The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of two teams who will begin their 2014 campaign in the land down under. They are coming off of an 81-81 season that easily held them out of the playoffs. The Diamondbacks made some big moves over the offseason to try to improve the team. The most notable addition is getting Mark Trumbo and A.J Schugel from the Angels in exchange for Tyler Skaggs. They also shipped a decent third base prospect in Matt Davidson to the White Sox in exchange for overrated closer Addison Reed. Arizona also picked up free-agent Bronson Arroyo and signed him to a 2-year $23.5 million deal. The Diamondbacks are going to have to battle a difficult division but their recent acquisitions but them in a good spot to do just that.
Paul Goldschmidt is the franchise player on the Diamondbacks. He was the most productive player in the NL during the 2013 season with a .302 batting average, 36 homers and 125 RBIs. Mark Trumbo's addition means that Goldschmidt will receive some much needed protection and could have an even better year in 2014. Aaron Hill will be the everyday second baseman and he only managed to play 87 games last year. Hill is a solid contributor when healthy and he hit for a .291 average in 2013. Martin Prado will be the Diamondbacks only third baseman and he has some nice job security since Matt Davidson was traded. Prado is an underrated player at the hot corner and could provide a big impact for Arizona. At shortstop is Didi Gregorius.
Miguel Montero will be the back stopper for Arizona and they could use a bounce back year from him. He's signed through 2014 but the Diamondbacks are not getting what they paid for. In 116 games last year, he batted .230 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.
The Diamondbacks sport a solid outfield starting with Mark Trumbo who is coming from a less than friendly ballpark for hitters. He is projected to hit 40 home runs at Chase Field and he has career year potential with Paul Goldschmidt in front of him. Gerardo Parra is easily one of the most overlooked outfielders in the NL. He put in one of the best defensive efforts in the league last season that made him a 4.6 fWAR player. If Parra can figure out how to hit better, he could be one of the best surprise options in the NL. Rounding out the outfield will be A.J Pollock who is coming off of his first full MLB season. Pollock batted .269 with 12 stolen bases and 64 runs.
The rotation for Arizona is definitely where they will make it or break it. They have some major injury concerns including Patrick Corbin possibly missing the entire season due to an elbow injury. Trevor Cahill is expected to be the rotations number one in April but he had a minor knee injury recently. Cahill has been injury riddled in the last couple of seasons and he will probably not be a reliable arm for 30+ starts. Wade Miley is coming off of a big 2013 might be moved into the number one slot at some point. He was in the top eight in the NL for most quality starts. Brandon McCarthy is penciled in as the number three starter and he has never started more than 25 games in his career. The aging Bronson Arroyo comes in at the four spot and he is battling a bulging disk in his back. Randall Delgado is currently the fifth pitcher for the Diamondbacks and he started 19 games last year while posting a 4.26 ERA. Delgado could be bumped for one of baseball's best prospects at some point this season. Archie Bradley has been listed as Baseball America's top pitcher and he packs a big punch. Bradley can hit 99 mph on his fastball but usually keeps it in the mid to upper nineties. He has a nice change-up and mixes up his speeds to strikeout 25% of batters in the minors. The Diamondbacks are likely going to need Bradley sooner rather than later.
Arizona's bullpen was atrocious last season giving up a league high in both home runs and blown saves. They tried to address the save issue by bringing in Addison Reed who had 69 saves for the White Sox over the last two seasons. JJ Putz and Brad Ziegler each closed for the Diamondbacks last year and they will be put into set-up roles that should fit their styles better.
The Diamondbacks should improve this season. They are better offensively but their pitching staff has a ton of question marks. Losing their ace for the entire season will be incredibly hard to endure. They may need to dip into their prospect pool earlier than they envisioned. Miguel Montero needs to find some power since he is slated to be the only lefty in the line-up. Trumbo should be in for a big season but Addison Reed's addition might not be so great. Reed has a career 4.17 ERA. Arizona's defense should be top notch but pitching and offense will be their Achilles hill. They will struggle in a tough NL West but might contend for a while. We are expecting another .500 season in Arizona.
Projected Record: 81-81
Odds to Win World Series: +5000