The FutureBacks Power Rankings v 2.1

The FutureBacks Power Rankings v 2.1

You want one stop shopping? Here it is, like Wal-Mart for the D'Backs minor leagues. These are not the top 30 players in the system, but they are the 30 hottest players in the system, and they are brought to you weekly here at FutureBacks.com. This week, we give it to you as a FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT, the FutureBacks Power Rankings.

Note:  Stats are current through Friday, April 21st, 2006.  This list is not a ranking of the 30 top prospects, but instead of the 30 hottest prospects in the organization, the ones making the most of their opportunities.  Players with a significant amount of Major League Service time are usually not eligible, though in certain situations (change of position, change of role) exceptions may be made.  Agree?  Disagree?  Bored?  Email questions, comments, and concerns to FutureBacks@cox.net

table border="1" width="100%"> Rank Name Team Comment Last Week 1 Adam Bass Tenn The first #1 of the year in the Power Rankings is the man who, to the surprise of many, got the opening day start in Tennessee.  That day Bass lasted for 4.1 innings, allowing six runs.  Since then he's allowed only two earned runs in 16.2 innings, including two starts this week, that resulted in two wins.  This is the second year in a row that Bass debuts at #1, last year it fell apart.  This year Bass is looking to gain consistency and stay near the top. 2 Stephen Drew Tuc Drew nearly made the big league club, and his current mission appears to be making it hard as possible for the D'Backs front office to keep him in the system.  He goes off this week, going 11-26 with three homers, five runs scored and seven RBI.  Perhaps the only knock on him last year offensively was that he didn't display his speed, but he picked up a stolen base this week. 3 Carlos Quentin Tuc Quentin got off to a rough start, but this week raised his average 127 points after a 10-24 week that included four doubles, a homer and seven RBI.  He walked as often as he struck out (4/4) and stole a base as well with the Sidewinders running wild. 4 Chris Rahl Lan The young outfielder knows that his time in center could be limited now that Justin Upton has arrived in South Bend, but the coaches will find at bats for him as long as he continues to hit, which he did this week, extending his hitting streak to 10 games with a 10-26 5 Miguel Montero Tenn Just 6-22 this week, but two runs scored, two doubles, a homer and five RBI keep him high on the list, as does his 16 RBI in 16 games this year and his .417 average with runners in scoring position, and amazing .571 with runners in scoring position and two out. 6 Brandon Burgess Lan Burgess has been a hot prospect since his draft, but injuries have slowed him, now fully healthy he's showcasing why he might end up being a star going 8-17 this week with two solo homers and four funs scored.  A move toward the top of the order might be coming as he was 3-4 in stolen base attempts but is hitting just .111 RISP and has just three RBI on the year despite hitting fifth in the order. 7 Micah Owings Tenn Our second highest rated pitcher this week is no surprise, as Owings is expected to rocket through the system.  In two starts this week he picked up one win and one no decision, throwing 12.1 innings and allowing just two earned runs while walking five and striking out 12. 8 Mike Schultz Tenn Three appearances, three innings pitched, one save on one hit and one walk.  Schultz is not the #1 closer on the Tennessee roster, but could be soon, as opponents are hitting just .087 against him for the year. 9 Frank Curreri South Bend A six game hit streak this week during a 6-14 week in which he scored three, drove in one, had a pair of doubles, a walk and two strikeouts.  Though he listed as a catcher, Curreri has appeared in eight games, six as the DH. 10 Mark Reynolds Lan Once a top shortstop prospect, Reynolds has now moved into a utility role, but he's excelling there.  With games at second, short, and third already this year, Reynolds has not brought that inconsistency to the plate, where he was 6-12 this week with a double, two homers and six RBI.  He scored four times this week and walked twice while striking out three times. 11 Tony Pena Tenn Last year coming out of spring training Tony Pena was challenging for a spot in the D'Backs starting rotation.  This year, he's not even in the Double-A Smokies starting rotation, he's their #1 closer.  In three appearances this week Pena worked 4.1 innings and allowed just three hits and two walks, collecting a win and a save.  One down side is that this year opponents are hitting .429 in the 9th inning.  That does not bode well for a closer. 12 Matt Elliott Lan Elliott was the best closer in the system last year in South Bend, and appears on his way to hold on to that crown this year.  He's 4-4 in save opportunities this season in Lancaster, and this week in two appearances he picked up two more, allowing just one run and three hits while striking out two. 13 Matt Chico Lan If the power rankings had started after the first week of the season it would have been impossible to put anyone but Chico at number one, since his opening day start consisted of five innings of no hit ball.  This week he had one start, allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings pitched.  He walked one and struck out six, and stays this high because it was the first outing of the year where Chico had allowed a run (four starts). 14 Enrique Gonzalez Tuc Don't let the record fool you.  Though Gonzalez is just 1-2 in his first three starts, he's carrying a 2.65 ERA.  Six innings this week allowing eight hits and four runs (three earned), walking two and striking out four.  Arguably the best starter in Triple-A despite the record. 15 Pedro Ciriaco SB Ciriaco had a four game hitting streak entering this week, make that eight games now.  This week he was 8-25 with three runs scored, two doubles, and three RBI.  He walked twice (against four Ks) and stole a base.  Ciriaco is a known quantity among the D'Backs front office, but might not be a secret around baseball for too much longer. 16 Danny Richar Tenn When FutureBacks learned that Danny Richar was going to be hitting leadoff in Tennessee everybody in office had a collective moment of "Whaaaat?"  Apparently that's why we're not coaching pro ball, Richar was 6-19 this week with a double, a RBI, and three runs scored, but more important was his eight walks against only three strikeouts placing his OBP at .397. 17 Doug Slaten Tenn The lanky lefty was surprise addition to the Arizona Fall League last year, and had a great spring.  He's carried that momentum into the season, with two innings pitched in two appearances, allowing only one hit and no runs.  He's also throwing strikes, having not allowed a walk while striking out five (yes, that's five of the six outs he recorded) and dropped his ERA to a masterful 1.23 for the season. 18 Vincent Bongiovanni SB Two appearances, three innings pitched, three hits, one walk, three Ks and zero runs.  That zero runs is the key, as it applies not just to this week, but to all four appearances (8.1 innings pitched) he's had this year. 19 Greg Thomson SB Though he was just 5-21 this year, he collected three RBI, and has been clutch in those situations, hitting .526 with RISP this season.  Contact will be the key, as he struck out six times this week against just one walk. 20 Jonaton Valverde SB The familiar name comes with a familiar spot, the end of the game.  Valverde has been installed as the closer in South Bend, and despite taking the loss in one of his two outings this week, he's converted three saves on the season and carries a .180 ERA. 21 Rusty Ryal Lan The Oklahoma State product is off to a good start, showcasing all aspects of his game.  He's challenging Brian Barden as the best defensive third baseman in the game, and was 6-19 this week with a double, three triples, a RBI, six runs scored and he stole a base. 22 Bill White Tenn Two appearances, 1.2 innings pitched, one hit, no runs.  There's something in the Tennessee water that lefties are liking, as he carries just a 2.70 ERA for the year. 23 Kenny Perez Tuc Between Drew, Alberto Callaspo, Richar, Reynolds and the rest it seems like there might not be a spot in the organization for Kenny Perez, but if he continues to have weeks like this past one (7-18 with two RBI) the D'Backs will have no choice but to make room for him. 24 Derek Bruce Lan He was five for 19 with a run and two doubles but hitting up in the order is where Bruce could have the most success, and he'll have to become more selective to get there, he's yet to walk this season but has 12 strikeouts. 25 Ryan Coffin Lan Two appearances, 4.2 innings pitched, three hits, and one was a solo homer, the only earned run he allowed this week.  His 1.93 ERA for the season is a good sign of things to come. 26 Scott Hairston Tuc Hairston has proclaimed that he would be healthy by opening day, and he's proving it. This week he was 6-26, but he had two doubles and a solo homer, and scored four runs.  In a crowded Diamondbacks outfield system, Hairston may be doing nothing more than increasing his trade value, but it's rising. 27 Forrest Cory SB Cory was undrafted, and didn't even have a job last year.  The Diamondbacks took a shot, and it appears to be paying off.  This week two appearances, 2.1 innings pitched, two hits and one run (unearned).  In four appearances this season he's yet to allow and earned run, and one figures this is a lefty with a lot to prove. 28 Matt Morgan Tenn Matt Morgan is listed as the second catcher in Tennessee, but if you look at the depth chart he's probably the #2 option for Smokies Manager Bill Plummer at least three positions.  This year he's already played four different positions, and when he's playing, he's mashing, going 5-12 this week with a RBI, and two runs. 29 Carlos Gonzalez Lan The top prospect in the organization hasn't started particularly hot, but one incredible day gets him on this list.  He was 5-19 this week with three runs scored, two homes and five RBI.  The fact that both homers and all the RBI came in one game is irrelevant here, he's hitting .321 with runners on base for the year, and there will be many more games like that to come. 30 Emilio Bonifacio Lan Bonifacio makes the list for the same reason he's likely to make the bigs.  Speed.  Though he was just 4-15 this week he walked three times and was 3-3 in stolen bases, making him 8-9 in steals on the young season.  Expect him to move up the list as quickly as he moves from base to base.

 

On the Cusp:

Esmerling Vasquez (Lancaster):  Four appearances, a 1-0 record and just five hits in five innings pitched this week make him a contender, but he'll have to keep his nasty slider out of the dirt, as he had two pitches go to the backstop this week.

Wilkin Castillo (Lancaster):  Another catcher who brings three or four different gloves to the park, he's been hitting, and would have made the list if there had been a PR at the beginning of the season, but a 3-21 recent streak bumps him.

Justin Upton (South Bend):  As of the cutoff (Friday) he had played in exactly one game after spending some extra time in Tucson rehabbing a sore shoulder, and he was 0-5 with two strikeouts in that one game, but anybody who thinks he won't crack this list soon is out of their heads.

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