Five D-backs prospects land on Top 100 list
Skaggs (10), Bradley (24), Gregorius (63), Davidson (77), Eaton (97) all ranked
PHOENIX -- When he addressed the media the day after the 2012 season ended, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson cautioned against people being too deflated by the team's disappointing 81-81 finish.
There were bright spots in 2012, Gibson said, pointing to the team's burgeoning farm system, which saw five affiliates qualify for the playoffs and three win championships.
Arizona's success in building a top farm system was validated Tuesday, when five of the team's prospects were ranked among the Top 100 by MLB.com.
Tyler Skaggs (10), Archie Bradley (24), Didi Gregorius (63), Matt Davidson (77) and Adam Eaton (97) were the D-backs prospects that made the rankings.
"We feel like we've got players throughout our system," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said last fall. "We've got an extra pick in this year's Draft, a lottery pick. If we could keep nailing these Drafts, we should be set up pretty good."
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Only the Cardinals, Twins, Marlins, Red Sox and Rangers with six prospects among the Top 100 had more than the D-backs.
"We had five [playoff teams] in our Minor Leagues, and what's the key, one of the keys to being competitive year in and year out?" Gibson said at the end of the year. "It is having great depth and establishing things throughout your Minor Leagues. We did that."
Here's a look at the five players who were ranked:
Skaggs: The left-hander started the 2012 season at Double-A Mobile before moving to Triple-A Reno and eventually made six starts in the big leagues. He was acquired in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Angels in July 2010.
Skaggs struggled in his six starts in the Majors due to being a bit fatigued, but the organization considers him its top pitching prospect and he will battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation this spring. If he doesn't make the team out of camp, it's a safe bet he will be a big contributor at some point during the season.
Bradley: The right-hander was the team's second first-round pick in 2011 (seventh overall) out of Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School. Regarded as one of the most advanced high school hurlers that year, Bradley was limited to a couple of Pioneer League appearances in '11.
Last season, he was 12-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 27 starts for Class A South Bend, and the team believes he will rise quickly through the system.
Gregorius: The D-backs searched far and wide during the offseason for a shortstop of the (near) future, and they think they found their guy in Gregorius. To acquire him, the D-backs traded right-hander Trevor Bauer, who was ranked 17th on the Top 100 Prospects list.
Gregorius spent time at both Double-A and Triple-A in the Cincinnati system last year before getting 21 plate appearances in September. He will have an outside chance at winning the shortstop job during Spring Training, but it is more likely that the D-backs will send him to Reno for additional seasoning.
Davidson: The third baseman was a supplemental first-round pick by the D-backs in 2009 and has risen steadily through their system.
Last year with Mobile, he had an .836 OPS and he followed that up with a strong Arizona Fall League performance. Davidson still has some work to do defensively and is likely to open the 2013 season in Reno.
Eaton: The center fielder was a 19th-round selection in 2010, and he has excelled at every level and found himself in the big leagues last September.
Thanks to his speed and ability to get on base, Eaton is an ideal leadoff hitter, and after a strong September debut, he figures to have the inside edge at the starting center-field job in Arizona this year.