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Snakelet Tools: A Mid-Season Ranking of the Farm System's Best Tools

Mid-season top-50 prospect lists are apparently the big thing these days, what with Baseball America and Keith Law coming out with their lists recently.  Sure, I could do a mid-season top-30 of the D-backs farm system or something like that, but I'll save that for after the season.  Instead, I've decided to rank the prospects in the D-backs system by the quality of their tools.  For pitchers, I'll rank pitchers by highest ceiling, highest floor, and best pitch categories.  For hitters, we'll look at the primary seven skills, as John Sickels identifies them: controlling the strike zone, hitting for power, hitting for average, offensive speed, fielding range, fielding reliability, and throwing utility.

Now, my knowledge of each of these tools is fairly limited, so I'm going by reports, second-hand accounts, etc., and some of the more obscure ones have fewer players rated.  Also of note: I'm only ranking legitimate prospects in the system, so there won't be any Westley Moss sightings among the best range category, for example.  I don't want anybody to think that these are definite rankings based on absolute, objective first-hand observations - they're mostly based off of scouting reports (with a few observed games mixed in for good measure).

Pitching Prospects:

Highest Ceilings - Starting Pitchers

  1   Archie Bradley
2 Jarrod Parker
3 Trevor Bauer
4 Tyler Skaggs
5 Anthony Meo
6 Andrew Chafin
7 Tyler Green
8 Enrique Burgos
9 J.R. Bradley
10     David Holmberg    


Highest Floor - Starting Pitchers

  1   Trevor Bauer
2 Tyler Skaggs
3 Patrick Corbin
4 Jarrod Parker
5 David Holmberg
6 Charles Brewer
7 Wade Miley
8 Andrew Chafin
9 Archie Bradley
10     Chase Anderson    


Best Relievers

  1   Ryan Cook
2 Kam Mickolio
3 Bryan Shaw
4     Michael Belfiore    
5 Yonata Ortega
6 Kevin Munson
7 Evan Marshall
8 Bryan Woodall
9 Matt Gorgen
10 Matt Price


Best Fastball - All Pitchers

  1   Archie Bradley
2 Jarrod Parker
3 Ryan Cook
4 Tyler Green
5 Kam Mickolio
6     Andrew Chafin    
7 Trevor Bauer
8 Anthony Meo


Best Curveball - All Pitchers

  1       Archie Bradley    
2 Trevor Bauer
3 Tyler Skaggs

Best Slider - All Pitchers

  1   Jarrod Parker
2     Andrew Chafin    


Best Change-up - All Pitchers

  1       Chase Anderson    
2 David Holmberg


Best Control/Command

  1   Trevor Bauer
2     Chase Anderson    
3 Charles Brewer
4 Patrick Corbin
5 Tyler Skaggs
6 David Holmberg


Best Feel for Pitching / Mound Presence

  1       Trevor Bauer    
2 Tyler Skaggs


Position Player Prospects:

Best Hitter for Average

  1   A.J. Pollock
2 Matt Davidson
3     Ryan Wheeler    
4 Chris Owings
5 Adam Eaton
6 Collin Cowgill
7 David Nick


Best Hitter for Power

  1       Paul Goldschmidt    
2 Bobby Borchering
3 Matt Davidson
4 Ty Linton
5 Marc Krauss
6 Yazy Arbelo
7 Wagner Mateo


Best Control of the Strike Zone

  1       Paul Goldschmidt    
2 Adam Eaton
3 Collin Cowgill
4 Ryan Wheeler
5 Yorman Garcia
6 A.J. Pollock
7 Raywilly Gomez


Best Fielding Range

  1   Raul Navarro
2 Chris Owings
3 Keon Broxton
4 A.J. Pollock
5 Justin Bianco
6 Adam Eaton
7     Collin Cowgill    


Best Fielding Reliability

  1   A.J. Pollock
2 Chris OWings
3 Collin Cowgill
4     Rossmel Perez    
5 Adam Eaton


Best Throwing Utility

  1   Collin Cowgill
2     Jeremia Gomez    
3 Rossmel Perez
4 A.J. Pollock
5 Justin Bianco


Best Offensive Speed

  1       Collin Cowgill    
2 A.J. Pollock
3 Adam Eaton


Feel free to discuss all you want.  We clearly have a deep system of pitching, though after almost completely neglecting position players in the 2011 draft, we're thin on bats in the lower parts of the system (Short-Season & Low-A).  We have a bit of depth in the lowest reaches of the farm offensively due to a few key efforts in the DSL, though those guys are much farther away and more raw than your typical low-level prospect, and it doesn't help that the highest-profile signing among them all, Wagner Mateo, is comfortably below the Eucker Line this year.  Still, definitely one of the stronger systems in baseball.  Here's hoping we keep it that way.