The FutureBacks.com Top 50: 15-11

Managing Editor
Posted Jan 12, 2005


The Top 50 is finally here.  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.  In a FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT we get closer to the top with #15-#11.


#15--Corey Myers

Name Top 50 Prospect Profile: Corey Myers
Position Catcher/1st Base/3rd Base
Age 24
Bats Right
Throws Right
’04 Club Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (California League)/AAA Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)

The Diamondbacks first round pick in the 1999 draft out of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Myers came with much hype and has journeyed all over the diamond looking for a way to get to the big leagues.  The answer appeared to come very near the end of Spring Training in 2004, when the Diamondbacks asked the former shortstop who was converted to third base, who was converted to first base to become a catcher.  Myers spent the entire first half of the 2004 season in extended spring training and the Arizona Instructional League working on his catching skills with Bill Plummer and Damon Berryhill, and then stopped off in Hi-A Lancaster before a spot at Triple-A Tucson was cleared for him.

Myers correctly asserted that he is "not at prospect status anymore" but that doesn't necessarily mean things are going to be smooth sailing for him.  The Diamondbacks traded for Koyie Hill and promoted Chris Snyder, a Double-A prospect, to catch, leaving Myers in Triple-A Tucson.  The fact that he has been moved around so much might actually end up being the reason he gets to the big leagues.  With the Hillenbrand trade now official, Myers could make the squad as the right handed part of the first base platoon, or as a utility man who could back up Troy Glaus at third, Chad Tracy at first, and be the third catcher.  Expect the Diamondbacks to give him a shot early in 2005, and then see if he has enough to stick around the big league club.

 

#14--A. J. Shappi

Name Top 50 Prospect Profile: A.J. Shappi
Position Pitcher
Age 22
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Club Short Season A Yakima Bears (Northwest League), Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (California League)

Shappi is a smart guy, and not just on the diamond.  He was a Rhodes Scholar candidate at UC Riverside, as well as being the staff's Ace.  In addition to going 5-1 between Yakima and Lancaster he has a ridiculous strikeout to walk ratio.  Shappi rarely has to challenge hitters because he seems to always be ahead in the count, but on the rare occasions when it calls for it, Shappi will come right after guys.  He was a Northwest League All Star and is an innings eater because his control allows him to keep his pitch count low. 

#13--Bill Murphy

Name Top 50 Prospect Profile: Bill Murphy
Position Pitcher
Age 23
Bats Left
Throws Left
’04 Club Double-A Carolina Mudcats (Southern League), Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)

The principal in the deal that sent Steve Finley to the Dodgers, this left hander is as hot a prospect as there is.  Coming out of the Oakland organization (3rd round, 2002) Murphy was highly touted, and considered a jewel in the Marlins system after he was moved there in late 2003.  The Diamondbacks wanted him so bad they forced the Dodgers to trade for him, simply so they could ship him to Arizona for Finley.  He's impressed everywhere he's gone, and drawn attention for both his game on the field, and his habit of writing in the dirt on his way off it.

Murphy has a fastball in the low 90s, and a changeup that is mandatory for every pitcher who gets into Oakland's system, but the jewel of Murphy's repertoire is a big sweeping curveball.  It's his best pitch and Murphy likes it a little too much sometimes, accounting for his high walk totals.

#12--Mike Gosling 

Name Top 50 Prospect Profile: Mike Gosling
Position Pitcher
Age 24
Bats Left
Throws Left
’04 Club AAA Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Gosling's biggest attribute is his ability to change speeds with his fastball and curveball, and to throw both those pitches, and his changeup, for strikes.  When he's right he hits his spots and needs a good defense behind him because hitters will put the ball in play, when he's not right he doesn't have the velocity to get away with mistakes.

#11--Dustin Nippert

Name Top 50 Prospect Profile: Dustin Nippert
Position Pitcher
Age 23
Bats Right
Throws Right
'04 Clubs Double-A El Paso Diablos ( Texas League)

Nippert might be the steal of the 2002 draft as the Diamondbacks grabbed him in the 15th round out of West Virginia.  An imposing presence on the mound at 6'7" he uses that height to maximum effect especially when working with his power curve, a pitch with so much movement one scout referred to it as 'unhittable.'  Had a benign tumor removed from his armpit in June of 2003, and missed the rest of the season because of it, but came back to dominate the Arizona Fall League that year, skyrocketing his stock with the organization.  Nippert was moved up to the Diamondbacks 40 man roster in mid November to protect him from the Rule V draft.  He has been working on a changeup to combat left handed hitters and if it becomes a plus pitch could very well become a front of the rotation starter for the Diamondbacks as early as '06.



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Top 50 Prospect Profile: AJ Shappi
 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jan 12, 2005
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 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jul 3, 2004
Big Draft Forces Changes In the System
 -by DiamondbacksDaily.com  Jun 22, 2004

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