The Arizona Diamondbacks are the worst team in baseball and, outside of trading Eduardo Escobar, didn’t do much at the trade deadline to improve their farm system. That stings when looking at this club’s long-term projection, but some of the pain is alleviated when considering Arizona’s crop of top prospects. Minor league stars like Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas have the potential to form one of the best one-two punches in baseball while new addition Jordan Lawlar projects as the team’s shortstop of the future.
With the selection of Lawlar and other new updates out of Minor League Baseball, let’s dive into an updated ranking of the D-backs’ top-five prospects.
Make sure to check out all of our Updated Prospect Articles.
1. Corbin Carroll, Outfielder
Selected in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Carroll is a player with high-end prospect status. An all-around talented player, the 20-year-old possesses a phenomenal hit tool that has translated to an out-of-this-world .435/.552/.913 slash line with two homers through seven games at High-A this season. It will be exciting to see if he can keep up his tremendous batting clip upon his return from shoulder surgery in 2022. He’s also a speed demon, averaging 0.43 stolen bases per game in his pro career. As for his defense, Carroll’s glovework, instincts, range, and arm all check in well above average.
Carroll represents the future of the Diamondbacks and should be an impact player in the majors for quite some time. While Carroll lacks power, he makes up for it in every other category. Assuming all goes well in his recovery, he should find his way to the MLB level in late April 2023.
2. Alek Thomas, Outfielder
Thomas has looked impressive through parts of three minor league seasons. The 2018 second-round pick is slashing .284/.377/.507 with nine homers, 36 RBI, 36 walks, 61 strikeouts, and eight stolen bases at Double-A this season. Evidently, he does a little bit of everything. Not only can the 21-year-old get on base, but he also has shown flashes of power, speed, and intelligence at the plate. As for his fielding ability, the left-hander is a rangy player with good instincts, but his arm is definitely subpar. As such, he’ll likely be destined for left field long-term.
An advanced and well-rounded player, Thomas has the makings of someone who can be a permanent mainstay in the majors. He should finish 2021 at Triple-A and showcase his talents at MLB Spring Training in 2022. While he might not make the Opening Day roster, it would not be surprising to see the Diamondbacks call him up for his debut in May.
3. Jordan Lawlar, Shortstop
The Diamondbacks were fortunate enough to select Lawlar with their first-round pick in this past summer’s draft. The Jesuit Prep (TX) product is a speedy infielder with a strong bat, respectable power, and an impressive glove at shortstop. The 19-year-old is a true five-tool prospect who finds and peppers gaps when hitting. He also has the potential to add more power to his playing style as he continues to gain strength. Defensively, Lawlar moves around well with impressive range and sturdy glovework. There is little doubt that Mayer projects as a shortstop down the road, though his strong arm means he could shift to third base if that were ever necessary.
Lawlar turned 19 in June, so he’s still a reasonable distance from making his MLB debut. The Diamondbacks won’t rush his development, especially with Geraldo Perdomo (more on him later) expected to crack the big-league roster in 2022. Still, it’s fair to imagine that Lawlar will have such strong production at the plate and in the field that the Diamondbacks might have no choice but to call him up in 2024. (Most projections currently list 2025 as a reasonable ETA.)
4. Kristian Robinson, Outfielder
A toolsy outfielder, Robinson has shown varying results in the lower levels of the minors. He posted great numbers at Single-A in 2019 but struggled upon his promotion to High-A where he slashed just .217/.294/.435 with a 7.8 percent walk rate and 29.4 percent strikeout rate through 25 games. On a more positive note, he did log five homers during that time and also stole three bases. He possesses great right-handed pop, as well as decent range and a strong arm in the outfield. He’ll patrol center field in the minors but might be destined for right field at the MLB level.
Beyond his baseball tools, Robinson has had some off-the-field issues. The 20-year-old was charged with aggravated assault after an incident from April 2020 in which he allegedly struck an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper. He has since had his plea modified and will reportedly look to have his charges modified to a misdemeanor. Still, the situation has caused Robinson to miss the entire 2021 season and will significantly delay his development. As of now, he likely won’t make his MLB debut until mid-2023 at the earliest.
5. Geraldo Perdomo, Shortstop
Perdomo presents an intriguing case. I was hesitant to include him on this list due to poor production throughout various levels of professional baseball, but he sneaks into the No. 5 spot thanks to a strong repertoire of tools. The 21-year-old spent the start of this season in the majors despite never playing above High-A. Through four games, he slashed .100/.308/.100 with four walks. He was then optioned to Double-A, where he owns a .159/.311/.218 slash line with a 16.1 percent walk rate and 24.6 percent strikeout rate through 52 games. While he struggles to put the ball in play, the 21-year-old evidently knows how to get on base by working counts. He’s also a phenomenal defender and will undoubtedly stick at shortstop for a long time. He possesses great range, footwork, and glovework. He’s a slick fielder with soft hands, a high baseball IQ, and a strong arm.
A liability offensively, Perdomo needs to improve at the plate in order to become an impact player in the majors. That’s easier said than done; it’s not often that a .159 batting average in Double-A translates to offensive success at the MLB level. Still, Perdomo likely has a future in the majors thanks to his elite defensive prowess.
What Does the Future Hold?
With Carroll and Thomas not far from the majors, there is reason for the Diamondbacks to be quite excited about their future. Lawlar also provides plenty of optimism, though his debut is further down the road. However, players like Perdomo and Robinson do represent moderate risks considering their weak offense and legal situations, respectively.
You’ll also notice that this list does not feature any pitchers, nor does it include a catcher. Fortunately, the next tier of Diamondbacks prospects is loaded with strong arms, with Slade Cecconi headlining the bunch. He’s extremely close to emerging as one of the organization’s top prospects and should check in around No. 4 or 5 in our next farm system update.
Arizona also made a pair of moves to address their future behind the plate, which was devastatingly weak heading into July. The team drafted catcher Adrian del Castillo and traded for Cooper Hummel, who can play behind the dish or in the corner of the outfield.
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