Arizona Diamondbacks 2020 Top-25 Prospects
During my time out at the Arizona Fall League in October, I experienced the Arizona heat first-hand. Now we’re experiencing the red hot fire that is this Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. The Diamondbacks have hit a home run in all three facets of talent acquisition over the last few years. They’ve drafted well, signed high-upside international talent, and made several trades that really bolstered this farm system. All of this has made for a very exciting and deep top-25 Arizona Diamondbacks prospects rankings below. A whopping 22 Arizona prospects were drafted in our ProspectMock480 from November/December with 10 of those being pitching prospects. So buckle up and enjoy all the prospect goodness.
Overall System Grade: A-
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Reno – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Jackson – Southern League
Advanced Single-A: Visalia – California League
Low Single-A: Kane County – Midwest League
Short Single-A: Hillsboro – Northwest League
Rookie: Missoula – Pioneer League, Dominican Summer League (2), Arizona League (1).
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
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Top-25 Arizona Diamondbacks Prospects – 2020
1. Kristian Robinson, OF
When it comes to upside and pure athleticism, there aren’t many prospects that can match or exceed what Kristian Robinson brings to the table. Signed in 2017 out of the Bahamas, K-Rob just oozes upside and projection from his 6’3 frame. That upside has been on full display in his first two minor leagues seasons with 21 home runs and 29 steals through his first 126 games.
Robinson is one of the rare prospects that projects to be 55-grade or higher with his hit tool, power, and speed. As an 18-year-old for the entire 2019 season, Robinson displayed an advanced feel for hitting that would make you think he was much older than he is. He’s displayed above-average contact skills and has walked over 10% of the time so far. There is some swing and miss to his game, but nothing that concerns me moving forward.
Kristian Robinson- OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A) pic.twitter.com/AORm5rFGhv
Robinson’s setup is simple and balanced with hands head high. Robinson loads back and down in one quick and fluid motion before exploding through the zone with ridiculous bat speed thanks to his quick hands and strong hips. He’s shown he can use the whole field, but does get a tad pull-happy at times, sitting in the 45-51% range for pull rate at every level thus far. As mentioned, the swing is quick with some natural loft to it and Robinson is still scratching the surface of his immense raw power. With a bit of added bulk, he should be a 70-raw power outfielder. Even if that causes Robinson to lose a step, there should still be enough speed and athleticism here to remain in the 20 SB range annually.
With his contact skills, power, and speed, the upside here is off the charts. We might be looking at a .280/35/20 player at peak and one of the best offensive outfielders in the game. Robinson is already inside my top-10 and still on the rise. Buy with confidence in dynasty leagues.
2. Alek Thomas, OF
Choo Choo, all aboard the Alek Thomas hype train! This is a train I’ve been conducting along with Chris Welsh of Prospect One basically ever since the 2018 draft. His skillset is fairly similar to Jarred Kelenic’s just not quite as robust and with lower power upside.
From the left side, Thomas has a quick and compact swing that his as smooth as silk. He uses a moderate leg kick to time pitches with a quick hand load back and down that turns into plus bat speed. His swing path is direct through the zone with a little natural loft created and Thomas is able to generate surprising torque with his strong hips and lower half which he incorporates well into his swing. There isn’t a ton of power upside here, but I believe Thomas can develop into a 50-power prospect that settles into the 15-20 homer range annually.
D-backs prospect Alek Thomas is hitting .299 with 39 XBH’s and an OBP of .380 across two levels this year, rising to be one of Arizona's top overall prospects.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 29, 2019
If he can get to that level of power, that will be a nice addition to his Hit/Speed profile. Both his hit tool and speed grade as plus and Thomas has also shown an advanced approach at the plate well beyond his years. His barrel control and strike zone awareness are rock-solid, which combined with his contact skills, should yield a high average and OBP yearly. One thing that will need to improve though moving forward is his efficiency stealing bases. Thomas has only been successful on 62.8% of his 43 attempts thus far.
Put it all together and Thomas has the upside to post some .300/15/30 seasons with an OBP north of .370. This is a legit top-25 dynasty prospect that you can likely get for cheaper than that price tag. Buy, buy, buy.
3. Corbin Carroll, OF
The more video I see on Corbin Carroll, the higher he rises in my rankings. And to be honest, he’s not that far off from Thomas and is a similar kind of player. Like Thomas, Carroll projects to have two plus offensive tools in his hit tool and speed, and even has a bit more speed than Thomas. Not only is Carroll a double-plus runner, but he’s also displayed good instincts on the bases which were evident in the minors after the draft when he was successful on 18 of 19 stolen base attempts. With his speed and base running acumen, 30-plus steals annually seems like a virtual lock.
This video is not sped up in any way. @corbin_carroll with his first Ron Tonkin Field hit and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a triple! He scores on a passed ball to put us up 1-0 in the bottom of the 5th!#AllHoppedUp pic.twitter.com/Fdk0t9ijis
— Hillsboro Hops (@HillsboroHops) August 15, 2019
While Carroll has the speed edge on Thomas, one area he trails in is power. Carroll is far from a zero in the power department, despite having a smaller frame that doesn’t suggest much power output. His quick hands generate plus bat speed and he’s able to generate hard contact to all fields with surprisingly strong hips creating solid torque in his compact swing. At the moment, there’s not a ton of loft, but with a little added bulk and loft, I can see Carroll settling in around 10-12 homer annually. Factor in his plus contact skills, exceptional barrel control, and advanced strike zone awareness, and Carroll has the ceiling of a .300/10/35 outfielder that should pair nicely with Thomas as a 1-2 punch atop the Diamondbacks lineup in the next few years.
4. Daulton Varsho, C
Daulton Varsho has been a personal favorite of mine for quite some time now. Not because he’s a catcher that can hit, but because he can flat out rake in general. The catcher tag next to his name has been an added luxury, but not one I expect to continue much longer. When Varsho makes his Major League debut, likely later in 2020, he’ll likely get some time in behind the plate, but come 2022 or so, I expect him to be playing 100% out in the field. I’m sure that’s not what all you Varsho dynasty owners want to here, but Varsho has the offensive profile to stand out at any defensive position.
At the plate, Varsho has a balanced and quiet pre-pitch setup from the left side. He continues that simplistic approach throughout the entirety of his swing, using a smaller hand load and more of a toe tap to time pitches. His above-average to plus raw power comes from his strong frame and quick hands that really allow him to whip the bat head through the zone with exceptional bat speed and barrel control. Varsho certainly doesn’t sell out for his power, rather, letting it come naturally. He’ll never be a 30-homer masher, but Varsho has 20-25 homer power in his bat with a swing to support it.
Although losing the catcher eligibility will sting a bit, the move from behind the plate is truly positive for Varsho’s long-term fantasy value. Less time behind the plate means less wear and tear on his legs, extending the shelflife of his plus speed. This is a 20/25 threat in the making that should add a high average and OBP as well in the .280/.360 range.
5. Seth Beer, OF/1B
I’m only going to make one beer reference here. If Seth Beer’s defense was an actual beer, it’d be something stale and unappealing. Okay, I’m done with those. Beer the player has never been known for his defensive skills, but his bat is potent enough to get him into a Major League lineup in an everyday role within the next year or so.
Beer’s collegiate career at Clemson was phenomenal. He combined for 56 home runs in his 188 games at Clemson with a .321 average, .489 OBP, and more walks than strikeouts in every season. There were some questions about how his bat would carry over to pro ball, but Beer has quieted any doubters with a .294 average and 38 home runs in 189 professional games.
From the left side, Beer has solid bat speed with a swing that generates natural loft. And as you could probably guess from the stats I mentioned above, Beer’s strike zone awareness is plus. He’s also begun using the entire field a bit more. With his contact skills and power, Beer has the looks of a .280/30 middle of the order bat with a fairly high OBP as well. He profiles as a DH due to his well below-average speed and defense, but since he’s in the NL, Arizona will likely stick him at first base or in a corner outfield spot.
6. Geraldo Perdomo, SS
We go from one slugger with a solid plate approach to a middle infielder with an even better one. Remember how I mentioned that Seth Beer walked more than he struck out in college? Well, Geraldo Perdomo did that last year in the minors as a 19-year-old in the Midwest and California Leagues. In fact, that’s now two of his three minor league seasons that Perdomo has walked more than he struck out and he was very close to doing that in the one season he didn’t (39 BB/43K in 2018). And unlike Beer, Perdomo is a plus defender with the range and arm needed to remain and excel at shortstop longterm.
Now, some might say that Perdomo is a better real-life prospect than a fantasy one. And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that when you factor in his plus defensive skills. But that doesn’t mean he can’t provide value in the fantasy world, and plenty of it. Perdomo possesses above-average contact skills and has really improved as a hitter over the last year or two. He’s cleaned up his swing and mechanics, taking a shorter path to the ball and cutting down on his leg kick. What was once a stiff and awkward looking swing now looks more fluid, compact, and quick.
There’s not a ton of power upside here as Perdomo is a below-average raw power bat, especially from the right side, with more of a line-drive approach. With that being said, I do think there’s a bit of untapped power potential, which if tapped into, could lead to 10-12 homers annually to pair with around 20-25 steals or so. While the upside here isn’t massive, Perdomo is a high-floor shortstop and a safer dynasty investment.
7. Liover Peguero, SS
A 2017 international signing out of the Dominican Republic, Liover Peguero has been shooting up prospect rankings with a strong 2019 campaign and can easily slide his way into my top-100 overall by mid-season. Offensively, I’d even say he has more pure upside than Perdomo. Like Perdomo, Peguero is mostly a hit/speed shortstop. He starts with his hands chest high and out away from his body. A smaller load is used with a moderate leg lick to time pitches and Peguero has above-average bat speed with quick hands and a compact swing. The contact skills are here to hit in the .280 range annually and Peguero has an advanced approach for his age as well.
— Missoula PaddleHeads (@GoPaddleHeads) July 23, 2019
As for his power and speed, Peguero grades as a 40/50-power, 60/55-shortstop. There’s still some physical projection left on his 6’1 frame, and with some added bulk, Peguero could be a 15-18 homer bat if he adds some loft to his swing. This is a name firmly on the rise in dynasty leagues with a good combination of ceiling and floor.
8. Jeferson Espinal, OF
This might seem a bit bold, but in dynasty leagues, this is the type of projectable upside player you put some money on. Jeferson Espinal is a 17-year-old Dominican outfielder with a strong, athletic, and projectable frame that absolutely tore up the DSL in 2019. In his 47-game stint, Espinal hit .358 with an .872 OPS, showcasing his contact skills and easy plus raw speed. He even flashed a bit of raw power as well, although, his 60% groundball rate limited that power. Espinal will also need to improve his pitch recognition and not chase as much.
Now, this is a prospect you’re going to have to wait on. He won’t even turn 18 until June. But if you’re willing to wait, Espinal has the upside that can make your investment look brilliant. With above-average contact skills and plus or better speed, Espinal is a prospect set to rise up prospect rankings in 2020 with a strong showing in the Arizona League. And if more power does come, watch out.
9. Brennan Malone, RHP
Finally, our first pitcher! Not having a pitcher until #9 speaks 100% to the amount of high-end offensive talent in this system and nothing to the quality of pitching. As I’ve mentioned several times on social media, the amount of pitching talent and depth in this system is phenomenal. Get ready for a bunch more arms in the 10-20 range as there are a ton of them.
Brennan Malone is one of my favorite arms from the 2019 draft class. An athletic and projectable right-hander, Malone features four pitches that project as Major League average or better with two being plus offerings. Malone works out of a high 3/4 arm slot with an athletic delivery with good extension that he repeats well. His strong lower half gives him good drive towards home plate and the delivery as a whole is rather smooth with a lively arm.
The two plus pitches I referenced above are his low to mid-90’s fastball with run and sharp slider with two-plane break. Malone also will mix in a big breaking curveball that flashes above-average to plus and a serviceable changeup with some fade. For a 19-year-old, his command is advanced and allows him to maximize the effectiveness of his four-pitch mix. If Malone can continue improving that command and control, he has the stuff to develop into a #2 starter or high-end #3.
10. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP
Out of all the arms on this list, J.B. Bukauskas might have the biggest variance of potential outcomes. A 2017 first-rounder out of UNC, Bukauskas boasts a plus fastball in mid-90’s, an equally impressive, low-90’s sinker, and one of the best sliders in the minor leagues. His 4-seamer sits in the 94-96 range with strong riding life thanks to a high spin rate and the two-seamer in the low-90’s has strong run and sinking action, inducing plenty of ground balls.
Those two fastballs, plus his filthy mid-80’s slider with sharp two-plane break would make Bukauskas a late-inning weapon as long as he can continue commanding them fairly well. And while his command isn’t the greatest, it also hasn’t been something that has held him back either until 2019. With that said, he’ll definitely need to show that he can throw strikes consistently and hit his spots to remain a starter longterm. Continued improvement there plus a more consistent changeup would give Bukauskas a decent chance to develop into a high-strikeout mid-rotation arm.
After struggling in Double-A with Houston, Bukauskas made only two starts with Arizona’s Double-A affiliate before being shut down with elbow soreness. Yea, I know, two dreaded words for a pitcher. The 2020 season will be huge for Bukauskas and likely very telling of what his future role will be.
11. Luis Frias, RHP
Luis Frias followed up a strong 2018 campaign with an even better 2019, trimming his walk rate and increasing his strikeout rate to career-best levels at 9.4% and 32.7% respectively. He’s always had the stuff to miss a ton of bat, but as you can see below, there’s a ton of effort in his delivery which makes repeating it a tough task. That has thrown off both his command and control throughout his minor league career, limiting the effectiveness of his dynamic arsenal.
That arsenal is led by three above-average or better offerings out of a high 3/4 arm slot in his mid-90’s running fastball, big curveball, and improving split-change. Frias will throw an occasional slider as well, but it’s not nearly as effective as his other three pitches and it wouldn’t shock me if he scraps it down the road, especially if his command and high-effort delivery push him into the pen. Frias has the upside of a #3 starter if all the kinks can be ironed out. If not, his fastball/curveball/split-change trio would look pretty good coming out of the pen.
12. Kevin Cron, 3B
One of the most difficult types of players to rank is the slugger that’s teetering on being a Quad-A player. With Kevin Cron, the power is undeniable. He’s recorded four straight seasons of 20-plus doubles and 20-plus home runs and hit a career-high 39 with a .329 average in 2019 with 99% of that coming in Triple-A. Yes, there was a slight Triple-A boost there, but Cron’s power is legit and would give him 30-plus homer upside if given everyday at-bats.
But will those come anytime soon? Cron struggled to receive consistent playing time at either first or third base in 2019 and the situation hasn’t gotten any clearer with Eduardo Escobar at the hot corner, Christian Walker at first, and Jake Lamb in the picture as well. Poor Cron doesn’t appear to be any closer to a regular gig as we enter 2020. That means either a bench role or more dingers in Triple-A. Neither of which are ideal.
If/when he gets a chance, we could be looking at a .250-.260/30 bat with everyday at-bats. The average is never going to be high, but Cron has never been a big strikeout guy either, so I’m not anticipating him dropping down to the .220 range either. Keep an eye on his playing time situation.
13. Blake Walston, LHP
For a 1st round pick, Blake Walston still flies relatively under the radar. But I expect that to change very soon for the 6’5 left-hander. You gotta love those projectable southpaws and Walston is exactly that. Only 18 until mid-2020 and 175 pounds, there’s a ton of physical projection left on Walston’s frame. He currently sits in the high-80’s or low-90’s with his fastball and likely will add a few ticks up, maybe up into the mid-90’s when his development is done. With added velocity and the life Walston has on his heater, it would be a plus offering to pair with a dynamic curveball shown below.
Added video of D'Backs 1st rounder North Carolina prep LHP Blake Walston to the FG Insta but people love curveballs so here's one at full speed, then another in slo-mo. His best hooks flashed 65 on the 20-80 scale late in the spring, fastball was 88-92 touching 93 in this outing. pic.twitter.com/VMf16sbt1b
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) June 21, 2019
In addition to the plus curveball and potential plus fastball, Walston will mix in a harder slider and a changeup, both of which he’s shown feel for. With this type of, size, arsenal, and a smooth/repeatable delivery, there’s a lot to like about Walston moving forward. He’s a guy I’d try and target now in dynasty leagues before his price tag inevitably climbs.
14. Matt Tabor, RHP
A 3rd round pick in 2017, Matt Tabor is one of the safer arms on this list. You can thank his plus command and control for that. Tabor works out of a 3/4 arm slot with a smooth delivery. His mechanics are clean and repeatable, and Tabor gets good extension in his delivery, creating a nice plane on his fastball which sits in the low-90’s. Tabor’s best secondary offering is a low-80’s changeup with solid fade and depth.
Both those pitches grade as above-average to plus, but it’s Tabor’s breaking ball that will determine just how good of a pitcher he becomes. His slurvy breaking ball flashes above-average at times, but Tabor could serve from developing that into a consistent third weapon. Improvement there would go a long way in Tabor reaching his upside of a mid-rotation starter.
15. Levi Kelly, RHP
Getting tired of all these pitchers yet? I sure hope not! While none of these guys currently stand out as potential future studs, there’s a ton of projectable upside arms in this system and Levi Kelly is definitely one of them. A 6’4/205 righty, Kelly was drafted in the 8th round of the 2018 draft and quickly proved that to be a steal. He tossed six scoreless innings in the Arizona League after the draft in 2018 and mowed down the Midwest League last season to the tune of a 2.15 ERA and 11.3 K/9 across 100.1 innings.
The arsenal runs three pitches deep with the potential for two plus offerings. His sharp, low-80’s slider is already a plus pitch with strong two-plane break that serves as his main out pitch. Kelly’s low 90’s fastball could be the other, especially if he adds bulk and subsequent velocity. But outside of those two pitches, there are some concerns. Firstly, his split-change has been mostly inconsistent. Same can be said about his command. Kelly also has a high-effort delivery that can sometimes throw his mechanics out of wack.
All of that might lead to a bullpen role down the road, but Arizona will give him every chance to start for now. There’s mid-rotation upside if the split-change and command are developed more. Bit if not, his fastball/slider combo could make him a valuable middle relief arm.
16. Wilderd Patino, OF
Originally expected to sign with the Texas Rangers, Wildred Patino’s deal fell through due to an arm injury that allowed the Diamondbacks to sign him for $985K. It might’ve been the smart move at the time for Texas, but this is one they might end up regretting. Patino is a highly-athletic outfielder from Venezuela with a dynamic skill set, led by his easy plus speed. As you can see below, Patino can absolutely fly and he’s been quick to show that with 20 steals in his first 74 professional games. He’ll need to improve his efficiency on the bases, but if he does, this could be a 25-30 steal player down the road.
First day of the Arizona League and @Dbacks center fielder Wildred Patiño is showing off the tools. Signed with AZ in 2017 after an arm injury voided his $1.3M deal with Texas. 17 years old; fast and twitchy, gunned down a runner at second. Here he is ripping a triple. pic.twitter.com/m0Ofxo9zDe
— Jacob Zweiback (@TheReelJZ) June 18, 2019
While his speed is Patino’s most notable tool, he can also provide some decent value with the bat as well. He’s shown plus bat speed from the right side with a good feel for hitting for his age. I’d grade the contact skills as above-average with the potential to hit around .280 long-term to pair with that speed. How much power he hits for is the real question and one that will likely define how good of a prospect he can truly be. There’s around average raw power here, but his swing lacks loft presently.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done, the raw tools are good enough to garner some excitement in dynasty leagues. Definitely keep an eye on him moving forward.
17. Jon Duplantier, RHP
This might seem like an incredibly low ranking, but this speaks more to the depth and talent in this system more than anything else. But with that being said, I’m not digging all the risk here with Jon Duplantier. He’s dealt with a myriad of injuries dating back to his collegiate days at Rice and missed time with a shoulder issue in 2019. Just add it to the growing list of injuries Duplantier has dealt with over the last several years. All those injuries have limited him to just 153.2 combined innings in the minors and Majors over the last two seasons.
In addition, Duplantier’s command and control can both be inconsistent and get him into trouble. The arsenal itself is solid with a plus fastball/slider combination and serviceable changeup and curveball, but neither of the last two has developed into a third weapon for him. Honestly, I’m thinking the bullpen is his longterm home, where Duplantier spent most of his time with Arizona in 2019. That fastball/slider combination would play up in shorter stints, but I’m not sure he has closer upside. There’s just more risk than reward here if you ask me.
18. Corbin Martin, RHP
Speaking of risky. After 56.2 combined innings between Triple-A and Houston, Corbin Martin needed to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss most or all of the 2020 season because of it. The Diamondbacks still thought highly enough of him though to ask for him in the return package for Zack Greinke. It’s a shame too as Martin would likely be joining Zac Gallen in the Diamondbacks opening day rotation in 2020. And while Martin doesn’t quite have the upside of Gallen, he did flash mid-rotation upside before the injury.
Impressive MLB debut for Corbin Martin. He'll be around a looooooong time with a changeup like that. pic.twitter.com/kc0fgptuak
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) May 13, 2019
Martin works with a four-pitch mix out of a 3/4 arm slot with all four projecting or flashing above-average to plus. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90’s with run and his changeup had improved over the last season or two. With an arsenal like this, Martin has mid-rotation arm written all over him. But with some command issues and now this injury, it will be interesting to see what his role is after returning to the mound.
19. Alvin Guzman, OF
Alright, we’re done with all these pitchers for now. Switching back over to the offensive side of things, we have toolsy but raw outfield prospect, Alvin Guzman. The Dominican native signed for $1.85 million during the 2018 international period and got his career started in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. The results weren’t overly impressive, but Guzman is more or a project than an advanced bat.
His plus speed has been very apparent both on the bases and in the outfield where he’s shown solid range and a plus throwing arm. But at the plate, Guzman is still a work in progress, albeit, one with some tools to work with. He’s displayed quick hands and above-average bat speed from the right side and has flashed some raw power at times. The end product could be a 50-hit, 50-raw, 55-speed center fielder that can impact a game on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on him for dynasty leagues.
20. Blaze Alexander, SS
After a blazing start to his career in 2018, Blaze Alexander came back to earth in 2019. A .262/7/14 line in 97 games is nothing to scoff at however and Alexander has the tools to thrive offensively if some adjustments can be made. On the surface, Alexander has displayed average to above-average contact skills, speed, and raw power, but he’ll often sell out for his power. Alexander also will get quite pull-happy at times. If he can make improvements to his approach at the plate, I believe we’re looking at a .270 hitter than can push some 20/20 seasons. He’s one to stash in deeper dynasty leagues as he could vault up prospect rankings in 2020 with his skill set.
21. Jake McCarthy, OF
Not too long ago, Jake McCarthy was a top-10 prospect in this system that was ranked right behind Alek Thomas. That’s obviously not the case anymore, but McCarthy still possesses the upside to warrant a spot in this top-25. McCarthy is a plus runner that has shown good instincts on the bases with 39 steals and a 79.6% success rate in 111 minor league games and a 94.7% rate at the University of Virginia.
With a starter’s workload, this is a 25-steal threat and one that can provide value with the bat as well. From the left side, McCarthy has a simple and quiet setup without much pre-pitch movement. His swing is compact and direct through the zone with solid bat speed. However, McCarthy doesn’t generate much loft and is more of a line-drive hitter than one that is going to have a lot of over the fence power. Even with more loft, McCarthy is probably a 10-15 homer bat at most.
Adding some power would be very welcome, but even if he stays in the 5-10 homer range, McCarthy’s average to above-average contact skills and plus speed give him .275/25 upside longterm. Even when limited to 53 games last season due to a wrist injury, McCarthy still was able to rack up 18 steals and 18 extra-base hits with a .277 average. He’s a safer target for deeper dynasty leagues.
22. Andy Young, 2B
For the majority of his minor league career, Andy Young has flown under the radar. It was the case in St. Louis and hasn’t changed here in Arizona. Young doesn’t possess any standout tools, he’s not a great athlete overall, and his longterm defensive home is up in the air right now. But year in and year out, Young has produced and has shown the ability to draw walks and keep his strikeouts in check. He hit .278/17 in 2017, .289/21 in 2018, and .271/29 in 2019. And for his career, Young has a 7.5% walk rate and 20.6% strikeout rate.
There’s not 29-homer pop in his bat longterm, but Young has displayed around average contact skills and above-average raw power during his time as a pro and could settle in as a .260-.270/20 player that can play second base, third base, and shortstop. Ultimately, he’s probably going to fill a utility infielder role, filling in at all three of those spots. But if a full-time spot opens up in 2020, Young could provide some low-end fantasy value.
23. Taylor Widener, RHP
Ouch. After a strong 2018 campaign, Taylor Widener endured about as rough of a 2019 season as you can have with an 8.10 ERA and 1.74 WHIP over 24 starts. Some of that was PCL inflation and some was just bad luck, but not all of it. Widener simply did not pitch well. He’s still a decent pitching prospect before anyone takes offense to this ranking, but his upside is more of a back-end starter than the mid-rotation arm he appeared to be in 2018.
Widener will mix a low-90’s fastball, slider, and changeup, with the fastball and changeup serving as his two most effective offerings. The changeup flashes plus due to the movement and velocity separation, but Widener’s slider has proven to be pretty inconsistent at times, as has his overall command. Widener’s ability to miss bats gives him value, but I don’t see him rising above the level of a #4 starter long-term.
24. Tommy Henry, LHP
While he doesn’t quite have the upside of the arms ahead of him, Arizona’s 2019 2nd round pick has the makings of a high-floor back-rotation arm. Tommy Henry works with a three-pitch mix out of a 3/4 arm slot with all three pitches grading as average to above-average. Henry is able to hide the ball well in his delivery as well. His fastball sits in the low-90’s for the most part, but has dipped later in games into the upper-80’s. Even when that has happened, Henry’s above-average command has gotten him by as he’s been able to hit his spots with solid riding life keeping the ball off the barrel.
Both his low-80’s slider and changeup project as above-average longterm and Henry has shown good feel for them both. The upside here with Henry isn’t overly high, but with above-average command and control over this type of arsenal, Henry has a high floor and should be able to develop into a #4 or #5 starter down the road. That’s not going to be a long road either as Henry is a polished collegiate arm that should move quickly.
25. Dominic Fletcher, OF
The 75th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Dominic Fletcher was a hard player to rank for me. Honestly, I almost didn’t include him in this top-25 either. Fletcher doesn’t have any standout tools but has the potential to finish with average or above-average tools across the board.
For someone his size, Fletcher has sneaky-good raw power with a smooth left-handed swing that generates natural loft. Down the road, I think he can develop into a 20-homer bat with the contact skills to hit around .260-270 or so. That’s best-case scenario though and I’m still not 100% sure he’s a starting-caliber Major League outfield long-term. Keep an eye on him, but he’s not a big dynasty target right now.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, Matt Thompson, Kiley McDaniel, Jacob Zweiback, Pitcher List, Baseball America, Hillsboro Hops, Missoula Paddleheads.
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