The 3rd installment of the prospect list will be 16-20. At this point, it’s going to the guys who are near certain to contribute to the MLB club or guys with more upside and less question marks.
#16: LHP Cody Reed. Reed’s pure stuff has taken a step backwards since the Diamondbacks drafted him, but he was able to hold his own in both A and A-Advanced in 2017 after suffering a dead arm period. Reed was in better physical shape which allowed him to better endure the rigors of a full minor league season. Fastball sits upper 80s with a solid slider and change-up, but nothing that truly jumps off the page. He should be truly tested with a jump to AA this season and his success there could determine his long term future with the club. Upside is limited to a bottom of the rotation starter if things go the right way, likely headed for middle relief where his stuff will play up in shorter bursts.
#17: RHP Jimmie Sherfy. I have Sherfy making the MLB club out of Spring Training. His control numbers improved further in 2017, to the point where the team felt comfortable putting him in some high leverage situations in September. After earning a 40-man roster spot the previous offseason he pitched his way onto the club with a 61/10 K/BB over 49 innings in AAA before a 9/2 ratio in 10 2⁄3 for the Dbacks. His likely role to start the season is middle relief although I think he could work his way into the back-end of the bullpen before long.
#18: LHP Jared Miller. Miller is probably one of the last cuts this Spring, but his stock has risen like helium since the permanent move to the bullpen. After a successful 2016 campaign that saw him reach AAA, he built on that in 2017 with solid numbers in AA and AAA. Miller’s season saw him get added to the 40-man roster in November. Miller uses his 6’7” height really well to get downhill and force ground ball contact on his fastball as well as a cutter that gets a lot of swings and misses from both sides of the plate. Control numbers are excellent, the next step in his development is getting strike zone command down. Fastball sits low 90s with sink with his cutter in the mid 80s as his primary two pitches although he spins in a curveball as an offspeed pitch at times. I see him getting a shot before the end of June this year.
#19: RHP Yoan Lopez. Lopez is back and has re-invented himself as a reliever. As a result, his stuff has played up with his fastball jumping up to 96-98 and a devastating breaking ball. Strikeout rate jumped to an absurd 48.7% while commanding a solid walk rate. He should see time in AA, where he stalled as a starter a few years back, to see if he can back up that strong 2017. A strong 2017 season puts Lopez on the map for a possible bullpen contributor, if not make him a strong closer candidate for the future.
#20: LHP Alex Young. It will be interesting to see what the Diamondbacks do with Alex Young at this point. He’s been primarily a starter his entire pro career, but his stuff does not play in an MLB rotation with two average pitches he can rely on. His run prevention numbers in AA aren’t terrible but I don’t think he’d fare well in AAA or MLB as a starter long term with the lack of a plus pitch and being a two pitch pitcher. A move to the bullpen could have his fastball play up to the low 90s with his slider playing more against LHHs.