, it’s just that other than his slider he commands them inconsistently and they don’t often entice hitters to chase. He threw all of his secondary pitches for strikes less than 60% of the time in 2022 and is hovering around that mark again. The arm strength and the characteristics of his secondary stuff should still play in relief, where Jarvis can afford to pitch off his secondaries more often and operate less efficiently.

38. Conor Grammes, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Xavier (ARI)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 55/60 30/30 94-97 / 99

Grammes would flash two 70-grade pitches in college in his upper-90s fastball and his slider, but he was so comically raw as a strike-thrower that he slid all the way to the fifth round of the 2019 draft. He played two ways at Xavier, and at the time, it seemed possible pro development might make his strike-throwing more consistent and enable him to work in a high-leverage bullpen role. Grammes began the 2021 season with seven good starts, during which he threw strikes at a 40- or 45-grade rate, a shocking development for him if it wasn’t a small-sample aberration. Sadly, his UCL blew in June of 2021, he had Tommy John in early July, and he was quite wild when he returned from rehab in 2022. Unlike Justin Martinez (who had a similar rehab timeline), Grammes was not added to the 40-man after 2022 and began 2023 at High-A Hillsboro. He’s begun to pitch backwards off his slider more often, using his fastball as a chase pitch. He can’t finish his slider as a chase pitch consistently, so even though he has solid middle-inning stuff, the command portion pulls Grammes into an up/down relief projection.

39. Jake Rice, SIRP

Drafted: 9th Round, 2021 from Kennesaw State (ARI)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 40/50 91-94 / 96

Rice looks like a nice ninth round find from 2021. He pitched two seasons at Gulf Coast State College and two at Presbyterian University, and then was a graduate transfer to Kennesaw State for the 2021 season. He sits 93 mph with flat angle that helps him garner whiffs in the strike zone, and Rice’s low-80s breaking ball has vertical depth that allows it to play as a bat-misser when he locates it, which comes and goes. His 2023 walk rates look really high right now, but a huge portion of his walks came in two bad outings. He looks like a quick-moving up/down lefty relief piece who could contribute to the big league cause starting in 2024.

40. Spencer Giesting, MIRP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2022 from Charlotte (ARI)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 55/60 30/40 30/50 88-92 / 95

Giesting was a young-for-the-class over-slot 11th rounder from Charlotte who had some dominant outings late in the 2022 college season. He has a prototypical pitcher’s frame, a plus breaking ball, and he’s missing bats at High-A despite only sitting about 90-92 mph. His delivery is a little stiff and violent, and I had him projected as a reliever coming out of college ball. That looks like it will eventually be the case, as he’s walking batters at a 17% clip as of list publication. Especially if a velo spike occurs with an eventual move, he should be a good lefty middle reliever.

41. Jacob Steinmetz, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from ELEV8 Baseball Academy (FL) (ARI)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 45/55 30/45 20/50 92-94 / 96

Steinmetz was drafted as a big-framed developmental project at a sturdy 6-foot-6. He had a rough first full season in complex ball, but he still does the things that originally made him interesting as a prospect. He throws pretty hard and will reach back for 95-96 mph on occasion. Mostly Steinmetz sits 92-94 with considerable effort and a nasty head whack; his hat in the World Baseball Classic appeared to be a size too small, which was perhaps to keep it from constantly falling off during his delivery. While Steinmetz can ride his fastball past hitters at the letters, his ability to command the baseball to that location is highly variable, and he presents a lot of relief risk as a prospect due to his delivery and command. Mechanical variability impacts the shape and quality of his secondary pitches, the best of which are hard, mid-80s sliders. Though he hasn’t yet had success in a professional setting, there’s enough here to continue to value Steinmetz as a stuff-heavy developmental arm.

42. Michel Otanez, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 50/55 20/35 97-99 / 101

Signed as a minor league free agent during the offseason, Otanez has been working out of the Reno bullpen twice a week so far this year. He’s sitting 96-101 mph with sink and tail, and bending in a mid-80s slider. His is the sort of fastball that plays down because of its shape, but Otanez’s heater helps his slider play a little better than it actually is because hitters have to be ready for 100 mph with run, while his slider breaks in the opposite direction. Otanez is a nice depth guy to have at Triple-A, one who can come up and throw hard if you need him to without occupying a spot on the 40-man until then.

43. Andrew Pintar, 2B

Drafted: 5th Round, 2022 from BYU (ARI)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/45 60/60 30/50 40

Pintar had a rare power/speed combination for an up-the-middle college draft pick, especially one from a smaller program, but a shoulder injury that required multiple surgeries to correct caused him to miss most of his junior year and to fall in the draft. Healthy Pintar would run 4.10 home to first and hit searing doubles into the oppo gap. Back to start 2023, Pintar played at Visalia for just a couple of weeks before he got hurt again, this time rolling his ankle over a bunted ball. The ball slipped just under his glove as he bent to field it and rolled right beneath his foot. It was a gnarly, severe-looking injury to the foot/ankle. Pintar was put on the 60-day IL and is in a walking boot back at the complex. His arm strength sapped from the shoulder issue, Pintar is realistically a second base-only defender on the infield. His speed gives him a shot to play center field, but he hasn’t tried that yet. He could be a part-time up-the-middle piece with power, speed, and probably a 40-grade hit tool (his swing is pretty grooved) if he comes back at full strength. Overcoming two lost seasons will be tough.

44. Nate Savino, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Virginia (ARI)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/45 45/55 30/45 30/50 88-92 / 94

Like many pitchers before him, Savino regressed at Virginia. He was one of the more prominent high school prospects in his grad year but ended up at UVA, where his stuff tanked for two seasons before rebounding slightly as a junior. It was still below average, but when Savino was in high school he had a plus fastball/slider combination, and pitchers have had resurgences after leaving Charlottesville. Drafted as a reclamation project, Savino has yet to throw a pitch in an actual pro game because of an early 2023 shoulder surgery, which will cost him the entire year.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Catching Depth
Kenny Castillo, C
Ali Sánchez, C
Caleb Roberts, C
Alberto Barriga, C

Castillo, 19, has a plus arm and is a fair receiver, and he has a pretty good early-career bat-to-ball track record. He’s repeating the Complex League. Sánchez, 26, could probably be a third catcher on someone’s 40-man. He’s a well-rounded defender and a great upper-level depth option behind Jose Herrera, Arizona’s current catching Koy Detmer. Roberts is a lefty stick who’s a 30 defender as a catcher, but can also play the corner outfield spots and first base. Barriga is a speedy little try-hard on the complex who has some bat-to-ball skill.

Toolsy Dev Projects
Pedro Catuy, CF
Abdias De La Cruz, SS
Modeifi Marte, 3B/1B
Johan Benitez, 3B/OF
Alvin Guzman, CF
Kristian Robinson, LF
Gavin Conticello, 1B

Catuy is an uber-projectable Panamanian outfielder in the DSL who is still growing into his body and levers, flashing power on occasion. De La Cruz was Arizona’s top international signee in 2022, a projectable shortstop prospect who had a middling 2022 DSL debut and is back there again in 2023. Marte is playing both corner infield spots in Arizona. He’s a projectionless 20-year-old with above-average power. Benitez, 19, is a switch-hitting multi-positional player who is a very skinny 6-foot-3. He’s playing third base and the outfield at Visalia, but also played some other positions in extended spring training. It doesn’t look like Guzman and Robinson are going to hit enough. Conticello is a big-framed lefty power bat who is extremely raw on defense.

Spot Start Types
Adonys Perez, LHP
Chad Patrick, RHP
Jamison Hill, RHP
Joe Elbis, RHP

Perez is the most advanced pitching prospect on the complex, a low-90s lefty with medium projection and a good changeup. Patrick is pitching well at Double-A with a 92 mph fastball and robotic slider command. It looked like Hill, a changeup-centric righty from Fresno State, was having a meaningful velo spike during the spring, but he’s back to his usual 92 mph and struggling with walks. Elbis is a lanky 20-year-old with a soft sinker/slider combo.

Other Potential Relievers
Austin Pope, RHP
Yaifer Perdomo, LHP
Jhosmer Alvarez, RHP
Erick Reynoso, RHP
Abel Fuerte, RHP

Pope throws strikes with a mid-80s slider and a riding low-90s fastball that peaks around 96 mph. Perdomo is a low-90s lefty with 30 control, but his fastball’s angle and his breaking ball quality are currently generating a ton of swings and misses. Alvarez has been up to 99 and shown a plus changeup in the past, but he’s once again injured and currently on the 60-day IL. Reynoso is a complex-level arm who is up to 97 with a good curveball but wandering control. Fuerte is also a complex righty sitting 93-95 and touching 96; his secondary stuff is raw.

Bench Bats
Manuel Pena, 2B
Tim Tawa, UTIL
Riquelmin Cabral, 3B
Anderdson Rojas, UTIL
Neyfy Castillo, 1B/OF

Pena, 19, has exciting power for his age thanks in part to a low-ball swing (he’s really struggling with high pitches), but he doesn’t really have a position. Tawa has experience at many positions dating back five years, since he arrived at Stanford. Cabral just hit his way off the complex and to Visalia at age 20. He was very hot during the last couple of weeks as I snuck in my last in-person looks at this system. A switch-hitter with doubles power in my previous look, that power appears to be improving. Rojas is a speedy little utility guy currently at Visalia. He’s going to play the outfield a lot there because of who else is on the roster, but he played the infield in extended, too. Castillo is a righty power bat without quite enough hit tool for a consistent role.

System Overview

The Diamondbacks have a lot of young talent, some of which isn’t technically part of the farm system, with the likes of Corbin Carroll and others having graduated as the season has gone on. When you remove the young big leaguers from the equation (a gentle reminder that farm rankings are useful and interesting, but flawed for reasons such as this), this system looks less great, especially if Druw Jones’ initial struggles turn out to be a long-term issue. Still, there is real potential for growth here because this system has a lot of exciting young Latin American players who have a chance to become impact-level prospects in the near future.

Vice president of Latin American Scouting and Player Development César Geronimo and International Scouting Director Peter Wardell have each been in their respective roles for about four years, and I think we’re starting to see their fingerprints on the system. The Snakes still sign their fair share of compact little speedsters, but the athletes coming up through the bottom of the system are much longer and more projectable now than they were before Gerónimo and Wardell assumed their respective roles. And remember, much of their early tenure took place against the backdrop of the pandemic. Imagine being elevated to a director position in 2019 and then scouting players for the July 2021 class (which would become the January 2022 class), only to have the entire process disrupted by COVID. To come out the other side with Cristofer Torin, Jansel Luis, and the other exciting complex-level bats in the org is a pretty good way to start.

On the domestic amateur side, the Snakes have picked quite high in the draft for most of the last few years and were happy to take the elite players who fell to them. Jordan Lawlar felt like the last elite player left in 2021, while Druw Jones and Jackson Holliday were viewed in a tier of their own in 2022. There isn’t a pattern of behavior to discern there. Instead, the meaty middle rounds of the draft paint a more interesting picture. Arizona seems to like “tip of the iceberg” types, especially when it comes to pitching. They’re apt to take players whose draft stock is down because of injury, accessing tools and upside later than it would normally be available. Small school arms or guys who are candidates for a larger role than they played in college are also present here. Chad Patrick, Brandon Pfaadt, Dylan Ray, Luke Albright and Spencer Giesting are all interesting recent examples of this.

Of course, the NL West-leading D-backs are likely to be deadline buyers. They need a door-slamming, screw you guy at the back of their bullpen, and it might cost them an arrow-up player or two to get a deal done, especially if they want to compete at the apex of that market.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

38 Comments
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LCPCmember
8 months ago

Carroll is a top 5 MLB player. just incredible talent

Last edited 8 months ago by LCPC
paulkrugman2055
8 months ago
Reply to  LCPC

Trout,Ohtani,Tatis,Soto,Alvarez,Betts,Freeman,Cole,Acuna and a few more

OddBall Herrera
8 months ago

This is a Jeopardy hint, the answer to which is “What is a list of great players who are behind Corbin Carroll in WAR?”

sadtrombonemember
8 months ago

I upvoted this because it’s funny, but technically Ohtani is way ahead of him (4.5 to 3.5).

OddBall Herrera
8 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Yeah, conceded. I was too lazy to click through and add in his pitching WAR 😛

sadtrombonemember
8 months ago

He’s on pace for another 9+ win season. And he put up 9.4 fWAR last season. It’s unbelievable.

airforce21one
8 months ago

And last year at this time people were saying Julio Rodriguez was a top 5 talent…

mattmember
8 months ago

While I don’t agree with this entire list I don’t agree that he’s a top 5 player yet. Ohtani/judge/tatis/acuna/betts. Carroll has had some batted ball luck, for instance his xwoba is a strong but not elite 351. It’s fair to think he’ll regularly stretch singles into double and doubles into triples to “trick” xwoba. But he also has a xHR 3 less than his actual hr total. I do agree he’s truly a top 10 player already which is incredible