ESPN ranks 4 D-backs minor-leaguers among top-100 prospects in 2021

Feb 21, 2021, 7:00 AM | Updated: 7:44 pm
D-backs prospect Alek Thomas (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)...
D-backs prospect Alek Thomas (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

A handful of players within the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system were included in ESPN’s 2021 top MLB prospects ranking recently.

The ranking, compiled by Kylie McDaniel, pinpoints the top-100 prospects. Despite limited tape due to the cancellation of last year’s minor league season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, four D-backs prospects landed in the top-65.

Leading the way for Arizona is center fielder Corbin Carroll at 27th.

Carroll has gotten significantly stronger and is posting exit velos to match, akin to the jump Andrew Benintendi made in his draft year at Arkansas. A plus hitter with a good approach, solid-average power he can get to in games, and solid-average center-field defense is probably a better package than the college version of Benintendi when he was picked in the same range as Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Carroll was the 16th pick in the 2019 draft and was praised for his strong arm and good instincts.

In 11 games with the Short-A Hillsboro Hops in 2019, Carroll had 14 hits, six RBIs and 13 runs scored. He also posted a .326 batting average and a .408 OBP.

After Carroll, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo is the next D-backs prospect on the list, ranking 39th.

Perdomo is known for his quickness and has shown solid discipline at the plate. The shortstop has 66 career stolen bases since joining Arizona’s farm system in 2017.

His raw power is below average right now, but he is 6-foot-3 and adding bulk, so 15 homers doesn’t seem ridiculous. Hitting 15 homers annually with his profile would put him on the fringes of All-Star-like performance and his skill set comes with a lot less risk than, say, the Kristian Robinson type of skill set.

Kristian Robinson ranks 51st, 11 spots down from Perdomo in the rankings, with concerns over his below-average bat control and suspect pitch selection. McDaniel adds that reports have surfaced saying the 20-year-old has had his fair share of inconsistent play.

Despite Robinson’s struggles, he’s still considered one of the most intriguing prospects in baseball.

Robinson is one of the most exciting upside prospects on this list, with some ridiculous tools and a physique at 6-foot-3 that would stand out at the NFL combine. He has plus speed, arm strength, and raw power right now, but as he fills out, the power may jump to 80-grade (some think it’s already there) while the speed takes a step back and he slides from center to right field.

The final D-back on the list is center fielder Alek Thomas, who is ranked 64th.

Thomas’s father Alan is the White Sox director of conditioning, so it shouldn’t be super surprising that Alek has grown into two grades more of raw power since entering pro ball in the summer of 2018. It’s also not shocking that Alek has strong outfield instincts, with plus speed that plays as a plus defender in center field.

Thomas averaged .255 to go along with 24 hits, seven RBIs and two home runs as member of the Single-A Visalia Rawhide in 2019.

McDaniel believes there’s still a good chance that Thomas can hit around .250 and reach 15 to 25 home runs per year.

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ESPN ranks 4 D-backs minor-leaguers among top-100 prospects in 2021