Mar 30, 2015; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ender Inciarte (5) and right fielder Nick Evans (28) miss catching a ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford (not pictured) during the first inning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Part two of our preseason look at the NL West takes us to Phoenix, and the Rockies’ Spring Training facility partner, to check out the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Arizona Diamondbacks might be the only team in the NL West worse than the Rockies this season, so perhaps that’s a cause for celebration? Or, perhaps depression. After all, seeing 16 games of bad baseball between two bad clubs is nothing to celebrate. But maybe we’ll win nine or ten!
Anyways, meet the Arizona Diamondbacks below. Admittedly, I had to read a lot on this, because aside from Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo, I wouldn’t have been able to name too many Diamondbacks without looking them up.
And it’s hard not to get too snarky about the Diamondbacks. They will be bad, so it’s like, hey! The Rockies could be better than this team! Muahaha! But then it’s like… well… we will be bad, too. So. Derp.
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What they’re doing right. Well, Goldschmidt might become their Todd Helton. He’s soft spoken and professional, and he hits the hell out of the baseball and plays the field well for a club that isn’t going to finish anywhere near the top of the standings.
And yet, he’s one of the best players in the game.
He’ll hit home runs and do a lot of other good things.
He’ll be joined by Trumbo in that hitting-home-runs thing. Trumbo, though, won’t do a lot of other good things.
He strikes out a ton and hits for a low average, so, he’ll be a frustrating clean-up hitter protecting Goldschmidt if you’re a Diamondbacks fan.
Another guy getting in on that sweet, sweet home run action will be Cuban newcomer Yasmany Tomas, penciled in as their third basemen this season. Tomas is raw, and new, so Lord knows what we’ll see from him, but he’s got great power.
The 3-4-5 combo of Goldschmidt, Trumbo, and Tomas could actually become a (poor man’s) Murderer’s Row.
Another asset in their favor is the long play; Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart are running the show now, with Chip Hale as their new manager. This club could start to turn the right direction pretty quickly, even though it won’t happen this year.
What they’re doing wrong. Everything else? Addison Reed is their closer, which, for the life of me, I don’t understand.
Their bullpen also astoundingly includes Oliver Perez, who I didn’t even know was still in baseball (like I said, I had to read a lot about this team). Another reliever, Daniel Hudson, is fresh off Tommy John surgery, and old friend Matt Reynolds will get some innings out of the ‘pen, too, but this is not an inspiring bunch.
Their starting rotation is anchored by Jeremy Hellickson – a notorious fly ball pitcher who certainly shouldn’t be expected to be a number one starter, but nevertheless, here we are in April!
He probably won’t fit very well in Chase Field’s dimensions, so it could be a long year for him. They traded away Wade Miley to get back Hellickson and others, but Hellickson alone can’t anchor that rotation.
Behind Hellickson, both Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are laid up recovering from Tommy John surgery, so Allen Webster, Chase Anderson (who?), and Rubby De La Rosa are going to get starts in Arizona this summer.
It’s been four years since Trevor Cahill was an All Star, but he could fit in to some role with the staff, as well.
Prospect Archie Bradley is more exciting to me, but, he’s a little ways away from being ready.
Mar 3, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt against the Arizona State Sun Devils during a spring training baseball game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
One player to watch. Goldschmidt, obviously.
A.J. Pollock is an exciting player and will be a spark plug (pardon the terrible cliche) for them, but Goldschmidt is an elite player stuck on a very bad team.
What they should do this year. Win 66 games? It won’t be pretty.
But again, with LaRussa and Stewart in place, I have a little more faith in this team to turn it around in the long run than I do in the Rockies.
The bottom line for the Rockies. I just really hope the Rockies aren’t the worst team in the NL West this year.
The Diamondbacks did us a favor last season, so maybe they can help us out again and hit rock bottom from day one.
We first see the Diamondbacks April 27-29 in Phoenix.