MLB.com: D-backs had 2nd most improved farm system in 2019
When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded away franchise player Paul Goldschmidt and let free agents Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock walk, many were expecting a full rebuild.
General Manager Mike Hazen entered the 2019 season trying to thread the needle between rebuilding and competing.
Hazen has been succsessful with that goal as MLB.com ranked the D-backs as the second most improved farm system of 2019 after a season in which the major league team went 85-77 and finished in second place in the National League West.
Mike Rosenbaum of MLBPipeline.com credits the Diamondbacks more for their depth than Top 100 Prospects, but he expects that to change.
“It should get more balanced as young outfielders Alek Thomas, Kristian Robinson, Corbin Carroll and others continue to develop,” Rosenbaum said in the article.
Thomas is the highest ranked D-back in the Top 100 (No. 59), followed by Robinson (No. 71), Carroll (No. 95), first baseman/outfielder Seth Beer (No. 96) and catcher Daulton Varsho (No. 100).
The Diamondbacks had two players in the Top 100 in 2018: Pitchers Jon Duplantier (No. 80) and Taylor Widener (No. 97).
Hazen took over a team that had the worst farm system in the sport before the 2017 season, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
Two years later, Law ranked the D-backs farm system as the eighth-best in MLB.
Rosenbaum says this resurgence started with a strong 2018 draft and the Goldschmidt trade to the St. Louis Cardinals that landed Arizona its starting catcher with Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver and prospect Andy Young.
Arizona followed this up by picking seven times within the first 75 slots of the 2019 draft, the first being Carroll.
At the trade deadline, Hazen continued to balance competing and rebuilding his farm system.
The D-backs traded shortstop Jazz Chisholm, one of the team’s top prospects, to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Zac Gallen, but then sent ace Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros for three current or former Top 100 prospects in Beer and pitchers J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin.
Now in his third offseason with the club, it appears the Hazen-led front office is in full motion at the minor league level.
Each D-back player found in the 2019 Top 100 prospects, with exclusion of Beer, was either signed or drafted by the current front office.
Sporting a farm system that has considerable depth, Arizona could be in a position to move assets from what was once known as a weakness to help the major league team that looks to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the west after signing free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner.