Top 60 Prospects
Age is listed as of January 1, 2011
56. RHP Keith Cantwell, Age 23
Keith Cantwell was part of a magnificent Yakima Bears bullpen last year. Despite
playing all 30 of his games as a reliever, he finished second on the team with
five wins. If you were to remove his unfortunate August 8th outing against
Spokane, Cantwell would have had an ERA of 2.00 over 45 innings of work.
In his two pro seasons, Cantwell's defense-independent statistics are
staggering: 92 strikeouts, 18 walks, and only three home runs allowed.
Cantwell's prospect stock suffers more from how the Diamondbacks have chosen
to develop him than anything in his performance. In 48 pro
games, he has started none, saved none, and has finished only six. He has pitched
exclusively as a long reliever and exclusively for short-season ballclubs.
These are the obstacles that face a 31st-round draft choice that does not have
overwhelming stuff. A strong 2011 performance in South Bend will open some
eyes in the organization, but adding a couple of ticks of velocity to his
fastball might do even more for his prospect status. Listed at
six-foot-five and 215 pounds, Cantwell could realistically attain that goal.
57. 1B Bobby Stone, Age 21
Bobby Stone has improved his OPS at Rookie-level Missoula in each of the past
three seasons, from .658 in 2008 to .782 in 2009, to .829 last year and now
holds several career records for the Osprey. The bad news, of course, is
that he spent most of three seasons at the lowest level of the minor leagues.
His one foray into full-season ball was not a success, as he batted just .167
over 120 at-bats with the South Bend Silver Hawks before Missoula's 2010 season
The good news is that Stone only recently turned 21 years old because he was
drafted at such a young age. So if Stone were to perform well with South
Bend this season, his prospect status would rocket back upwards, as he would
still be of appropriate age for the Midwest League. Having transitioned
from a corner outfielder into a first baseman, Stone does need to put up
terrific numbers in order to impress. His frame hasn't quite filled out as
anticipated yet, but since he doesn't need as much athleticism at first as he
did in the outfield, he should now be able to add bulk and muscle to blossom
into the pure power hitter the Diamondbacks envisioned when they selected him in
the 15th round of the 2008 draft.
58. RHP Derek Eitel, Age 22
Derek Eitel became the first athlete in Rose-Hullman Institute of Technology
history to be selected in a professional sports draft when the Diamondbacks used
their 17th-round pick on the 6-foot-4 right-hander. He holds school records in
innings pitched (320.1) and wins (29), plus ranks second in Rose-Hullman history
with 299 career strikeouts. He went 6-2 with a 3.74 ERA in his senior year.
Eitel also played football at Rose-Hulman, setting single-season records for
passing yards (2,723), touchdowns (24), and passer rating (152.8) in 2009.
"I think one guy who stands out is Derek Eitel in the 17th round," said
scouting director Tom Allison when asked about the best sleeper picks of his 2010 draft.
"He's from a real small school in Indiana.
This guy was an all-everything quarterback for their football team and a very
Eitel only managed so-so numbers during his 11-game stint in Missoula, eight
of which were starts. Playing closer to his Midwestern home with South Bend
in late April, Eitel surprised by fanning 19 batters over 15 innings, allowing
only 10 hits and three runs in the process. He was piggybacking the starts
of young newcomer Tyler Skaggs, as both pitchers were on limited pitch counts at
that juncture, but still managed to go five innings in two of his four outings.
The Silver Hawks' rotation is likely where Eitel will begin the 2011 season.
59. INF Taylor Harbin, Age 24
Entering the 2010 season, Taylor Harbin had collected double-digit homers in
each of his three professional seasons and had never hit less than .264.
With that in mind, his 2010 line of six homers and a .259 batting average were
rather disappointing. For all of Harbin's career, scouts insisted that his
power numbers would fade when he reached higher levels, and with only 36 extra
base hits (down from 48 in 2009 and 53 in 2008) he has unfortunately proven them
Or has he? Harbin injured his wrist in late April, which could explain
his .348 slugging average prior to the Southern League All-Star break.
Afterwards, he slugged .423, which is more in line with the rest of his career.
Nevertheless, Harbin turns 25 before Valentine's Day and has yet to show that he
can sustain offensive success above A-ball. The strong-armed middle
infielder has added third base to his repertoire, but he is clearly still
getting acclimated to the position. He had a .939 fielding percentage
there as compared to .976 at shortstop and .986 at second base, splitting time
nearly equally between the three infield positions. It's hard to believe
that Harbin would hit enough to be anything other than an occasional filler at
the position, anyway. Second base remains the best fit for Harbin.
60. RHP Blake Cooper, Age 22
There is good reason for Blake Cooper having only pitched eight innings as a
pro last season. The five-foot-10 right-hander led the Southeastern
Conference with 104 innings pitched, then made five more starts in the
NCAA Tournament, the final two in the College World Series coming on just
three days of rest. His very last outing as a Gamecock lasted 136 pitches
and culminated in South Carolina winning Game One of the
College World Series Finals.
"I could tell I wasn't going to have enough giddy up
on my fastball," Cooper told Scout.com after the game. "I really wanted to rely
on the sink and being able to throw curveballs and sliders (for) strikes, and I
was able to do that early in the count, get some ground balls out and get some
big strikeouts when I needed them."
Cooper isn't normally overpowering, with that sinker usually sitting in the
upper 80s when he isn't gassed. But since he can command three quality
secondary pitches to go along with it, Cooper is extremely effective. That
sinker also features good lateral movement when it is working correctly.
He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter who gets his outs through craft
Our sister site, GamecockAnthem.com, took several videos of Cooper at press
conferences last spring:
5/20/10 - Watch Video | 5/31/2010 - Watch Video
Watch Video | 6/5/2010 Watch Video
Discuss this story in the
Subscriber-Only Message Boards.
Profiles for Arizona Diamondbacks prospects Keith Cantwell, Bobby Stone, Derek Eitel, Taylor Harbin, and Blake Cooper.