So enough with the buildup, enough with the teasing. Here it is, the first installment of the FutureBacks Fifty.
#50.5 Justin Upton LAST YEAR: NR
The shortstop out of Great Fall High School was the #1 overall pick in the 2005 draft and remains unsigned and, therefore, unranked. We did this last year with Stephen Drew, and this year he vaulted toward the top of the list. Watch for our full Prospect Profile tomorrow to find out where D'Backs Director of Scouting Mike Rizzo thinks he would have landed if he had been eligible, and what position he might be playing when he does.
#50 Wilkin Castillo LAST YEAR: NR
Versatility is the name of the game for Castillo, who at Lo-A South Bend managed to hit despite not getting consistent at bats, and field despite playing both corner outfield spots, third base, and his natural position, catcher.
#49 Clint Goocher LAST YEAR: #24
With the Double-A Tennessee Smokies the soft tossing lefty pitcher started the season strong, but struggled in the second half. With lefties at a premium you can almost never write one off, but Goocher has been passed by at least two lefty starters.
#48 Kenny Perez LAST YEAR: NR
After coming over from the Boston organization mid-season in in the Jose Cruz Jr. trade Perez showcased his wares at Hi-A Lancaster. A slick fielding shortstop who might have to change positions to move up, but also provides a steady backup plan for Stephen Drew and Sergio Santos.
#47 Jay Garthwaite LAST YEAR: NR
Incredible bat speed, startling power, solid defense in the outfield. What's not to like? Striking out more than one out of every four at bats in the hitter friendly California League with Lancaster for one thing.
#46 Emilio Bonifacio LAST YEAR: NR
One of the fastest guys, and one of the only true lead off hitters, in the system, the Diamondbacks were pleased with his development at Lo-A South Bend. He's a young middle infield (2B) prospect, and 55 stolen bases speak for themselves.
#45 Brian Barden LAST YEAR: #38
The Triple-A infielder drops in the rankings, but that has more to do with Troy Glaus locking down the third base slot than it does his development. Could be one of the prime targets for other teams in upcoming Rule V draft.
#44 Steve Garrabrants LAST YEAR: #36
An odd situation, as Garrabrants drops in the rankings, but it could be one step back to take two steps forward. A position change from shortstop to CF meant he stayed at Hi-A Lancaster all season, but he's poised to fault forward next year.
#43 Rusty Ryal LAST YEAR: NR
He gets penalized for being a couple years older than most of the guys in the Short Season Rookie League, but he impressed enough that the D'Backs brass is talking about him potentially skipping two levels before next season.
#42 Danny Richar LAST YEAR: NR
Errors, strikeouts, and unlimited potential. Moved to second base when Drew, and then Perez, showed up in Lancaster and claimed his shortstop position, and has a ton of tools, so has the ability to move up if he can make more contact.
#41 Marland Williams LAST YEAR: #9
Drops like a rock after a horrible '05 repeating at Double-A, but still has blazing speed. Might be the most disappointing player in the system this year, but will be given the chance to make a come back, but has been passed by at least one other CFer.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think by emailing Managing Editor James Renwick at email@example.com. If your question, comment, or concern is chosen for our weekly 'Fire D'Back' segment, beginning Saturday, December 3rd, you'll win a one month subscription to FutureBacks.com
Want to get the details on the Top 50 Prospects and all the Individual
Scouting reports that will be coming up over the next several months? Sign up
today for FutureBacks.com's Total Access Pass, which will give you access to all
the information you crave. Only $79.95 for a one full year subscription of the
Total Access Pass, gives you access to all premium content on
FutureBacks.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at
the top of the site), Breaking News and Information. You also receive
Total Access to ALL Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages. That
includes all baseball, football, college football and college basketball sites
on the network. Don't feel comfortable with a year subscription? FutureBacks
offers you monthly and three-month subscriptions for only $7.95 and $21.95