2014 MLB Preview and Rankings: #11 Arizona Diamondbacks

Published: Mar 31, 2014 18:58pm EDT
By Michael Owen, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:39am EDT

 

Opening Day has finally arrived and the rite of passage that comes every Spring where every team still has a chance to make "this the year" in their own mind is enough to get any fan going.

There is still a lot of work to be done for some teams, position battles, last minute signings, injury struggles coming out of camp and so on. While one of the best things about Spring  is that when the season starts, anything can happen and every team has a chance.  Unfortunately for many teams those hopes can be shattered and lost by mid-May.

As we begin playing ball, we have a pretty good idea of where each team stands and while each season is unpredictable, things can change at the drop of an Ace lefties torn rotator cuff.  

Over the next few days I'll finish out the preseason rankings and analysis of the remaining teams as we have finally gotten to the teams that will likely contend for the playoffs.  Feel free to disagree and voice your differences.

Next up:

11. Arizona Diamondbacks

After back to back .500 seasons for the Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had the foresight to realize that the window of opportunity for Arizona is rapidly closing and spent a busy offseason re-tooling this team to reflect as such.  The team is clearly in a “win now” mode and in an increasingly competitive NL West, his job as well as that of manager Kirk Gibson relies on it being successful.

Offensively the Diamondbacks could be one of the better teams in the NL.  Any lineup that features one of the leagues growing stars in Paul Goldschmidt should be considered strong, but with the addition of Mark Trumbo to this lineup it immediately becomes more dangerous.  While Trumbo carried an OBP of .294 with the Angels in 2013, playing in a more hitter friendly park could help this.  Add in a solid second bagger with 20+ home run potential in Aaron Hill, the highly versatile and effective Martin Prado and a solid leadoff man in Gerardo Parra and there will be scoring chances a plenty in Arizona.  If Miguel Montero can return from a horrible 2013 and Cody Ross can return from an ugly hip dislocation, this offense will have a very high ceiling.  It also stands to mention the return of veteran Eric Chavez who can play both corner infield positions and DH during interleague games will give the D-Backs plenty of versatility as well as experience on the bench.

Another significant add was Bronson Arroyo to the rotation.  While Arroyo’s record doesn’t always show it, he is a low ERA and solid innings eater that will bring stability to the staff.  Having a seasoned vet on the staff with youngsters like Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill at the top of the rotation can do nothing but help bring them along.  As a whole though, the rotation is an area of uncertainty for Arizona.  Third starter Wade Miley is still a bit of an unknown, 4th starter Brandon McCarthy is a constant health concern year after year and Randall Delgado is out of options. With no significant depth in the rotation now that top prospect Tyler Skaggs is gone (traded for Trumbo) and Archie Bradley not quite ready to make the jump to the big leagues,  this could end up being the difference of whether or not the D-Backs go on to play in October.

In the bullpen the Diamondback will use Addison Reed, acquired for top prospect Matt Davidson, as their closer and they will use David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler to get the ball to Reed.  Any combination of Oliver Perez, J.J. Putz, Joe Thatcher, Josh Collmenter, Will Harris and likely Delgado will fill out the remainder of the bullpen spots.  The bullpen and especially the depth of it could turn out to be a real source of strength for Arizona considering the rotation issues and the flexibility to deal some of those parts to possibly fill some of the other holes.

The 2014 Diamondbacks should come out and prove they’re a better team than shown in the previous 2 years and while it’s unlikely they’ll have much of a chance to win the much improved and competitive NL West, it wouldn’t be surprising if they make a good run at the playoffs, but it wouldn’t take much to go wrong and see this team slide as far down as 4th in the division.

Gibson is a tough gritty manager that suits this team well and he should get the most out of this squad. Provided Diamondbacks can stay healthy, the developmental years are in the past and fans won’t have to endure another “wait til next year” to contend.

Prediction: 89-73

                                                         ***PREVIOUS RANKINGS***

                                                         (click link to view story)  

12. Cleveland Indians 88-74

13. Cincinnati Reds 87-75

14. Los Angeles Angels 86-76

15. San Francisco Giants 85-77

16. Pittsburgh Pirates 84-78

17. Baltimore Orioles 82-80

18. San Diego Padres 81-81

19. Kansas City Royals 81-81

20. Seattle Mariners 80-82

21. Milwaukee Brewers 78-84

22. Philadelphia Phillies 76-86

23. New York Mets 75-87

24 Colorado Rockies 74-88

25. Toronto Blue Jays 71-91

26. Chicago Cubs  70-92

27. Minnesota Twins 67-95

28. Chicago White Sox 66-96

29. Miami Marlins 64-98

30. Houston Astros 62-100


 

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