Lately, I've been re-thinking the whole process of how I'm unveiling this list, particularly with some of the comments detailing how it's hard to have a ton of discussion while revealing a list backwards. My first thought was to accelerate how quickly the rest of the list was revealed, but was concerned about it being overload. So, I e-mailed Jim to try to find a way to make everybody happy, and he came up with the idea to post a sort of shell for the rest of the posts to build upon, by making an abbreviated list that doesn't contain my typical ridiculous amount of detail.
I liked the idea, so today I'm posting my top-30 prospects list for the D-backs system with a couple sentences worth of information on each player. This way, as I post the rest of the detailed posts (like today's #26-30 post), people will have a reference for what players I have valued above those detailed. Wes gave me his top-30 list as well, which will be counted down next to my list.
1) RHP Jarrod Parker - The only guy in the system who appears to have legitimate ace potential. Mid-90's heat, plus slider, good change, good command, TJ done and over with. What's not to like? A lot of the D-backs' future is built on the right arm of Jarrod Parker - expect to see him in 2011.
Zephon's #1: Jarrod Parker
2) LHP Tyler Skaggs - Certainly far from the majors, but was a legitimate first-round talent (i.e. not sandwich round) who fell because of bonus demands. Since then, he has only improved his stock, and could begin to blow through the system in 2011, starting, but hopefully not finishing, the year at Visalia.
Zephon's #2: Matt Davidson
3) 3B Matt Davidson - What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, Davidson was the less-polished, less-likely-to-stay-at-third portion of the Davidson/Borchering corner infield conglomerate, but Davidson has taken both of those distinctions from Borchering with his stellar season.
Zephon's #3: Tyler Skaggs
4) SS Chris Owings - Didn't get to play a full season, but was dazzling when he did. He has a solid chance of staying at short, and could still be an impact-level bat if he had to move to second. It would be nice to see a few more walks, but there's a lot of nice pop in Owings' bat.
Zephon's #4: Chris Owings
5) 3B Bobby Borchering - Blazing end to the year hopes to carry into 2011 at Visalia, an environment in which Borchering's power could go absolutely absurd. It'll be interesting to see where Borchering and Matt Davidson play next year - they split 3B and DH last year, but I don't believe the Cal uses the DH.
Zephon's #5: Bobby Borchering
6) LHP Wade Miley - Completely rebuilt his prospect status this year by racking up tons of ground balls, and enough K's to make up for his walks. Saw his velocity spike into the mid-90's at the end of the year - if that sticks, he could be a force a la Jaime Garcia.
Zephon's #6: Patrick Corbin
7) LHP Patrick Corbin - Many don't believe that the lefty has a serious knockout pitch, but the D-backs think his change-up is plus. Mixes pitches, stays low in the zone, and is left-handed - three ways to stay in the big leagues for a long time.
Zephon's #7: Scottie Allen
8) RHP Scottie Allen - A personal favorite: fastball crept its way into the 90's this year, and his change-up is making serious strides, despite it being the first year he's thrown one. Has the repertoire to start, and even with his funky arm angle, the change-up will help him get left-handed batters out.
Zephon's #8: Wade Miley
9) RHP Chase Anderson - Two words: plus change-up. Anderson used it this year to rack up absurd K-rates that were the best amongst starters in the system. Was put to the 'pen later in the year to keep his innings down, but I see no reason he won't be a starter in 2011.
Zephon's #9: Paul Goldschmidt
10) RHP Charles Brewer - Was absolutely dominant at two levels in 2010, and likely pitched his way to Double-A to begin just his second full-season of pro baseball. The stuff doesn't scream dominant, but it certainly can play into the back-end of the rotation.
Zephon's #10: Charles Brewer
11) CF A.J. Pollock - Missed all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, but came back sizzling in the AFL. His stock has obviously dropped some, but he's still a quick-rising type who the D-backs think can be a regular center fielder. Was named to the AFL Rising Stars Team.
Zephon's #11: Chase Anderson
12) 1B Paul Goldschmidt - One word: power. Loads of it. Gobs of it. Heaping enormous amounts of power. Goldschmidt may not possess m(any) other tools, but his absurd raw power could single-handedly carry him through the minors and into a role as either a regular first baseman, or at least a power-laden bench bat.
Zephon's #12: Collin Cowgill
13) LHP David Holmberg - Lefty with polish of two off-speed offerings. Despite being a high school arm, Holmberg could be a quick-riser through the D-backs' system, beginning with his first full-season assignment to begin 2011, at South Bend. Comparisons to Brett Anderson performance-wise may be unfair, but the bad-bodied lefty comparison makes sense.
Zephon's #13: Mike Belfiore
14) LHP Michael Belfiore - It's nice seeing this team with so many left-handed starting pitching prospects. Belfiore worked as a closer in college, but his four-pitch mix profiles nicely as a starter. He missed some time due a forearm strain this year, which can be an indicator of future elbow problems.
Zephon's #14: Eric Smith
15) OF Wagner Mateo - The sky is the limit for Mateo. Unfortunately, someone as young as this is really difficult to project, because his career could go so many ways. His first exposure to pro ball, however, went extremely well, as he was one of the best bats in the DSL despite his youth. He'll see the states in 2011.
Zephon's #15: David Holmberg
16) OF Ty Linton - Enormous bat speed and raw power are Linton's calling cards, and his athleticism should make a very good defender in a corner outfield position if he doesn't stick in center field (which is not expected). Could be given an aggressive assignment to South Bend to begin 2011, a la Davidson, Owings, and Borchering.
Zephon's #16: Wagner Mateo
17) OF Marc Krauss - Krauss has some solid raw power and a nice bat, but he gets on top of the ball too often and possesses no other tools. Could see the major leagues within a year and a half or so, but I don't see an everyday player here, and I'm also not sold on him passing the Double-A test.
Zephon's #17: A.J. Pollock
18) RHP Kevin Munson - For a team in desperate need of relief arms, Munson is the best pure reliever in the system, despite having just been taken in the 2010 draft. Fastball from 92-94 and wipe-out plus slider profile Munson as a set-up man or a lower-tier closer (i.e. a D-backs closer).
Zephon's #18: Keon Broxton
19) OF Collin Cowgill - Passed the Double-A test with aplomb, but Cowgill's size makes him a guy who is going to have to prove himself year after year as he approaches the big leagues. Will start 2011 in Reno, and could go absolutely ballistic there. If he does, expect him to see time in the outfield for the big-league club this year.
Zephon's #19: Ty Linton
20) RHP Josh Collmenter - Collmenter had a fantastic year in the system, and his funky mechanics will always provide intrigue. He isn't great at producing ground balls, and he works primarily with two pitches - his fastball and change-up. Unless he can tighten his curveball, Collmenter is likely a 'pen arm.
Zephon's #20: Patrick Schuster
21) RHP Eric Smith - Ground ball machine couldn't miss many bats in Low-A or Hi-A ball, so it's hard to believe that he'll miss enough in the big leagues to crack it as a starter. Could be a Qualls-ian (the good version) 'pen arm, though, who can come in in a jam and get a DP.
Zephon's #21: Marc Krauss
22) RHP J.R. Bradley - The D-backs added a bunch of projectable high school arms over the last two years, and Bradley is one of the better ones. Could be given a full-season assignment next year, though there are a lot of guys for just five rotation slots at South Bend. Extended Spring Training followed by Yakima is a possibility.
Zephon's #22: Josh Collmenter
23) RHP Robby Rowland - Another projectable right-hander out of high school. Going into the draft, many felt that Rowland was actually better than Bradley, but the D-backs took Bradley one round before Rowland. His immediate future career path will likely mirror Bradley's, but their long-term career paths will be interesting to follow.
Zephon's #23: Rossmel Perez
24) SS Raul Navarro - Legitimate shortstop prospect who can play the position very well, if Navarro can hit at all as he goes through the minors, he'll be given a chance. It doesn't take much offensively to be a league-average everyday shortstop if you can field.
Zephon's #24: Wes Roemer
25) C Rossmel Perez - Perez has a solid arm behind the plate with nice receiving skills, though his plate-blocking could use a bit of work. Offensively, Perez is an empty contact hitter at this point with some marginal on-base skills, but he's young enough to add bulk and pop.
Zephon's #25: David Nick
26) RHP Bryan Shaw - Short right-hander features a nice fastball/slider combo that wasn't going to last long in the rotation, though it does give him the possibility to be a set-up guy. The team moved him to the 'pen when Wade Miley was promoted to Mobile, and that's the role in which Shaw likely will remain.
Zephon's #26: Kevin Eichhorn
27) RHP Bryan Woodall - Woodall had a fantastic year statistically, though his pure stuff is still a question. His fastball barely reaches the 90 MPH range, though it does have nice sink. His best pitch is his curveball, and it can definitely miss bats in A-ball and Double-A - we'll see if it can in the upper levels.
Zephon's #27: Kevin Munson
28) 3B/1B Ryan Wheeler - A star that has dimmed dramatically over the course of the last year, but don't think that Wheeler has completely fallen off of the map. Wade Miley has shown us how quickly someone can come back from the prospect graveyard. He's 22 years old and already in Double-A, so he's got time.
Zephon's #28: Robby Rowland
29) LHP Patrick Schuster - The thrower of high school no-hitters is another projectable arm, and a projectable lefty arm at that. However, control and delivery issues need to be ironed out before Schuster can utilize his high ground ball rates at the upper levels.
Zephon's #29: J.R. Bradley
30) RHP Kevin Eichhorn - Bloodlines and projectability have always been there, and it's nice to see him finally healthy after getting the obligatory Tommy John surgery out of the way. Missed plenty of bats in Rookie-ball, but given his age, he was supposed to miss that many bats. 2011 is a big test for Eichhorn.
Zephon's #30: James Green
For those familiar with John Sickels' prospect grading system, here are the grades I would tentatively assign to these prospects:
Skaggs & Davidson: B
Owings through Allen: B- (with Allen a fringe B-/C+ - I doubt others will have him around a B-, but I love the kid)
Anderson through Smith: C+
Bradley etc.: C
While this system is a bit light at the very top, it is becoming surprisingly deep due to the influx from the '09 draft and some impressive rebuilding work from Jerry Dipoto at this year's trade deadline.
Fell free to fire away on what you think I messed up in ranking some of these players, as well as discussing players in the previous posts (#31-50) that you feel belong in these rankings.