NL West Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Before Opening Day begins on July 23, we will be previewing and breaking down the four teams that the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to take down to clinch another postseason ticket. After all, 40 of the Dodgers 60 games will be against the NL West.

Today we will take a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks:

Ballpark: Chase Field
Manager: Torey Lovullo (4th year)
General Manager: Mike Hazen
2019 record: 85-77 (2nd)

Despite trading their franchise player, Paul Goldschmidt, before the 2019 season began, the Dbacks managed to put together a respectable season and were in the Wild Card hunt for a majority of last season. Arizona finished 6th in the National League in runs scored with 813, which was just one behind the Cubs. They were 9th in NL home runs and 8th in team batting average. In terms of pitching, the Dbacks were also in the middle of the NL pack finishing with a team ERA of 4.25, which was the 7th best. In case you forgot, it’s also worth noting the Dbacks shipped Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros during the 2019 Trade Deadline.

The Dbacks made some notable moves this offseason:

Additions: Madison Bumgarner (LHP), Junior Guerra (RHP), Hector Rondon (RHP), Kole Calhoun (OF), Starling Marte  (OF), Stephen Vogt (C)

Losses: Wilmer Flores, Taijuan Walker, Steven Souza Jr., Adam Jones, Jarrod Dyson, Yoshihisa Hirano, Alex AvilaCaleb Joseph, Abraham Almonte, Blake Swihart

Offense

After tremendous 2019 seasons by Eduardo Escobar, who had 118 rbis, and Ketel Marte who had 32 hrs and a .329 batting average, the Dbacks will get a boost to their lineup by adding the former All-Star OF Starling Marte, along with a notable Dodger killer, the former Angel, Kole Calhoun. Christian Walker is a powerful right-handed bat who has also hit some dingers off the likes of Clayton Kershaw.
From Rotochamp, the Dbacks projected lineup and stats could be as followed:

The key name that’s not in this lineup is Jake Lamb. Lamb once was an absolute slugger for Arizona, but injuries have set him back the last couple seasons. If he can return to form then that’s another threat to insert into the lineup. The Dbacks have a solid bench, which includes the former Dodger Tim Locastro.

Pitching

The Dbacks rotation is nothing to overlook either. Bumgarner was the big acquisition for that staff after signing him to a 5-year deal. He will cement himself as the new ace of that rotation. Robbie Ray has been their #2 for several years now and has been a guy to give the Dodgers issues in the past, but not as much recently. Ray will be a free agent after the 2020 season, so these starts are big for him. An under the radar trade acquisition AZ made during the trade deadline was adding Zac Gallen to the rotation. In 8 starts last season, he had a 2.89 ERA with Arizona. Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly round out the rotation. These are 2 young guys who have yet to find consistency, but they do offer some upside, especially Weaver who was taken in the first round by the Cardinals. Mike Leake took himself out of the running for a rotation spot by choosing to sit out during the 2020 season.

The Dbacks bullpen is headlined by Archie Bradley and some scrappy guys like Andrew Chafin and Yoan Lopez. They added a couple arms listed above, so they’re going to be in close games.

In terms of defense, that’s another priority of the Dbacks. Expect them to be one of the better teams at fielding the baseball. Over the last few seasons the Dbacks typically got off to a hot start before their inevitable collapse in the division race. For whatever reason, the Dbacks always play the Dodgers tough. I wouldn’t expect 2020 to be any different. In the month of September the Dodgers and Dbacks face off 6 times, which could be crucial because it’s only a 60-game season, but also the Dbacks final month is a little easier compared to what the Dodgers will have to deal with.

They will finish 2nd in the NL West due in large part to a good offense and big season by Madison Bumgarner. I’ll predict Bumgarner finishes in the top 10 for Cy Young voting. The Dbacks are projected to finish around 30-31 wins.  I however, am going to predict they exceed that win total. I will predict that the Dbacks finish 34-26, which will be good enough to clinch a Wild Card spot.

Follow me on Twitter @Klein25

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