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Diamondbacks Farm System Review: Outfielders

Perhaps the area most likely to make an immediate impact?

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Feb 21, 2022; Scottsdale, Ariz., U.S.; Diamondbacks minor league outfielder Corbin Carroll throws during a select training camp for minor-league players
Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

You still came back! Welcome to more thoughts of a rando DBacks fan!

This week we will look at outfielders! I imagine this is of intrigue to a lot of SnakePitters. The enticing trio of Carroll/Thomas/Robinson is a dream we’ve all been having a while now. Similarly to last week, the following ten names have quite the spread of potential outcomes. This is again highlighted by the very top, a relatively solid middle, and some serious boom/bust at the bottom.

Once again, I need to say that all my predictions are based on Mike Hazen still being GM in 2025. I am a believer in his methods and I hope Kendrick shows more patience in his twilight years than he has in the past.

Without further ado:

Alberto Ciprian (19) – OF/3B

  • AVERAGE .305
  • OBP .409
  • OPS .807
  • Ks 34
  • BBs 21
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: He arrived as the younger piece of the Escobar trade: hopes are high he makes that trade worthwhile. He played in the DSL in 2021 and did pretty ok as a “super buff teenager” (Fangraphs).

What does 2022 have in store? I am higher on Ciprian than most. He probably spends the entirety of 2022 in Low A ball, possibly High A if he has a big year. But he is defensively limited already (despite the OF/3B profile I generously gave him), and 2022 could be a solid development year to create excellent habits to then catapult him through the system. PLAYING IN 2022: No shot at the majors.

What role played in 2024/2025? He’s young. He’s not going to see significant MLB time in 2025. He has hella bust potential. But I’m going to be optimistic and say he will be in the upper minors by then. Hopefully as a top prospect everybody wants in trades. PREDICTION: Playing in AA/AAA and on the tail end of some Top 50-100 lists.

Alek Thomas (21) – CF

  • AVERAGE .313
  • OBP .394
  • OPS .953
  • Ks 99
  • BBs 52
  • HOME RUNS 18
  • Top 100 Lists: theAthletic (34), Baseball Prospectus (37), Baseball America (32), Prospects1500 (30) & MLB Pipeline (40)

Bio/2021 Recap: I’m going to assume you know about Thomas’s 2021. It was mighty good. Special even. If you’re a total noob and you know nothing about it, go look him up beyond my cursory stats above.

What does 2022 have in store? Therefore, 2022 will be an interesting one for the young guy. More eyes than ever will be on him to see what happens. Will he be an Opening Day Starter for the Diamondbacks? Not likely unless service time completely changes or Kendrick has a change in his penny-pushing ways. I suppose it’s possible Hazen comes right out and says its to secure an extra year of control that Thomas has to start in AAA again. More realistically, expect an excuse about “proving himself” (utter bullshit at this point) or he wore his hat wrong and needed to mature (literally the Braves’ excuse for Acuna...). Either way, I fully plan to see Thomas patrolling center and a corner regularly in 2022. I’ll once again direct you to the article about prospects taking three years to reach their potential in the Bigs, so don’t get disappointed when he doesn’t replicate his Amarillo or Reno numbers right away. PLAYING IN 2022: MLB – exhausts prospect status.

What role played in 2024/2025? I’m going to ignore the possibility of a trade, because I don’t want to believe it. But AZ history exists, so there’s a chance he’s traded…. Onto better ideas! Much like Perdomo, I expect Thomas to be a fan-favorite player in a couple years. He has all the talent and history to become another Peralta (hopefully with a longer peak career and fewer injuries). Lots of regular All-Star potential, so expect several All-Star snubs in his future as others get more attention for playing in bigger markets. PREDCTION: Roaring 20s Baby Backs’ corner outfielder.

Corbin Carroll (21) – CF

  • AVERAGE .435
  • OBP .552
  • OPS 1.465
  • Ks 7
  • BBs 7
  • Top 100 Lists: theAthletic (16), Baseball Prospectus (34), Baseball America (20), Prospects1500 (10) & MLB Pipeline (20)

Bio/2021 Recap: I think most are familiar with Carroll’s 2021: 7 games, major shoulder injury, watched MLB games with scouts and Lawlar in Phoenix. He played in High A.

What does 2022 have in store? He will start in High A again in 2022. The only other option is an extended Spring Training, which is likely as well, but I’ll be bullish. The high end of his 2022 could mirror Thomas’ 2021: seeing significant action in both AA and AAA. This would go a long way to expediting the opening of the team’s next contention window. PLAYING IN 2022: Upper levels of the minors with an emphasis on AA.

What role played in 2024/2025? By 2024/2025, I hope Carroll is accruing his second and/or third year of MLB time. This assumes a healthy 2022 and 2023 with a debut in early(ish) 2023: don’t quote me when service time crap comes up and is even more complicated than it was in 2021. PREDICTION: Roaring 20s Baby Backs’ CF of the future.

Dominic Canzone (24) – RF

  • AVERAGE .302
  • OBP .375
  • OPS .897
  • Ks 71
  • BBs 32
  • HOME RUNS 14
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: Dominic Canzone came out of nowhere and had himself quite the 2021. Farm Director Josh Barfield even stated Canzone would have been the organization’s hitter of the year if Thomas’ hadn’t had his 2021. That bodes really well for Canzone.

What does 2022 have in store? Despite that, I think Canzone has a slight uphill battle to significant MLB playing time in 2022. A start in Reno seems warranted. And a post All-Star Break promotion to Arizona isn’t out of the question, but earlier seems unlikely. Possible sure, but I think McCarthy gets a longer look before Canzone does. Between Peralta, Varsho, Thomas, McCarthy, and Fairchild, Canzone’s way is crowded. MLB debut should happen by the end of the year though. PLAYING IN 2022: Upper minors – small/medium shot at MLB Cup of Coffee.

What role played in 2024/2025? I’m a believer in Canzone. His mindset and work ethic remind me a bit of a young Goldy. I’m NOT suggesting Canzone has a Goldy-like future in him. But he’s flown under the radar a lot and is proving he belongs in his chosen profession. I can easily see him as a third/fourth outfield on a contending club. PREDICTION: Roaring 20s Baby Backs’ fairly regular fourth outfielder.

Dominic Fletcher (24) – OF

  • AVERAGE .264
  • OBP .314
  • OPS .759
  • Ks 109
  • BBs 25
  • HOME RUNS 15
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: Dominic Fletcher played all of 2021 in AA. He hit ok (although in a hitter friendly league, that’s basically bad). And man did he have a hard time finding the ball. Or ignoring balls outside the zone. As the final piece in the Goldy trade, I wish he’d shown better in the upper minors.

What does 2022 have in store? He’s going to start at AA again in 2022. Hopefully he can turn the corner and reach for that fourth outfielder ceiling again. If he can show some sustained success, a promotion to AAA seems doable. PLAYING IN 2022: Upper Minors with an emphasis on AA.

What role played in 2024/2025? …You all read my first post two weeks ago. You know how much I want our 2019 draft class to succeed. I won’t let that blind my ESP(N) though. Fletcher has a steep hill to climb to even reach the MLB at this point, let alone have more than a cup of coffee there. Right now, after 2021, I’m unwilling to put my endorsement behind that corner turning. PREDICTION: Fletcher has either been traded after a reasonably good start to an MiLB season or been released to make room for other prospects with better futures.

Jeferson Espinal (19) – OF

  • AVERAGE .259
  • OBP .340
  • OPS .697
  • Ks 84
  • BBs 26
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: He struggle-bussed hard at Low A in 2021. His plate discipline and simple ability to hit the ball looked overmatched regularly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for an international signee, but it’s not great.

What does 2022 have in store? A repeat of Low A seems almost generous right now for Espinal. He’s still under 20 though and has excellent speed. So 2022 could be a turning point for him. I hope it is. I remember hearing about his signing and being excited (although I can’t find the articles that made me so back then anymore). PLAYING IN 2022: No shot at the majors.

What role played in 2024/2025? Honestly, he is so young and so undeveloped right now that this is really hard. Given his struggles against players at Low A, I am not overly excited about him anymore. I’m pretty pessimistic. PREDICTION: Sadly, I think Jeferson Espinal will be viewed as another bust in 2024/2025. His best case is to be languishing in AA by then, still struggling against even more advanced pitching.

Jorge Barrosa (20) – CF

  • AVERAGE .285
  • OBP .353
  • OPS .775
  • Ks 79
  • BBs 29
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: Barrosa is young. He is athletic and has some great defensive acumen. But his bat does not have enough power. And High A seemed to confound him in 2021. Good news, his walks increased a lot in about 100 more plate appearances. So did his strikeouts, but that’s just baseball nowadays.

What does 2022 have in store? He’s likely to begin 2022 in High A, and I don’t see him advancing beyond it this year. He has the time to take a year and truly develop some of his hitting skills which look to get weaker relative to competition as he rises. In short: he’s going to need excellent fundamentals to have success. PLAYING IN 2022: No shot at the majors.

What role played in 2024/2025? We’ve arrived at a point I didn’t want to…. I think Barrosa is going to be a bust. He’s young, he’s got time. But he seems to have hit a wall at High A, which I don’t see as a good sign. That usually happens at AA and above. I will be happily wrong, but not making the majors happens A LOT with young athletic guys and Barrosa just strikes me as a forgettable profile. PREDICTION: He’s still toiling in the middle minors in 2024/2025 and contemplating retirement.

Kristian Robinson (21) – RF

  • OBP N/A
  • OPS N/A
  • Ks N/A
  • BBs N/A
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: If you don’t know about Robinson’s 2020/2021 struggles with Mental Health and subsequent legal issues, I recommend you look them up. I am not an expert, nor do I feel comfortable discussing them in detail. I wish the man the best with a situation I hope to only ever theorize about enduring myself.

What does 2022 have in store? That said, all accounts indicate the problems are in the past and 2022 will be his first normal year in a while. But what does that look like at this point? His luster is tarnished, but exists in some form still. I foresee an Extended Spring Training for him and a season-long stint in Low A ball. If he really storms out of the gate and regains his lost development, maybe a promotion to High A by July/August, but given his extenuating circumstances, kid gloves seem like a good idea. It’s hard to believe, but he only has 477 total at-bats in the USA. PLAYING IN 2022: No shot at the majors.

What role played in 2024/2025? Robinson’s potential is hard to ignore. He was an expensive signing out of the Bahamas and he could still be better than Jazz as a Bahamian player. But predicting him is hard. I’m going to say by mid-2024 he is making his MLB debut, but he’s also a potential high end trade chip. PREDICTION: Robinson debuts as a Diamondback and is traded during the following offseason in a deal similar to the Gallen-Chisholm deal.

Stuart Fairchild (25) – CF

  • AVERAGE .296
  • OBP .383
  • OPS .945
  • Ks 41
  • BBs 22
  • Top 100 Lists: N/A

Bio/2021 Recap: I’m not going to pretend to understand why Fairchild was ignored so much at the MLB level in 2021. It confounds me as much as all of you. He spent a lot of time warming the bench for other players, missing significant development opportunity.

What does 2022 have in store? But in 2022, I do expect him to get a longer look unless there’s something bigger going on. He has every right to that given his numbers at Reno were adequate if not eye-popping. Plus he is about to hit is prime as a hitter (27). Ideally you’d like some real MLB experience before that happens. No other way to get that than time patrolling the Chase Field grass. PLAYING IN 2022: MLB – exhausts prospect status.

What role played in 2024/2025? I think Fairchild has a good shot at being either a AAAA guy or an unspectacular but solid fourth outfielder. I just don’t think his future is with Arizona anymore. I think he’s too old for that to be a thing. I think the legacy of the Bradley trade rests on whether or not the team gets anything out of Fairchild or is forced to just let him walk. PREDICTION: Fairchild creates a niche for himself in 2023 that leads to a trade. He will be one of the final pieces “sold” for prospects before our next true contention window starts.