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D-backs’ top prospects for 2018 feature two in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100

(AP photos)

The Arizona Diamondbacks did not have a top 100 prospect in the MLB Pipeline’s yearly rankings last year, but that changed in 2018.

Right-handed pitcher Jon Duplantier and first baseman Pavin Smith are both featured on this year’s preseason list.

Duplantier ranks No. 76, while Smith checks in at No. 91.

Duplantier split 2017 between Kane County of the Midwest League and Visalia of the California League and was equally effective in both locales. The 23-year-old combined to go 12-3 with a 1.39 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 135.1 combined innings of work. He struck out 165 and walked only 42.

At the short-season A-level, Smith hit .318 with 27 runs batted in 51 games for Hillsboro in the Northwest League after being a first-round pick (seventh overall) of the D-backs out of Virginia last June. The 22-year-old ranks third among first base prospects in all of baseball.

Duplantier and Smith ascending on Arizona’s prospect ranking signifies change from 2017’s list.

Anthony Banda was the team’s No. 1 prospect last season, but he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team deal that centered around Steven Souza Jr.

Right-handed pitcher Taylor Widener, who came from the Yankees to the D-backs in that deal, checks in at No. 4. In 2017, Widener went 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 games in advanced-A ball. He was a 12th-round pick of the Yankees out of South Carolina in 2016.

Shortstop Jasrado Chisholm is No. 3 on the list in 2018 after holding the same spot in 2017. In Kane County last year, Chisholm hit .248 with one home run and 12 RBI. He suffered a knee injury last May and missed the rest of the season.

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