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Arizona Diamondbacks Top-10 Fantasy Prospects

Thanks to some poor trades in recent years, Arizona’s system lacks both impact-talent and depth.

MLB: AUG 10 Diamondbacks at Mets Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Our Basis

With fantasy prospect rankings, the key to knowing the usefulness of a specific player is how large and deep of a league you would need to be in for them to end up as a fantasy starter. We will be ranking 10 prospects in each system, but that doesn't mean that every one of them is useful if you play in a 12-team mixed dynasty league. With that said, we're aiming to provide useful information whether you play in a 10-team mixed, a 15-team AL-only, or a 24-team mixed.

Prospect rankings also come with the same caveat that must be rehashed every year. They represent a snapshot of how we view the players at the time of publication. There will inherently be more information published throughout the off-season, and so how we view a player may evolve significantly over time. We're going to get some of these right, we're going to get some of these wrong, and in general my reminder is to find information you trust, and use it to your advantage. If that comes from us, that's great and we're happy you're here. If it doesn't, we'll continue to work and hope that you'll keep checking in to see how we're doing.

The Tiers

The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing players between different teams. It's by no means a perfect system, but the goal is to give you a general idea of which players we think are in a similar range in terms of value and ranking. Since the tiers are also expected to be relatively consistent across teams, there may be tiers that do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top-50 prospects overall, and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.

Arizona has no prospects in this tier.

Tier 2 - The Top 100 Candidates

These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall, and are expected to be starting options in all formats.

Arizona has no prospects in this tier.

Tier 3 - The Next Group of Starters

These prospects would likely slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list, and would be starters in mid-depth formats, like 12 and 14 team leagues.

#1 - Jasrado Chisholm (SS)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 19

ETA: 2019

A surprise at number one! Chisholm is by no means a household name and even less a sure-fire prospect. In a system devoid of top-end talent, however, he might be the most dynamic player with the most exciting fantasy upside. John Sickels recently ranked Chisholm fifth among all Diamondbacks prospects, so it’s not as if the young shortstop is completely off the radar. In 2016, his first year of professional ball, Chisholm slashed .281/.333/.446 with 9 HR and 13 SB in 62 games at rookie-level Missoula. Early returns indicate that he has all the attributes of an intriguing fantasy prospect: power-speed potential, a good hit-tool, solid makeup, and the defensive chops necessary to remain in the middle infield. Of course he’s very young and remains a long way from the majors, so there’s reason to temper one’s enthusiasm. Still, Chisholm will be a player to watch in 2017 as he advances to Low-A Kane County.

#2 - Socrates Brito (OF)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 24

ETA: 2017

What the Diamondbacks lack in top-end talent they make up for in prospects with great names. A toolsy outfielder with a chance to develop into a major-league regular, Brito offers plus speed, a good hit-tool, and occasional power. He followed up a strong 2015 season in Double-A (.300/.339/.451) with a solid half-season at Triple-A in 2016 (.294/.322/.439). Over those two seasons he also received 128 major-league at-bats, albeit with less success. At 24, he’s not long for these prospect lists, so 2017 will be a crucial year in his Diamondbacks career. If he manages to carve out a full-time role for himself and finally solves major-league pitching, he could become a decent source of average and speed for fantasy owners.

#3 - Anthony Banda (LHP)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 23

ETA: 2017

Acquired in 2014 as part of the trade that sent OF Gerardo Parra to Milwaukee, Banda has emerged as Arizona’s top pitching prospect. In 2016 he made 26 starts, split evenly between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, and finished 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA, 55 walks and 152 strikeouts in 150 IP. His two best pitches are his fastball and curveball, both of which grade above-average, and he has a changeup that should become major-league average. He’ll need to continue posting high strikeout totals in order to maintain fantasy value while pitching in Arizona’s hitter-friendly confines. There’s mid-rotation potential here, perhaps as early as 2017.

Tier 4 - Single League and Deep Format Plays

These prospects would likely slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list, and would have the most value to mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.

#4 - Taylor Clarke (RHP)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 23

ETA: 2018

A 2015 third-round pick, Clarke dazzled in his professional debut with the Hillsboro Hops of the short-season Northwest League: 13 appearances in relief, 21 IP, 0 ER, 4 BB, 27 K. In 2016 he submitted a successful encore performance by making 27 starts across three levels, 17 of those starts at Double-A Mobile, and posting a 3.31 ERA to go with a 1.17 WHIP. His strikeout numbers dipped at Double-A, perhaps due to an inconsistent changeup. His fastball, slider, and control all grade above-average, so there’s starter potential here if he can improve that third pitch. In 2017 he’ll head to Triple-A Reno and face the daunting challenge of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

#5 - Cody Reed (LHP)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 20

ETA: 2019

The Diamondbacks selected Reed in the second round of the 2014 draft and brought him along slowly despite his early success in rookie and short-season ball. In 2016 their cautious development plan appeared to be working. As a 19-year-old, Reed took the Midwest League by storm, making seven starts and finishing 5-2 with a 1.82 ERA, 3 BB and 55 K in 39 IP. Those eye-popping numbers helped get him promoted to High-A Visalia of the California League, a hitter’s paradise, where his season took a nosedive. He made only seven more starts and posted a 6.06 ERA before being shut down with an injury in July. That injury, of course, clouds his future. He earns this ranking on the strength of his pre-Visalia performance and the fact that he remains young for his level. In short, there’s potential here, but questions abound.

#6 - Domingo Leyba (SS/2B)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 21

ETA: 2018

Another prospect who has always been young for his level, Leyba in recent years has made a number of positive steps. The former Detroit farmhand has demonstrated the skills necessary to remain at shortstop. He also appears to be hitting his offensive stride. In 2016, between High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, he slashed .296/.355/.429 with 10 HR, 9 SB, and a solid 46:84 BB:K ratio; he actually posted better numbers at Double-A. No single tool stands out, so the whole of Leyba’s offensive game could prove to be greater than the sum of its parts. He might return to Double-A in 2017, though his success at that level could prompt the Diamondbacks to challenge him with an aggressive assignment to Triple-A Reno.

#7 - Wei-Chieh Huang (RHP)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 23

ETA: 2018

Signed out of Taiwan in 2014, Huang made an excellent professional debut in 2015 before stumbling out of the gate last season. He opened 2016 with High-A Visalia but was rocked in six starts to the tune of a 6.49 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. He was sent to Diamondbacks’ extended spring training at the end of May and then returned to the mound with short-season Hillsboro in late July, but something still was not right. At 23, Huang does not have the luxury of working out the kinks in short-season ball. This top-ten ranking reflects continued faith in his above-average three-pitch repertoire, including a plus changeup, as well as an acknowledgement that he is only a year removed from on-field success. There’s no telling where the Diamondbacks will send him in 2017, but one thing is certain: the gap between his ceiling and floor has grown chasmic.

Tier 5 - We Ranked Ten Prospects. We Really Did.

These prospects generally will be useful in the deepest of formats. Think 24+ teams for mixed leagues, and single-league formats with more teams than the league it uses. In many cases, these will be part-time players or utility-types when they get to the Majors.

#8 - Anfernee Grier (OF)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 21

ETA: 2019

The 39th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Grier has better-than-Tier-5 upside. For the time being, however, he profiles as a defense-minded centerfielder with the ability to make plays on the basepaths. In 2016 he managed to swipe nine bases with short-season Hillsboro despite playing in only 20 games and compiling a .278 OBP. He has the talent to ascend this list and will do so with a strong offensive performance in 2017, likely at Low-A Kane County.

#9 - Alex Young (LHP)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 23

ETA: 2018

Selected with the 43rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, Young made a successful full-season debut in 2016 with Low-A Kane County. Like many pitchers, however, he struggled following a promotion to Visalia of the High-A California League. All told, he managed a respectable 3.56 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 118.2 IP. His three-pitch repertoire includes a plus slider, so he has the ability to miss bats. He simply does not have a lot of starting experience. If the Diamondbacks wish to challenge their young lefthander in 2017, they could assign him to Double-A Jackson.

#10 - Marcus Wilson (OF)

Age on Opening Day: 20

ETA: 2019

The Diamondbacks made Wilson the 69th overall pick in the 2014 draft and have brought him along slowly. While the results have not yet appeared in box scores, there’s a lot to like about Wilson, in particular his plus speed and 6’3” frame. He was young for his class and even remained young for his level when he debuted with Low-A Kane County in August. He hasn’t yet developed any in-game power, but last season he did manage to steal 25 bases in 69 games while posting an excellent .394 OBP. Like his teammate and fellow outfielder Anfernee Grier, Wilson has the tools that allow us to project a better-than-Tier-5 ceiling, albeit with a low floor. He should reach High-A Visalia in 2017.