The 4th installment of the prospect list will cover #11-15, where we start seeing players with MLB starter upside. These guys have a lot of potential, but have a long way to go to reach the majors from now.
#11: OF Gabriel Maciel. Maciel was a 2016 pickup from Brazil, but I’m very bullish on his future. He handled the Pioneer League assignment very well in 2017 with a .323/.389/.477 slash in 245 PA (105 wRC+). Speed is his calling card with a solid OBP profile that makes him a future leadoff hitter. There isn’t a lot of power potential in his bat outside of doubles and triples, but with solid walk rates and plus speed could develop into a premier steal threat. Getting caught 8/17 times on the bases last year was a bit concerning in that department, but has 30+ SB potential as he refines his base-stealing instincts and learns better sliding technique. He should get the assignment to full-season ball where his talent will truly be tested.
#12: OF Eduardo Diaz. Diaz established himself as a prospect last year with a .312/.357/.510 slash (105 wRC+) in the pioneer league. He has 5-tool potential after signing as an international FA in the 2015-16 class. Walk rate is a bit concerning with a 4% walk rate vs. 20% strikeout rate, but he posted solid walk rates in the DSL so I’m not red-flagging that yet. As his strike zone discipline improves, I think Diaz will develop into a borderline Top 100 prospect in a couple more years. His tools are very intriguing overall, although I think he best profiles for RF in the future.
#13: RHP Jose Almonte. Almonte had a successful season in the California League, pitching to a 3.55 ERA in 139 innings. Strikeouts were way up with a career-best 26.3% rate, but also walks shot way up to 10.7%. The K-BB% ratio is consistent with the rest of his career, although I’d like to see the walks come down in AA. His fastball, slider, and curve are above average pitches with the change-up getting decent results last year. A successful season in AA has Almonte likely ticketed for the MLB rotation by the start of the 2020 season.
#14: INF Domingo Leyba. Leyba missed most of the 2017 season to a pair of serious shoulder injuries, which dropped him out of my Top 10. Leyba is still on the right side of the age curve and his last season of action was a very promising one. I think he repeats the year in AA and ends it with the MLB club in September with a stop in AAA at the midseason point. Overall could end up being an option to start at 2B long term if the bat continues to improve.
#15: RHP Matt Tabor. Tabor was the team’s 3rd round pick in the most recent draft and he looked good in limited action. He posted a 9/0 K/BB ratio in 4 2⁄3 innings in the AZ League. For 2018, he probably starts the year in extended Spring Training as he adds more muscle to his frame and finishes in Hillsboro. In his summer debut, he impressed the organization in how he handled the mental side to pitching. Like Diaz, as he sees success in full season ball could develop into at least a low-end Top 100 prospect down the road and crack the Dbacks rotation by the end of 2021.
Top 10 is next, with individual reports on the players that made the Top 10 on my list. For a recap of the list so far:
16-20: LHP Cody Reed, RHP Jimmie Sherfy, LHP Jared Miller, RHP Yoan Lopez, LHP Alex Young
21-25: OF Socrates Brito, RHP Brian Shaffer, OF Anfernee Grier, LHP Mack Lemieux, 1B Kevin Cron
26-30: RHP Ryan Atkinson, LHP Colin Poche, RHP Jhoan Duran, INF Ildemaro Vargas, 1B Christian Walker