Five Diamondbacks players could be drafted after they advance in 2022

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The Arizona Diamondbacks will not make the playoffs this season after being eliminated from the tournament Thursday night. They won’t finish with a winning record. Factor into the mix a recent five-game losing streak that includes more matchups against playoff contenders, including the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers, and the rest of the schedule, and they can’t claim a moral victory by posting a winning second half. Still, as the Diamondbacks focus on what they won’t or won’t do, this season has given their fan base a little something they’ve lacked in recent years: hope for tomorrow.

It would be unfair to write that the Diamondbacks’ core of the future was on display this season. Two of the three most important players for Arizona’s long-term outlook, shortstop Jordan Lawler and outfielder Drew Jones, have combined for 102 professional games. (Jones injured his shoulder after signing.) The third member of the trio, outfielder Corbin Carroll, managed to reach the majors this offseason, where he joined a handful of players who could be part of the D-Backs’ next playoff run. The team like outfielders Dalton Varsho and Alec Thomas, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and starting pitcher Trey Jameson. (To say nothing of outfielder Jake McCarthy, a speedy former first-round pick who made one heck of a run at the plate this summer.)

Rather than recap the season for the Diamondbacks, let’s touch on those five players and what they brought to the table and put their year to rest. (Note that the players are listed below in alphabetical order.)

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Most talent evaluators who spoke to CBS Sports over the summer identified Carroll as the best prospect left in the minor leagues because of the breadth and depth of his talent. He can hit (with a .288/.356/.545 (152 OPS+) slash line) in his first 21 big league games, he can run, and he can field. The biggest question marks he faces include his durability (he has a small frame and has dealt with injury problems in the past) and his contact rate. He’s been swinging and missing at a league-average clip so far, and it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how that turns out as he rebounds. After all, Carroll’s next game will mark only his 162nd as a professional, suggesting he still has plenty of time to learn new things.

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Jameson is a relatively recent addition to the D-Backs roster, making his debut on September 10. 15. He is a small right-hander with a big hand. His fastball has hit 99 mph and has an above-average induced vertical break. His slider, his top secondary pitch, has forced whiffs in nearly half the swings taken against it so far, despite a small sample size. Jameson has kept his walks in check throughout his career, meaning his short stride (he produces less than six feet worth of extension) is his biggest concern as to how his stuff will play against big league bats. Vairamuthu is committed to starting him as long as possible.

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Bertomo is a skilled defender who has a penchant for making diving plays. Unfortunately, his offensive results left a lot to be desired. The old rule is that if you can’t hit the fastball, you won’t win in the majors. Pertomo hasn’t hit a fastball this season, as his batting average and exit velocity—that particular pitch—are near the bottom of the majors. There are a few things working in his favor: He’s a switch-hitter, he keeps the zone in mind and makes a lot of contact, but he hasn’t shown the ability to impact the baseball and his every swing has an interception. Bertomo will celebrate his 23rd birthday in October. His defense and his youth should keep him around the majors for a while longer.

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Thomas hasn’t fared well in the majors since being promoted in May. In his first 110 games, he batted. To his credit, he’s still an asset defensively, and his big offensive record points to him getting around the plate at the right time. Thomas, who won’t celebrate his 23rd birthday until after next Opening Day, says the Diamondbacks owe it to him and them to be patient while he learns the ropes.

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Varsho is one of the most versatile players in the majors. He is a high-quality defensive outfielder (Best in the majors in 2022 according to Statcast) has appeared behind the plate 31 times this year. The last person to see 20 games in both center field and catcher in the same season was Eli Marrero in 2002. Varsho is better than his positional innovation tactics. With a heavy emphasis on pulling the ball, he’s homered 26 times already, and his barrel rate is in line with the likes of Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. Combine his defensive value with his league-average or better stick, and he’s a future All-Star.

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