Steamer Projects: Arizona Diamondbacks Prospects

At the end of last week, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the D-backs or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.

What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.

Other prospect projections: Chicago AL / Miami / Seattle.

Steamer Projections: Arizona Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Arizona batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

4 Chris Owings 22 SS 550 .270 .300 .398 .319 .304 87 0 -8 8 1.9
3 Matt Davidson 23 3B 550 .243 .312 .410 .302 .316 95 0 -3 2 1.8
6 Jake Lamb 23 3B 550 .223 .288 .352 .271 .283 72 0 -17 3 0.4
11 Brandon Drury 21 3B 550 .220 .257 .320 .251 .253 51 0 -30 3 -1.0
10 Stryker Trahan 20 C 450 .176 .223 .255 .211 .214 24 0 -39 10 -1.4
15 Sergio Alcantara 17 SS 550 .183 .231 .236 .213 .212 22 0 -49 8 -2.4
12 Justin Williams 18 COF 550 .214 .253 .303 .255 .246 46 0 -34 -8 -2.4

Steamer Projections: Arizona Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Arizona pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 FIP ERA WAR
13 Matt Stites 24 50 9.5 3.2 0.7 3.13 2.92 1.1
8 Jake Barrett 22 50 8.7 4.1 0.8 3.79 3.65 0.6
7 David Holmberg 22 150 6.1 3.6 1.0 4.51 4.67 0.5
1 Archie Bradley 21 150 8.3 5.7 0.9 4.56 4.71 0.4
2 Braden Shipley 22 150 5.2 3.6 1.0 4.63 4.86 0.3
14 Aaron Blair 22 150 5.0 3.7 1.0 4.71 4.94 0.2
9 Zeke Spruill 24 150 5.2 3.6 1.1 4.74 4.87 0.1
5 Andrew Chafin 24 150 5.8 4.6 1.0 4.82 5.04 0.0

• Those who deal in capital-T Truth will be compelled to admit that both Chris Owings and Matt Davidson spent the majority of 2013 at the Triple-A level and then also made their respective major-league debuts towards the end of that same season. That same demographic will also observe that Owings and Davidson are regarded by Steamer as very possibly something like major-league average players — the former benefiting from decent offense and the shortstop positional adjustment; the latter, from better offense and still very satisfactory defensive value.

• There’s no truth to the rumor that Arizona ownership has lobbied commissioner Bud Selig to add an additional third base to the regulation baseball diamond, thereby allowing the D-backs to more readily deploy the most ready of their prospects.

• Young and talented and hard-throwing Archie Bradley is the top prospect in the Arizona system, according to Marc Hulet, but it would appear as though less young and still right-handed Matt Stites, acquired by the D-backs in the trade that sent Ian Kennedy to San Diego, is the pitching prospect most poised to provide value in 2014. Stites recorded strikeout and walk rates of 25.3% and 4.0%, respectively, in 52.0 innings for Double-A San Antonio.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Owings needs to learn how to talk a walk. Davidson needs to learn not to strike out. Sigh. Not excited about their hitting over here.


I’ll agree, I’m not “excited” per se, but these guys could be, as Carson mentioned in his tweet, average players in 2014. The real problem is the logjam that’s been created by Kevin Towers through signing a bunch of average-ish players to long-term deals. He now has no flexibility and Owings and Davidson are likely most valuable to other teams.

We’ve explored this at length over at It’s a real pickle now since there’s little financial flexibility and strong marginal upgrades will be tough to make. We’ll never know how good our homegrown talent is if we block it with aging, expensive-ish players, plus we lose the benefit of controlled cost. I just don’t get the big picture in AZ.


How exactly are Davidson and Owings blocked? If Davidson can play and hit, third base is his. Prado can move to LF. If Owings is better than Didi and can prove it, he’s not blocked at all. Neither of these prospects are sure things so to just open up positions for possible failed prospects with no backup plan would make little to no sense as a GM. I think they’ve done it perfectly. They’ve opened up just enough of a window for each to burst through if they can prove their mettle. Both were given solid ML playing time last season and both showed they are worthy of keeping in the conversation. But again, they are far from sure things yet. So the GM is keeping his bases covered in case they don’t make it. I don’t know how a GM could do it any better actually.