The FutureBacks.com Top 50: 40-36

<p>The Top 50 is finally here.&nbsp; After months of interviews, evaluations, discussion and hand wringing, we've done the Santa Claus thing, made the list, checked it twice, then reevaluated, discussed some more, and done some more hand wringing...then there were cuts, and trades, and rumored trades.&nbsp; We're locked and loaded now though, once it's in print, there's no going back you know.&nbsp; Today, a <b>FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT</b>, namely, round 3: 40-36.</p>

#40--Jay Garthwaite

Name Jay Garthwaite
Position Outfield
Age 24
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Club Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (California League)/ Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)

After a monster first season in the organization Garthwaite took a half step backwards in Double-A.  Might have been rushed a little, after being moved back to Lancaster put together decent numbers and according to coaches ironed out a couple kinks in his swing that hurt him El Paso.  Still looked a little uncomfortable at the plate with the adjustments, but the positive results of the second half should help.

#39--Enmanuel Duran

Name Enmanuel Duran
Position Pitcher
Age 20
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Club Rookie Level Missoula Osprey (Pioneer League)

Twenty year olds in Rookie Ball don't usually make Top 50 lists, but when the radar gun needs all three digits to measure your fastball exceptions get made.  Duran was signed as an undrafted free agent in June of 2003.  He pitched in the Diamondbacks Summer League and impressed, he got to Missoula and impressed more.

FutureBacks.com's David Merchant was impressed by the youngster, "He'll need to work on the slider, just to change things up a bit, but that fastball is amazing.  It's almost like a splitter, but splitters aren't usually effective when they're thrown 96-97.  He won't really be tested until he gets to Double-A, but a heavy fastball like that is going to be effective at any level if he throws it for strikes."

#38--Brian Barden

Name Brian Barden
Position Third Base
Age 23
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Club Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)/ Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)

Very good fielder, but without the power of a proto-typical 3rd baseman.  Compares to Bill Mueller, without the switch hitting capability, but only if he can make more contact at the plate.  Doesn't hit for enough power to justify the 7:1 strikeout ratio, if he can make more contact might end up getting the call at second or as a utility player.

#37--Jesus Cota

Name Jesus Cota
Position Outfielder/1st Base
Age 23
Bats Left
Throws Right
'04 Club Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)

Considered a can't miss prospect when he was taken in the first round (14th overall) by the Diamondbacks in 2000 coming out of Pima (AZ) Community College.  He's had a hip flexor problem that has bothered him for at least two full seasons, possibly more, and needs to get healthy to regain the power stroke that had the Diamondbacks so high on him when he was drafted.

"He's got this amazing power hitters swing," FutureBacks.com's David Merchant says, "but he isn't driving the ball."  

Cota had 16 homers in 75 games his first year [at Rookie League Missoula] where he played only 75 games, and then 16 again the next year in a full year at Lancaster, but that's when he got hurt and the power just hasn't been there since.  This upcoming year will be a make or break season for Cota, if he's healthy the Diamondbacks will give him an opportunity as soon as possible, if not, he may flame out.

#36--Steve Garrabrants

Name Steve Garrabrants
Position Second Base
Age 23
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Clubs Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (California League), Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League), Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)

Garrabrants is maybe the very definition of that old cliché, 'A Coach's Player.'  He hustles on every play, makes smart decisions, and is always in the game mentally.  Coming out of ASU as the D'Backs ninth round pick in 2003 he's moved up very quickly, showcasing fundamentals honed at one of the top college baseball programs in the country.

"He does all those little things," Garrabrants coach at Yakima in 2003 said, "moving runners along, making contact, bunting, breaking up the double play as well as he turns the double play.  He's just a baseball player, and I mean that as a compliment."

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