Finishing in fifth place in each of the past two seasons, the D-backs have struggled at the Major League level. However, their farm system has continued to improve during that time, giving both fans and team officials hope for a brighter future.
A quartet of Top 100 prospects highlight the D-backs system, though there is talent throughout this deep Top 30 Prospects list. Alek Thomas, who represented the D-backs in the 2021 Futures Game and played his way up to Triple-A last season, climbed to the top of the list, narrowly edging out Corbin Carroll.
Carroll and Jordan Lawlar, the No. 2 and No. 3 prospects on this list, are both coming off shoulder injuries, but are expected to be ready to go as the season starts. Both Carroll and Lawlar have incredibly high ceilings and a healthy 2022 will go a long way toward expediting their paths to Arizona.
Albeit for different reasons, Kristian Robinson is another high-ceiling prospect who will return to the field after some time away. Robinson checks in at No. 13, but that’s largely because he hasn’t played since 2019. If Robinson’s power-speed combo returns, he could play his way up the rankings and further strengthen an already strong farm system.
This list also features an infusion of new talent as five 2021 draftees, including second-round picks Ryan Bliss (Auburn) and Adrian Del Castillo (Miami), cracked the Top 30. Each of the top three prospects are position players, but this list certainly isn’t short on pitching.
There are 13 pitchers on the list, including five in the top 10. Blake Walston, the No. 8 overall left-handed pitching prospect, may be the most recognizable name, but there are plenty of noteworthy arms. Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson each took steps forward in 2021 and Brandon Pfaadt, a fifth-round pick from the 2020 Draft, is quickly elevating his stock.
Of course after a rough couple seasons, D-backs fans are likely anxious to see the next wave of talent and it looks like they won’t have to wait very long. After Geraldo Perdomo and Seth Beer made brief debuts last season, more top prospects should be on the way with nearly half the list having an ETA of 2022.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2021 preseason list to the 2022 preseason list.
Jump: Drey Jameson, RHP (2021: 22 | 2022: 6) -- The 34th overall pick from the 2019 Draft, Jameson impressed in his first full season. His command took a step forward and he showed an ability to miss bats, racking up 145 strikeouts over 110 2/3 innings. He pitched his way up to Double-A and his improving two-seamer should play a big role in his development.
Fall: Kristian Robinson, OF (2021: 2 | 2022: 13) -- Robinson is one of the more intriguing names on this list. He certainly has the talent to be among the D-backs’ best prospects, but he missed the entire 2021 season after pleading guilty to a felony assault charge and hasn’t played since 2019. Still just 21 years old, Robinson could quickly play himself back toward the top of this list if he picks up right where he left off.
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)
Power: 60 -- Deyvison De Los Santos (Kristian Robinson)
Run: 70 -- Corbin Carroll
Arm: 70 -- Blaze Alexander
Defense: 65 -- Dominic Fletcher
Fastball: 70 -- Ryne Nelson
Curveball: 60 -- Blake Walston (Luis Frias)
Slider: 60 -- Slade Cecconi
Changeup: 60 -- Drey Jameson (Bryce Jarvis, Brandon Pfaadt)
Control: 65 -- Matt Tabor
How they were built
Draft: 22 | International: 5 | Trade: 2 | Free Agent: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2022: 14 | 2023: 8 | 2024: 8
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 0 | 3B: 4 | SS: 5 | OF: 6 | RHP: 11 | LHP: 2