D-backs among bottom tier of MLB in ESPN’s 2nd half rankings

Jul 22, 2022, 7:39 AM

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 02: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Carson Kelly...

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 02: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Carson Kelly #18 after hitting a two run home run off of David Peterson #23 of the New York Mets during the first inning at Chase Field on June 02, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves dead last at 40-52 with the second half of the season set to begin on Friday.

With the All-Star break coming to a close, ESPN’s Brad Doolittle, Alden Gonzalez, Jeff Passan and David Schoenfield broke down 30 ball clubs into six different tiers.

The MLB experts tabbed the Diamondbacks in the “already playing for next year” tier along with eight other teams.

While the D-backs won’t be competing for a playoff spot at the moment, experts believe Arizona will be competitive in the future thanks to its intriguing young core.

Since drafting Druw Jones second overall in the 2022 MLB draft, D-backs fans will be anxiously waiting for the trio of Jones, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll to man the outfield.

Since being called up, Thomas has shown supreme range in center field while also providing a spark with his bat and base running.

In 62 games, Thomas is hitting .250/.301/.406 to go along with seven homers and 22 runs driven in.

Meanwhile for Carroll, the 21-year old is oozing with potential as he figures to make his way to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

While transitioning through the minors, Carroll is hitting .315/.434/.653 including 19 homers and drawing an astounding 47 walks.

Biggest thing left to do in 2022: Get Corbin Carroll to the big leagues and watch him and Alek Thomas cook while Druw Jones debuts in short-season ball to give the Diamondbacks a glimpse at what the core of their future looks like. Carroll might be the best prospect in the minor leagues, a spark plug outfielder with top speed and power that belies his size. As long as he doesn’t spend more than 60 days in the big leagues, the Diamondbacks are eligible for the prospect promotion incentive, which could net them draft picks for elite performance by Carroll. As a rookie, Thomas is already playing at a four-win pace. And Jones, the No. 2 pick in the draft, has the highest ceiling of the bunch — and maybe of anyone in the minor leagues. — Passan

Throughout the first half of the season, there are have been very few bright spots for the Diamondbacks. Ketel Marte, however, has been one of them.

In 82 games, Marte is hitting .271/.363/.449 with eight homers and a team-leading 79 total hits.

Marte finished the first-half of the season on a remarkable note. In 15 July games, the 28-year old hit .300/.417/.600 while mashing four homers.

Which player should Arizona look to build around? Here is the list of hitters with a higher weighted on-base average than Ketel Marte since his unsightly April: Paul Goldschmidt, Rafael Devers, Alejandro Kirk, Alvarez and Judge. That’s it. Marte has been better than Soto, Freeman, Betts, Trout and Ramirez. He is that guy, the sort of player around which the Diamondbacks are building. And they are far enough along in their rebuild that if some of their high-minor pitching hits, they could get better in a hurry, with Marte at the forefront. — Passan



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