2009 FutureBacks.com Top 50 D-backs Prospects

What a difference a year makes! Half of the Arizona Diamondbacks prospects ranked in the 2009 FutureBacks Fifty did not appear on the 2008 list. FutureBacks.com rankings are definitive, extensive, unconventional, irreverent, and now updated. You know who's number one, but find out who the other 49 are and why they rank where they do inside.

With 25 new prospects on the FutureBacks.com Top 50 Prospects List, it's a little surprising how many of the newbies did not come from the 2008 June draft.  Three players on the list (Whitesell, Skelton, Zavada) were not with the organization in January of last year, but were acquired by other means.  Ten of the new players listed here were with the club last year but made big strides to elbow their way towards greater recognition.   Three of those 10 (Perez, Clifford, Stange) were mentioned in our "...and Beyond" articles, so be sure and catch the two upcoming features on prospects with lots of potential who failed to make the list for one reason or another.

The D-backs' Rule 5 selection

The overall composition of the system has changed as well.  In last year's rankings, catchers and left-handed pitchers had an easier time making the cut.  The Diamondbacks are much stronger at both positions these days.  Conversely, third base appeared well-stocked a year ago, but now rates as the organization's thinnest position overall.

The organization as a whole has thinned out, but not as much as some would have you believe.  While there is only one truly elite prospect remaining in the farm system, there are many more intriguing players with a chance to impact the major leagues than would fit on this list.  Remember that young players who are no longer rookie-eligible are not included here, or else Max Scherzer would obviously rank as elite.  Also, only prospects that have performed professionally in this country are eligible for the FutureBacks Fifty.  For a ranking of the top international prospects in the organization, please view the DSL Dozen.

Continue visiting FutureBacks.com as we provide background and scouting reports for all fifty prospects this year.  You can access prospect profiles for all of the players ranked in the 2008 list here.

Note: Listed age is as of January 1st, 2009

Rank (Prev) Pos Player Age
1 (3) RHP Jarrod Parker 20
Dominated the Midwest League at age 19 and got even better during fall Instructs
2 (4) OF Gerardo Parra 21
One of Double-A's youngest players, Parra then started raking in Venezuela
3 (8) RHP Barry Enright 22
K:BB ratio over 4 for the ultimate savvy-before-stuff pitcher
4 (NR) OF Collin Cowgill 22
Nice power/speed combo; underrated because of his height (5'9")
5 (NR) 1B Joshua Whitesell 26
Patient, powerful, and hits for a high average, but strikeouts are a concern
6 (NR) LHP Patrick McAnaney 22
0.89 pro ERA in 50.2 innings, plus six shutout frames in the MWL playoffs
7 (47) OF Evan Frey 22
Evolved from future role-player to future leadoff hitter during a fantastic season
8 (24) RHP Cesar Valdez 23
Others thought we were crazy for ranking him as top 30; we were too stingy
9 (NR) LHP Daniel Schlereth 22
Consensus #2 elsewhere.  Health concerns/closer's ceiling dropped him here
10 (7) SS Mark Hallberg 23
Rebounded from ugly hand injury to win MVP of the Hawaiian Winter League
11 (9) 2B Taylor Harbin 22
Hit .320 after June; 2nd in both MWL and D-backs system with 40 doubles
12 (31) RHP Bryan Augenstein 22
Led D-backs with 2.75 ERA; allowed fewer than one walk per nine innings
13 (NR) RHP Trevor Harden 21
Led Pioneer League with 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings using plus stuff
14 (16) SS Reynaldo Navarro 19
Improved SLG by over 100 points after being youngest profesional player in '07
15 (18) RHP Matt Torra 24
Great in Southern League, then held his own in tough PCL. Was Rule 5 eligible
16 (10) RHP Wes Roemer 22
Refusal to walk batters bit him in hitter's league; slider will work at higher levels
17 (34) SS Pedro Ciriaco 23
Made about as big a jump in the rankings as you can after repeating a level
18 (2) RHP Brooks Brown 23
Faded towards the end of summer.  Velocity is much lower than it was at Georgia
19 (NR) C James Skelton 23
Must learn new position after Snyder's extension and lack of Montero trade
20 (35) RHP Tony Barnette 25
Cerebral workhorse skipped Hi-A and won his final seven decisions at Double-A
21 (5) RHP Hector Ambriz 24
Poor summer as a starter, then pitched well in Arizona Fall League bullpen
22 (NR) 1B Ryne White 22
Put up fantastic numbers at Purdue, decent ones so far in the pros
23 (37) RHP Josh Collmenter 23
Improved mechanics and rigorous exercise have led to 18-11, 3.19 pro record
24 (NR) LHP Wade Miley 22
43rd overall pick is a safe bet to reach majors, but is unlikely to become a big star
25 (23) RHP Reid Mahon 25
Power sinkerballer slips a notch with the influx of relief pitchers from the 2008 draft
26 (12) RHP Billy Buckner 25
Curveball not as sharp as advertised, but still effective out of the D-backs' bullpen
27 (6) OF Cyle Hankerd 23
Offensive Player of the Year in Hawaii (.938 OPS) after a lackluster summer (.624)
28 (NR) C Rossmel Perez 19
Great defender, switch-hitter, unbelievable patience/pitch recognition for his age
29 (26) C John Hester  25
Recent transactions do not bode well for the system's most advanced catcher
30 (NR) RHP Bryan Shaw 21
Mid-90s fastball and power slider did not translate in the pros for some reason
31 (NR) 3B Kyle Greene 22
Big third baseman is improving on defense and has a nice left-handed swing
32 (NR) C Sean Coughlin 23
Backstop with pop has made tremendous strides on both sides of the ball
33 (29) 1B Bryan Byrne 24
Had another good season, but road to bigs is blocked by Whitesell
34 (NR) OF Ollie Linton 22
Lightning Linton plays great defense and posted a .384 OBP at South Bend
35 (32) LHP Scott Maine 23
Left-handed relievers now abound, so Maine slips even after a good year
36 (NR) OF Peter Clifford 25
Skipping Low-A, Clifford helped produce a quarter of Visalia's total runs
37 (NR) RHP Daniel Stange 23
Made an unusually quick Tommy John recovery. Still young with great stuff
38 (NR) SS Yunesky Sanchez 24
Plus-defender hit .296 after skipping Visalia, but must learn to draw walks
39 (NR) LHP Clay Zavada 24
Video-game numbers came as one of the oldest players in the Midwest League
40 (NR) Util Nelson Gomez 22
Still searching for a position; his powerful bat will carry him through the system
41 (NR) C Ryan Babineau 22
17th-rounder is a terrific defender learning to swing the bat and call a game
42 (36) RHP Kyler Newby 23
Addition to 40-man roster at odds with four pro years at Single-A
43 (NR) OF Isaias Asencio 21
Strong throwing arm and lively bat, but just six walks in 215 at-bats at Missoula
44 (NR) RHP Bryan Woodall 22
Sinker/slider pitcher averaged more than 1 K per IP after converting to bullpen
45 (NR) OF Derrick Walker 23
College football star is a tremendous athlete and has gained baseball aptitude
46 (NR) RHP William Spottiswood 23
Crafty closer uses both ground balls and strikeouts as weapons
47 (21) C Ed Easley 23
61st overall selection in 2007 has struggled on both sides of the ball
48 (NR) LHP Thomas Layne 24
Sinkerballing southpaw is equally effective at starting as relieving
49 (49) RHP Bryan Henry 23
Swingman posted a 2.43 ERA after April and 1.03 after July
50 (NR) RHP Josh Ellis 24
Right-handers batted under .200 against this deceptive sidewinder

View Beyond the Top 50 coverage and archived rankings here.

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