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).
Highest Ceilings - Starting Pitchers
Highest Floor - Starting Pitchers
Best Fastball - All Pitchers
Best Curveball - All Pitchers
Best Slider - All Pitchers
Best Change-up - All Pitchers
Best Feel for Pitching / Mound Presence
Position Player Prospects:
Best Hitter for Average
Best Hitter for Power
Best Control of the Strike Zone
Best Fielding Range
Best Fielding Reliability
Best Throwing Utility
Best Offensive Speed
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.