Leading up to the start of the 2017 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of baseball’s 30 teams . Today’s preview features the Arizona Diamondbacks. Stay tuned until Opening Day as Diamond Hoggers previews every team one by one until the beginning of the 2017 season.
How long will the trade of Dansby Swanson for Shelby Miller haunt this team? Dave Stewart will never live that one down. Swanson should be highlighting a lineup filled with some thunder; instead they’re forced to go down a different path with young starters that have floundered and an overpaid and shopped ace in Zach Greinke.
They’re quietly but quickly wasting the prime of one of the game’s great players in Paul Goldschmidt. One has to wonder, if the Dbacks continue to implode – how much longer until Goldschmidt is made available for a modest but recoverable return.
They took a really exciting player who found his groove in Jean Segura and flipped him off to Seattle for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. This seems to piggyback off the Swanson move in that it’s one we don’t really like.
Arizona has proved themselves to be a poorly ran and mishap organization for the past few years. Right down to the uniforms last year that were interesting and had a ‘cool’ factor to them. Well, they’ve scrapped those once in a lifetime snake scales at the bottom of their pant legs. Arizona cannot seem to get our of their own way.
Even the cover boy of this post Brandon Drury was labeled as an ‘untouchable’ this past offseason along with A.J. Pollock and Goldschmidt; yet he does not enter the season with an everyday position guaranteed.
Major Off-season Moves:
Projected Starting Lineup:
Ketel Marte was acquired in the off-season off a disappointing season last year in which he OPS’d just .610, and stole only 11 bases. He’s a young player, but in an offensive park like this he will be expected to deliver at the top of the lineup. He should get a short boost in his projections though based on what is behind him in the lineup and the move from Seattle to Arizona is friendly in terms of park factor.
A.J. Pollock only played in a couple games due to injury last season, but if he can return to form you have a really nice player there. Paul Goldschmidt is slowly wasting his prime, but should continue to be one of the best hitters in the big leagues. It was such a strange (but still great) season for Goldy. He got started slow, finished with just 24 homers but still hit .297 and stole a staggering 32 bases. That’s incredible.
David Peralta was one of the most disappointing players in the big leagues last season. He was injury-riddled and he’ll need to do more to hold off the charge from Brandon Drury. Yasmany Tomas swatted 31 homers last season, but metrics show that he doesn’t hit enough to cover his defensive liability. Jake Lamb homered 29 times but hit just .249 and faded down the stretch. Iannetta and Owings are kind of stop-gap down the order.
This is a lineup that is kind of like the Rockies in that the ballpark will breed offense just by nature. It’s an incubator for runs and the team won’t have trouble scoring at home. The big question marks are what you get from the likes of Marte, Drury, Lamb, and of course Peralta. That can make them a really formidable offense if that group performs well.
Projected Pitching Staff:
This staff was really, really bad last season. Staff ERA of 5.09 never really gave them a chance, and it started with Zach Greinke. You have to think he’s still an effective pitcher, but they would be happy to shop him at this point. Robbie Ray was the real arrow up-shot last year with 218 strikeouts in his age-24 season. We look for a big leap out of Ray in 2017 to where he becomes the unexpected anchor of the staff.
The biggest question mark is Taijuan Walker. He’s capable of so much but you wonder how the move from Seattle to Arizona will serve him and there are injury concerns.
Archie Bradley and Shelby Miller suffer from similar, enigmatic traits as Walker. If the Dbacks are going to have any hope of fixing things it really begins with that young core of starting pitching. It’s the most important thing to a resurgence of any type, especially considering they could have Dansby Swanson out there this season instead of one of those young arms (Miller).
The bullpen is a mess too, and no one is really sure what they’re going to get out of Fernando Rodney if they’re being honest. He was really good last year until a trade from San Diego sent him to Miami where he was up and down and in and out of the closer role. He’ll begin there, but if he can’t hang onto the job, there are a host of boogeymen who would take over the role; and it’s not pretty.
Fangraphs has them win-totaled at around 76 wins for the upcoming 2017 campaign. We’re somewhere in between that being optimistic and just right. They’re definitely not a sure bet in that division to surpass it.
If things look bleak early there’s a fair chance of them starting to talk about shopping Goldschmidt. They should be a fun watch in terms of offense, but huge question marks with the pitching staff leave this team with a bleak outlook and in a continual chase of the better ran organizations in the National League West division.