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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks prospects: The ultimate list

Who’s the consensus #1? Probably not much of a surprise...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect evaluation is an art as much as a science, taking into account not just performance, but whether it’s sustainable, the player’s age related to their level, previous experience, expectations and projected development, etc. That’s why you’ll almost never find any two lists that are identical, and it makes sense to look at as broad a range as possible. Because even the greatest talent evaluators of all time will sometimes get it wrong, e.g. projecting a future All-Star and repeat MVP candidate as a “Below average regular. Probably platoon/bench bat.” #NeverForget

So, to help with this, what I’ve done here is to collate nine Arizona Diamondbacks prospects lists. These are from two places: popular and/or well-respected neutral sources (Fangraphs, MLB, ESPN, Baseball America, Minor League Ball, Baseball Prospectus), and team-specific writers (Inside the ‘Zona, Venom Strikes and the list of our own Michael McD). A couple of issues here. These were written at different times this winter, so some include the since-traded Mitch Haniger. I’ve replaced him with a N/A place-holder, to keep the lists even.

There’s also no rigid agreement on who qualifies as a prospect. Just about everyone bar Baseball Prospectus included Socrates Brito on their list, even though he exceeded the rookie limits last year. Conversely, Michael was the only one to include Braden Shipley, who also lost his rookie status. I understand both of these decisions, but the variable standard does make it harder to compare across authorities. With that said and in mind, here are the nine lists in question.

Top 10 D-backs prospects: List of lists

Rk Baseball America Minor League Ball Venom Strikes
Rk Baseball America Minor League Ball Venom Strikes
1 Anthony Banda Anthony Banda Jazz Chisholm
2 Dawel Lugo Domingo Leyba Socrates Brito
3 Domingo Leyba Taylor Clarke Anthony Banda
4 Socrates Brito Dawel Lugo Anfernee Grier
5 Jazz Chisholm Jazz Chisholm N/A
6 Anfernee Grier Anfernee Grier Domingo Leyba
7 Taylor Clarke Jon Duplantier Taylor Clarke
8 Brad Keller Socrates Brito Wei-Chieh Huang
9 Jon Duplantier Alex Young Victor Reyes
10 Curtis Taylor Jimmie Sherfy Jon Duplantier
Rk ESPN Inside The 'Zona Fangraphs
1 Anthony Banda Anthony Banda Anthony Banda
2 Jazz Chisholm Socrates Brito Socrates Brito
3 Socrates Brito Taylor Clarke N/A
4 Domingo Leyba N/A Jazz Chisholm
5 Anfernee Grier Anfernee Grier Domingo Leyba
6 Taylor Clarke Domingo Leyba Anfernee Grier
7 Brad Keller Jazz Chisholm Taylor Clarke
8 Cody Reed Alex Young Alex Young
9 Jon Duplantier Dawel Lugo Wei-Chieh Huang
10 Curtis Taylor Jose Almonte Dawel Lugo
Rk AZ SnakePit B. Prospectus
1 Anthony Banda Anthony Banda Anthony Banda
2 Domingo Leyba Braden Shipley Domingo Leyba
3 Jazz Chisholm Socrates Brito Dawel Lugo
4 Dawel Lugo Taylor Clarke Anfernee Grier
5 Taylor Clarke Domingo Leyba Jazz Chisholm
6 Socrates Brito Alex Young Brad Keller
7 Brad Keller Dawel Lugo Taylor Clarke
8 Jon Duplantier Jimmie Sherfy Alex Young
9 Anfernee Grier Jared Miller Victor Reyes
10 Jared Miller Anfernee Grier Jon Duplantier

I then went through the lists and gave each player mentioned points, for 10 for a first-place listing, to 1 if they were in the tenth spot. Add those up, and it gives us an overall view of who are the most highly-regarded prospects in the Diamondbacks farm system this off-season. And the top 10 are... [the envelope please... No, the other one, Mr. Price Waterhouse accountant. La La Land is not our top-ranked prospect...]

  1. Anthony Banda - 88 points
  2. Domingo Leyba - 64
  3. Socrates Brito - 58
  4. Jazz Chisholm - 56
  5. Taylor Clarke - 50
  6. Anfernee Grier - 44
  7. Dawel Lugo - 38
  8. Alex Young - 16
  9. Brad Keller - 16
  10. Jon Duplantier - 12

Also receiving mentions were: Braden Shipley 9 points, Wei-Chieh Huang 5, Jimmie Sherfy 4, Victor Reyes 4, Cody Reed 3, Jared Miller 3, Curtis Taylor 2, Jose Almonte 1.

Unsurprisingly, Banda is the consensus top pick, named first on eight of the nine lists. The runners-up spot was a lot closer, with eight points separating second through fourth place; if Prospectus had not excluded Brito, and ranked him in the top four, that would have given him enough points to pass Leyba in the standings. I am a little surprised, but pleased (hey, he represented Team Britain in the WBC qualifying, so is likely as close as we’ve got to a countryman of mine playing for Arizona!) to see Chisholm ranked so high overall. Conversely, I’m a little surprised that Miller didn’t crack the top 10 overall, but I think his stock was likely boosted by his Arizona Fall League performances, which came after a couple of these lists were published.

What does it all mean? Well, that I’ll leave up to you to discuss and comment on...