The Arizona Fall League Rosters have been announced, and the following players below will be on the Salt River Rafters, along with players from the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals farm systems
Age: 24 Bats/Throws: L/R 6’ 4” / 225
As the top prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system, with time missed to injuries, with no appearances above Double-A, Jon Duplantier being sent to the fall league makes him the least surprising selection out of the ten players being sent. Duplantier pitched seven innings in the AZL and gave up one run, five hits, and struck out nine, and walked two. For AA Jackson, Jon Duplantier has pitched 62.2 innings, and has put up a stellar 2.15 ERA, but his relatively elevated walk rate of 3.59% combined with a low .268 BABIP is likely the reason why his 3.28 FIP and 3.55 xFIP.
Duplantier was a 3rd round selection of the 2016 draft, falling mostly due to concerns with the injury history of other Rice pitchers in the pros. Duplantier missed 2015 with a shoulder injury, had to be shut down after 1 inning in his summer debut, and missed two months this season due to a tired arm issue (diagnosed as biceps tendinitis). When he’s been healthy, Duplantier has been close to dominant on the mound, featuring a lethal 4-pitch mix and the ability to command all 4. Since Duplantier missed 2 months of action due to that injury and has been heavily monitored all season in terms of pitch counts, the Fall League will give the organization more innings to evaluate him. Duplantier has the potential to be the next great Ace for the starting rotation, but the big question mark that will persist for the entirety of his career will be durability.
Age: 24 Bats/Throws: R/R 6’ 4” / 210
Kevin Ginkel is probably a lesser known relief pitcher in the Diamondbacks farm system, but he’s absolutely dominated A+ and AA this year. In 68 innings pitched across both levels, Ginkel has posted a 1.46 ERA with 98 strikeouts to just 11 walks. In 27.1 innings pitched at A+ level Visalia, Ginkel posted a miniscule 0.99 ERA, 2.11 FIP, and a 2.55 xFIP. In 40.2 innings pitched at AA Jackson, Ginkel put up a higher 1.77 ERA, but a lower 2.08 FIP, and a 2.07 xFIP. Ginkel should be ready as soon as early next year with a solid showing in the AFL and Spring training, but late 2019 or 2020 at the latest is a more reasonable timeline.
Ginkel was a 22nd round pick from the University of Arizona and after being average for the first two seasons of his pro career really took off this year. Of all the Diamondback relief prospects, Ginkel by far had the best season with the numbers listed just above and a lot of those appearances spanning multiple innings. For Jackson, he’s eaten innings, pitched late innings, and has even closed out games. His repertoire mostly consists of a mid 90s heater with good arm-side run complemented by a low 80s slider. Both pitches tunnel well with each other, which explains the absurd strikeout rates. Most relievers come with command questions, although Ginkel has never shown much of a walk problem outside of a poor stint in Kane County last season.
Age: 23 Bats/Throws: R/R 6’ 1” / 195
Mark was the Diamondbacks’ 6th round pick in the 2015 draft out of Concordia University (CA). Mark’s development has been a bit slower than your typical college reliever, but there’s enough flashes to keep the organization interested. He’s mostly a riser-splitter type pitcher (4-seam and splitter), which when right is a ground ball and strikeout machine. Something did click this year when Mark was assigned to the Class A Advanced Visalia Rawhide, as his strikeout rate jumped to over 30% and a walk rate under 10%. The success hasn’t repeated itself in AA yet, but we’re talking about 8 games and 10 1⁄3 innings here. Mark is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, which means teams could pluck him from the organization roster if he is not placed on the 40-man roster. The Fall League stint is another opportunity for the organization to decide if he’s worth stashing or not.
Age: 21 Bats/Throws: R/R 6’ 0” / 197
Since signing as a Minor League free agent out of Brazil in 2013, Takahashi has been steadily moving up the ladder. Takahashi has been mostly deployed as a starter in his minors with 82 of his 90 appearances coming in the form of starts. He’s mostly a control specialist with solid strikeout and walk rates at every stop. This year, the strikeouts have improved from hovering around 20% from 2015-2017 to over 26% while maintaining a similar walk rate. That’s likely either an indication of better stuff and/or command as Takahashi has filled out his frame. As a starter, he profiles more as a #4/5 guy although if he can improve his strike zone command he could be an interesting name to follow.
Age: 24 Bats/Throws: R/R 6’ 1” / 185
Martinez was a 33rd round pick in last year’s draft out of the University of Oklahoma and has done nothing but rake. In his summer debut, he hit .313/.384/.470 against younger competition in the Arizona League. An injury delayed his season debut with Kane County until May, but he swung the bat well there too. There he hit .333/.402/.527 with 17 doubles and 5 homers while posting decent strikeout (19.0%) and walk (8.5%) rates. That earned him a promotion to Visalia, where he’s done alright. The batted ball data has trended in the opposite direction with more ground balls while a weaker walk rate of 7.1%, but I’ll chalk that up to the competition level since that’s the level where prospects tend to start separating. The biggest concern for Martinez is age, where he’s been much older than other prospects at his level. The best way to remedy that concern is to continue to hit at every stop.
Age: 22 Bats/Throws: L/R 5’ 10” / 190
Varsho was picked in the Competitive Balance B round of last year’s draft and quickly showed why he’s considered to be the team’s starting catcher of the future. Varsho missed 2 months with a hamate bone injury to his throwing hand, while he was in the midst of a big year. Overall, his catcher defense has improved although depending on how the bat develops could end up moving from behind the plate to be an everyday player. He has great mobility behind the plate and is adept at blocking pitches, the biggest concern will be throwing out base-stealers and pitch framing. The former is less of an issue with 36% of base-stealers sent back to the dugout and the latter is more of a MLB level development issue. It’s worth noting that Varsho is not only mobile behind the plate, but on the basepaths as well, stealing 18 bases while getting caught just 3 times.
Age: 23 Bats/Throws: R/R 6’0” 203
Miroglio was a 20th round pick by the Diamondbacks in last year’s draft and like Martinez has done nothing but hit since signing. Miroglio is more of a line drive, gap hitter and relies more on his batted ball skills than anything at the plate. He doesn’t walk or strike out much, so the ball will likely be in play when he bats. There isn’t a lot of pop in his bat with ISOs of .133 and .097 in his two stops this season, so I’m a bit concern he’s trading off the chance to drive the ball vs. making contact. Given his batted ball numbers in Visalia where his ground ball rate was only 36%, it’s less of an issue than with other prospects. He profiles more as a backup catcher with solid receiving, game calling, and blocking skills a la Jeff Mathis.
Age: 20 Position: SS Bats/Throws: L/R 5’ 11” / 165
Chisholm was an international signing in 2015, signing for $200k when the Dbacks went over-budget to sign Yoan Lopez. Lopez likely won’t turn out to be the best player from that year’s signing class, but rather Chisholm. Chisholm has 4 above average to plus tools (speed, power, defense, arm), although the ability to hit is still inconsistent. Given he plays shortstop, the bar needed for him to hit enough to be an everyday player is not high if the glove is that good. Chisholm is making more use of his plus raw power with a higher line drive and fly ball rate although his plate discipline numbers are to be desired. He’s only 20 years old and playing well in the California League, so he’s on the right side of the age curve. As he moves up the ladder, hopefully he’s able to mitigate his two biggest flaws (discipline and platoon issues) that could cause him to flame out in AA or AAA because his game away from the plate is that good.
Age: 22 Position: 3B Bats/Throws: R/R
Ellis was the Diamondbacks’ 2nd round pick from last year’s draft and for the most part has treaded water as a prospect. Ellis has a high walk, high strikeout tendency although for a guy with as much raw power as he has it’s tolerable. From first glance, his ISO doesn’t flash but he’s hit 50 extra base hits on the year which could likely mean he’s having that year where the ball is dying at the fence instead of carrying over. Averaging an extra base hit every 9-10 plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at although it likely appears that Ellis will turn out to be a league average hitter as a low average, solid power hitter. His defense at 3B isn’t pristine, although at the same time he’s not a butcher out there although I still think he could end up getting moved across the diamond at 1B at the MLB level.
Age: 22 Position: 1B Bats/Throws: L/L
Pavin Smith was the Diamondbacks’ top pick in last year’s draft, but has had a very rough first year at the plate. If you look at just his overall numbers, .259/.347/.392, Smith’s season looks much worse than it actually has been, because it doesn’t tell the whole story. He had absolutely awful months of April (.584 OPS) and June (.683 OPS) and middling numbers in May (.787 OPS), but he’s turned it around in July (.810 OPS) and August (.806 OPS). Even in the bad months, Smith has shown a decent amount of patience at the plate, while not striking out all that often. I had a hunch, and looked at video of Smith last year and this year, and there are definitely some difference in his stance at the plate. I’d imagine that the team would like more hands-on time, up close and at home to further work on Smith’s swing.
The Diamondbacks are not sending any outfielders.