Deric McKamey of Baseballhq.com was kind enough to answer our questions about the Arizona Diamondbacks system.
More on Deric McKamey and his rankings
When you rank prospects, do you consider organizational
depth at the position that a prospect plays, or evaluate
them in a vacuum?
I do evaluate prospects in a vacuum, as I believe that is
the fair way evaluate and it makes ranking more fluid
whenever a player gets traded. Organizational depth is
something I look at, but do not base my rankings on. One
thing that does factor into my evaluations is the
developmental philosophy of the organization, such as the
aggressiveness or lack thereof concerning promotions and
whether there is a track record of individual development,
both good or bad.
Who will have the better fastball when he reaches the majors
– Jarrod Parker or Max Scherzer? Where do their fastballs
rank among all pitching prospects?
Assuming both remain starting pitchers, I’d have to give
Parker the slight nod. Both can throw in excess 95 MPH and
can maintain their velocity in the 91-95 MPH range. Parker
throws a bit harder, and though he pitched in high school
last year and has very smooth mechanics, I don’t see much
body projection, and thus I don’t think he’ll throw any
harder. Scherzer has excellent arm strength and slightly
better pitch movement at the moment, but that is something
that Parker can catch up to him with. I ranked Scherzer
slightly ahead of Parker on
Arizona’s organizational list (very close on my top
100 as well) based on proximity to the majors, a better
slider, and more professional experience.
In terms of velocity and movement, it would be a safe
assumption that Parker and Scherzer would rank in the top 10
of all minor league pitching prospects for fastball quality
(velocity and movement).
Mark Hallberg and Taylor Harbin both had outstanding pro
debuts and draw a lot of praise from within the
organization. How much do their small statures affect their
prospect status in your eyes?
It isn’t so much their stature, especially Hallberg, who I
don’t consider that small at 5’11”, but more their tools
that effect their prospect status. Both are hustling type
middle infielders that make good contact at the plate and
have excellent plate discipline, so hitting for batting
average won’t prove difficult. Hallberg doesn’t have a lot
of power, but the big knock on him is his defense. His arm
strength is average at best, which is a push at SS, and his
hands are stiff. Harbin is on the small size, but swings
harder, which gives him a chance for moderate power. The
downside to Harbin is he that he is only an average runner,
which coupled with his average arm strength, makes 2B his
only viable position. I do think he’ll make a better second
baseman (softer hands, quicker DP turn) than Hallberg, which
is why I ranked Harbin slightly higher.
How much did Esmerling Vasquez' labrum injury cause him to
fall on the charts? Where would you have put him had he
The torn labrum and subsequent surgery dropped him
significantly, as he would have been ranked #4 after the
deals were done. Fortunately, it was injured on a freak
play rather than being a result of throwing, but a torn
labrum is a torn labrum, no matter how you look at it.
Vasquez’ 88-95 MPH fastball was very solid, with his
whip-like arm action providing excellent movement. He
changes speeds well and projects from a body/arm standpoint,
so I’ll be very interested to see how he recovers from
Cyle Hankerd looked like a pretty polished hitter coming out
of USC. What earns him just a 30% chance of reaching his
potential? Is the high upside you foresee completely driven
by his bat, or do you anticipate his development into a plus
Hankerd dropped to an 8D from an 8C, based primarily on his
offensive production in 2007. I know he battled a wrist
injury for much of the year, which drained his power, but I
was expecting more from him playing in the California
League. Perhaps that was harsh on my part, but that’s how I
His upside is almost exclusively driven by his bat. His
range and arm strength both grade-out to below average and
will be limited to LF when he arrives in the majors. What
also factored into his D-rating was that he hits
right-handed, possesses a platoon differential (.379 versus
LHP, .251 versus RHP),) and ultimately, I don’t see him
having the type of bat that makes one an asset in LF.
The Diamondbacks left Jaime D’Antona unprotected in this
winter’s Rule 5 Draft and no team bit on him. Thoughts?
Honestly, I thought a National League team would select him
and use him as a reserve 1B-3B/third catcher. I like how
D’Antona has progressed offensively, altering his hitting
mechanics, which gives him a better balance of power and
batting average. His lack of defense is holding him back.
While he has plenty of versatility and plus arm strength, he
lacks mobility and soft hands, which makes him below average
at whatever position he plays.
More Diamondbacks analysis from Deric McKamey is
available for premium FutureBacks members:
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Aftermath of Winter Dealings
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