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The 2023 Diamondbacks Mid-Season Prospect Rankings

There are no bonus points for guessing who is number one on the list.

Wichita Wind Surge v Amarillo Sod Poodles Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Midseason prospect rankings have been trickling in. Now that the trade deadline has passed, it is time to release one more. This list as delayed until after the trade deadline because of how likely it seemed Arizona would be active in the trade market, including adding and subtracting from the prospect pool. As it turns out, none were added, but one from the top-15 was indeed traded away (Ryan Bliss #11).

Other midseason lists can be found at the following links. Keep in mind these lists do not include the draft or trades.

Baseball America, updated 24 July (subscription required)
MLB Pipeline, updated July 2023
Fangraphs, updated 23 June
Michael McDermott, updated 27 July (includes this year’s draft)

The Rankings

30 - Yilber Diaz, RHP (A+)
29 - J.J. D’Orazio, C (A+)
28 - Adrian Del Castillo, C (AAA)
27 -Wilderd Patino, OF (A+)
26 -Gian Zapata, OF (R)
25 - Jacob Steinmetz, RHP (A)
24 - Andrew Pinter, INF (A+)
23 - Caden Grice, LHP
22 - Jorge Barrosa, OF (AAA)
21 - Christian Cerda, C (A+)
20 - Grayson Hitt, RHP (IL - recovering from Tommy John surgery)
19 - A.J. Vukovich, 3B (AA)
18 - Dylan Ray, RHP (A+)
17 - Gino Groover, 3B
16 -Landon Sims, RHP (A)
15 - Kristian Robinson, OF (A+)
14 - Dominic Fletcher, OF (MLB)
13 - Blaze Alexander, 3B (AAA)
12 - Cristofer Toren, 2B (A)
11 - Deyvison De Los Santos, DH/1B (AA)
10 - Jansel Luis, SS (A)

Luis is one of two highly regarded international signing prospects from the last international class for Arizona. He’s a switch-hitting middle infielder with the defensive chops to play anywhere on the infield. While his arm will not win him any awards, he has enough arm that playing short or third should not be an issue. Sliding over to the right side, Luis profiles as an above average defender with a plus bat. Luis’ calling card is his bat. Already possessing plus bat-to-ball skills and a great feel for the zone, Jansel also provides moderate pop on his still developing frame. As he matures physically, Luis should be able to add significantly more pop, while also not sacrificing anything defensively. Sticking to his natural swing will enable him to tap into 20+ HR power. He only just reached Visalia this year and will likely be a project, but so long as he takes to the coaching, the Diamondbacks should have quite the selection of infielders with hit tools come the 2026 season.

9 - Yu-Min Lin, LHP (AA)

Only 19 and already starting for the Amarillo Sod Poodles, Yu-Min Lin has taken the Arizona system by storm in 2023. At 5.7 years below the average age for the league, Lin is posting a ridiculous 11.3 SO/9 while posting only a 3.3 BB/9 after being even better in Hillsboro. His 75:22 SO:BB ratio has allowed Min to dominate, keeping his ERA right in line with expected outcomes. The only thing that looks to slow down Lin in 2023 is his workload. He has already exceeded his innings total from 2022 by over 22 innings. He may well still manage to throw 100 innings this year, but it would be risky to see him pitch more than that. Expect him to repeat some time in AA next year to make sure he knocks the rust off before a rapid promotion to AAA-Reno next season should he continue to dominate the way he has. Lin has the profile of a potential #2/3 left-handed starter in the Majors. It is just going to take some time for him to arrive as he is so young. Still, he could make his MLB debut in a starting rotation before he ever turns 22.

8 - Blake Walston, LHP (AAA)

Blake Walston is another member of the dominant Reno rotation that included Pfaadt, Jarvis, and Cecconi. Sadly, Walston has begun to slip a bit and is now trending in the wrogn direction on this list. He remains solid left-handed pitching prospect and still has starter potential. However, his command and control have slipped away in 2023, leading to more walks (67) than strikeouts (65). Generally, it is not inspiring when a pitchers strikeout rate in below 7. Likewise it is concerning when a pitcher’s walk rate meets or exceeds 4. Walston is on the wrong side in both metrics. More walks than strikeouts is always a good thing for hitters. It is never a good thing for pitchers. Look for Walston to finish out the year in the AAA rotation to get his innings up, then be under the gun to get back on track in 2024. If he can rediscover his high strikeout rate and passable walk rate in 2024, he’ll be quick to be promoted at the first need for a lefty. If he cannot, he may be left waiting for a bullpen slot to open up late in the season. Either way, he should be graduating (permanently) next year.

7 - Slade Cecconi, RHP (AAA MLB)

Welcome to the Majors, Slade Cecconi. Cecconi has been part of the dominant (by PCL West standards) Reno rotation this year. Cecconi is still something of an enigma. He still has decent #2/3 starter potential. He’s more likely to be a #3/4 type starter if he sticks in the rotation though. That said, many evaluators still think he will eventually wind up as a high leverage bullpen arm. Upon his arrival in professional ball, Cecconi needed to undergo an attitude adjustment. That adjustment seems to be complete. Now, so long as he stays healthy, the world is his oyster. He’s going to get significant MLB innings before his career is over. It simply remains to be seen how close to his ceiling he gets. Cecconi is a strikeout specialist who is very capable at limiting the walks. As a fastball reliant pitcher who often lives up in the zone, he is prone to surrendering the long ball, something that has hurt him more in Amarillo and Reno than it might otherwise have if he had been pitching in a neutral park or league. Like Pfaadt, he’ll need to find a way to limit those homers as he makes his MLB debut, but the place to learn to do that is on the Major League mound. Cecconi’s successful arrival (should it be such) could drastically impact Arizona’s plans for 2024 and beyond.

6 - Bryce Jarvis, RHP (AAA)

After stalling out significantly in Amarillo, Jarvis was given a somewhat surprising promotion to AAA-Reno only three starts into the 2023 season. It turns out, that was the right call. Jarvis has been solid and steady for the majority of the season, putting himself on the cusp of a call up to the Majors. As Jarvis’ innings have climbed, he has seen his last two outings come from the bullpen and it seems that may be where he finishes his 2023 season, allowing him to continue development without hitting an innings limit before the end of the season, causing him to be shut down with a number of weeks left to play. Jarvis stands poised to take the Brandon Pfaadt path in 2024, being essentially MLB-ready , but waiting for the roster to create an opportunity. Jarvis still profiles as a #3 ceiling with strong potential should he transition to the bullpen full-time in the future.
5 - Ivan Melendez, 1B (AA)

This 6’3” thumper is destroying the Arizona farm record books. After breaking the Hillsboro record for home runs in a season (in only half a year), Melendez has continued to crush baseballs since landing himself in Amarillo just a few weeks ago. In only 13 games, he is hitting .308/.351/.750 with six dingers. Paired with a capable first base glove, Melendez is the heir apparent to Christian Walker. While he has only just arrived in Amarillo, should he continue to knock the cover of the ball, he cold see himself in the Majors by mid-season next year. It certainly would not seem to hurt to get him up before the departure of Christian Walker to get some MLB mentoring in from a reliable veteran who knows a thing or two about needing to force his way onto a roster despite having pop in the bat.

4 - Tommy Troy, SS (A+)

Selected less than a month ago with the 14th overall selection in the draft, Troy is a dynamic talent with all of his tools trending in the right direction. Coming out of Stanford, he was placed in Hillsboro and will likely move through the system quickly. Arizona’s talent evaluators see him as a dynamic player with a similar upside to Lawlar. Unlike Lawlar, Troy possess plenty of arm to play anywhere on the diamond. He played third base exclusively his final season at Stanford, but has the range and athleticism to play short. Where he ends up eventually may depend as much on the performance of others as on his own performance.

3 - Druw Jones, OF (A, 60-day IL)

Jones is in danger of slipping down this list into uncomfortable territory, almost entirely based on a spotty record regarding health. Almost immediately after Jones was drafted, he injured his shoulder, requiring surgery. Upon his return, he showed significant rust, before again getting injured and eventually making his way to the 60-day IL with no further updates. Jones remains a high upside talent as an elite defensive center fielder with thunder in his bat and good OBP skills. But, injuries have put quite the blemish on Jones’ career thus far. He will now be entering the 2024 season having essentially missed two full years of development. While Jones’ ceiling remains unchanged, he no longer looks to help extend the Snakes window of contention by joining the team in 2025, but looks instead to be someone who could make an impact late in 2026 if he can get back on track.

2 - Brandon Pfaadt, RHP (MLB)

I almost graduated Pfaadt off of this list. However, since Arizona has been reluctant to commit to keeping him on the 26-man roster as of yet, I’ll leave him here for now. He should likely come off by the end of the season though. Pfaadt continues his surprise ascendence here in 2023. HE finally got a taste of the Majors which has been something of a mixed bag. He has given up the long ball in distressing amounts. He has looked tentative when he gets hit. On the other hand, Brent Strom and his coaches have made some minor adjustments to Pfaadt’s routine and delivery and they seem to be paying some sort of dividend. Pfaadt’s eventual home may still end up being in the bullpen. But, it seems that, for now at least, Arizona will give him every opportunity to stick as a #4/5 starter.

1 - Jordan Lawlar, SS (AA)

Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Lawlar’s tenure with the Diamondbacks was inauspicious at best. The prized 2021 draftee promptly screwed up his shoulder and needed surgery to repair it, costing him his 2022 season. Then, Lawlar got off to what can only be generously referred to as a rough start in 2023. Since that rough start though, Lawlar has gone on a tear and is now terrorizing AA pitching, doing everything he can to take advantage of the inflated offense in Hillsboro. There are still some concerns about his arm defensively. He has the chops to stick at short, but his arm will likely keep him from ever moving to third should he be displaced. Look for him to make his mark on the middle infield in late 2024 or early 2025. Lawlar continues to rank among the top 5-10 prospects in all of baseball.