On Tuesday, we released the beginning of our Top 30 Prospects series with numbers 21-30. If you missed it, check it out as there are some names there that have a chance to really move up in 2014. Today we move on to prospects 11-20, where we start to see some guys with real star power. There’s a first-rounder in Trahan, a bonus-baby in Herrera, recent draft picks in Westbrook, Palka and others, plus some guys who could make a quick rise to the Diamondbacks’ bullpen in Gibson, Stites and Sherfy. These are names you need to know over the winter and once Spring Training begins.
20. Daniel Gibson, LHP, 10/16/91 (A)
A 7th rounder in this June’s draft, Gibson had a nice debut after an up and down career at Florida. He immediately found his way to the bullpen and it looks like he’ll stay there, where he could move quickly. Gibson is primarily a fastball-slider pitcher and, as expected, is tough on lefties. He can be effective against righties, too, so the southpaw is more than just a lefty specialist. Look for him in Phoenix by 2015 if everything clicks.
19. Jose Herrera, C, 16-years old
Herrera was highly touted out of Venezuela and the Diamondbacks spent a relative fortune on him when they signed him for $1 million this summer. He hasn’t played for the organization yet but has drawn considerable praise for his ability to hit. At 16, he could spend five or six years developing and still arrive in the major at the age of 22, so there’s a ton of upside. Expect the organization to be very patient with this investment.
18. Jamie Westbrook, MI, 6/18/95 (Rk)
Westbrook is a second baseman who can play shortstop in a pinch. He’s short but powerful and has lots of quickness if not great overall speed. Strong legs and a quick stroke give him the ability to hit for contact and power. While he’s not ever going to be a great homerun threat, he has the ability to hit for extra bases with regularity. He’ll be fun to watch in South Bend next year and is a real sleeper in the system. Keep an eye on this kid.
17. Matt Stites, RHP, 5/28/90 (AA)
Obtained in the deal that sent Ian Kennedy to San Diego, Stites is a righty reliever who can rack up the strikeouts. While his K/BB numbers have been good, there have been plenty of guys who can strikeout High-A hitters in the past only to struggle in the upper minors and majors. Some folks are pretty high on him, including those that think he could be the next DBacks closer, but I’d like to see success in Reno first.
16. Daniel Palka, 1B, 10/28/91 (Low-A)
Make no mistake about it, Palka can hit. He was selected out of Georgia Tech in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft and raked immediately, although he was old for his first assignment. He’s got a rare combination of power, contact and patience. The issue is that he’s defensively limited to first base, reducing his value. Best-case scenario, he becomes excellent trade bait as he’ll be blocked by Goldschmidt for a long time to come.
15. Stryker Trahan, C, 4/25/94 (Rk)
Considering that Trahan was the organization’s first round choice in 2012, you’d think you might find him higher on the list. Instead, he continues to slowly to develop, both defensively and with the bat, although his offensive game is ahead of his defense. His walk rate dropped big time this season and the strikeouts remain a concern. The kid has power, though, and if he can learn to use it more frequently, then things could really take off.
14. Joe Munoz, SS, 12/28/93 (Rk)
Munoz is a very physical shortstop at 6’3”, 195-pounds and he has some power in the bat. He cut down the errors at short some this season but he clearly still has a long way to go defensively. He was a bit of a surprise pick in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft as he was not considered a top-100 guy by most analysts. He’s raw but bears watching as he’ll likely make his full season debut in South Bend in 2014.
13. Brandon Drury, 3B, 8/21/92 (A)
In his first minor league season in the Diamondbacks organization, Drury raked all year long and improved his defense at third. He was repeating Single-A, albeit with a new team since he came over from the Braves last winter. He hit for average and ton of power (51 doubles!) considering he was not playing in an inflated offensive environment. If he can play well and reach AA by the end of 2014, he may start receiving more attention. Love the upside here.
12. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, 12/27/91 (A)
The former top college closer did not disappoint in his debut. As advertised, Sherfy is a funky righty that can rack up the strikeouts and limit the hits. His sample is really small in that he only pitched 17.1 innings, but you have to like what you see from the 2013 10th rounder. He could move very quickly and see Arizona as quickly as late 2014 or early 2015, provided he continues to dominate. Sherfy is clearly part of the bullpen of the future in Arizona.
11. Aaron Blair, RHP, 5/26/92 (A)
Blair was the Diamondbacks’ supplemental round pick from the 2013 draft (#36 overall) out of Marshall and looks like an innings-eater in the making. He’s a got a durable pitcher’s frame and can get groundballs via his heavy-sinking fastball that sits low to mid 90’s. If the slider comes around, he could really pick up steam. He’ll never be a dominant, sexy, strikeout-heavy ace, but he looks like a mid-rotation starter capable of pitching a lot of effective innings.
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