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Other Prospects to Watch in 2019

I recently uncovered my Top 30 list and did profile for all 30 plus one more prospect the Diamondbacks picked up in the last month. To cap off the list, I decided to add some intriguing names that weren’t previous mentioned that are worth paying attention to. There’s a very good chance these guys will end up in the 2019 midseason and postseason Top 30 rankings with solid seasons.

1B Zack Shannon: Small school 1B with a lumbering build, bats right-handed, lit up the competition in college, then dominated the Pioneer League in his debut season. Where have I heard this story before? Shannon put up a .354/.439/.677 slash (169 wRC+) at 22, which is at least 2 years older than the Pioneer League average. However, the 169 wRC+ and the 14% XBH rate bring the possibility of a diamond in the rough player. It’s unrealistic to expect Paul Goldschmidt 2.0, but I think 2019 will determine if he’s a legitimate prospect or not.

Likely 2019 Assignment: A+ Visalia

RHP Matt Peacock: A former 23rd round pick in the 2017 draft, Peacock has already made it to Visalia and succeeded there. After originally starting the year in the bullpen, the organization bumped him up to starter and he made 16 starts. Peacock possesses a plus sinker that has resulted in elite ground ball rates (69.5% and 66.7%) in his two stops in 2018. Peacock also missed his fair share of bats with a strikeout rate of 22% in Visalia and limited free passes with a 7% walk rate there as well. I don’t know if becomes the next Brandon Webb (similar K/9 and BB/9 rates between both pitchers in their High A seasons FWIW), but I can’t deny the skill set is similar.

Likely 2019 Assignment: AA Jackson

C Renae Martinez: Martinez is a bat-first catcher with good hitting and power tools, but not much of value elsewhere. Martinez has shown a high BABIP skill (high LD rates fueling that) with average OBP skills, which allows him to post solid OBP numbers and complements that with above average power. I could see him developing into a bench weapon with the occasional starts at catcher (think Evan Gattis) and 1B. His defense and framing skills aren’t nearly as good as Varsho and Miroglio’s are although I could see all three players splitting the catcher’s position long term with Varsho getting starts elsewhere to keep his bat in the lineup. Martinez is old compared to the levels he’s played, although that has to do with being drafted at 23 more than anything.

Likely 2019 Assignment: A+ Visalia

RHP Matt Mercer: Mercer was picked up as a 5th round pick of the most recent draft and is very intriguing overall. Mercer dominated in Hillsboro with a 34% K rate and a 5% walk rate, which in itself is incredible. Mercer has battled injuries and inconsistencies but has the potential of a #2/3 guy if he can stay healthy and develop at least one of his two breaking balls to complement an already potent fastball-change up combination. I get Robbie Ray vibes with this prospect. If the breaking ball doesn’t develop, then Mercer has the likely outcome of a back-end reliever.

Likely 2019 Assignment: A Kane County

These four players have hit the ground running in their pretty short careers and have interesting projections in a career aspect. Mercer was the highest draft pick being a 5th rounder, although I would not be surprised if he already isn’t on prospect lists. All four players also come from the two most recent drafts, which is encouraging that the team is able to find hidden talents deep into the draft. I’m in the belief that the 2018 draft has the potential to have as much of an impact as the 2009 draft.