Arizona Diamondbacks Prospects #31-40

The Arizona Diamondbacks boast one of the best farm systems in baseball, so there are definitely more than 20 prospects in their ranks worth watching. Here is information on some of their prospects - predominately ones who have not yet eclipsed A-ball - whom you may not know now, but who could play key roles at the major league level nonetheless.

Top 50 Prospects
Age is listed as of January 1, 2012

31. SS Raul Navarro, Age 19

After batting a powerful .305 with Missoula in 2010, Raul Navarro was considered by many to be a big sleeper prospect for the D-backs.  Our optimism may have been premature, however, as Navarro failed to hit at all in a 2011 season split between two far less hitter-friendly leagues.  He slugged just .243, but remains a prospect on a couple of accounts.  First, he was still a teenager last year, and while it would have been nice for him to perform a bit better at Yakima, there's nothing for a 19-year old struggling in the Midwest League to be ashamed of.  Also, the rangy teen improved his fielding percentage by 30 points from 2010 and should develop into a very good defensive shortstop.

32. RHP Mike Belfiore, Age 23

Whereas Navarro went from a nobody to solidly on the prospect map, Mike Belfiore traveled in the other direction.  The 45th-overall selection in 2009, Belfiore has been a huge disappointment in full-season ball, combining to go 7-14 with a 4.73 ERA over the past two seasons.  After eight miserable starts with Visalia in April and May (7.30 ERA), the man who dominated at Boston College shifted to bullpen duty.  He was far more successful in that role, as he fanned 46 batters in 42 innings.  Being able to focus primarily on his fastball and slider allowed him to show stuff closer to what he exhibited in college.  The 27 walks as a reliever reveal that command is still an issue, however.

33. RHP Tyler Green, Age 20

Green posted a 3.12 ERA in April and May, a 7.71 ERA in June and July, and then a 3.34 ERA in August and September.  He'd been piggybacking his appearances with Jeff Shields before entering the rotation full-time in June.  Obviously, that was a rough transition for this young arm, but it's a testament to Green's fortitude that he was able to recover from those disastrous summer months.  When his arm is feeling good, Green has a fastball ranging from 91-94 mph that he compliments with a slider, power curveball, and straight changeup. He's also been experimenting with a splitter, but the key for Green is to mold three of these pitches into ones he can command consistently.

34. 1B Yazy Arbelo, Age 23

Yazy Arbelo led the Midwest League with 31 dingers and 95 RBI, but also 161 strikeouts.  For a 23-year old in Low-A ball, the strikeouts are a huge red flag.  Additionally, Arbelo has now committed 29 errors in 182 games at first base.  Caveats aside, the D-backs have to be pretty happy with what Arbelo has shown considering he was a 26th-round draft pick.  If he can continue to hit for power and draw walks at higher levels, he could be a pinch-hitting specialist for the Diamondbacks, or possibly bring trade value dangled to an American league squad who can hide some of his defensive deficiencies at the DH spot.

35. RHP Bryan Woodall, Age 25

Woodall has never had dominant stuff, but he has always been very effective. In the admittedly limited sample size on the Arizona Fall League, his sinker worked better than ever before.  He got nearly five ground outs for every fly out and did not allow a homer all fall.  A lot of his grounders found holes, however, leading to a .306 BAA and 4.11 ERA.  He's 25 years old and was left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft, an unusual combination with someone who was invited to pitch in the AFL two straight seasons.  He'll pitch in Reno this season, and if he can remain effective in that environment, it might force the D-backs into adding him to the 40-man roster and giving him a chance in the bigs.

36. LHP John Pedrotty, Age 22

Pedrotty used a three-pitch repertoire of a fastball, curveball, and changeup to average more than a strikeout per inning in his debut season, leading to a stellar 3.04 ERA with Yakima.  There's no question that he showed enough to begin 2012 in the South Bend Silver Hawks' rotation despite fierce competition for those five spots.  A tall left-hander selected in the 13th round last summer, Pedrotty figures to at least be good enough to help a major league bullpen sometime down the road.  He could be the first alum of College of the Holy Cross to play in the majors since Mike Pazik, a southpaw pitcher for the Twins in the 1970s.

37. C Raywilly Gomez, Age 21

After spending several seasons transitioning from the hot corner, Raywilly Gomez can finally say that he is a full-time catcher.  A pretty solid one, given that he threw out a quarter of would-be basestealers, boasted a .994 fielding percentage, and allowed just a half dozen passed balls in 88 games.  Gomez remains a great contact hitter, fanning just once every ten at-bats last season and having walked more often than he has struck out in his minor league career.  He's also beginning to show signs of driving the ball for power.  Just 22-years old entering the 2012 season, there's no reason to think that this switch-hitting backstop can't continue developing into a major league player.

38. RHP Jeff Shields, Age 21

Shields has good stuff: a four-seam fastball that can reach the mid-90s, a two-seamer that helped him induce nearly twice as many ground outs as air outs last year, a slider that helped him hold right-handed batters to a .252 batting average, plus a changeup and slow curve to disrupt hitters' timing.  He also has good control, as evidenced by the mere 31 walks allowed in 136 innings.  Given these tools, we'd expect Shields to do a better job of putting hitters away, but he fanned just five batters per nine innings.  While his results improved drastically in the second half of the season (3.51 ERA vs. 6.49 in the first half), that strikeout rate remained the same.

39. RHP Mike Bolsinger, Age 23

Former 15th-round draft selection Mike Bolsinger turned in a truly impressive season with South Bend, managing a 2.66 ERA and 3.6 K/BB ratio.  The trouble with Bolsinger is that he's turned 24 years old and has only pitched one inning above Low-A ball (albeit a scoreless inning at Triple-A Reno).  His fastball rarely tops 90 mph, but his clean mechanics and pitching know-how could keep him competitive at higher levels.  His ability to induce ground balls is particularly impressive, with over 55% of the balls he allowed in play coming on the ground last year.

40. 2B Jake Elmore, Age 24

How's this for consistency? Over the past three seasons, Elmore's OBP has ranged from .362 to .374, his SLG between .345 and .351, and his OPS spanning .711 to .719.  Maintaining his 2009 numbers in 2010 really impressed, since Elmore had skipped over the Hi-A level entirely.  His replicating that production yet again last season really disappointed, since he was repeating the same level and should have improved. Elmore knows the strike zone, handles most breaking balls well, and makes all of the routine plays at second base.  Nothing about him is flashy, though, which will make it difficult for him to stand out and get the call to the majors despite his being a rather useful little player.

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