- Keith Law, ESPN Insider
I've once again expanded my ranking of the top 10 prospects in each organization. The criteria for organizing these lists are the same as ever, but I've included a little more explanation of the state of the system, and discuss any prospects (top 10 and beyond) who might help the major league team this year.
In addition to at least one "sleeper" prospect for each organization, I've also identified one player with each club whose prospect stock has taken a serious hit in the past year, and attempted to explain why.
As with the top 100, I use the 20-80 scouting scale to describe players' tools.
Farm system overview
Of the D-backs' top 10 prospects two years ago, three are now on the major league roster, led by Pat Corbin, while three others have been dispatched in trades over the past year-plus. A couple of solid drafts the past two years have helped restock the system, but at this point, the scouting staff can't add talent as quickly as Kevin Towers is dealing it away.
Fortunately, they've got a future ace at the top of the system in Archie Bradley, and I love Braden Shipley's chances to become a solid No. 2 behind him thanks to his athleticism and relative inexperience on the mound. Stryker Trahan has come a long way defensively since signing, especially in throwing out runners, and had a solid second pro season despite losing his mother in April after a long battle with cancer.
Brandon Drury was the big surprise in the system this year; widely seen (including by me) as a throw-in to the Justin Upton trade, he led the low Class A Midwest League in doubles with 11 more than anyone else, finished seventh in slugging, and showed a cerebral approach at the plate that improved as the year went on. He may be playable at third base, but is still a work in progress there. Jake Lamb had the bigger rate stats and is more likely to stay at third, but missed two months last year with a sprained right wrist. Sergio Alcantara was just 16 in rookie ball last summer, showing great plate discipline and good instincts at short with a plus arm, a possible everyday shortstop if he can get a good bit stronger over the next couple of years.
Just missing their top 10: shortstop Jose Munoz (No. 11 in the system), likely to move to third base with a good feel to hit and potential average power; lefty Daniel Gibson (No. 12), 90-94 mph on his fastball with two fringy-to-average breaking balls, starting now after he relieved at the University of Florida; outfielder Justin Williams (No. 13), who has huge raw power but is pretty crude at the plate and in the field; and right-hander Jimmy Sherfy (No. 14), a former college closer with plus stuff and a bad delivery, someone the Snakes should move quickly to capitalize on his arm while they can.
Chris Owings could unseat Didi Gregorius as the everyday shortstop in Phoenix, while Bradley should make his debut at some point this summer. Right-hander Matt Stites came over in the Ian Kennedy trade. He has been 96-98 and could challenge for a bullpen role this spring, as could right-hander Jake Barrett, whose fastball/slider combo is filthy when he's healthy, which isn't all that often.
No one. If you show the slightest sign of weakness, Towers will not hesitate to put you on the trade market.
Everyone who sees right-hander Jose Martinez raves about him. He has a somewhat slight build for a starter, similar to St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez, but his fastball is 94-96 mph with a curveball that runs from average to plus. His stuff is ahead of his control, though, as he walked 25 in 38 innings last summer for short-season Yakima.
8hAnthony Witrado, Special to ESPN.com
14hAnthony Witrado, Special to ESPN.com