MLB 26-and-under energy rankings: No. 12 Arizona Diamondbacks
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
FOX Sports’ 26-and-under energy rankings are a brand new spin on the traditional prospect rankings. Yes, prospects are vital, however with all of the game-changing younger expertise already within the bigs, farm methods alone can’t inform the entire story. So we’re diving deep into each single MLB membership, rating all of them by the gamers in a company coming into their age-26 season or youthful — from the bigs to the farm. Each weekday by March 24, we’ll rely down from final to first.
No. 12 Arizona Diamondbacks
26-and-under whole rating: 18 (out of 30)
The Diamondbacks have a complete outfield’s price of veritable younger expertise. Truthfully, they’d greater than a complete outfield’s price, so that they traded probably the most established of the bunch, Daulton Varsho, to Toronto and obtained an elite prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, in trade.
That group is why Arizona charges so extremely regardless of a below-average assortment of younger pitchers. This is a hitting-heavy group. Outfielders Jake McCarthy, 25, and Alek Thomas, 22, have already demonstrated they’ll dangle within the main leagues — McCarthy somewhat extra so. And high prospect Corbin Carroll, 22, batted solely 115 instances throughout his month-long debut, however he left little or no doubt that he’ll star this 12 months and past. All three outfielders can run at elite ranges, and Carroll extracts a stunning quantity of energy out of his 165-pound body.
Together, the three are fueling hope that the Diamondbacks generally is a dark-horse contender as quickly as this season. And if it’s not this 12 months, there could also be additional position-player expertise accessible to assist them. Center fielder Druw Jones, the 19-year-old son of Andruw, will make his skilled debut this 12 months. Shortstop Jordan Lawlar, 20, impressed throughout his first full season final 12 months, spending time at 5 minor-league ranges. The two had been top-six picks over the past two drafts, and so they could not want too lengthy to change into impression gamers.
Moreno, the return for Varsho, is on an analogous timeline to Carroll. He simply turned 23, however he acquitted himself effectively throughout his 25-game debut in 2022. He could not but be Arizona’s major catcher, with Carson Kelly nonetheless beneath membership management for 2 extra seasons. Another 23-year-old, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, might break camp on the membership’s bench. At this time final 12 months, it wasn’t laborious to search out scouts who had been intrigued about Perdomo’s potential. A tough 2022 slowed his ascent, however Perdomo stays younger sufficient that he might reverse course shortly.
It is the present younger big-league pitchers who price as beneath common, not the prospects. Reliever Kyle Nelson, who meets the edge by per week, logged a stable 2022. He was at instances joined within the bullpen by Luis Frias, 24, who scuffled throughout his 15-game major-league stint.
Right-handers Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson, each 25, are the larger hopes right here. The two aren’t precisely skilled; Jameson began 4 MLB video games in 2022, and Nelson three. Those seven begins couldn’t have gone a lot better: The two mixed on a 1.48 ERA.
Neither pitcher had been an particularly thrilling prospect, and neither participant succeeded in Triple-A Reno final season earlier than incomes a call-up. Jameson, particularly, lacks the prototypical measurement of a beginning pitcher, higher resembling a second baseman or an NBA level guard. But each younger pitchers are athletic, with sufficient velocity and secondary pitches to begin. Competency appears inside attain; excellence is likely to be out of it.
Few pitching prospects within the sport price as promisingly as 24-year-old right-hander Brandon Pfaadt, a final-round choice within the abbreviated 2020 draft who has since shot up by the system. Pfaadt attended a small college in Kentucky, Bellarmine University, which on the time competed in Division II, and he made solely 11 school begins. But in 51 skilled begins, Pfaadt has constantly restricted walks and racked up strikeouts, final 12 months turning into the primary minor-leaguer in 11 years to amass 200 or extra strikeouts. He has once more impressed on this spring’s early Cactus League motion, and he ought to be able to contribute to the Diamondbacks sooner or later this summer season.
Fellow prospect Blake Walston, 21, has an opportunity to affix him in a 12 months or two, offered he can enhance his command a bit. Before an up-and-down 2022 season, the left-hander was a consensus top-100 prospect. Landon Sims, 22, hasn’t pitched professionally but owing to Tommy John surgical procedure, however he rated as among the many high collegiate pitchers earlier than he succumbed to harm.
There is promise on the farm, however a lot of this rating depends upon Carroll fulfilling his potential. Granted, it’s troublesome to search out many evaluators throughout the sport who would guess in opposition to that. He’s as near a certain factor as a 22-year-old with 174 skilled video games to his identify might be, and his presence permits the Diamondbacks to dream of someday catching the Dodgers and Padres.
Big-league place gamers: 7 (out of 10)
Big-league pitchers: 3 (out of 10)
Prospect place gamers: 4 (out of 5)
Prospect pitchers: 4 (out of 5)
Pedro Moura is the nationwide baseball author for FOX Sports. He beforehand coated the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and L.A. Times, and his alma mater, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the writer of “How to Beat a Broken Game.” Follow him on Twitter at @pedromoura.
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