Standing O Sports is previewing all 30 Major League teams seasons, division by division, team by team. Up next in the NL West is the Arizona Diamondbacks.
What Happened Last Season
The Arizona Diamondbacks were an 81-81 team in 2013. That finish was good enough for 2nd place in the NL West, but the team still finished 9 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the 2nd Wild Card spot. A big reason for Arizona’s struggles last year was because of the bullpen. The Heath Bell experiment failed miserably. Bell blew 7 saves, and as a team, the Diamondbacks converted just 57 percent of potential save opportunities. In Major League Baseball, the ability to close out games is what separates good teams, from great teams, and the Diamondbacks inability to shut the door was the biggest reason why Arizona missed the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. A notable stat from last year’s team was when the Diamondbacks allowed fewer than 4 runs, the team went 56-16. When Arizona allowed more than 4 runs, the team went 25-65. So what will 2014 have in store?
- Traded 2 top prospects Tyler Skaags and outfielder Adam Eaten for Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo
- Signed Bronson Arroyo to a Major-League contract
- Signed Shelly Duncan to a Minor-League deal
Take: General Manager Kevin Towers didn’t make a ton of moves this offsesaon. He did trade for Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo, but had to give up 2 of the team’s top prospects. Arizona needed help on offense, and Trubmo helps, but Towers needed to do more in order to get the D-Backs back to the playoffs.
A.J. Pollock (CF)
Gerardo Parra (RF)
Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
Mark Trumbo (LF)
Aaron Hill (2B)
Martin Prado (3B)
Miguel Montero (C)
Didi Gregorious (SS)
Breakdown: The top of the D-Backs lineup isn’t particularly strong. A.J. Pollock is a career .265 hitter and struggles getting on base, as does Gerardo Parra. The 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup are potent. Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trubmo can essentially be penciled in for 30 home-runs, but Parra and Pollock’s inability to get on base could create problems.
Aaron Hill and Martin Prado both hit for pretty good averages, but after that, Miguel Montero isn’t much of an offensive threat, and neither is Didi Gregorius who’s known for his glove, not his bat.
Projected Pitching Rotation
**Diamondbacks ace and slated opening day starter Patrick Corbin recently damaged the UCL in his left elbow and he’s likely out for the year with Tommy John surgery lurking in his future.
Patrick Corbin being out for the season is an absolute killer for Arizona, but the team is going to have to move on and adjust. Trevor Cahill slides into the top of the rotation, and he’s no where close to being your prototypical ace. Wade Miley is an average contact pitcher with not much upside. Brandon McCarthy has a career 4.10 ERA, Bronson Arroyo is 37 and trending backward, and Randall Delgado has not lived up to his end of the Justin Upton trade. With Corbin, the Diamondbacks rotation looked decent. Without him, this staff appears to be in a lot of trouble.
X-Factor: Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
The Diamondbacks will go as far as the pitching staff takes them in 2014. Kevin Towers upgraded the offense with Trumbo, but Arizona’s rotation has no number 1 starter. That’s a problem especially considering the fact the Dodgers are in the same division and have 2 guys that would be the unquestioned ace of the D-Backs staff.
If the rotation struggles, that means the bullpen gets overworked, and everything falls apart.
Even with Patrick Corbin, the Diamondbacks were going to have a tough time in 2014. Now that he’s done, the team’s playoff chances have basically flown out the window. The offense with Trumbo will be better, but if you don’t have pitching, you have no chance. The Diamondbacks were a .500 team last season. This season isn’t looking like it will be much better.
Frankel: 75-87 (4th in NL West)