Last season was disappointing for Arizona. They finished 69-93, fourth place in the NL West. This coming after quite possibly the overpriced signing of Zack Greinke (6-year, $206.5 million) and the worst trade of all time in acquiring Shelby Miller for Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair.
And unfortunately, their farm system does not offer much hope. It is consistently ranked near the bottom by evaluators and it’s easy to see why. They lack top-tier talent and any depth in their minors. This is an organization in distress and needs to work very hard at rebuilding their farm system. Some tough decisions may need to be made soon, but for now, they will again probably occupy one of the bottom two spots in the NL West.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
Arizona Diamondbacks Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am beginning my list of prospect systems in the NL West. Later, I will delve into the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Anthony Banda
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Anthony Banda
There is no doubt this is a bad system, but Banda is a solid prospect. Sure he doesn’t have the upside many other pitching prospects possess, but he has a pretty high floor. Pitchers struggle when they get to Arizona with the home run ball, but Banda has always done a fine job keeping the ball in the yard, consistently limiting batters to fewer than 0.80 HR/9. He strikes out batters at a high rate, typically sitting between 22 percent to 25 percent of the time. He probably tops out as a No. 3 starter, but he might be worth owning in some dynasty leagues.
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Jasrado Chisholm
Biggest Boom or Bust: Jasrado Chisholm
Chisholm has a solid power/speed combination that he put on display in his first taste of professional baseball this past summer. In 62 games, he hit nine home runs and swiped 13 bases while hitting .281. The big concern with him is that he struck out a whopping 27 percent of the time and has some very present holes in his swing. Scouts believe his power will eventually be enough to pop 15 bombs per season and match that number in steals, but he is so far away from the big leagues that he should be considered a risky investment.
Biggest Sleeper: Andrew Yerzy
Yerzy could also make a convincing argument for Biggest Boom or Bust here, but I’ll make him the biggest sleeper instead. He is a risky prospect because of how young he is and his lack of a track record to this point, but he could be a potential offensive-first catcher. Scouts praise the power he has right now and they believe he could translate that into 20+ home run power in the big leagues. The big question right now is whether or not he will make consistent enough contact to put that power to use and if he will stay behind the dish defensively. But if all works out for Yerzy, he could be a productive starting catcher in a couple years for dynasty owners.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Dawel Lugo
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Dawel Lugo
If you are looking for the best pure hitter in the Diamondbacks’ system, it is easily Lugo. That isn’t necessarily a great thing, but it is what it is. Lugo has always kept the strikeouts in check (typically below 18 percent) and typically hits for a high average, but the power was a surprise in 2016. Between High-A and Double-A, he combined for 17 home runs in 127 games. Scouts have often project at least average power, some above-average power and they believe he may hit 15-20 homers in the big leagues. He makes plenty of contact which should help him hit for a decent average, but he may not hit .300 in the big leagues. But if anyone in this system has a chance to hit .300, it’s Lugo.
Best Burner on the Bases: Socrates Brito
Brito has a long track record of stealing bases at a decent rate. 2016 was the first season since 2012 that he was unable to reach the 20 stolen base mark, and most expect him to get back to that 20 stolen base pace moving forward. Brito gets good reads on the bases and has some great speed. If he gets regular playing time, he could steal his fair share of bags. But he will need to prove he can hit enough to be a big league starter.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Anthony Banda
Best Command: Anthony Banda
Banda wins both these categories more by default than anything else. Most other systems have a better strikeout option, but Banda can hold his own int hat category. He has typically struck out between 21 to 25 percent of opposing batters. With Banda’s stuff, scouts believe he probably tops out at about 20 percent in the majors, but that should still be enough to warrant ownership in dynasty leagues.
His control can be shaky at times, but the biggest concern pitching in Arizona is whether or not pitcher can keep the ball in the yard and he has never had much of an issue with that. Scouts think he will continue that trend into the big leagues, a good sign for fantasy owners that he might be worth owning.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the Arizona Diamondbacks
1. Anthony Banda (SP, AAA)
Banda doesn’t have a high ceiling, but his control and solid stuff will allow him to reach the big leagues as a regular starting pitcher.
2. Dawel Lugo (2B, AA)
Lugo is the best pure hitter in the Dbacks system and may have a future as a utility middle-infielder or possible starting second baseman if he hits enough.
3. Domingo Leyba (SS/2B, AA)
Leyba is basically a slightly-toned down version of Lugo: little bit of pop and speed, but mostly a contact-first approach.
4. Socrates Brito (OF, MLB)
What little time Brito has had in the big leagues has been awful. Brito still has some potential, but the time is ticking for him to be able to reach his full potential.
5. Taylor Clarke (SP, AA)
Control specialist could be a solid No. 4 or 5 starter, but his stuff isn’t great and Arizona is not forgiving to pitchers with home run problems.
6. Jasrado Chisholm (SS, ROK)
All about upside, Chisholm could be a 15/15 shortstop with a nice .260+ average, but he is still very young and raw and has many years of development remaining.
7. Anfernee Grier (OF, A-)
Grier has the upside to become a speedy leadoff hitter, but strikeouts are a major concern right now.
8. Brad Keller (SP, A+)
Future backend of the rotation workhorse doesn’t have outstanding stuff, but he could use his control to make it to the big leagues.
9. Jack Reinheimer (SS/2B, AAA)
Reinheimer has some speed, but he is more of a slap hitter and has no power.
10. Andrew Yerzy (C, ROK)
A catcher with offensive upside, Yerzy has many years left of development. If owners show patience, they could be rewarded with a star if he pans out or a bust if he can’t stick behind the dish defensively.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This is an awful farm system. They may be the worst farm system in baseball. Banda looks like a solid pitcher, but almost no player on this list would reach the top 10 of other teams. Dynasty owners can consider owning the guys in the top three, but no one is a must own prospect here.