Earlier this week, I released the first installment in this series, with prospects #21-31. There was plenty of intrigue there and that trend is going to continue today. While this is a tough group to rate with so little separating a ton of players, we’ll start seeing more upside in this installment, with a bit more impact potential on the board. But don’t get carried away, there’s still plenty of unknowns with this group. Without further ado, here’s the list.

#20 Luis Alejandro Basabe, 2B

  • Age (DOB): 20 (8/26/96)
  • Acquired: 2016 trade from Boston (with Jose Almonte) for Brad Ziegler
  • 2016 Level(s): Single-A Greenville (64 games), Single-A Kane County (45 games)
  • 2015 Ranking: n/a
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Trending: Steady

A midseason trade sent Basabe from Boston to Arizona, and while many speculated that Dave Stewart traded for the wrong Basabe (he has a more highly-regarded twin brother who’s also in the Boston system), the young second baseman struggled in the transition. He’s a quick player who’s limited to second defensively, but had hit well in half a season at Greenville before the trade. There’s little game power to speak of and he struck out plenty once joining Arizona, but he walks and has shown a strong ability to get on base. It’s a good approach from a switch hitter with limited impact potential, but there’s enough here to suggest that he may be able to continue progressing and develop into a second division regular. Basabe won’t turn 21 until the 2017 season is nearly complete, so time is on his side.

Video courtesy of Sox Prospects

#19 Jose Herrera, C

  • Age (DOB): 19 (2/24/97)
  • Acquired: 2013 International Sign ($1,060,000 bonus)
  • 2016 Level(s): Rookie Missoula (36 games)
  • 2015 Ranking: 23
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Trending: Up

In a system with plenty of catcher who won’t end up catching, Herrera is a bright spot. He’s got the defensive chops to stay behind the plate as a good reliever with soft hands and an ability to control the running game with his arm. The bat was always the question, but after breaking out offensively in 2015, he backed it up with another strong season in the batter’s box this year in limited action. While Herrera will never be a big power threat, he showed more pop this season with five homers. He may never reach average game power, but he’ll continue to showcase the gap variety and make plenty of contact. It’s a clean swing from both sides of the plate, and switch-hitting catchers will forever be en vogue. He’s got a big league future based on his defense and the upside is dependent on his ability to continue making contact and getting on base, something we’ve seen from him so far.

Video courtesy of FanGraphs

#18 Sergio Alcantara, SS

  • Age (DOB): 20 (7/10/96)
  • Acquired: 2013 International Sign ($700,000 bonus)
  • 2016 Level(s): Rookie AZL (7 games), Low-A Hillsboro (15 games), Single-A Kane County (53 games), High-A Visalia (4 games)
  • 2015 Ranking: 27
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Trending: Up

Alcantara plays a quality shortstop right now, so defensively, he’s sound and should stick at short. He’s solid with the glove, but the bat has lagged far behind. He’s small in stature and there will never be any power to his game, but Alcantara has consistently shown an ability to work counts and get on base with good plate discipline. He’s more quick than he is fast and isn’t a big stolen base threat, but if he can keep making quality contact like he did in 2016, he’ll continue progressing up the ladder. This was his best offensive season to date as he hit .284/.343/.309 across the four levels he played. There’s a bit of physical projection left and he’ll need to get stronger, but at just 20-years old, there’s time for development. Don’t be surprised to see him sent to Visalia to start the 2017 campaign as he looks to have finally turned a corner and be ready for the next challenge. Long term, he’s likely best as a back up shortstop off the bench as strong fielder. The bat could change that, but don’t hold your breath.

Video courtesy of Bobby DeMuro

#17 Andy Yerzy, C

  • Age (DOB): 18 (7/5/98)
  • Acquired: Drafted 2nd round, 2016 (52nd overall)
  • 2016 Level(s): Rookie AZL (18 games), Rookie Missoula (27 games)
  • 2015 Ranking: n/a
  • Volatility: High
  • Trending: Steady

Yerzy was drafted in the second round this June, largely on the back of his plus raw power. The kid has plenty of pop and had faced a lot of good competition while traveling on the premier Canadian youth squad, playing American and international talent. There are major questions about his ability to remain a catcher and most speculated at the time of his selection that he wouldn’t last behind the plate very long. The organization may elect to continue the experiment, and if it fails, he may be relegated to left field or first base, with the latter representing the stronger possibility. He flailed in his debut, hitting just .216/.240/.265 in 45 games, which represents a concern in its own right. He didn’t strike out much, but didn’t walk either and there’s plenty of work for the player development crew to do with Yerzy, be it at the plate or behind it. The raw power is there, it’s just a matter of refining his ability to get to it.

Video courtesy of FanGraphs

#16 Brad Keller, RHP

  • Age (DOB): 21 (7/27/95)
  • Acquired: Drafted 8th round, 2013 (240th overall)
  • 2016 Level(s): High-A Visalia (24 starts)
  • 2015 Ranking: 15
  • Volatility: Low
  • Trending: Steady

What you see is what you get with Keller, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s a big right-hander with a mature body who throws strikes and can generate his fair share of ground balls. He relies primarily on a low-90’s sinker with good movement, but he also has the ability to cut the fastball and ramp it up to the mid-90’s, too. Keller can throw the pitch for strikes and lets his slider and changeup play off the different fastball looks. The slider is better than the change at present, but both have average potential. With his frame and stuff, it’s a #5 starter’s repertoire and projection for Keller, who pitched in the California League last season. He’s likely to head to AA Jackson in 2017, likely in advance of his 22nd birthday, making him young for the league. It’s been slow and steady progress for Keller, who remains a big league rotation candidate with limited upside but plenty of potential surplus value.

Video courtesy of Today’s Knuckleball

#15 Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP

  • Age (DOB): 23 (7/26/93)
  • Acquired: International Sign 2014 ($450,000 bonus)
  • 2016 Level(s): Rookie AZL (1 start), Low-A Hillsboro (4 starts, 5 relief appearances), High-A Visalia (6 starts)
  • 2015 Ranking: 11
  • Volatility: High
  • Trending: Down

Huang had a difficult season that was beset with injuries. He’s a thin 6’1″ and 170-pounds, and there were already concerns about his durability. The injuries may have been a precursor for the righty who burst onto the scene last season with 76.2 strong innings in the Midwest League. He began this season in the California League and struggled mightily thanks to walks and home runs. He returned from injury mid-season with Hillsboro where his numbers were much better, though it didn’t show in his 5.34 ERA. He’s still a guy with a low-90’s fastball and an already plus changeup, but his breaking ball lags behind. With his frame being what it is, he’s likely to end up a reliever long term unless he’s able to prove more durable and improve the breaking ball. He’ll get another shot at the California League next year and will hopefully reach AA Jackson before his 24th birthday.

Video courtesy of Wilson Karaman

#14 Jon Duplantier, RHP

  • Age (DOB): 22 (7/11/94)
  • Acquired: Drafted 3rd round, 2016 (89th overall)
  • 2016 Level(s): Low-A Hillsboro (1 relief appearance)
  • 2015 Ranking: n/a
  • Volatility: High
  • Trending: Down

Duplantier entered the draft this past June with a first round arm and very legitimate injury concerns. He was good as a freshman at Rice, then missed his entire sophomore season with shoulder trouble, returning his junior year to pitch well and finish second in NCAA in strikeouts (148 K’s in 111 innings). Rice has had a reputation for overworking their pitching staff and it was enough to scare most teams away from Duplantier until the D-backs could pounce. Unfortunately, his debut was more trouble as he pitched just one inning in Hillsboro, then was shut down for the rest of the season with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return to action. We’ll have to hope the team was just being precautionary (which is likely given his college workload and injury history), because Duplantier has a wide range of useful outcomes if healthy. He could emerge as a #3 or #4 starter should he be able to stay in the rotation while refining his changeup, or he could be sent to the bullpen and fast-tracked as an impact late-inning arm with a good fastball/breaking ball combination. It’s all about getting him healthy first, because he has quality stuff if he can just get to use it.

Video courtesy of Baseball America

#13 Tyler Wagner, RHP

  • Age (DOB): 25 (1/24/91)
  • Acquired: 2016 trade from Milwaukee (with Jean Segura) for Aaron Hill, Chase Anderson, and Isan Diaz
  • 2016 Level(s): Triple-A Reno (5 starts), MLB Diamondbacks (3 relief appearances)
  • 2015 Ranking: n/a
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Trending: Down

It’s not often that you’ll see a prospect that will turn 26 before next season ranked this high, but Wagner’s 2016 showed glimpses of strong performance. Wagner entered Spring Training as a fringy candidate to snag the fifth rotation spot and ultimately missed it, but showed enough in the spring to quickly get the call to pitch out of the big league bullpen in April. He was excellent in that role, showcasing a low-90’s sinker that has tremendous movement and sink, inducing plenty of ground balls. He’s also got a slider that’s a solid average pitch and a changeup that lags behind. If healthy, he may contend for a rotation spot again, but fits best in a bullpen role where he’s capable of pitching multiple innings and generating plenty of weak contact. The severity of his injury (lat muscle) is unknown, however, but reports suggest he’ll be healthy entering 2017. Wagner’s shown the ability to produce good results in a small major league sample and will look to build on them going forward.

Video courtesy of Adam McInturff

#12 Marcus Wilson, CF

  • Age (DOB): 20 (8/15/96)
  • Acquired: Drafted 2nd Competitive Balance round, 2014 (69th overall)
  • 2016 Level(s): Low-A Hillsboro (43 games), Single-A Kane County (26 games)
  • 2015 Ranking: 7
  • Volatility: High
  • Trending: Steady

Wilson is still arguably the top athlete in the system as plus-plus runner capable of playing a solid center field while covering a ton of ground. He’s a threat on the bases, too, where his speed can wreak havoc. He’s done a fanstastic job of getting on base throughout his minor league career, posting double-digit walk rates at every level he’s played. He cleaned up his swing this season, making it more efficient and it showed as he started to hit for a touch more power while carrying a reasonable average. He hit .252/.394/.346 across two levels as he continues to make steady progress. He’s got a top of the order profile with an ability to get on base, swipe bags and hit enough to warrant setting the table. Wilson will have to continue to develop in the batter’s box to make that a reality, but there have been positive signs of development along the way after he was drafted as an extremely raw athlete that needed refinement. He’s been noted as a hard worker and he should open the 2017 season at Kane County with a chance to reach the California League before his 21st birthday.

Video courtesy of Inside the ‘Zona

#11 Vicente Campos, RHP

  • Age (DOB): 24 (7/27/92)
  • Acquired: Traded from New York for Tyler Clippard
  • 2016 Level(s): High-A Tampa Bay (10 starts), Double-A Trenton (9 starts), Double-A Mobile (4 starts), Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre (1 start), Triple-A Reno (1 start), MLB Diamondbacks (1 start)
  • 2015 Ranking: n/a
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Trending: Steady

Campos did a lot of bag-packing in 2016 after he missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery and also missed the first half of the 2015 in his recovery. He posted good numbers in 2016 across five different affiliates, notching a 3.22 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 142.2 innings. Campos earned a start in September with the D-backs and held his own. He’s got three average pitches and lacks much upside at this point, but has the type of repertoire and pitchability to be either a #5 starter or a 6th or 7th inning arm depending on how the organization chooses to use him. He’ll enter the 2017 season on the DL after his second ulnar fracture (elbow) and after a few rehab stints, should start his year in earnest in AAA Reno. While lacking impact potential, he does offer value as a cost-controlled contributor.

Video courtesy of FanGraphs

Other installments: Primer  |  Prospects 21-31  |  Prospects 1-10

3 Responses to 2017 Diamondbacks Top Prospects: #11-20

  1. Anonymous says:

    on this list
    1. tyler wagner
    2. brad keller
    duplantier was wasy to see coming, i said this here.

  2. […] 2017 Diamondbacks Top Prospects: #11-20 […]

  3. […] top 100 lists later this winter. Luis Alexander Basabe (twin brother of Luis Alejandro Basabe, a top D-backs prospect) is an interesting centerfield prospect with big league upside, and Victor Diaz […]

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