The D-backs transformed what was once a barren farm system into one of the more exciting and talked-about systems in the game in 2019 -- and did so while being competitive at the Major League level as they remained in the postseason race well into September and finished with a winning record for a third straight year.
The decision to trade six-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt in December 2018 and let both Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock depart via free agency helped the D-backs accumulate seven of the first 75 picks in the 2019 Draft. They used those extra picks to stock the system with high-ceiling and high-probability players, eight of whom now rank among the organization’s Top 30 prospects.
Top 100 prospects Kristian Robinson ($2.5 million) and Geraldo Perdomo ($70,000) headline the international contingent on this year’s list, and along with Luis Frias and Wildred Patino, they occupy four of the first 11 spots on the Top 30.
Meanwhile, the Goldschmidt trade and the Trade Deadline deal that sent Zack Greinke to Houston netted the D-backs four upper-level prospects in Corbin Martin, J.B. Bukauskas, Seth Beer and Andy Young. All four players rank in the top half of the D-backs' Top 30 and are poised to contribute in the big leagues within the next two years.
The real strength of Arizona’s system, however, is its wealth of high-ceiling, lower-level prospects -- players who are several years away from reaching the Major Leagues. That notion is reflected by the fact that four of the organization’s Top 100 prospects will enter the 2020 without Double-A experience. They help comprise a group 18 players on the D-backs' Top 30 who have an ETA of 2022 or later.
That type of long-term depth should allow for the organization to manage any potential roster turnover or net them an impactful return via a trade should they take that route.
Jump: Luis Frias, RHP (2019: NR | 2020: No. 8) -- The 21-year-old’s stock rose after he improved his pitch mix by adding a nasty, 12-to-6 curveball to go along with his mid- to upper-90s fastball and spit-changeup. He compiled a 2.83 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 29 walks in 76 1/3 innings (16 starts) between Class A Short Season Hillsboro and Class A Kane County.
Fall: Taylor Widener (2019: 4 | 2020: NR) -- Widener opened the season on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list but struggled with the move up to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, posting an 8.10 ERA and 1.74 WHIP over 23 starts. Opposing hitters produced a .324 average against him, collecting 133 hits (including 23 homers) in 100 innings.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 -- Alek Thomas (Corbin Carroll, Pavin Smith)
Power: 60 -- Kevin Cron (Kristin Robinson
Run: 70 -- Corbin Carroll
Arm: 70 -- Blaze Alexander
Defense: 60 -- Geraldo Perdomo (Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Jeferson Espinal)
Fastball: 70 -- Ryne Nelson (Conor Grammes)
Curveball: 60 -- Blake Walston (Luis Frias)
Slider: 65 -- J.B. Bukauskas
Changeup: 55 -- Tommy Henry (J.B. Bukauskas)
Control: 60 -- Matt Tabor
How they were built
Draft: 18 | International: 7 | Trade: 5
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 9 | 2021: 3 | 2022: 11 | 2023: 6 | 2024: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 3 | 2B: 1 | 3B: 1 | SS: 2 | INF: 1 | OF: 7 | RHP: 12 | LHP: 2