Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Jean Segura, Tyler Clippard
Ender Inciarte, Aaron Hill, David Hernandez
The Diamondbacks became the big winners of free agency when they acquired Greinke. They then compounded that with a farm system cleaning trade to acquire Miller. It was a bold move, but it does seem to put them in the category with the likes of the Dodgers and Giants, and puts them into a competitive situation as far as the playoffs go.
Projected playoff lineup
- Jean Segura
- AJ Pollock
- Paul Goldschmidt
- David Peralta
- Welington Castillo
- Jake Lamb
- Yasmany Tomas
- Nick Ahmed
When looking at 2-4 in Arizona, it is one of the better combinations of overall hitting in the league. Goldschmidt is right there with the league’s elite as the best hitter in the game, and his combination of power, speed, and ability to hit for average makes him a complete package. Pollock exploded last year with Goldy, and posted a plus-.300 average, hit 20 home runs, and recorded 39 steals. Peralta came a bit out of nowhere at age 27, but in 149 games was able to hit over .300 and added 17 home runs. The three present a steady case of speed and power combination, and while they may not progress much from their strong 2015 seasons, all three are 28 years old. which should put them in their prime seasons.
The big question in the lineup will be whether or not Segura can hold down leadoff duties. In Segura’s rookie year in 2013, he hit 12 home runs, stole 45 bases, and had an OBP of .329. In the two years since he has hit 11 home runs, stole 45 bases and has an OBP of .285 in about twice as many at bats. Segura got off to a hotter start to his career than expected, but at this point he is tough to even find a spot for because he isn’t a stud defender either. Throwing him at second next to a defensive wizard like Ahmed could mentally help him, but if he is hitting like the last two years it is a hole for the D-backs. They can move Pollock back to leadoff, but they should want to keep their three studs in a line together, and they are losing a lot of RBI potential with Pollock and his power at the top. It would also make the lineup very top heavy, because who fills in around the middle of the lineup? Castillo has decent power, but isn’t a strong hitter to the point where he can bridge a lineup at the four slot. A guy like Tomas could be needed to fill a slot higher in the lineupo if Segura cannot. Tomas hit .273 in his rookie year, but didn’t have the power expected to come with it, and struck out over 25% of the time. He is only 25, but with the Backs in win now mode, they may be looking for a bigegr contributuion from him. The bottom of the lineup would still look weak, even if Segura were there, and if Segura, Tomas, and a guy like Lamb cannot take a step forward, they will be in a similar spot to last year. However, those three are 26 years old and under and none should be looked at as busts. If they can get progression from the bottom, the lineup should complete, but at the moment there are questions outside of their big three hitters.
Rubby De La Rosa
This rotation could be one that brings some winning ways to Arizona. In adding Greinke, they are getting the second place finisher in the 2015 CY Young voting. Arizona was in the middle of the league in terms of team ERA, and Greinke comes in fresh off of a year with a 1.66. The thought is that no one can do that two years in a row, but even to regress around 2 is ace status. Corbin, coming off a major injury had a decent end to his 2015 season that showed promise for his 2016. He was starting to ramp up his velocity and the Ks were starting to come. Miller had a strong year, and while some saw his lower than average strike out rate, and higher than average walk rate as a sign for regression this year, he certainly has the mechanics, and at only age 25, it is tough to say he is what he is yet. At the bottom will be a competition between De La Rosa, Ray, and a young former prospect Archie Bradley. Bradley didn’t have a 2015 that the D-Backs wanted him to have and he has yet to establish a role in the rotation. However, he is stil 23, and coming off of 2014 filled with injury could point to a 2016 comeback. Either way it is nice to have the depth. With talent at the top, and depth at the bottom, the thought would be if Corbin and Miller can progress during their prime this is a team that will have one of the better top to bottom rotations in the league.
Like most teams now-a-days, you know they are competing when they bring in a big name for the bullpen. Clippard shows they are competing,and with him and Brad Zeigler back to back they should be able to close some teams down. They are stronger than average in terms of long to middle relief, and have depth in the rotation that they shouldn’t have to mess with who is in the pen. It isn’t a shut down pen, but it should be improved from last year.
A lot of people point to the D-Backs being that team that went out and overspent in the off-season. That typically means unrealistic expectations for a team that may not be ready to compete, and the look of a failed season and off-season. However, this is a team that already has an established young core. In adding big this off-season they are essentially saying that they are not going to waste the prime of guys like Goldschmidt, Pollock and Corbin. They gave up arguably too much for a guy like Miller, but if it means success while this core is ripe, it may end up worth it in some regard.The D-Backs should be competive and cerainly are on the path to finish above .500. They should be right there with the Dodgers on paper, and should be in the NL West race most of the year. At the end of the day they have a couple big questions, just big enough to push them out of the playoffs for now, but this isn’t a team to discard because of how they spen this off-season.
2nd in the NL West