The Diamondbacks went 81-81 in 2013, the exact same record they had in 2013. Just a few years ago, the D-Backs seemed poised to take over the NL West for years to come, but they have dipped back down since 2011’s division winning season. They need to take a serious step forward in 2014, or manager Kirk Gibson (pictured above) might find himself on the bread line pretty soon.
All About Goldy
I’m going to say this right now to get it out of the way. Paul Goldschmidt might be the best player in the National League, and he’s going to win the MVP this year. As a 25 year old last year, Goldschmidt enjoyed an incredible sophomore season, hitting .302/.401/.551 with 36 doubles, 36 homers, 103 runs, 125 RBI and even 15 stolen bases. Take this guy int he first round of your fantasy draft. As the Mariners will find out, however, one man doesn’t make a lineup. Luckily, the D-Backs have some support for the man they call “Goldy.” They have plenty of table setters with a little pop, like Martin Prado (.282, 14 HR, 82 RBI), Aaron Hill (.291, 11 HR, 41 RBI in 87 games with AZ) and Gerardo Parra (.268, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 43 2B); they also have a big bat to stick behind Goldy, in newly acquired Mark Trumbo. Trumbo gives them another 30 home run threat from the right side, and has the ability to carry a team when he gets hot.
If Miguel Montero could ever stay healthy, he’d be a real threat at catcher. He plays excellent defense and has shown the ability to hit for power in the past (18 HR in 2011). The D-Backs don’t have a real backup in place for him (sorry Tuffy Gosewisch), so they’ll be in trouble if Montero goes down. One of the more intriguing players on the roster right now is Chris Owings. Owings, 22, is viewed as the shortstop of the future. He can play on both sides of the ball, and hit .291 in his cup of coffee with the big league club last year. His emergence should make incumbent SS Didi Gregorius expendable. I happen to think that the D-Backs match up very well with the Yankees in a possible deal involving John Ryan Murphy (one of the Yankees’ young catching prospects), but that’s a story for another time.
With or without a backup catcher, the D-Backs seem to have a solid offense. They could use a little more power from the left side, but who couldn’t?
Please Stand Up
If someone’s going to overtake the Dodgers in the NL West, they’re going to have to do it with pitching. The Dodgers have a formidable staff, and the D-Backs are going to have to out pitch Los Angeles to win this division. Can the D-Backs do it? Frankly, no. But can they be good enough so that, if something goes wrong in LA, they could surprise some people? Sure, why not.
Last year’s out of nowhere guy was Patrick Corbin. The second year player had a great start to his 2014 season, and while he slowed in the second half, he still finished with a 14-8 record and a 3.41 ERA. Unfortunately, it looks like Corbin is heading for Tommy John surgery, so they’ll have to replace him for 2015. Wade Miley should again be solid, as he was saddled with some bad luck and lack of run support last year and only won 10 games despite a 3.55 ERA. Trevor Cahill is next on the list, and he’s due for a bit of a bounce back i think. He simply allowed too many base runners last year, but he’s only 25 and has a history of solid pitching. The two veterans on the staff are Brandon McCarthy and Bronson Arroyo. McCarthy had a terrible year last year, suffering from shoulder troubles and even a seizure related to the head injury he suffered on a line drive comebacker in September of 2012. He’s healthy and, if he can regain his form from just a couple of years ago, they’ll be OK. Arroyo, meanwhile, is the poster boy for consistency. He’s going to make his 32 or 33 starts every year, pitch 200 innings and give his team a chance to win more often than not, so there are no complaints there. Do watch out for top prospect Archie Bradley, who might end up in the Desert before the year is out, especially if Corbin’s Tommy John comes to fruition.
The bullpen should be a strength for this team. Over the winter they traded Adam Eaton to the White Sox for their closer, adison Reed. Reed will take over at closer for the D-Backs, and I don’t think he’ll be blowing too many opportunities. The Veteran J.J. Putz, who always pitches well, but always gets hurt, will back Reed up, along with guys like Brad Ziegler (2.22 ERA in 2013), Josh Collmenter (dude throws hard) and Matt Reynolds (1.98 ERA in 2013). If a couple of other guys can step up in that pen, they’ll have a very solid group of guys to protect all those leads Goldschmidt is going to give them.
It might be too early to call the Diamondbacks true contenders in a division that includes the Dodgers, but I like what they bring to the table. With a couple of bounce back or step up seasons from just a couple of their players, they might end up winning closer to 90 games, which could sneak them into the playoffs. I like their chances, that’s all I’m saying.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Goldschmidt is a first round pick, and I think he’ll win the MVP. Montero needs to prove he’s healthy before I draft him. Aaron Hill is very intriguing, assuming he doesn’t break his hand again. He could be a 15-20 home run guy at a premium position. They have some fringe guys, like Prado and Parra, but I don’t think I’d pick those guys up unless someone on my team got hurt.
On the mound, You can’t go wrong with Miley or Corbin, and even Arroyo is consistent enough to have around. I would wait for Arroyo on waivers though, as I don’t think he should be drafted. He’s the type of guy you can pick up for spot starts here and there, because he’s undervalued. I would take a wait and see approach with everyone else. They could be good or bad. Definitely pick up Adison Reed, though.
Featured image courtesy of: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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