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Dbacks Top 60 Prospects: Off-season Edition

The latest Top 60 Prospects debuts a new #1 prospect for the first time in the last couple of years in Aaron Blair.

Aaron Blair did enough in 2014 to earn the #1 spot on my prospects list.
Aaron Blair did enough in 2014 to earn the #1 spot on my prospects list.

The recent departures of Andrew Velazquez and Justin Williams in the trade for Hellickson did some serious damage to the upper half of our prospect list. The most glaring change since the late summer edition is my move of pitcher Aaron Blair to the top spot, would should engender some debate.

Blair earned my top spot due to his fast rise through several levels and consistently good performance at every step along the way. Of our big three pitching prospects that also includes Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley I just feel he is the most ready to contribute at the big league level and shows all the signs of being perhaps a #2 starter or at worst a good #3.

Shipley probably has better pure stuff than Blair and maybe a higher upside but he still needs to take another step forward to surpass what Blair has done. Bradley on the other hand has me officially worried about his future prospects. He missed a fair amount of time with an elbow injury in the first half of the year and his second half, while decent, wasn't exactly awe-inspiring, and he got hit pretty hard in the Arizona Fall League.

The #4 spot goes to Jake Lamb who looks ready to make a run at nailing down the full-time third base job. It remains to be seen if he can actually do that but his elite performance in the minors suggests he has a decent chance to do that. Touki Toussaint comes in at number 5, and while he started his professional career with a fair amount of wildness and struggled in Missoula, some strong off-season coaching and development should allow him to start harnessing his immense talent.

Brandon Drury gets the #6 spot and will keep the pressure on Lamb to perform or lose his future spot to the still relatively young Drury. Drury did get some work in at second base toward the end of the year and in the Fall League so the possibility exists that both he and Lamb could be future infield stalwarts.

Cody Reed showed impressive skills in his pro debut for such a young pitcher and could find himself moving even higher up the list in short order. I am extremely high on his ability and what he can become. Relievers Jake Barrett and Jimmie Sherfy show up at numbers 8 and 9 respectively. Both could find themselves in the major league bullpen as early as this season with Barrett being closer than Sherfy.

Peter O'Brien commands the 10th spot and while he certainly has the offensive potential to play in the big leagues finding him a position in the National League may prove to be a major challenge.

I'm uncertain how much true future major league talent resides on this list after the Top 10 though there are some very intriguing names who could make big leaps this year given their natural talent. Names like Marcus Wilson, Matt Railey, Jose Herrera and Sergio Alcantara represent the teenagers who will be watched closely for significant development in 2015. The second professional season is often when young players flash or fade to reveal their true future potential.

Injuries have derailed (or at best delayed) the development of a number of our prospects including Joe Munoz, Matt Railey, Andrew Barbosa, Colin Bray and Jose Martinez. If they can put in full healthy seasons they could find their names back into the Top 15 or so.

Rank Prospect Pos 2014 Level Age Comments
1 Aaron Blair RHP Mobile 22 Close to being ready
2 Braden Shipley RHP Visalia 23 Needs another step forward
3 Archie Bradley RHP Mobile 22 Time to step up
4 Jake Lamb 3B Mobile 24 Ready for full time gig?
5 Touki Toussaint RHP AZL 18 Big arm, learning how to "pitch"
6 Brandon Drury 3B Visalia 21 Put up another solid season
7 Cody Reed LHP AZL 18 Flashed early potential
8 Jake Barrett RHP Reno 23 Ready for big league debut
9 Jimmie Sherfy RHP Mobile 22 Overcame bump in the road
10 Peter O'Brien C Mobile 24 Needs a position
11 Joe Munoz 3B South Bend 20 Injuries stalled development
12 Marcus Wilson OF AZL 17 Had some first year struggles
13 Matt Railey OF Missoula 19 Only 13 games but flashed talent
14 Alex Glenn OF Visalia 23 Power plus speed but a little erratic
15 Andrew Chafin LHP Reno 24 Does he have one more step in him?
16 Socrates Brito OF Visalia 22 Parra clone with real speed
17 Matt Stites RHP Majors 24 Showed ability to get ML hitters out
18 Jose Herrera C AZL 17 Still very young. Had some moments
19 Sergio Alcantara SS Missoula 18 Bat still trailing glove
20 Nick Ahmed SS Majors 24 The bat is still a problem
21 Evan Marzilli OF Mobile 23 Bat needs another jump to make it
22 Jamie Westbrook SS/2B Missoula 19 Still developing
23 Mitch Haniger OF Mobile 23 Intriguing if he keeps improving
24 Jose Martinez RHP Hillsboro 20 Elbow injury has derailed
25 Anthony Banda LHP South Bend 21 Primed for next step
26 Grant Heyman OF Hillsboro 20 Looks like a professional hitter
27 Kevin Cron 1B Missoula 21 Hit tool looking good so far
28 Brent Jones RHP Hillsboro 21 Decent start to career for 4th rounder
29 Daniel Palka 1B South Bend 22 Good power, so-so contact
30 Matt McPhearson OF AZL 19 AZL repeat produced better results
31 Chuck Taylor OF South Bend 21 Decent season in South Bend
32 Trevor Mitsui 1B South Bend 22 Came out hitting in first year
33 Zach Borenstein OF Mobile 24 Might be a hair shy for a ML LF
34 Sean Jamieson SS Mobile 25 Just keeps producing but age a factor
35 Brad Keller RHP Missoula 19 Had rough go in Missoula
36 Silvino Bracho RHP South Bend 22 Monster K/BB numbers
37 Cody Wheeler LHP Mobile 25 Breakout year in the bullpen
38 Stryker Trahan C South Bend 20 Took a step backwards in 2014
39 Henry Castillo 2B/3B Missoula 19 Got to Missoula after tearing up AZL
40 A.J. Schugel RHP Mobile 25 Consistency a major issue
41 Kevin Munson RHP Reno 25 His turn is coming if consistent
42 Michael Perez C South Bend 22 Just a fair season. Stalling.
43 Jared Miller LHP Hillsboro 21 Big lefty started out okay
44 Daniel Gibson LHP Visalia 22 Up and down
45 Ismael Pena OF AZL 18 Bonus baby off to a slow start
46 Zac Curtis LHP Hillsboro 22 Dominating start in bullpen
47 Garrett Webber INF Reno 25 Solid upper minors guy
48 Blayne Weller RHP Visalia 24 Misses a lot of bats
49 Dane McFarland OF Missoula 20 Athletic OF lacks enough contact
50 Ben Eckels RHP Hillsboro 20 Settled down after failing in SB
51 Rudy Flores 1B Visalia 23 Big power, big Ks
52 Felipe Perez RHP Missoula 20 Still not missing enough bats
53 Isan Diaz SS/2B AZL 18 Contact was a real problem
54 Andrew Barbosa LHP Visalia 26 Injury problems just won't end
55 Rodrigo Takahashi RHP AZL 17 Youngster had his moments
56 Blake Perry RHP South Bend 22 Solid year but time to move up
57 Tyler Humphreys 3B Missoula 21 Not the best debut season
58 Colin Bray OF South Bend 21 Missed all year with injury
59 Brandon Jacobs OF Visalia 24 K rate was pretty ugly
60 Yefrey Ramirez RHP AZL 20 Has some upside