Another week, another prospects post, though no pictures were to be found of players on the list this week. So I used a picture of an inferior prospect who the D-backs used to have that is comparable to one of the prospects on this list. For anybody interested in a Ciriaco update, he only played in 8 games for Pittsburgh, but had three hits, a single, a double, and a triple, in six plate appearances with three K's. He was also worth a tenth of a run with his glove, and a total of 0.2 WAR in eight games. He also made the play that that awesome picture was taken for. SSSFTW.
This week we four of the younger, lower-level but high-upside players in the system, including the two top signed draft picks from the 2010 crop. Lots of projectability and guys to dream on in this group, though the list starts with the highest-rated prospect in the system who spent any amount of time at Triple-A this year. Yes, our system is that bottom-heavy, so if we're going to win now, as our GM says, without sacrificing our distant future, he's going to have to get pretty fancy with those big-league trades.
Another week, another case where I got this to Wes yesterday. Thankfully, it's kind of worked out well that he's provided his thoughts in the comments, as perhaps a little kick-start to whatever discussion people are interested in having. This certainly isn't a wow-inducing list of prospects, but there are a lot of solid names on this list. Suffice it to say that we didn't have this much depth on the farm a year ago. These would be top-20 prospects in the '09 class.
21 - RHP Joshua Collmenter - 2/7/1986 - 24 years old - Highest Level: Triple-A - IHSB's '09 rank: #28
Acquired by the D-backs in the 15th round of the 2007 Rule 4 Draft.
2010 Stats - Hi-A: 3 games (3 GS), 15 IP, 2.40 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 21:3 K:BB, 2 HR, 31.6% GB-Rate / AA: 12 games (12 GS), 79 1/3 IP, 1.82 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 73:22 K:BB, 3 HR, 43.0% GB-Rate / AAA: 10 games (10 GS), 57 2/3 IP, 5.77 ERA, 5.00 FIP, 39:26 K:BB, 8 HR, 39.8% GB-Rate.
Video link (front view - unfortunately, it's a bit elevated, so you don't get a perfect glimpse of the deception that hitters see)
Video link (side view)
(These links are exceptional to get an idea of just how funky Collmenter's windup and delivery are)
What does it say about this farm system that the highest-rated prospect on the list who has spent any amount of time at Triple-A is slotted #21? Collmenter made a name for himself this year first by making the jump straight to Triple-A from Hi-A and then becoming a Southern League All-Star after being reassigned to Double-A Mobile. While Collmenter's fastball is just an upper-80's offering, he racks up strikeouts with the help of his devastating change-up and using unorthodox delivery and windup mechanics to provide deception.
However, these mechanics may perhaps be a double-edged sword. First, there is concern that such a unique delivery might be hazardous to his arm over the long run if he maintains the workload of a starter. Also, it is quite possible that Collmenter, who looks more like a power pitcher than a soft-tosser, is robbing himself of some serious velocity with his mechanics.
For these reasons, Collmenter could be moved to the ‘pen, where his arm could be preserved and he could amp up the velocity on his fastball, making his change-up even more deadly. If the D-backs are still desperate for relief pitchers by the time Spring Training ends, Collmenter could break camp with the big-league squad in that role.
Collmenter is spending this fall in the Arizona Fall League, and a look into his Pitch f/x data may suggest that a relief role is, in fact, in his future. In his first AFL start, he worked exclusively with his fastball and change-up rather than focusing on developing his curveball, his dramatically weaker secondary offering.
If he were destined to be a starter, that second off-speed pitch would be a necessary weapon for Collmenter's arsenal, but he can work with exclusively off of his fastball/change-up arsenal out of the ‘pen. Nonetheless, Collmenter was also quite effective in the AFL, generating a surprising number of ground-balls and hi-lighting his stay there so far with a recent five-inning, eight-strikeout, no-run performance.
22 - RHP J.R. Bradley - 6/9/1992 - 18 years old - Highest Level: Rookie - IHSB's '09 rank: N/A
Acquired by the D-backs in the 2nd round of the 2010 Rule 4 Draft.
Bradley begins the chain of projectable late-teenage arms that the D-backs' system was devoid of prior to the 2010 draft, with Scottie Allen and Pat Schuster as the only pair of notable pre-‘10 draft exceptions. Bradley's overall numbers don't look great, but he has some passable metrics, and, after all, it is his age-17/18 season, and it was easily the longest baseball season of his career.
However, it should be noted that many around baseball felt that Bradley was an overdraft in the second round. Others also believed that Robby Rowland, taken one round later, was, and still is, a better prospect than Bradley. Honestly, I don't feel like there's much of a difference between the two prospects at this point, and since they're both pure projection, there's really no way to incorrectly rank them with respect to one another as long as they're relatively close-together.
The 2010 second round pick has a fastball that sits in the lower-90's, and the team believes he could add a few miles per hour to that pitch as his body and shoulders fill out with age. If he can also refine his off-speed pitches, he could reach his ceiling as a #3 starter.
23 - RHP Robby Rowland - 12/15/1991 - 18 years old - Highest Level: Rookie - IHSB's '09 rank: N/A
Acquired by the D-backs in the 3rd round of the 2010 Rule 4 Draft.
2010 Stats - Rookie: 14 games (14 GS), 54 IP, 5.67 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 40:21 K:BB, 7 HR, 44.3% GB-Rate.
Rowland falls in the exact same boat that Bradley does as a highly projectable high school right-hander, selected just one round after Bradley in the 2010 draft. Rowland has the same ceiling as a mid-rotation starter if he adds velocity as he fills out while simultaneously refining his off-speed offerings. He's certainly got a lot of refining and work to do, but he could have four average or better pitches, and I heard a Josh Johnson comparison thrown out on dbbp.
Like Bradley, he has had unimpressive results so far in professional ball, but we didn't draft Rowland for the lower-90's heat he's showing at Missoula. Instead, we drafted Rowland for the projectable mid-90's heat we hope he shows in his mid-20's in the major leagues.
24 - SS Raul Navarro - 2/5/1992 - 18 years old - Highest Level: Rookie - IHSB's '09 rank: NR
Acquired by the D-backs as an International Free Agent; Debuted for the DSL D-backs in 2009.
2010 Stats - Rookie: 63 games, .305/.357/.416, 11 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 41:18 K:BB, .345 wOBA, .346 BABIP*.
It's hard to adequately quantify a player's defensive skills by applying just a single defensive metric, since they can be so sporadic and subject to extreme fluctuation. Further, with the small sample sizes provided by short-season minor-league affiliates make the metrics subject to intense fluctuation. It becomes even harder when that player is at Rookie-ball and you have never had a chance to watch him (next year... MiLB.tv is going to be my best friend).
With that said, minorleaguesplits has (or had...) a defensive metrics section, using TotalZone, and it very much approves of the defense Navarro has played at shortstop. For the 2009 season, Navarro came in at eight runs above league average at shortstop, 19 runs above league average per 150 games. For a position where it's so hard to find adequate defenders, the promise of a plus defender is enough to make Navarro one of the more enticing prospects in the lower levels of the system.
Add in some decent contact skills on display in 2010 for the Osprey, with just a little bit of pop, and you've got a nice, though young and far away from the majors, prospect at a premium position. Before you get too excited, though, remember that Pedro Ciriaco was essentially the same sort of prospect back in 2005 - though, to be fair, Ciriaco's bat, which is what has kept him from an everyday gig in the majors, was less advanced than Navarro's currently is.
25 - C Rossmel Perez - 8/26/1989 - 21 years old - Highest Level: Hi-A - IHSB's '09 rank: #29
Acquired by the D-backs as an International Free Agent; Debuted for the DSL D-backs in 2006.
2010 Stats - Hi-A: 98 games, .259/.324/.338, 12 2B, 5 HR, 47:33 K:BB, .302 wOBA, .284 BABIP, 36.2% CS-Rate.
Amongst the incredible influx of young talent into the system over the last two years, the D-backs have added very little to their catching depth. The Snakes used their last two tenth-round picks on funky-named backstops Tyson Van Winkle and Kawika Emsley-Pai, but those were the highest selections in either draft at the position. I suspect that having Miguel Montero, John Hester, and Konrad Schmidt all under cheap control has eased the team's need to target catching, but there is also something to be said about the presence of Perez.
Just turned 21 years old, Perez is considered by some to be a plus thrower/receiver behind the plate, and he has already reached Hi-A, despite the typically slow development of catchers (Hester and Schmidt, who are just getting their feet wet in the majors, are 27 and 26 years old, respectively). To be fair, though, there are some concerns about his bulkiness and mobility behind the plate. His arm is more of a sure thing, as Perez (by my count) threw out 47 of 130 would-be base-stealers as the Rawhide's primary catcher in 2010, while putting up a moderately respectable OBP. Power is non-existent in Perez, but there is plate discipline to work with and time for his body to add muscle, making him more tolerable offensively.
That's all for this week. A couple of names that might not be super-familiar, but I have a suspicious that most people know about Collmenter by now due to his regular season success, AFL stint, and unique delivery. We crack the top-20 next week.