ESPN Insider: D-backs have the worst farm system in baseball

Jan 18, 2017, 4:15 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Anthony Banda throws against the Colorado Rockies during the ...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Anthony Banda throws against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes are both currently at or near the bottom of the standings in their respective sports.

The reasons are many, but youth is a big one. Both teams’ rosters are stocked with so much young talent, that if developed correctly, could contribute to team success in the future.

Their baseball brethren, the Arizona Diamondbacks, can’t make the same claim, at least according to one ESPN expert.

In an Insider piece, Keith Law has rated the minor league systems of all 30 Major League Baseball teams, and he’s got the D-backs ranked dead last.

Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled a solid farm system in just two years at the helm of the Diamondbacks. Stewart has better things to do now, and the challenge for new GM Mike Hazen & Co. is substantial. Arizona did not draft well under Stewart. The best player they took in those two drafts is now the starting shortstop in Atlanta, and I don’t think anyone else from either class would make my global top 150 prospects list.

They blew their international signing budget in 2015 on Yoan Lopez, now a non-prospect, and that precluded them from participating in any meaningful way in the strong 2016 international class. They traded two top 100 prospects plus a third who didn’t miss the top 100 by much in moves that made the club worse off in the long run. This system is several drafts away from getting back into the middle of the pack, and unless they’re willing to trade their superstar first baseman, I don’t think they have a shortcut available.

Law points to the trade Stewart engineered with the Braves that sent former top overall pick Dansby Swanson and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to Atlanta in exchange for starting right-hander Shelby Miller. Even if Miller had pitched to his potential in 2016, the trade would have been panned. He didn’t and the deal is now viewed as a disaster for the Arizona minor-league system.

In fact, Baseball America had Swanson and Blair rated as the organization’s top two prospects during the 2015 offseason prior to the trade going down.

Stewart also dealt infielder Isan Diaz, who was highly thought of by scouts, to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2016 season in a trade that netted second baseman Jean Segura from the Brewers. Segura has since been traded by Hazen to the Seattle Mariners for a package featuring right-hander Taijuan Walker.

Diaz put up a line of .264/.358/.469 with 20 home runs and 75 RBI at Single-A Wisconsin. He was also named Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year and is rated as the Brewers’ fifth-best prospect heading into 2017.

The consensus seems to be that left-hander Anthony Banda is the best D-backs prospect. Acquired in a 2014 trade with the Brewers, Banda posted a 10-6 record in 2016 in stops at Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He tied a minor-league career-high with 152 strikeouts in 150 innings and had a combined 2.88 ERA. The 23-year-old represented the D-backs at last summer’s Futures Game in San Diego, taking the loss for Team USA after giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

D-backs 2017 Prospect Rankings



Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Diamondbacks

Ketel Marte...

Arizona Sports

NL Wild Card standings: Diamondbacks fight for postseason berth

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a playoff hunt for the first time in years. After a cold July and early August, they are back in the race.

37 minutes ago

NL Wild Card logo...

Arizona Sports

How does the NL Wild Card format, standings work for D-backs to make the postseason?

How many games are in an AL or NL Wild Card series? How many teams get in? And how does MLB playoff seeding work?

23 hours ago

Corbin Carroll...

Stephen Gugliociello

Diamondbacks president raves about Carroll, has zero concern on Hazen

After winning five-straight games at home, Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall talks about the team's hot play, among several topics. 

1 day ago

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the first inning of the MLB g...

Dan Bickley

Diamondbacks seizing moment in final surge of regular season

The Diamondbacks are surging. They are having a moment. They are seizing the moment. They are again the talk of Major League Baseball.

2 days ago

Merrill Kelly...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Merrill Kelly outduels ace Logan Webb in sweep over Giants

Merrill Kelly shook off an early home run to help the Diamondbacks sweep the Giants in two games at Chase Field.

2 days ago

Corbin Carroll...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Corbin Carroll accomplishes rare 25-home run, 50-stolen base season

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll became the first rookie to hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bases in a single season.

2 days ago

ESPN Insider: D-backs have the worst farm system in baseball