FutureBacks Power Rankings: Week 9

The FutureBacks Power Rankings expand to the 30 hottest prospects in the organization, as for the first time ever, we include Dominican Summer League players on our list. Also, for the first time his year, someone other than Max Scherzer ranks #1.

Players in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) are difficult to gauge.  You will sometimes see 20-year olds overmatching 17-year olds, and players who perform well in the DSL often struggle when they get to the States.  For those reasons, it will be difficult for DSL players to move to the top half of these Power Rankings.  Nevertheless, there have been some stellar performances there by Diamondbacks players early on, and those performances deserve recognition. 

And while Max Scherzer is plenty deserving of recognition as well, he'd getting that nation-wide, and no longer appears on our Power Rankings.  He doesn't fall off due to the pair of rough outings he endured this week.  On the contrary, he has established himself as a major league-caliber player, and will lose his rookie eligibility for 2009 later this month.  It is time for other Diamondbacks prospects to be recognized.

Two that immediately come to mind are Jamie D'Antona and Cesar Valdez.  D'Antona's name has been misspelled as "Jaime" both in our Scout.com player database (regrettably, un-editable now) and in all team media materials throughout his minor league career.  Yet he is batting .402 through a remarkable 58 games, making a run at Ox Eckhart's PCL-record batting average of .414.  Eckhart was the last player to hit .400 in the PCL; the modern high is held by Rick Short, who batted an astounding .383 for the New Orleans Zephyrs just three seasons ago.

Cesar Valdez remains a virtual unknown as a prospect due to his inability to hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun.  But people held the same criticism for ex-Diamondback Greg Smith, and look at what he's done in Oakland this year.   Valdez logged a complete game shutout of the San Jose Giants, who lead the entire California League with a .635 winning percentage.  That outing makes Valdez 4-1 with a 0.92 ERA over 39.1 innings in his last five starts.

Remember, these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity, with the greatest emphasis placed on recent play, not the best prospects overall. 

Note: Stats are accurate through the day games of Monday, June 9th.   

Rank Prev Name Team Comment
1 2 3B Jaime D'Antona Tuc Chasing history along with Chipper Jones
2 4 SP Cesar Valdez Vis Tied for 1st in Cal League with 8 wins; 3rd with 2.56 ERA
3 3 SP Bryan Augenstein SB All-Star pitcher added another 8-inning win to his resume
4 11 OF Evan Frey SB Started drawing walks: .471 OBP in June, .390 overall
5 6 RP Josh Ellis Vis 1.01 ERA - when it drops below 1, please promote him to Mobile
6 7 RP Evan Scribner SB 12 straight games without an earned run, spanning 17.1 IP (29 K)
7 8 1B Joshua Whitesell Tuc Most HR on team by 6, most RBI by 10, and hitting .409 in June
8 12 2B Emilio Bonifacio Tuc BA now over .300, and even added a rare home run this week
9 9 RP A. J. Shappi Tuc 1.50 ERA through 3 games with the Sidewinders
10 10 P Thomas Layne SB Remove one start against Lansing, and Layne's season ERA is 1.40
11 14 RP Chad Beck Vis Latest success was a 1-2-3 inning in blustery Clear Channel Stadium
12 - SP Barry Enright Vis 4 straight wins for Enright: 0 ER in 3, 2 ER in the other (0.67 ERA)
13 17 RP Reid Mahon Mob His 14th save was 2-inning, 4-strikeout job
14 25 OF Gerardo Parra Mob So far, so good: leading BayBears in SLG and OPS
15 18 RP Jason Urquidez Vis Added another 3 scoreless frames Saturday to increase streak to 16.1
16 - C Frank Curreri Mob Batting .429 with 6 RBI this month; All 4 of his HR have come vs. Mississippi
17 - 1B Bryan Byrne Mob .471 OBP and just 2 strikeouts in 27 June at bats
18 20 RP Leo Rosales Tuc Four saves and a win in his last 5 appearances
19 - SP Josh Collmenter SB Josh has a 2.78 ERA over his last 6 starts
20 - LF/1B Astolfo Inciarte DSL Leads team with .520 BA and .720 SLG
21 24 SP Christian Beltre SB 3 wins in last 3 starts for Beltre
22 15 SB Jarrod Parker SB First start in 2 weeks lasted just 3 innings
23 16 SP Matt Torra Mob Rough 7th inning Monday dropped him from 5th to 9th in the SL in ERA
24 - SP Gabriel Gonzalez DSL 1.64 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, and .125 BAA through two starts
25 5 SS Yunesky Sanchez Mob 0 RBI, 0 SB, 3 CS in last 10 games
26 - 3B Raywilly Gomez DSL Leads team with .567 OBP, but 5 errors already at the hot corner
27 - 2B Rusty Ryal Mob Batting .333 with two HR and 6 RBI already in June
28 - OF Jose Jose DSL Top DSL prospect has .952 OPS and 3 OF assists in 7 games
29 21 RP William Spottiswood SB Leveling off a bit, with an earned run allowed in 3 of his last 4 outings (3.38 ERA)
30 - OF Jo Jo Batten Vis .333 BA in his last 10 games, with four extra base hits

Prospects To Watch:

- 3B Cesar Nicolas (Mobile) hit a grand slam Monday and may be back to his April form

- SP Hector Ambriz (Mobile) tossed six shutout innings and drove in a run Sunday

- RP Kyler Newby (Visalia) hasn't walked a batter in his last four outings, and command was all that was holding him back

- OF Aaron Hanke (South Bend) has hit two homers in his last seven games and collected three hits on Wednesday

- 2B Taylor Harbin (South Bend) drove in five runners on Sunday

- RP Ian Harrington (South Bend) has allowed just one run in 7.1 innings since joining the Silver Hawks out of Extended

Falling Off:

- OF Alexander Romero (13) now has a major league OBP lower than his .200 batting average

- OF Tim Raines (19) hasn't drawn a walk in his last 13 games

- SP Billy Buckner (22) allowed eight hits in a loss against the 51's

- SP Tony Barnette (23) allowed five earned runs in his latest start; he's allowed exactly five hits in his past five starts


Disagree with our rankings?  Have a question about a prospect?  Just plain lonely?  Email future_backs@yahoo.com with your concerns.

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