Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Arizona Diamondbacks 2018 season preview



              In 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks finished with a record of 93-69, and they ended up running away with the 1st wild card spot in the National League, with a six game lead over the Colorado Rockies, who the D-Backs beat in that game. But, the Los Angeles Dodgers swept Arizona in the NLDS. With star rental J.D. Martinez heading free agency, like all rentals, GM Mike Hazen had some moves to make. Let's take a look at what the D-backs did last offseason.

             Notable additions: OF Steven Souza, RHP Yoshihisa Hirano, OF Jarrod Dyson, C Alex Avila, RHP Brad Boxberger, LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHPs Neftali Feliz, Michael Blazek, Kris Medlen, Fernando Salas, OF Ramon Flores.

             Notable subtractions: OF J.D. Martinez, INF Brandon Drury, C Chis Iannetta, RHPs Fernando Rodney, J.J. Hoover, RHP David Hernandez, OF Gregor Blanco, INF Adam Rosales, LHP Anthony Banda.

              What they did well in the offseason: They didn't try to replace Martinez with an overpayment of Martinez or someone else. Avila and Souza might hit less homers combined in 2018 than Martinez, but with an already completed outfield, and no DH, it's understandable to let him walk. Also, the Added some relievers looking for redemption to minor league deals. See: Bastardo, Blazek, and especially Feliz and Medlen. Those are guys who could break the opening day roster. Hirano is coming from Japan, and should be a better closer than Rodney was.

              What they did bad: Not much. It would be nice to re-sign Martinez, but spending over $100 million for a guy when you already have your team set isn't worth it. It was a smart pass.

               Sneaky Sleeper: Expected to be the fifth starter with Shelby Miller still recovering with Tommy John surgery, Zack Godley had an underrated 2017, with a 3.37 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 155 innings. If he can get enough innings and stay healthy, Godley can be a good 5th starter for them.

               Uncalled for choke (it's the first preview, give me a break): After a very successful 2016, Yasmany Tomas hit just .241, and a .294 OBP. Entering his prime, I still don't think Tomas will come close to the 31 homers he hit in 2016. Plus, the addition of Souza could limit his playing time.

               Incoming outbreak (give me time to work on these names): Ketel Marte didn't play too much in the first half, but an increase in second half games led him to a still light 255 Plate Appearances. His .345 OBP is something he'll look to keep going. Even though he has a career .265 batting average, he has a very good career .314 BABIP. That is a stat that can be great one year, and be horrible the next, but if Marte can maintain his success there, it'll be a fine year.With the trade of Drury, he'll get more ABs in 2018.

                Blue chip Bopper (okay, this might come from a fantasy magazine, but I don't see anyone complaining): Paul Goldschmidt has made the last five all-star teams. He's hit thirty homers three times, and would've hit it four times if not for injuries. He's reached 100 RBIs those three years. He's undoubtedly not just their best player, but the best 1st baseman in the league.

                Astounding ace (Yay, redemption!): A really bad first season in the desert had some questioning the $206.5 million deal the D-Backs signed Donald Greinke to (you may know him by his middle name, Zack). But, Greinke rebounded in 2017, with a 3.20 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 202.1 innings. Even a year worse than 2017 should still leave Greinke as their ace.

               This is probably what you came for, but here is the D-Backs projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 2B Ketel Marte (S)
 CF A.J. Pollock (R)
 1B Paul Goldschmidt (R)
 3B Jake Lamb (L)
 RF David Peralta (L)
 LF Steven Souza (L)
 C Alex Avila (L)
 SS Chris Owings (R)
 Pitcher

             Here is their rotation.

 RHP Zack Greinke
 LHP Robbie Ray
 LHP Patrick Corbin
 RHP Taijaun Walker
 RHP Zack Godley

 Yoshihisa Hirano (R) will be their closer, with Archie Bradley (R) and Brad Boxberger (R) in the set-up roles. Neftali Feliz (R), Antonio Bastardo (L), Michael Blazek (R), Andrew Chafin and Randall Delgado will also be in the pen.

 OFs Yasmany Tomas (R), Jarrod Dyson (L), C Jeff Mathis (R), INFs Nick Ahmed (R) and Daniel Descalco (L) are on the bench.

 For my prediction, I think the Diamondbacks will make the playoffs once again, and even be a dark horse World Series contender.

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