Four D-backs named in ESPN’s Keith Law’s top 100 prospects of 2019

Jan 30, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks and the U.S. Team pitcher Jon Duplantier throws during the All-Star Futures ba...
Arizona Diamondbacks and the U.S. Team pitcher Jon Duplantier throws during the All-Star Futures baseball game, Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Miami. The U.S. Team won 7-6. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Following the release of MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects of 2019, ESPN’s Keith Law has released his own version of the rankings in two parts.

While three D-backs found themselves in MLB Pipeline’s top 100, four D-backs had their name land on Law’s list.

32. Jazz Chisholm, SS

The 20-year-old from the Bahamas is the most well-regarded D-back on Law’s top 100, placing as the 32nd best prospect of 2019 and the sixth best shortstop.

Chisholm, who signed with Arizona for $200,000 in 2015, was limited to only 29 games his first season after suffering a torn right meniscus.

However, he returned the following season to hit .272 with 25 home runs and 70 RBI. He also stole 17 bases in 112 games to finish the year in High-A.

Law projects Chisholm as an All-Star and one of the best middle infielders in the league who has the potential to hit 25 home runs and steal 25 bases a year.

Although Chisholm will strike out some, between his aggressive approach and a swing that can get big, his hand-eye coordination is strong, and he’s still learning some aspects of pitch selection and recognition, with less than 900 pro plate appearances under his belt in three years. He’s still very projectable physically and likely to end up with plus or double-plus raw power. But he is quick and agile enough to be an above-average shortstop even as he grows, and his ability to stay at the position will be more a function of footwork and timing, things he can learn with repetitions.

40. Jon Duplantier, RHP

The right-hander was the highest ranked D-backs pitcher at 40th overall and the 19th best pitcher.

Following a shoulder injury and elbow soreness, he led the minors in ERA (1.39) in 2017 while pitching across two levels and attending the Futures Game in his first full season.

In 2018, he was shut down after right biceps tendinitis limited him to just 67 innings in Double-A.

However, the 24-year-old was able to impress in the Arizona Fall League with a repertoire that includes a 92-96 mph fastball, two above-average breaking balls and a changeup.

His delivery isn’t perfect, with some stiffness out front when he lands, and three arm issues in the past four calendar years is worrisome. He has at least No. 2 starter upside if he can stay healthy for a full season, as he did in 2017.

89. Daulton Varsho, C

Varsho comes in at 89th overall and as the ninth best catcher.

Drafted 68th overall by the D-backs in 2017, he had a slash line of .286/.363/.451 during his first full season in High-A.

He also led the short-season Northwest League in OPS (.902) and led all minor league catchers with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts over 83 games before having season-ending surgery to repair a broken right hamate bone. The 19 stolen bases were more than all major league catchers who qualified for the batting title in 2018 had combined, according to Law.

Varsho also impressed in the Arizona Fall League following his return to the diamond.

He is an average receiver who blocks very well and frames adequately; his arm strength is fringe, but he gets rid of the ball very quickly.

Some scouts think Varsho will end up at another position, such as second base, either because they doubt his receiving skills or because they think his speed and athleticism is wasted behind the plate. I’ve ranked him here as if there’s a good chance he stays at catcher, but it looks very much like his bat will make him an above-average regular somewhere, whether it’s at catcher, second or somewhere else — providing average, some very good on-base skills and 15 to 20 homers.

93. Kristian Robinson, OF

The final D-back on the list is outfielder Kristian Robinson, who comes in ranked 93rd.

The 18-year-old is also from the Bahamas and signed with the D-backs in 2017 for $2.5 million, the second-highest bonus given to a player from the Bahamas.

He is a right-handed power hitter with a great eye and has the speed to play the outfield.

Law projects him as a 25-home run, 25-steals a year player with good OBP skills.

He is a plus runner with big raw power now and future plus game power, showing the speed for center field and great instincts, although a fringy arm and his potential size might push him to left. At the plate, he has very strong hands and a quiet approach, but he generates a lot of force when he does swing and drives the ball well to left and center.

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Four D-backs named in ESPN’s Keith Law’s top 100 prospects of 2019