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2017 MLB Draft: How does the Diamondbacks system currently look?

The system has a lot of mid-tier prospects in it, but lacks high-end impact talent.

The Diamondbacks head into the 2017 draft in need of adding impact talent to a farm system that doesnt have a lot of it. The farm system has some bright spots, but very few and far between. The team will pick 7th overall in June and have 4 picks in the Top 100 (1st, 2nd, Competitive Balance B, 3rd), so there will be opportunities to add talent to the system. The biggest issue for the team is it lacks the talent to be able to step in once the current core ages and/or leaves in free agency.

I’ve already gone through a list of names to take an early look at for the 2017 MLB Draft and made it clear which players I liked. The team should opt to take it safe at 7 and go for the player with the minimum amount of risk, and chase more upside after the first round. That doesn’t mean the Dbacks won’t take a very talented player there, it’s just they need to hit on the 7th pick of the draft. Trading a bit of upside for significantly less risk the player will bust in the upper minors or MLB level is fine because the draft itself is a crapshoot.

When it comes to grading out prospects, this is how I go by (link to spreadsheet):

Prospect Grade Key

Grade Upside Risk (likelihood projection matching upside) Projection Projected WAR
Grade Upside Risk (likelihood projection matching upside) Projection Projected WAR
A+ Perennial Award Winner >99.9% Perennial Award Winner > 30.0
A Perennial All-Star 95% Perennial All-Star 22.0 - 26.0
A- Multiple All-Stars 90% Multiple All-Stars 18.0 - 22.0
B+ Above Average Starter 85% Above Average Starter 14.0 - 18.0
B Average Starter 80% Average Starter 10.0 - 14.0
B- Below Average Starter 70% Below Average Starter 6.0 - 10.0
C+ Bench 60% Bench 2.0 - 6.0
C Minor League Filler <50% Minor League Filler < 2.0
Michael McDermott | AZ Snake Pit

The Diamondbacks lack a prospect that grades above the B range overall, and the few players that have better upside than a B are farther down the system. The farm has a decent collection of C+ and B- level prospects. Anthony Banda and Taylor Clarke are the only two prospects. In total, my midseason Top 30 has 2 B, 9 B-, and 15 C+ prospects. That will change depending on who is drafted, who is signed, improvements by prospects in the lower stages of the minors, and if any prospects in the system today graduate. I expect possibly up to 6 new players on the 2017 end of season list compared to the current list if the team attacks the draft and international free agency signings as aggressively as they play baseball at Chase Field.

I wrote in the offseason that the Diamondbacks will have a huge opportunity to add talent to a farm system that lacks high-end talent. The team’s top 5 picks in the draft are at 7, 44, 68, 82, and 112. That’s five chances to draft possibly five Top-100 draft talents. In addition, the Diamondbacks are also favorites to sign OF Kristian Robinson. Robinson is the #15 prospect in the international signing class for 2017 and the Diamondbacks won’t have big spending restrictions even with a new system. I won’t add him to the database until he’s a done deal in July. For those curious, here is where you can find a scouting report on Robinson.

The Diamondbacks currently find themselves in a good position, starting 24-18 at about the quarter-season mark. After watching this team for that portion, it is at worst a .500 ball club and a ceiling of 94 wins although multiple injuries can change that. Aside from a couple minor additions at the deadline, the team is pretty much going to ride with the group they have already in place. The team doesn’t have very many pieces available post-2018 that they build around, but that’s two seasons away.