Arizona Diamondbacks Top 46 Prospects

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 our own observations. This is the second 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.

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

All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details 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 21.4 A+ CF 2023 60
2 Alek Thomas 21.7 AAA CF 2022 55
3 Jordan Lawlar 19.0 R SS 2025 50
4 Geraldo Perdomo 22.2 MLB SS 2022 50
5 Ryne Nelson 24.0 AA SP 2022 45+
6 Blake Walston 20.6 A+ SP 2024 45+
7 Brandon Pfaadt 23.3 AA SP 2023 45+
8 Drey Jameson 24.4 AA SP 2023 45
9 Deyvison De Los Santos 18.6 A 3B 2024 45
10 Slade Cecconi 22.6 A+ SP 2024 45
11 Bryce Jarvis 24.1 AA SP 2024 45
12 Luis Frías 23.7 MLB SIRP 2022 45
13 Tommy Henry 24.5 AA SP 2023 45
14 Kristian Robinson 21.1 A RF 2024 45
15 A.J. Vukovich 20.5 A+ 1B 2025 40+
16 Adrian Del Castillo 22.3 A C 2025 40+
17 Manuel Pena 18.1 R 3B 2026 40+
18 Jeison Guzmán 23.3 AA SS 2022 40+
19 Seth Beer 25.3 MLB DH 2022 40
20 Conor Grammes 24.5 A+ SIRP 2023 40
21 Ryan Bliss 22.1 A 2B 2025 40
22 Alvin Guzman 20.2 R CF 2024 40
23 Abdidas De La Cruz 17.2 R SS 2027 40
24 Joe Elbis 19.3 A SP 2024 40
25 Jake McCarthy 24.5 MLB CF 2022 40
26 Stuart Fairchild 25.8 MLB CF 2022 40
27 Edwin Uceta 24.0 MLB SP 2022 40
28 Cooper Hummel 27.1 AAA C 2022 40
29 Jorge Barrosa 20.9 A+ CF 2023 40
30 Juan Corniel 19.3 R SS 2026 40
31 Dominic Canzone 24.4 AA RF 2023 40
32 Neyfy Castillo 20.9 A 1B 2024 40
33 Humberto Mejía 24.9 MLB SP 2022 40
34 Jhosmer Alvarez 20.6 A SIRP 2023 35+
35 Jose Herrera 24.9 AAA C 2022 35+
36 Ryan Weiss 25.1 AAA MIRP 2022 35+
37 Jake Rice 24.5 A+ SIRP 2025 35+
38 Kyle Nelson 25.5 MLB MIRP 2022 35+
39 Keegan Curtis 26.3 AAA SIRP 2022 35+
40 Mitchell Stumpo 25.6 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
41 Levi Kelly 22.7 AA MIRP 2023 35+
42 Justin Martinez 20.5 A MIRP 2024 35+
43 Yaifer Perdomo 20.4 A SIRP 2024 35+
44 Buddy Kennedy 23.3 AA 3B 2022 35+
45 Blaze Alexander 22.6 A+ SS 2023 35+
46 Jacob Steinmetz 18.5 R SP 2026 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Lakeside HS (WA) (ARI)
Age 21.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 45/50 30/50 70/70 50/60 55

Carroll’s 2020 Instructional League and ’21 spring performance continued to fortify the notion that he is among the most skilled and advanced youngsters in all of the minor leagues, a dangerous, leadoff-hitting prototype. But just seven games into his 2021 regular season, he sustained a posterior capsular avulsion fracture (this is when a small part of one’s shoulder tears away from the bone, often taking a piece of the bone along with it) and a labrum tear during a swing on which he homered. He spent most of the rest of the year in Arizona, often sitting in the scout section for big league games, where he was seen wearing a brace/sling for many weeks after his surgery. Though his injury occurred in a similar manner (trauma resulting from Carroll being more explosive than his shoulder could handle), it isn’t the same as Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s shoulder subluxation, from which Tatis was able to return quickly and remain productive. Because it’s not a common injury and thus isn’t one with which the industry has a long history of treatment experience, there’s risk that Carroll’s shoulder woes have a lasting impact on some part of his skill set. But as a talent, Carroll is relatively safe, a blend of physical gifts and heady baseball acumen. His at-bats have a big league veteran quality, and while he’s not likely to hit for significant over-the-fence power (mostly due to his approach rather than a lack of strength), Carroll whistles balls into the gaps and down both baselines, then kicks it into top gear very quickly and punishes outfielders slow to corral the ball by turning their lackadaisical fielding into extra bases. So exceptional is Carroll’s hand-eye coordination and barrel accuracy, especially for his age, that he now has among the best hit tool projections in the minors. It’s a skillset very similar to Brett Gardner‘s, except Carroll can play center field. There are players this age with a higher ceiling because of their potential power production, but Carroll is a very high-floor prospect who we expect will produce at an All-Star level for much of his career assuming a return to full strength.

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Mount Carmel HS (IL) (ARI)
Age 21.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/55 40/55 60/60 45/50 40

While most players as old as Thomas were college juniors, he spent his age-21 season approaching the doorstep of the big leagues, slashing .313/.394/.559 with 59 extra-base hits split between Double- and Triple-A. Wielding one of the more athletic and dynamic swings in all the minors, Thomas’ cut is a lefty mirror image of Jose Altuve‘s scissor kick, and he’s adept at varying the pace and direction of his stride depending on pitch type and location while the ball is mid-flight. The sheer effort and explosion in Thomas’ swing does lead to some swing-and-miss, especially against vertically-oriented fastball/curveball combinations, but his ability to make in-flight adjustments, his plate coverage, and the sheer quality of his contact lead to plus hit tool projection. That plus his speed (he routinely runs 4.1 seconds from home to first) makes him a candidate to lead off for the D-backs from some time in 2022 (though Thomas doesn’t technically have to be put on the 40-man until after this season) until whenever Corbin Carroll arrives. Defensively, Thomas is okay in center field but not great, and his arm strength pushes him to left field if/when the team can roster a better center field defender. His speed allows him to glide from gap to gap with ease, but Thomas looks much less comfortable going back on balls straight over his head. Were we to list him as a center fielder, his defense grades would be 45/50, but in left field we think his speed makes him a plus glove. The total package is that of an above-average regular and a foundational piece of Arizona’s future.

50 FV Prospects

3. Jordan Lawlar, SS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Jesuit Prep HS (ARI)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 45/50 20/50 60/60 45/60 50

A complete prospect and total baseball rat, Lawlar had been a touted amateur as an underclassman and basically 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 terrific defensive hands, feet, and actions, enough arm strength for the left side of the infield, and showed advanced feel to hit on the showcase circuit while inexplicably struggling with swing-and-miss the following spring leading up to the draft. Lawlar covers a fair bit of the strike zone and has terrific breaking ball recognition for a teenage hitter. While not an especially explosive athlete, his strength and contact quality still enable him to strike the ball with authority while utilizing a relatively conservative, all-fields approach. Given his frame and the possibility of a swing change, there are scouts who think Lawlar has more long-term power potential than those fixated on his pre-draft age (he was 19 on draft day, almost a year older than the average prepster) or his middling explosiveness. Even if Lawlar’s hit/power combination solidifies as close to average, we’re still likely talking about a good big leaguer since his chances of staying at shortstop are extremely high. A posterior labrum tear ended Lawlar’s summer after just a couple of games in a Diamondbacks uniform. He played in a couple of intrasquad games and two official Complex League tilts, injuring his shoulder diving for a ball in the second. He needed surgery and about seven months of rehab after it, likely putting him on track to begin the year in extended spring training.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 30/40 30/40 60/60 45/60 55

While most prospects his age were finishing their college career, Perdomo spent the entire year at Double-A and above, even appearing in 11 big league games. Still procedurally advanced and physically overmatched, Perdomo will need to get stronger if he’s ever going to be an impact offensive performer. In 2019, it looked as though that was starting to occur. Perdomo’s exit velos trended upward all year and his swing had become more visually explosive by the Fall League. A couple of years have gone by and Perdomo’s measurable power is still near the bottom of the big league register. He’s only 21, but the chances that meaningful power manifests grow slimer with each year that passes without development in this area. The good news is that Perdomo does everything else well. He’s a plus defensive shortstop with incredibly fast actions and wonderful defensive instincts, and is a low-whiff switch-hitter with great feel for the strike zone from both sides of the plate. He could probably stand to cover the outer third of the zone a little bit better, but otherwise Perdomo has a great offensive foundation, one that gives him a chance to break out if the power does arrive. More likely though, we think he’ll develop strength that is more sufficient than impactful, and become a solid everyday shortstop living off his OBP and defense.

45+ FV Prospects

5. Ryne Nelson, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Oregon (ARI)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 55/60 40/45 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, surgery he had in 2020 while he also reworked his mechanics. Then Nelson had a dominant 2021 season spent mostly at Double-A Amarillo, striking out 163 hitters in 116.1 innings, all as a starter. He walked just three batters per nine innings pitched, though Nelson’s grip-and-rip style of pitching is still a better aesthetic fit in the bullpen.

Nelson is going to miss big league bats, especially with his fastball. He has a mid-90s offering with upshot angle, and while he doesn’t have surgical command, he tends to live in the tempting upper third of the strike zone, where his heater is almost impossible to hit due to its riding life. Nelson used his fastball about 65% of the time in 2021 (no qualified starter had fastball rates above 61%, and only four starters who threw 100 or more innings did) and evenly mixed in his other three pitches: a mid-80s slider, a mid-70s curveball, and a mid-80s changeup that lags behind in terms of quality right now. Over time, Nelson’s delivery has evolved to lean into this sort of fastball usage and utility, which is narrow but impactful. Both of his breaking balls flash plus-plus, but only the curveball has in-zone utility. Ideally, Nelson will add a two-seam variant or something else with in-zone utility so that big league hitters can’t anticipate him living outside the strike zone so much. The fact that he spent most of his college career in relief, missed a year of reps due to the pandemic, and still managed to throw a good rate of strikes at Double-A is a very encouraging sign. While his ultimate role is not in focus yet, a healthy Nelson will be a meaningful part of a big league staff soon.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from New Hanover HS (NC) (ARI)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/45 45/50 55/60 45/55 35/55 88-92 / 94

Walston was a young for his draft class pop-up arm who made a rapid ascent up team boards during his senior spring. He was ultra projectable, an above average athlete, and already had a plus curveball. He also had feel for a changeup, precocious command, and his fastball had life that enabled it to compete for swings and misses in the zone even though it wasn’t all that hard yet. He showed flashes of more heat here and there, during instructs and backfield activity, peaking in the mid-90s but never sustaining that velo for long stretches. Walston has still been able to perform at a high level, striking out more than a batter per inning while reaching High-A in his first full season of affiliated ball. How Walston develops physically, and how those likely gains counterbalance what a traditional starter’s workload might do to his velocity, will dictate his eventual impact. He now has two different breaking balls but his velocity continues to hover around 90 mph on average. We’re talking about a lanky, 6-foot-5, 20-year-old prospect here, so there’s optimism for growth in this area. Coherent command of three viable secondary pitches and fastball-aiding carry give him a No. 4/5 starter’s foundation, while his size, athleticism, and age indicate a yet-present chance to break out.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Bellarmine (ARI)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 55/55 35/40 45/55 91-95 / 96

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. He rocketed through Arizona’s system last year, making brief stops at both A-ball levels before closing the season with six starts for Double-A Amarillo.

Tall, well-built, and athletic, Pfaadt has plenty of starter traits. He has a loose arm, a frame built for eating innings, and a repeatable delivery. He sits 92-95 mph while touching higher with his carrying four-seam fastball and, like any good D-backs prospect, moves it well north-south while generating whiffs at the top of the zone; he also has a sinker as a change of pace. His best offspeed is a plus slider, a tight, two-plane offering in the low-mid 80s. The curve features similar movement with longer break and both are nasty when he runs them off the plate gloveside. Pfaadt’s fading change flashes, but it also flattens at times.

In a loaded system, Pfaadt’s name can fall through the cracks. It shouldn’t. He throws a ton of strikes, has plus arm strength, a plus slider, and a deep arsenal. He’s the fastest-rising member of this deep contingent of potential mid-rotation types in the D-backs system.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Ball State (ARI)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 50/50 45/50 40/45 93-96 / 98

Jameson began his draft-eligible sophomore season by no-hitting fifth-ranked Stanford for six innings at the Angels’ spring training stadium in front of close to 100 scouts and the only TrackMan unit to “see” him all spring. His flummoxing arm-and-legs delivery, mid-90s velocity, and electric breaking ball blazed through the Cardinal lineup, and Jameson sustained that level of stuff throughout the spring en route to a selection in the comp round. He was consistently sitting in the upper-90s during 2020 instructs, and held most of that velocity throughout a dominant ’21 season split between High- and Double-A, as his four-seamer averaged 96 mph on the year. Even though his mechanics have changed a little bit in pro ball (his weight sits on his rear leg for longer, his knee bend is deeper now than before, and he lands more open than he did in college), it’s still a tough look for hitters, especially righties, who are often frozen by Jameson’s slider. He manipulates the shape of two good breaking balls (the slider is plus, the curveball average) and flashes an occasional plus changeup. The changeup is switched on more by Jameson’s two-seamer, which he mixes in with his finishing four-seamer. Jameson’s skinny frame and somewhat violent, atypical delivery are bullpen indicators, but his repertoire depth, athleticism, and demonstrated ability to sustain big velo under a 100-plus inning workload have convinced us to project him as a starter.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 18.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 60/70 25/60 40/30 20/40 55

The electric De Los Santos dominated the first few weeks of Arizona Complex League play and was quickly promoted to Low-A Visalia, where he slashed .276/.340/.421 throughout about a month-and-a-half of late-summer games. He has thunderous raw power brought about by plus-plus bat speed and has a 30-homer ceiling if his hit tool actualizes. De Los Santos has comfortably plus raw power already at age 18, one of about two dozen teenagers on the planet with that much juice. He also has meaningful swing-and-miss issues, both with out-of-zone chases and in-zone whiffs. Combine the hit tool question marks with a potential eventual first base defensive fit, and suddenly De Los Santos’ profile feels fragile. If we use walk rates as a proxy for plate discipline, it’s rare to find a 3B/1B defender who has had a long, productive big league career with walks rates in the bottom third of the player population. Those who do have either tended to be great defenders or have had exceptional bat-to-ball skills. Players whose skills would be described similarly to De Los Santos’ are the likes of Ryon Healy, Maikel Franco, Dayan Viciedo, and Michael Chavis. Among the players with at least 1,000 career plate appearances since 2010, José Abreu is the lone first baseman to generate double digit WAR and also have a walk rate below 7%. Ty France needs two more years of production close to his 2021 output to join him. This is the area De Los Santos seems poised to live in based on his underlying 2021 chase rates, though remember we’re talking about a very young hitter in full season ball.

If we were lining up De Los Santos as a high school player on a draft board, his power is so huge that even with other issues, we’re talking about someone in the same realm as guys like Nolan Gorman and Austin Riley, who came off the board in the late first/comp round. This FV grade is commensurate with that area of the draft. This is not a stiff, unathletic goof, as De Los Santos has a special, obvious explosiveness that leaps off the field at you and gives him star-level ceiling, but he also seems to have looming, underlying risk.

10. Slade Cecconi, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Miami (ARI)
Age 22.6 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 92-96 / 97

Cecconi’s fastball velocity seemingly fluctuates with the position of Saturn’s moons, and at last look in the Arizona Fall League, it was back down to the 91-93 mph range, only occasionally touching 95. That’s taken a bit of the bite off of his power slider, which is still the clear breadwinner in his arsenal. By design, he altered his curve, turning it into a slow, 12-6 breaker to better distinguish it from the rest of his repertoire. To our eyes, the softer version seems less likely to miss big league bats, particularly if it’s in the low-70s as it was over the summer and in the fall. Between that, some injury concerns (his elbow barked in July) and a change that still needs further refinement, we see a guy tracking more like a No. 4/5 piece than a Top 100 arm.

11. Bryce Jarvis, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Duke (ARI)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/45 50/55 40/55 92-94 / 97

In 2019, when Jarvis was a sophomore at Duke, he sat 88-92 mph with an average breaker, an above-average changeup, and good feel to pitch. In 2020, his velo climbed into the 93-94 mph range without sacrificing any command and his changeup was consistently plus. That college season was short but the Diamondbacks (and many other teams) bought into Jarvis’ uptick (one scout’s buy-in to development is another’s recency bias) and drafted him in the first round. He held the new velocity throughout his post-draft alt site activity, averaging 93-94 there and touching 97, but his command was not as good and his arm action looked longer. After a strong first two months of 2021, Jarvis was shut down with an oblique strain, and he struggled later in the summer when he returned. While he seems to have plateaued after the 2020 breakout, he still has four distinct pitches and throws a starter’s ratio of strikes. If he develops plus command, which seemed feasible based on how he looked at Duke, then Jarvis will be a good mid-rotation starter. As currently constituted, he looks like a fast-moving No. 4/5 starter.

12. Luis Frías, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/45 45/45 50/55 30/40 93-98 / 99

Frías rocketed from High-A to the big leagues in five short months last season. He’s a power pitcher, with a sinking fastball that touches 98 mph, a tight and short slider, a split that tickles the 90s, and a 12-6 hook in the low-to-mid 80s. His offspeed is more good than great: While he doesn’t have a reliable bat-missing secondary just yet, all three flash average and he has some feel for sequencing, particularly in pairing his heater and curve.

Between the end of 2019 and spring training last year, Frías cleaned up his delivery. It’s still a little funky, with an unusual slow-fast-slow cadence as he starts his motion, lifts his leg, and drives toward the plate, but he’s much more under control now and he threw plenty of strikes at Double-A. The big knock here is his movement profile. Frías works with a four-seamer out of an over-the-top slot, but his spin rate is well below average on that and all of his secondaries, so he probably won’t miss as many bats as the velo suggests. That likely pushes him to relief in the end, where his heater should crest triple digits and he’ll only need one of his offspeed pitches to tick up to project as a late-inning arm. There’s also a modest chance he becomes a poor-man’s Sandy Alcantara, where the stuff is too good to homer against consistently and he contributes as a grounder-generating innings eater.

13. Tommy Henry, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Michigan (ARI)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 50/55 40/50 88-92 / 93

Henry’s velocity gains from previous seasons held over a full campaign in Double-A. While some of the surface-level numbers look a bit ugly, he held his own in Amarillo’s homer-happy ballpark, which is no small feet for a guy essentially jumping from college to Double-A. Despite pedestrian velocity, ol’ No. 1 plays well at the top of the zone because he gets great extension and creates a flat angle that’s tricky for hitters to pick up. The fading change flashes plus and is probably his best secondary, though his sweeping slider missed plenty of bats last season and gives him a viable secondary weapon against lefties. The curve is more of a strike-stealer than a bat-misser, but he does have some feel for dropping it in the zone on his glove side. He’s more wild than you’d like from a guy with this profile, so while a No. 4 starter is a reasonable ceiling here, Henry will need to throw more strikes to reach it.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Bahamas (ARI)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 30/60 60/50 30/55 60

While the world unravelled in early 2020, 19-year-old Kristian Robinson, a continent away from his home in the Bahamas and without the grounding rod of baseball, was found wandering along the highway at the desert’s edge west of the Phoenix metro area. This was part of a prolonged mental health episode that included paranoid delusions brought on (or at least exacerbated) by the use of “high potency cannabis,” according to a post-arrest assessment by a psychiatrist. Robinson punched the responding officer as he tried to exit the officer’s vehicle after being asked to buckle his seatbelt, and later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault; he was sentenced to 18 months probation and 150 hours of community service. (Lengthy reporting on the incident and legal proceedings can be found via Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic.)

While it culminated in a regrettable act of violence, we think this episode is indicative of a young person experiencing extreme duress, not part of a persistent, disqualifying pattern of behavior. We don’t adjust players’ grades based on scandal or misdeed since doing so can feel as though we’re quantifying the severity of the infraction. Instead, we line players up where we think they belong based on talent, and if they’ve done something we consider disqualifying for baseball employment, we tell you in the written report. Again, this situation isn’t like that. There are development-related issues that caused Robinson to slide on this list, however, since he spent 2020 as a peripheral participant at the D-backs alternate site (perhaps mired in the aftermath of the April incident and the mental health issues that precipitated it), played in instructs that fall, and then didn’t play in games last season, creating a two year gap in his development. The club seems hopeful that Robinson will be able to play in 2022 and added him to the 40-man roster this offseason, using the Restricted List to recoup the 40-man spot. But Robinson’s participation isn’t a given, and his felony conviction may make it hard to extend or renew his visa, forcing him to leave the country. That would complicate his ability to complete his probation, which would further complicate his visa situation. Robinson has already completed his community service, which means his offense could be reduced to a misdemeanor. That might help to resolve the visa concerns, though as of this writing, that matter is still pending. And while his ranking is of little real-world consequence compared to the other issues here, all of this makes Robinson hard to line up on a prospect list.

Let’s review what we’re talking about from a baseball scouting standpoint. The best we could do to describe Robinson’s physicality to readers when he first arrived in pro ball was to compare him to several NFL wide receivers; he would often dwarf rehabbing big leaguers 10 years his senior on the backfields and hit epic home runs. While the quality of his at-bats was mixed early on, and his hit tool seemed likely to mature south of average, he went out and hit upon exposure to affiliated baseball, most notably slashing .319/.407/.558 as an 18-year-old in the Northwest League against a lot of recently-drafted college arms. If he somehow became a viable defensive center fielder and then stayed fast enough to remain there throughout his 20s, we were talking about an All-Star outfielder, and Robinson has the power to support an everyday profile in a corner if he has to move.

If he were 21-year-old college player who had effectively raked on Cape Cod after his senior year of high school, then missed his freshman and sophomore seasons, where would we be talking about Robinson on the 2022 draft board right about now? While acknowledging the extreme risk associated with his hit tool after the layoff, we can still point to a couple recent examples to help us ballpark where to rebalance him on the FV continuum. Jeren Kendall’s late first round selection is a fair, apples-to-apples comparison, a bet on huge tools with extreme fear about contact ability. Noah Song, who we had in the 45 FV tier despite uncertainty surrounding his two-year military commitment, fell to the fourth round. Nick Bitsko effectively reclassified right before the pandemic, had no senior season, and was still a comp pick on the strength of his pre-draft bullpens. Cal Quantrill effectively missed two seasons due to Tommy John and went in the top 10. At some point a team would likely realize they had an opportunity to take a player with much more upside than is typically available at that stage of the draft, and we believe teams would start thinking of Robinson as such a player somewhere in the middle of the first round.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from East Troy HS (WI) (ARI)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 35/55 30/20 35/45 55

Vukovich held serve against older competition in 2021. He brought his prodigious raw power into games, homering 13 times while slugging nearly .450 in 400 PAs across both levels of A-ball. His power runs from line to line, and there aren’t many places in the zone where he can’t crush a fastball. As a 19-year-old, his in-game power numbers were impressive and his at-bats were better than you’d guess just by looking at his walk and strikeout rates. As the numbers suggest, though, he swings an awful lot, and the soft stuff proved challenging in High-A. He can lay off pitches that start outside or below the knees and at least fight off breakers in the zone, but he struggles with offspeed that starts on the outside edge, as he’s liable to chase when it runs off the plate. We’ll see if he’s able to become a more discerning hitter in his second spin through High-A. Defensively, he’s still looking for a long-term home. He’s been rough at third, and a switch across the diamond or to an outfield corner will likely be in the cards at some point. An excellent high school basketball player, Vukovich has the athleticism to at least give the outfield a shot. Either way, the lack of walks and defensive value makes this a tricky profile, but Vukovich’s age affords him a long runway and his feel to hit gives us hope that he can at least offer some thump off the bench.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Miami (ARI)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
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 had more walks than strikeouts as a freshman while slugging 12 homers, 22 doubles, and playing some third base and right field in addition to catching at Miami. He followed that up with a good summer on Cape Cod and 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. Del Castillo is a contact-oriented hitter who peppers the opposite baseline with flares and line drives. While he has the power to punish mistakes, he projects to have a hit-tool driven offensive profile. His receiving and throwing are okay, enough that he’ll likely remain a catcher, especially in an org that has a penchant for experimenting with fringe backstops who can also play elsewhere. Del Castillo has a non-zero chance of catching every day but is much more likely to be a multi-positional role player who spends a lot of time at 1B/DH.

17. Manuel Pena, 3B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 18.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 45/60 25/55 45/40 40/50 50

Pena is a physical, big-framed third base prospect with a good looking swing and is Arizona’s most exciting 2021 international signee. He’s shown an ability to pull his hands in and hit inside pitches for power, he’s short to the ball but has lift in his swing, and he presents an interesting combination of present physicality (which might enable him to move quickly through the lower levels of the minors) and body projection (which might enable him to grow into power). Pena spent 2021 in the DSL, where he performed at a league-average level. That was it for him, as the D-backs did not have instructs. He remains an exciting, high-variance corner prospect who we were excited about as an amateur.

18. Jeison Guzmán, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (KCR)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 45/45 30/40 55/55 55/60 60

The Royals added Guzmán to the 40-man after 2019 (his age-20 season) even though he was overmatched at A-ball that year. In the two years since then, he has become considerably more physical without compromising his defensive ability, and was still making rangy, acrobatic plays in 2021. With the strength has come added power, enough that Guzmán is a real threat to do damage when he makes contact. An indiscriminate approach and a pair of grooved, downward-sloping swings affect how much Guzmán strikes out and his ability to hit the ball in the air. With Nicky Lopez and Adalberto Mondesi ahead of him and Bobby Witt Jr. coming up from behind, Guzmán got squeezed off the Royals roster and landed in Arizona via a minor league deal. He may be given a trial big league run in the event Arizona moves on from incumbent shortstop Nick Ahmed, especially if Geraldo Perdomo’s strength continues to be slow to materialize. While Guzmán is realistically tracking like a low-impact bench infielder, we like his present skillset (switch-hitter, plus defender), think his added strength is evidence of meaningful off-field drive, and believe the change of scenery and exposure to new coaching gives him a shot to find a better swing and become an integral, versatile role player.

40 FV Prospects

19. Seth Beer, DH

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Clemson (HOU)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 60/60 50/55 20/20 20/30 45

Four days after homering in his big league debut, Beer dove awkwardly in pursuit of a groundball and dislocated his left shoulder. The injury ended his season, required surgery, and cast doubt on his ability to return in time for Opening Day. It’s the second time he’s had shoulder trouble, and it’s a particularly tough break for a 25-year-old with a skillset that usually ages quickly. At full strength, Beer projects as an above-average hitter with 55 game pop and very little defensive utility. Theoretically, a universal DH significantly increases his chances of cracking Arizona’s lineup in 2022. First though, we need to see how he rebounds from surgery.

20. Conor Grammes, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Xavier (ARI)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
65/70 60/70 55/60 30/35 94-97 / 99

Grammes had two 70-grade pitches in his upper-90s fastball and his slider but was so comically raw as a college strike-thrower that he slid all the way to the fifth round of the 2019 draft. He’s athletic and 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 an high-leverage bullpen role. That started to occur in the fall of 2020. Grammes’ body started to mature and he had better feel for release than he did while in school. He ditched his changeup for a second breaking ball, a nasty low-80s curveball. He began the 2021 season with seven good starts, during which Grammes threw strikes at a 40- or 45-grade rate, a shocking development for him if it wasn’t a small-sample aberration. Sadly, Grammes’ UCL blew in June and he had Tommy John in early July. He’s a 2022 Fall League candidate whose stuff will put him in the conversation for a 40-man spot if he rehab goes well. His surgery’s timing and Grammes’ inability to build a starter’s foundation of innings, combined with his present control issues, all but seal his fate as a reliever, but he could be a dominant one due to the quality of his stuff.

21. Ryan Bliss, 2B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Auburn (ARI)
Age 22.1 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding
35/50 45/45 30/40 55/55 40/50

Bliss seems fated to fall into the club of “little second baseman who can hit.” Listed at 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, he’s a hit over power kind of player, though quick hands and a knack for driving pitches to all fields allows him to bring most of it into games. His defensive home remains in question. He played short at Auburn, was used there exclusively in Visalia, and has the speed to handle the job at the big-league level, particularly for a team that shifts a lot. Below average arm strength makes him a better fit at second, though, which is where we think he’ll wind up.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 45/60 30/55 60/60 45/60 70

It’s typical for hitters with sushi raw feel for contact to wind up in our 35+ FV tier, but Guzman’s other tools are so loud that he demands a more aggressive placement. Most importantly, Guzman can really go get it in center field. He glides from gap-to-gap with breathtaking speed and ease, and has an absolute hose. He also has 45-grade raw power right now, but there’s plenty of room to grow into more of it, and when Guzman takes a comfortable hack, he has the look of an impact big leaguer. He doesn’t take many comfortable hacks, though. Guzman’s feel to hit is so undercooked that he often takes awkward, unbalanced passes at tough-to-hit pitches. He’s exactly the kind of prospect who needed a full calendar of reps in 2020. Instead, he enters his 40-man evaluation year without experience above the complex level as a low-probability prospect with a cathedral ceiling.

23. Abdidas De La Cruz, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 17.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/55 20/50 60/60 40/50 45

Arizona’s top 2022 International signee, De La Cruz has some of the fastest defensive actions in his signing class and a very projectable frame. His swing is rough and leaves him very vulnerable to anything with tailing action, but for now his power projection and chances of staying at short are plenty to be excited about.

24. Joe Elbis, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/45 45/50 45/50 45/55 25/60 90-92 / 94

The wispy Elbis was the most advanced of the 2021 complex-level Diamondbacks, and kicked out to an affiliate at the very end of the year. He fills the zone with four fringe pitches that project to at least average once he starts to fill out and throw them with more power. Elbis currently sits 90-92 mph, has advanced changeup feel, and two shapely, blunt breaking balls. He has a much better chance of starting than the similarly-aged, harder-throwing pitchers in this system and might even fit toward the back of a rotation even if he only holds serve in the arm strength category.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Virginia (ARI)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 50/50 35/40 60/60 55/55 50

McCarthy made a swing change on his own during the shutdown and hit for surprising power during the 2021 season, albeit at affiliates with hitter-friendly environments. He now has a sizable leg kick and has become capable of lifting pitches in the middle third of the zone, including surprising power to the opposite field gap. He’s also the most capable center field defender on the Diamondbacks 40-man roster right now. While McCarthy’s swing is more athletic than it used to be, he still can’t lift pitches in the lower third of the zone and big league arms will likely be able to limit his damage by living down there. He still has roster utility as an okay lefty hitter who can play a good center field, and there’s a chance he continues to refine his stroke in a way that creates more meaningful impact on balls in play, but for now we have McCarthy evaluated as a fifth outfield contributor.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Wake Forest (CIN)
Age 25.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 50/50 35/45 55/55 50/50 60

There are no changes to report here, though Fairchild did make his debut last July. He’s still sufficiently strong and athletic to handle center, and his swing remains conducive to hitting the ball in the air. That said, we also haven’t seen any more evidence that he can handle big league offspeed stuff and he’s now a year and an option further down the path than when we last covered him. If there’s more in the tank, at least he’s in the right org, as Arizona can afford to give him a real run of games as they kick off their rebuild.

27. Edwin Uceta, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (LAD)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/50 45/50 40/45 45/55 89-92 / 94

Uceta made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 2021 but only threw 50 innings across all levels the entire season due to persistent back issues. The Dodgers designated him for assignment in October and Arizona plucked him off waivers. Then Uceta made six efficient starts in the Dominican Winter League, sitting his typical 91-93 mph. Uceta’s delivery is well-balanced, he hides the ball well, commands his fastball to both corners, and can both bury his curveball and throw it for strikes. In his best outings, his changeup also has bat-missing fade and he seemed to be working with a cutter during the LIDOM season as well. He’ll likely provide rotation depth for the Diamondbacks in 2022 and could be a fifth starter long-term.

28. Cooper Hummel, C

Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Portland (MIL)
Age 27.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 198 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/55 45/45 30/30 45/45 30/30 40

Hummel is a short-levered, switch-hitting half-catcher who also plays other positions and runs pretty well for someone who can sort of catch. That’s Diamondbacks Yahtzee. Hummel came over from Milwaukee as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal. He was having a career year at Triple-A Nashville, the third consecutive season in which the contact-oriented Hummel had an uptick in power output. He also started catching again. Hummel seemingly put his gear away after the 2018 season but squatted for nine games during the ’21 regular season and parts of five more during the Fall League, often entering the fold mid-game. That gives us some idea of how the D-backs envision Hummel impacting their club, as a combination LF/C, a lighter-hitting version of what Daulton Varsho seems poised to be. If the universal DH is implemented, then catcher will immediately become the position for which it is most desirable to pinch hit, and it may become more important to roster a third catcher like Hummel to facilitate that without fear of injury-related chaos.

29. Jorge Barrosa, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 30/35 20/30 55/55 40/45 45

Barrosa is a switch-hitting, slash-and-dash style of hitter. He has an excellent feel for contact, and at age 20 had little trouble adjusting to High-A breaking balls and offspeed pitches. His stroke is short, direct, and flat, which is conducive to making contact all over the zone. It also helps him run deep counts, as pitchers have a very tough time sneaking high four-seamers above his barrel. From the left side, the momentum of his swing naturally carries him toward first, and he can get down the line in under 4.10. There’s not much juice in his bat, and given his stature and frame, there’s probably not a whole lot more coming. It’s hard for this kind of profile to project as a regular, but we think Barrosa’s speed, defensive chops in center, and feel for contact should play well in a reserve role.

30. Juan Corniel, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 155 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 45/55 55

Corniel stood out during extended spring training because of his athleticism and defensive ability. At a projectable 6-foot-1 or so, he’s an amalgam of twitch, athleticism, and body projection right now, but has very little present skill aside from the middle infield defense. He has the athleticism and actions to play shortstop but doesn’t yet have sentient control of his body. This bleeds into Corniel’s offense. Though his swings are short and explosive, an exciting combination, his feel for contact is quite raw. This is common for switch-hitters this age but makes it tough to envision Corniel 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 potential utility type with a shot to be a low-end regular.

31. Dominic Canzone, RF

Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Ohio State (ARI)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding
40/45 55/55 40/45 30/30 40/45

In 2021, Canzone put up excellent numbers as an old-for-the-level masher at both High- and Double-A, especially at the latter level. He also had a strong Arizona Fall League, though the pitcher quality he faced there was probably worse than what he faced while in Amarillo. Tightly-wound and muscular, Canzone brings above-average raw power and fair bat control from the left side of the plate. He damages right-handed mistakes enough to play a corner platoon role of modest impact. He shares a 40-man timeline with many of the prospects on this list, which makes him an interesting trade target for teams that view him as more of a 45 FV platoon piece to whom they’d be happy hand 400 plate appearances.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/60 35/55 45/40 40/50 45

The 20-year-old Castillo had a 20/20 season at Low-A Visalia, slashing .230/.347/.453 with a 37% strikeout rate while playing a mix of 1B/LF/RF. He was a power projection revelation from the 2019 backfields who has a chance to play a power-over-hit corner role, but that strikeout rate is higher than we would have guessed Castillo would post out of the gate.

33. Humberto Mejía, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Panama (MIA)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 244 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/45 55/55 40/45 40/45 90-93 / 95

Mejía jumped from A-ball to the Marlins rotation in 2020 after COVID ravaged the big league pitching staff; under difficult circumstances, he performed as well as could be expected. Independent of any other variables, though, one big league call-up has a knack for begetting more, and such was the case in 2021 when a still-undercooked Mejía was again summoned to the majors for five starts down the stretch. Another big league battering highlighted his inexperience, particularly commanding his fastball, which got torched. He’s a slightly different pitcher now than he was two years ago, however, as he’s all but shelved the curve and has added a sinker, one that could actually play better than the four-seamer given his arm slot and low spin rate. His slider and change are viable (if hardly special) secondaries for a long relief or backend starter role, and that’s where we project him.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 40/40 55/70 30/35 92-96 / 98

Alvarez’s violent delivery is about as scary as his stuff is good. He didn’t pitch much during the summer of 2019 due to injury and was limited to just five games in ’21 due to a shoulder impingement. His build is somewhat soft, and he has an awful lot of violence about his head and shoulders through release, but Alvarez also has incredible arm strength for his age and a dandy Vulcan changeup (with an average spin rate under 1,000 rpm), and he creates viable shape and depth on his breaking ball, though it’s clearly behind his splitter. Healthy Alvarez could be an impact reliever, but he largest in-season workload is still the 56 innings he threw in the 2018 DSL.

35. Jose Herrera, C

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 24.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 40/40 30/30 20/20 50/50 50

Herrera first appeared on a FanGraphs prospect lists way back in 2014, when the switch-hitter had a strong, OBP-driven pro debut. In the intervening years, Herrera has mostly been hurt, averaging about 40 games per season during the first five years of his career. In the two most recent years in which there has been baseball, he has combined to post an OBP just north of .370 while catching exclusively. He’s caught about 75 games each of his last two full seasons and has begun to take game reps at first base in the 2021-22 Venezuelan Winter League. Herrera is a short-levered switch-hitter who is tough to get to swing and miss. He sprays singles and doubles contact to all fields, and while he won’t hit for any power, he’s a fine defensive backstop (superior to Daulton Varsho and Cooper Hummel) with two above-average offensive skills, and is thus a viable 40-man catcher.

36. Ryan Weiss, MIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Wright State (ARI)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/55 40/40 40/40 50/50 93-95 / 96

Weiss was one of the many big-framed college pitchers the Diamondbacks selected in the 2018 draft and he’ll likely be the first to debut in the big leagues. Weiss moved from the rotation to the Double-A bullpen in late June, had a velo spike, was quickly promoted, and struck out 38 hitters in 30 innings to close the season with Reno. He ended up throwing four ticks harder than he had been as a starter. Weiss worked with four pitches in relief, often for a couple innings at a time. Only his fastball and slider induced any swings and misses, though, and we wonder how hard he’d throw in a stock single-inning role given how quickly the velo spiked with the move to long relief. Weiss will likely be up and down in 2022.

37. Jake Rice, SIRP

Drafted: 9th Round, 2021 from Kennesaw State (ARI)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
45/60 45/50 30/50 91-94 / 96

Rice looks like a nice ninth round find from 2021. He pitched two seasons at Gulf Coast State College, 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 and angle that plays as a back-foot weapon. He looks like a lefty relief piece, but lefties with this kind of fastball utility, including Xzavion Curry and Francisco Perez, have a tendency to outperform baseline projections.

38. Kyle Nelson, MIRP

Drafted: 15th Round, 2017 from UC Santa Barbara (CLE)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
40/45 50/60 40/45 40/40 89-91 / 93

Nelson had been a strike-throwing lefty relief prospect with Cleveland but struggled uncharacteristically with walks in 2021 amid a drastic reduction in his workload (he threw just 25 innings) and spin rates. The Diamondbacks claimed him off of waivers from the Guardians after the season, and he figures to get an up/down relief opportunity with the Snakes in 2022; he could stick in Phoenix with a bounce back. Nelson hides the ball really well, typically goes right at hitters, his fastball once had very high spin for a pitch at its velocity, and he has a nasty, downward-breaking slider that he throws about half the time. He also developed an upper-80s cutter that, at least as far as our looks are concerned, is relatively new.

39. Keegan Curtis, SIRP

Drafted: 22th Round, 2018 from Louisiana – Monroe (NYY)
Age 26.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 45/45 40/40 93-95 / 97

Curtis is a 95-and-a-slider guy with a chance to work out of Arizona’s bullpen this year. He’s only six feet tall and has a long stride, a combination that gives him one of those desirable flat fastballs. That and a sweeping, 2600-plus rpm slider gives him a nice one-two punch, though it’s undercut slightly by below average control.

40. Mitchell Stumpo, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2019 (ARI)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 30/35 93-96 / 98

Stumpo is a converted outfielder from tiny Guilford College who became a fastball/slider relief prospect and climbed four levels in 2021, wrapping up at Triple-A Reno and then going to the Fall League. He sits 93-94 mph and will flash an above-average slider on occasion. His arm action is long and kind of violent, and definitely a fit in the bullpen. Currently on the fringe of up/down relief projection, Stumpo has come so far so fast in pro ball that he may yet have another gear and seize hold of a more consistent role on the roster.

41. Levi Kelly, MIRP

Drafted: 8th Round, 2018 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (ARI)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
45/50 60/70 50/50 45/50 20/35 90-94 / 96

Kelly had a rough 2021. His velo fell from the mid-90s to the low-90s and after an aggressive promotion to Double-A, the righty walked more than a batter per inning in Amarillo. As you’d expect based on the numbers, he has buckshot command, with no feel for consistent fastball location and secondary pitches as likely to sail in above the letters as below the knees. It all stems from a violent delivery that features an aggressive drive to the plate that leaves him off balance and a big head whack as he falls toward first. He remains on our list because his stuff still looks quite good. His splitter comes in with nasty late dip and his slider has the same late tumble when he locates it well. His lack of success generating whiffs with those offerings (among Amarillo hurlers with at least 10 innings, he had the lowest SwSTR% on the club) is perplexing, particularly for a pitcher with a decent track record of success before 2022. We’re not entirely out on him, but the arrow is trending down here and he needs to throw a lot more strikes to turn things around.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/65 45/50 40/50 30/40 92-96 / 98

During the spring of 2019, there was backfield gossip that the D-backs had a hard-throwing righty in the DSL who we might see in Arizona before the summer was through. On the day before his 18th birthday, Martinez threw an inning of AZL ball and bumped 98 mph on the Chase Field radar gun. Perhaps more surprising than the velocity, which we had been primed to see, was how well Martinez executed his breaking ball over his next couple of outings. It was a low-spin, average-looking tweener, but he consistently located it down and away from righties, enticing them to flail at it as it disappeared in the dirt. He threw some average changeups, as well. Other than some mechanical stiffness, Martinez had exciting starter ingredients. He walked hitters at a high rate during his full-season debut and then blew out in 2021 and had Tommy John in July. At this stage, he’s a high-priority backfield target to see where the arm strength is during rehab.

43. Yaifer Perdomo, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TOR)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
40/60 40/50 30/50 88-92 / 95

One of the Players to be Named Later from the Joakim Soria trade with Toronto, Perdomo carved the Florida Complex League as a starter before struggling in a few late-season outings at Low-A that straddled the trade. He’s an athletic, undersized lefty whose fastball only sits about 91 mph but has huge movement and upshot angle in part due to Perdomo’s size. He threw about 80% fastballs in 2021, only tossing in the occasional upper-70s curveball. We have Perdomo projected in relief because there’s a sizable gap between where his repertoire is at present and where it would have to go for him to start, but we’re excited about how his fastball might play if the move enables him to throw harder.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Millville HS (NJ) (ARI)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 50/50 40/45 50/50 35/40 45

Kennedy is forever destined to be the second-most famous player ever drafted out of New Jersey’s Millville Senior High. Arizona Fall League pitchers got him to flail at a steady diet of breaking balls last fall, which was uncharacteristic for a player known more for his patience at the plate and feel for contact than strikeouts. The swing-and-miss bears watching here, though, as he fanned in 26% of his PAs in his first Double-A trial and there’s not much else to buoy the profile if he’s just an average hitter.

Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from IMG Academy HS (FL) (ARI)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 50/55 30/40 45/40 45/50 80

Scouts have long been skeptical of Alexander’s bat, and those concerns manifested in 2021. He had one of the lowest contact rates among regulars in High-A West and whiffed in nearly a third of his plate appearances. Strikeouts without pop is a toxic combination, so until the former dwindles or the latter arrives, he’s walking a tightrope at the plate. Alexander has shown more with the stick in the past, though, and as a no-doubt shortstop with a 70 arm, he’ll be a useful reserve infielder if he hits even a little bit.

46. Jacob Steinmetz, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from ELEV8 Baseball Academy (FL) (ARI)
Age 18.5 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 87-92 / 94

Steinmetz is 6-foot-6 with a fastball that runs into the mid-90s and a promising breaking ball. He’s pretty athletic for his size, though like anyone that tall and gangly at his age, he’s still growing into his body somewhat. His upper and lower halves aren’t always synced up and he can get a little wild. This could be a slow burn, but the underlying ingredients are tantalizing. Steinmetz is also believed to be the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player taken in the MLB Draft.

Other Prospects of Note

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

Rattlers with Rattlers
Yerald Nin, SS
J.J. D’Orazio, C
Alberto Ciprian, 3B
Gavin Conticello, LF
Liam Norris, LHP
Diomede Sierra, LHP
Jeferson Espinal, CF
Avery Short, LHP
Wilderd Patino, CF

The teenage shortstop Nin signed for $900,000 just a few days before publication. He’s long-term fit at shortstop thanks to plus hands and actions, and he has a good-looking left-handed swing. D’Orazio, 20, was the other PTBNL from the Joakim Soria deal, a long-levered catcher with nearly average raw power right now, and room for more. He struggled on defense during Eric’s Complex looks, though he was catching a whole new staff at that time. Ciprian, the other part of the Eduardo Escobar trade with Milwaukee, is a super buff teenager with big present power. He is likely to fall toward the bottom of the defensive spectrum. Conticello, 18, is a big-framed lefty stick with above average bat speed who is a six-figure high school sleeper from the 2021 draft. He’s probably destined for left field. Norris, 20, was an overslot high school draftee with vertical action stuff and poor control, which hasn’t improved yet in pro ball. His stuff has a more typical power reliever look than Sierra, also 20, a lateral action lefty in the low-90s who occasionally flashes a plus breaking ball. Espinal, 19, is a 70 runner whose swing has stiffened and lost something over the last year. He’s had BABIP-driven surface level performance but doesn’t look like a viable hitter right now. Short was another backspinning fastball overslot high schooler with 30-grade velo, and he’s still sitting about 88 mph. Patino, 20, has power and speed but his pitch recognition seems to have bottomed out in full-season ball.

Bench Bat Types
Tim Tawa, 2B
C.J. Chatham, SS
Dominic Miroglio, C
Dominic Fletcher, RF
Eduardo Diaz, RF

Tawa is the furthest from the big leagues of this group having just been drafted out of Stanford in the 11th round. He was an athletic multi-sport high schooler who had a great freshman season and then was largely solved. He’s got above-average raw power and has experience playing all over the field, so he could realistically become a power-over-hit guy who teams try to hide at a couple different positions. Chatham has been in the minors for a while now and generally performs close to league average while playing a passable shortstop. He’s been with Boston and Philly the last two years. Miroglio is also thought of as a pretty standard Triple-A depth catcher who can catch and throw. Fletcher and Diaz turned out to be corner guys with problematic plate discipline.

Relief Arms
Brandyn Sittinger, RHP
Jesús Liranzo, RHP
Matt Mercer, RHP
Junior Mieses, RHP

Sittinger is another of Arizona’s many Indy ball signees to reach the big leagues. He’s wild but not so wild that his 95-and-a-slider cocktail can’t bag him a few more big league per diems over the next several years. Liranzo runs the gas into the upper-90s with sink and his slider spins at about 2500 rpm, an intriguing combination undercut by 20 command. Mercer is rehabbing from TJ but was a mid-90s four-pitch relief prospect at peak. Mieses sat 93-95 mph as a 20-year-old but hasn’t developed passable control.

Athletic Spot-Start Types
Mack Lemieux, LHP
Scott Randall, RHP
Matt Tabor, RHP
Tyler Holton, LHP

Lemieux, 25, uses all three of his offerings pretty frequently. Both his two-seamer and late-biting curve should induce groundballs, and his fading change is a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch against righties. It isn’t a sexy bullpen profile, but if you can get groundballs in Reno, you can get ’em anywhere. Randall is an athletic righty just drafted this year out of Sacramento State with a 40 fastball and 60 changeup. Tabor sat in a 45 FV tier for forever waiting for his fastball to develop, and it still averaged 88 mph in 2021, but he throws enough strikes to be starting pitcher 7-10 in an org. Holton has been sitting 88-90 with a good changeup since returning from TJ.

System Overview

The Diamondbacks were under the thumb of misfortune, controversy, scandal, and awful baseball throughout 2021. Whether it was arena unrest, Jared Porter, the fallout from Kristian Robinson’s 2020 arrest, shoulder injuries to Corbin Carroll and Jordan Lawlar, Ketel Marte’s hamstring woes, Madison Bumgarner’s contract, or Roland Hemond’s passing, the Diamondbacks have absorbed constant and varied punishment (some of it self-inflicted) as an org since the start of the pandemic. But even with misfortune befalling some of them, the prospects we’ve projected to be impact players have started to arrive, with Daulton Varsho seemingly turning a corner late in 2021. Others should start to take root in the big leagues this year, lead by Alek Thomas and most likely followed by some of the pitching in the 45+/45 FV tiers. There is already an interesting contingent of young, complementary players in place ahead of this star-driven core. The Diamondbacks seem to like the notion of mix-and-match platoons enabled by defensive versatility, with Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith in place as bat-first cogs, while the 40 FV hitters in their mid-20s give Arizona a lot of short-term options with which to surround them.

Is it time to trade Ketel Marte? He has performed when healthy, but for huge chunks of each of the past two years, he hasn’t been. The added mass that suddenly made Marte a fearsome power hitter has perhaps tightened up his lower half. He’s been mistake prone in center field at times, but is still just two years removed from a 7-WAR season, and switch-hitters with this kind of power and defensive versatility don’t really exist. Marte effectively has three years left on his contract, with two club options at about $11 million per. Miami (a frequent trade partner for Arizona in the past, as the two seem to value different types of players, or at least used to) and Philadelphia are both motivated parties looking for center field upgrades.

The D-backs have either been in an explicit rebuild mode or been straddling a neutral part of the competitive spectrum for a while now, so they’ve made lots of trades that help reveal the player attributes they tend to like. Arizona has been more willing to acquire complex-level talent than any other team in baseball. Just a few trades involving players below full-season ball have been consummated over the last couple of years, and many of them have involved the Diamondbacks. Arizona also gravitates toward short-levered lefty hitters and switch-hitters, and we mentioned earlier that they seem to like catchers who can play elsewhere. Right up there with Milwaukee, Arizona has had some interesting Indy ball finds in the past, with David Peralta easily headlining the list.

It’s possible this club is not good at player dev, especially on the pitching side. It’s difficult to point to a pitcher who has gotten significantly better during the last couple of years in this system. Most of the college draftees have held serve since time of acquisition while the very young pitchers have either regressed or been hurt.

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2 years ago

Don’t necessarily know what, but this organization definitely needs to change something up.

93 wins in Hazen’s first season at the helm, 24 more than the year before!! But followed up with a couple just over .500 seasons & then two fifth place finishes.

When you lose 23 more games than Colorado (who almost seem to go out of their way to do everything wrong) & tie Baltimore for the fewest wins in MLB over a two year stretch it might be time to start asking the hard questions.

2 years ago
Reply to  grandbranyan

That 93 win season was a bit of a mirage, and this past season they got hit with more pitching injuries than I think any other team in baseball (even the Cardinals, who also got leveled). They gave something like 60 starts to guys who weren’t part of their Top 5 guys, and collectively they had something like a 6 or a 7 ERA (and their FIP wasn’t much better). So they’re not quite this bad.

Hazen and crew took over a bad team with a bad system and they turned it into a mediocre team with a great system. I think what they’re doing is fine. If there is a finger to point to, it’s at ownership. Kendrick has had a tendency to cheap out at the worst time, ordering the team to slash payroll unexpectedly which means they are getting rid of useful players. But you can’t fire that guy.

2 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

The roster is far worse than mediocre. It’s outright bad and among the worst in the majors. Outside of ketel marte there is no good bet at an above average player on the entire roster. Sure gallen/kelly/varsho have shot but between gallen’s step back from good to averagish+ injury concerns it’s not a promising guess. They have currently the third worst depth chart projection. The starting 5 is very bad and without depth (again).

As for the farm i still dig it though the kristian robinson thing is a huge loss for them of course. Even if he were to comeback and play stateside in all likelihood the loss of development time would be huge. I would have had alek thomas as a 60, carroll as a 65, and lawlar as a 60. But i am lower on some of depth pieces than Eric

2 years ago
Reply to  matt

Wondering if the DBacks should dangle Marte in trade talks. They could net a pretty good return from a team who misses out on all of the big free agents available and/or is running up against the luxury tax (whatever that may be after this lockout) but is firmly in the try-to-win-now phase. He’s technically a rental but also has 2 club options for 2023 and 2024. It’s not super likely that he’ll be around once the DBacks are good again even if they pick up those options. Plenty of teams can use him in many positions. Yankees and Phillies instantly come to mind since they both have up-the-middle needs and high payrolls. Their farm systems are good enough to swing this kind of trade.

2 years ago
Reply to  catmanwayne

If I were the D-Backs, I would definitely consider trading him. The problem is that he’s not going to last as a center fielder, he doesn’t want to play center field, and there are not that many teams desperate for a second baseman. The White Sox are, but they don’t have anyone to trade who isn’t already contributing to the major league roster.

2 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Marlins might be another team who could swing a deal, despite being relatively far away from competing themselves. Sure they already have Chisholm and Rojas handling the middle infield, but neither of them are projected to be very good hitters. Put Marte at 2B, slide Chisholm to SS, and have Rojas bounce around as the UT. Not the most ideal for Miami because they’re punting some defense, but the upgrade on offense is more than worth it and they need big bats first and foremost. Marlins have a bunch of rotation arms, something like 7 or 8 guys who can start big league games right now and be reasonably effective. Arizona needs pitching depth, because once their main 5 guys start getting hurt/lose effectiveness, they don’t have that many arms ready to fill the gaps yet.

2 years ago
Reply to  catmanwayne

I wouldn’t say the Marlins are far away fron competing. That is an excellent staff, if a couple guys take a step forward with the bats, or a couple FA acquisitions it could be as soon as now.

2 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Maybe there’s a deal there anchored by Vaughn?

2 years ago
Reply to  cowdisciple

It could work in theory, but I’m not sure Arizona would value his 1B/DH profile sufficiently for that to work without him already showing he can mash as generally expected in the bigs… but if he’s doing that, then Chicago would probably just keep him. The young guys of note that aren’t major league contributors are like uhh Burger, who’s almost 26, Kelley, who has been mostly hurt and very wild when not, and some younger guys– 3B Bryan Ramos and SS Jose Rodriguez come to mind. If Arizona is high on one or both of the latter two, I could see a deal, but they’d have to be willing to accept a smorgasbord of publicly lower-rated prospects for Marte. I doubt that’d happen, Arizona needs impact talent coming back, and there does not appear to be much if any of that in Chicago’s system right now.

2 years ago
Reply to  MRDXol

I can’t disagree with any of that. It’s a deal I’d be exploring from the White Sox side, because moving Vaughn and pretty much anything for a high end 2B would be a huge win for them.

2 years ago
Reply to  matt

The position player situation at the major league level is kind of a mess, since Carson Kelly and Ketel Marte are the only two players who are definitely above average. For some reason they are very resistant to playing Daulton Varsho in CF, but I think he looks like a surefire CF. If I’m the Mariners, I am definitely checking in to see what it will take to land him. But the pitching is pretty underrated. I know why all the projection systems are down on the Gallen / Weaver / Bumgarner trio but I think they’re being a bit too pessimistic, and Kelly is pretty solid too. The bullpen will also be better if they don’t have to keep pressing those guys into duty as starters. It’s not a good team by any means but it’s not as bad as the Pirates.

John Wickmember
2 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I don’t follow the Dbacks closely but I don’t necessarily agree that they have shown they don’t like Varsho in CF. He played a lot of catcher last year because they had injuries there. When he was in the outfield, he was usually the CF (21 starts there versus 6 in left and 9 in right)

Barring injuries in 2022 I expect he’ll be a backup C and primarily play OF with time in all three spots, with where they play Marte (and I suppose where Marte plays, if it isn’t Arizona) being the key variables in how much center he plays.

If Thomas and Carroll both hit, Arizona could have the good problem of a full outfield of fleet athletes all capable of playing center