It’s prospect season now that the playoffs are nearly over and we’re almost into the winter. Here are the Diamondbacks’ Top 30 prospects counted down from #30 all the way to #1. The system itself is in decent shape and probably ranks somewhere near the middle of the majors. It’s a top-heavy with some notable names inside the top ten but there’s some interesting depth to it that could really take off in 2014. Arizona has considerable depth at third base, catcher and left-handed pitching but there’s a lack of impact outfielders overall. All told, there’s plenty to watch moving forward.
In case you missed it, please take a look at the thought-process behind the rankings, published a couple weeks ago. We welcome any comments in the comment section, so feel free to drop a line on your thoughts.
30. Felipe Perez, RHP, 1/22/94 (Rk)
Perez went undrafted in the 2012 draft because he was committed to pitch at UCLA. Instead, he opted out of his commitment and signed late as a free agent with the Diamondbacks for $400k. He was considered the top unsigned player by Baseball America at the time of his signing and the UCLA commitment speaks to his talent. He was pretty good in 2013 but not dominant. Long ways to go here, but he’s got room to fill out his frame and add velocity down the road.
29. Brad Keller, RHP, 6/27/95 (Rk)
Keller made 12 starts in the Arizona Rookie League before being called up for two starts in Missoula. An 8th round pick in the 2013 draft, he has a pitcher’s frame and throws hard from the right side. Multiple reports suggest that he was overlooked and is a real sleeper in the system. Keller pitches with attitude and can be a high-leverage reliever if things don’t work out long term in the rotation.
28. Gerson Montilla, 2B, 11/13/89 (A+)
Montilla spent the whole year in the CAL league after splitting his time between there and South Bend in 2012. He put up almost identical stats his second time around and continues to hit for power. Aside from that, nothing’s spectacular. He doesn’t walk much but limits the strikeouts. He’s not a base-stealer, either, so it appears that he may be a one-trick pony. Probably a utility guy at best.
27. Nick Ahmed, SS, 3/15/90 (AA)
As noted in the Mobile Review, Ahmed can play great defense at short. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for the bat to come around. The Braves took him in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, so there must have been hope that he’d be able to hit eventually but it hasn’t materialized. At worst, he’s a glove-only guy that sticks around for a long time due to his defense.
26. Kevin Munson, RHP, 1/3/89 (AAA)
Munson was a 4th round selection of the Diamondbacks in 2010 and he’s moved steadily ever since. He’s a reliever who relies on strikeouts but walks more than his share of batters. Given the K’s, he doesn’t need pinpoint control but some improvement will have to be found before he can contribute at the highest level. He’s nearly ready and there’s a good chance he’ll see the majors in 2014.
25. Zeke Spruill, RHP, 9/11/89 (AAA)
Part of the Justin Upton trade, Spruill is what he is at this point: rotational depth. The right-hander lacks the strikeouts needed to really take his game to the next level but he keep his walks and hits in check. In short, he just doesn’t ‘wow’ you in any way but won’t get you killed either. He’s a back-end starter at best.
24. Chuck Taylor, OF, 9/21/93 (Rk)
A slight-of-stature outfielder with switch-hitting ability, Taylor saw plenty of time at all three outfield positions in Missoula this year. He’s still developing, but it’s unclear exactly what the Diamondbacks have in the former 4th rounder. He doesn’t hit for power and doesn’t steal a lot of bases either. He’s kept his strikeouts and walks at reasonable levels, but there isn’t a ton to get excited about yet other than his athleticism. There’s a lot of development left for Taylor.
23. Andrew Velazquez, SS, 7/14/94 (A)
On the surface, Velazquez’ numbers don’t jump out at you, but he was young for the league and plays a marquee defensive position. Whether or not he can stick at short long-term is yet to be seen, but he has patience at the plate and plenty of speed to burn. He was a 7th rounder in 2012 and although he was over-matched at times, there is plenty of reason for optimism.
22. Ender Inciarte, OF, 10/29/90 (AA)
Inciarte held his own in Mobile and was a spark plug atop the lineup. He makes a ton of contact and while he doesn’t have any real power to speak of, he can steal bags like nobody’s business. He’s solid in centerfield, too, upping his future value. If there’s an aspect of his game that needs to improve, it’s his patience as his miniscule walk rate is undermining his ability to be effective on the base paths. He’s a future 4th outfielder, in my opinion.
21. Michael Perez, C, 8/7/92 (A+)
To say that Perez disappointed in 2013 is an understatement. After raking in Missoula last season, the Diamondbacks skipped him over the Midwest League and sent him right to High-A Visalia. He hit .173/.223/.307 there and got sent down South Bend where he improved somewhat. His defense has improved behind the plate and as long as the bat develops, he could be a real part of Arizona’s future. That is now in question, though, and he needs a strong 2014 performance to get headed back in the right direction.
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