Nobody is too sure what to expect out of the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. We have yet to see what Yasmany Tomas will bring to the table, whether Paul Goldschmidt can return to form, or how the team will fare at catcher now that Miguel Montero is in Chicago. But the season may rely more on what the D-backs farm system can produce, anyway.
In an Insider piece, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked baseball’s 30 farm systems, putting the D-backs No. 14.
“I might take their top four starting pitching prospects over anyone else’s in baseball,” Law wrote.
It’s safe to say that Law was referring to starting pitchers Archie Bradley, Aaron Blair, Braden Shipley and Touki Toussaint.
Bradley has been ranked as a top prospect for a while, but has failed to stay healthy or get a call-up to the main club. Playing at three minor league levels last season, Bradley had a combined record of 3-7 in the 18 games he started, five of those with the Triple-A Reno. Bradley endured his worst year statistically last season, seeing his ERA rise from 1.84 in 2013 to 4.45 in 2014.
Blair had a promising 2014 and should have a chance to make the big league club at some point this season. He played at three minor league levels last year, making it as a high as AA where he really exceled. With the Mobile BayBears, Blair started eight games and had a 4-1 record with a 1.94 ERA. He also had a .993 WHIP with the team and had 3.35 strikeouts per walk in all three leagues combined.
Shipley secured a 3.60 ERA for the Mobile BayBears in four starts and started 22 games altogether last season. With a fastball in the mid-90s, he struck out 127 batters in 126 innings pitched.
Drafted No. 16 overall last year, Toussaint is an athletic pitcher with a big curveball. He only played in the rookie league last year and had an 8.58 ERA.
Law said there aren’t many hitters in the system, which is why their ranking wasn’t higher.