Arizona Diamondbacks 2015 Season Preview
Arizona Diamondbacks Futures
Odds To Win Division: +3300
Odds To Win NL Pennant: 50/1
Odds To Win World Series: 100/1
Regular Season Win Total: 71.5
Most Significant Offseason Changes
SP Jeremy Hellickson
SP Rubby De La Rosa
3B Yasmany Tomas
SP Allen Webster
SP Robbie Ray
SS Didi Gregorious
SP Wade Miley
C Miguel Montero
They’ll Be Successful If…
… roster tweaks, healthy bodies and a fresh manager/GM combo is the necessary tonic. The Tony La Russa era in the Grand Canyon State rolls on and in 2015 the squad has former A’s 3rd base coach Chip Hale tapped as skipper and 1989 World Series MVP Dave Stewart installed as the general manager. It wasn’t a blockbuster offseason for the D-Backs, but they have brought in new talent to take the mound. Starting arms Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have been imported in from Boston to give the rotation a boost, plus 2011 AL Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson is now among their ranks. It’s not a spectacular upgrade, but with dismal year-end pitching stats (opposition offenses enjoyed a ghastly .740 OPS vs. Arizona), this is a team that’ll take all the help it can get. The Diamondbacks are also hoping Cuban 3B Yasmany Tomas is everything advertised and more at Chase Field. He’s not bringing stellar defense to the hot corner, but Arizona is relying on Tomas’ big bat to clobber at least 20 homers in 2015 and compliment established sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo, plus leadoff 20-20 threat A.J. Pollock. Anyone with even vague memories of Arizona’s stunning worst-to-first run in 2011 can confirm the Diamondbacks aren’t immune to miracle campaigns. Topping an ultra competitive NL West is a challenge, but if the pieces fall into place, Arizona should have no trouble improving on last season’s dismal 64-98 record.
They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…
… the updated rotation doesn’t fix things. Talents like Goldschmidt and Trumbo provide Arizona with some reasonable power, but this isn’t a team that can racks up Ws with a steady diet of slugfests. Hellickson, De La Rosa and Webster could be valuable starters for the D-Backs but they’re either relatively unproven commodities (De La Rosa and Webster) or reclamation projects (Hellickson). The rest of the burden falls on newly established ace Josh Collmenter and Chase Anderson. If they can’t deliver, Chip Hale will need an offense that finished 26th in OBP (a paltry .302) and 27th in RBI to touch home way more often. To accomplish that, the D-Backs need Tomas to sort out MLB pitching in a hurry and provide some much needed run support. If he doesn’t, there’s an enormous void where RBI punch was supposed to be. Even if the D-Backs make it to the 9th with a lead in hand, they’ll need more consistency out of close Addison Reed. The six foot four right-hander racked up an impressive 32 saves, but those came with an 8 blown saves price tag and a 4.25 ERA.
Fantasy Bargain: A.J. Pollock, CF
Newly acquired 3B Yasmany Tomas has a tantalizing amount of mystique attached to his arrival in Major League Baseball, but we’ll recommend snapping likely breakout A.J. Pollock as a potential outfielding option. A broken hand derailed a hot 2014 campaign, but before the injury the D-Backs benefited from Pollock’s 6 homers, 15RBIs, 28 runs, 8 stolen bases and a handsome .316 batting average in 51 games played. Positioned at the leadoff spot, Pollock appears primed to keep up and possibly surpass that marvelous string of sexy stats. (Last season, the centerfielder racked up 14 extra-base hits in 17 games when placed at the top of the batting order.) If it weren’t for that unplanned exit from the lineup, #11 was likely to close the year as a 20-20 club member. The D-Backs might not be lighting up the win column this year, but A.J. Pollock has the skills to provide valuable totals for your Rotisserie league team.
How do we put this? +3300 odds to win the NL West aren’t exactly a sign that Arizona’s expected to achieve big things. The Diamondbacks are a club that will be looked at more with curiosity than anything else. Will the new look pitching staff equal a mound upgrade? Can Yasmany Tomas catch fire in the majors? Does Chip Hale have what it takes to lead the Arizona to surprise glory? Going toe-to-toe with divisional behemoths like San Francisco and Los Angeles (not to mention a potentially dangerous San Diego squad) might provide some valuable teaching tools but there’s little chance of Paul Goldschmidt’s crew making the postseason. A battle with Colorado to stay out of the basement is the most likely scenario for Arizona.
Prediction: 4th In NL West
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