FutureBacks Power Rankings: 2nd Half - Week 5

FutureBacks Power Rankings: 2nd Half - Week 5

With just hours to go before the July 31st trade deadline, there haven't been any blockbuster deals for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The one trade brought over a prospect with a broken hand to the desert, so he's not likely to debut on these Power Rankings anytime soon. Meanwhile, the biggest jump this week comes from a pitcher who has allowed three hits over his past two starts.

Cesar Valdez threw a nine inning shutout on Friday, allowing just one hit on a hard line drive that took a bad hop.  "If he's got a shutout going into the 9th, you'd give him 110 [pitches], but no more than that," his pitching coach, Wellington Cepeda, told us earlier in the season.  It turns out that Valdez only needed 90 pitches for this shutout, his second complete game of the season.

Cepeda told us that Valdez had suffered a dead arm period in April that resulted in a drop in velocity.  Now that the Silver Hawks have built his arm strength back up, the velocity is back on his fastball, which makes his team-best changeup all the more devastating.

"He really does have a good changeup," Cepeda added.  "He doesn't slow down his arm speed and the ball just drops like a split."

Remember, these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity, with the heaviest weight placed on the past week of play.

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Note: Stats are accurate through Sunday, July 29.   

Rank Prev Name Team Comment
1 2 CF Justin Upton Mob 3-homer week puts Upton back on top
2 1 SS Mark Hallberg Yak 0-for-6 game ended hit streak, then Mark homered two days later
3 4 1B Chris Carter Tuc Still raking, but more importantly, Carter has 12-G errorless streak
4 6 1B Bryan Byrne Vis .500 OBP over past 10 games
5 3 SP Esmerling Vasquez Mob Had his first so-so outing in a long time 4 ER/6 IP
6 7 SP Yusmeiro Petit Az Appears he's here to stay with Johnson out for season
7 9 3B Clayton Conner Yak Three multi-hit games last week raised BA to .350
8 12 3B Brandon Burgess Vis Six homers and 26 RBI this month
9 28 SP Cesar Valdez SB 16 scoreless innings over last two starts, including CG 1-hitter
10 15 RP Reid Mahon Vis Three saves in first four games at new level
11 14 C Frank Curreri Vis Curreri has an 8-game hit streak
12 19 P Adam Howard Vis Through six games a starter: 2-1 2.91 ERA 37 K/6 BB
13 24 SP Derik Nippert SB Six shutout innings in last start dropped Derik's ERA below 2.00
14 13 OF Peter Clifford Mis Batting .395 with runners on
15 11 OF Jeff Salazar Tuc 2 HR 8 RBI last 7 games
16 10 OF Aaron Cunningham Vis Hit just .263 this week, but he's still at .358 since the trade
17 21 RF Carlos Gonzalez Mob 9 hits to just 2 strikeouts this week
18 5 RF Gerardo Parra SB 1 hit in last 15 at bats
19 20 SP Brett Anderson Vis 14 strikeouts in past two starts
20 22 1B Brad Miller SB Big Brad has 4 HR, 10 RBI in past 8 games
21 8 2B Taylor Harbin Mis Hitting .176 over past 10 games, but 8 BB/5 K over that span
22 31 RP Clint Goocher Mob 1 ER over last 13 appearances and 2 saves this week
23 - SP Hector Ambriz Vis 3 wins and 33 IP over past 4 starts
24 34 SP Tony Barnette SB Arizona State alum allowed just 3 ER in past 2 starts
25 17 2B Emilio Bonifacio Mob After 11 straight July steals, Emilio finally got caught
26 27 1B Javier Brito Mob Jury's verdict: Brito can hit well enough to play 1B
27 32 CF Evan Frey Yak Just 12 hits in last 10 games of current 13-game hit streak
28 - SP Brooks Brown Mob 9 strikeouts in 6.2 shutout innings last start
29 23 OF Anthony Smith Mis 3 hits in last 21 AB, but still batting .337 for Osprey
30 26 SP Thomas Layne Mis Still averages a K per IP after blah outing
31 - 2B Derek Bruce Vis Hit for the cycle July 26th
32 33 RP William Spottiswood Yak 27 strikeouts to just  4 walks so far
33 30 RP Forrest Cory Vis 7 hits allowed in last 2 appearances, but earned a win Sunday
34 16 SP Bryan Henry Mis 23 hits allowed in last 3 starts (14.1 IP)
35 - SP Matt Green Mob Two quality starts this week put Green back on map

Three To Watch:

- RP Evan Scribner (Missoula),  whose 30 strikeouts through 27 innings portends good things

- RP Daniel Vasquez (Yakima), who would be unhittable if he had better command

- OF Jarred Ball (Tuscon), who was promoted to Tucson despite a dismal year at Mobile

Falling Off:

- CF Joey Side (18) is batting .260 with just 2 extra base hits in July

- RP Daniel Stange (25) has been hit hard since promotion to AA

- C Orlando Mercado (29) has essentially become the Oaks' 3rd string catcher

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Disagree with our rankings?  Have a question about a prospect?  Just plain lonely?  Email future_backs@yahoo.com with your concerns.

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