MADISON, March 8, 2014 — Over the next few weeks this column will unveil MLB Power Rankings starting with the weakest team and working towards the strongest. Today the process continues by looking at number 15, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2013 Record: 81-81 with a -10 run differential.
Key Additions: 3B Mark Trumbo, RHP Addison Reed and RHP Bronson Arroyo
Key Losses: LHP Tyler Skaggs, OF Adam Eaton
Projected 2014 Lineup:
OF Gerardo Parra
2B Aaron Hill
1B Paul Goldschmidt
C Miguel Montero
OF Mark Trumbo
3B Martin Prado
OF Cody Ross/AJ Pollock
SS Didi Gregorius/Chris Owings
Projected 2014 Rotation:
Brandon McCarthy/Randall Delgado
Best Case: 1B Paul Goldschmidt picks up right where he left off last season and establishes himself as one of the best first baseman, and players, in all of baseball with a slash line of .300/.400/.550. Off-season acquisition OF Mark Trumbo enjoys his new home park and sees his BABIP move towards where it was in 2012, while posting a .265/.310/.500 line. Miguel Montero bounces back after seeing his BABIP dip last year providing another bat in the middle of the lineup.
Patrick Corbin follows up his breakout 2013 campaign by again logging over 200 above league average innings. Wade Miley and Bronson Arroyo both provide stability with over 200 quality innings. After Archie Bradley spends the first half of the season mowing down AAA hitters the Diamondbacks trade Trevor Cahill at the deadline opening a rotation spot for him and he never looks back. The Diamondbacks challenge the Dodgers for the NL West title, but eventually settle for one of the NL Wild Card spots.
Worst Case: Bronson Arroyo’s inflamed disk snowballs into more injuries and he fails to offer the quality innings he has for the last decade. While Mark Trumbo provides power, his BABIP stabilizes near his career average making him an all or nothing bat. Miguel Montero’s 2013 proves to be the beginning of his decline as he struggles with the bat again although he does provide solid defense. While RHP Addison Reed proves to be lights out in the ninth inning the Diamondbacks middle relievers struggle and many of the teams early leads turn into losses. The Diamondbacks finish at the bottom of the cluster of middle of the road teams in the NL West.
Prospect Watch: RHP Archie Bradley is considered not only the top minor league pitcher in the Diamondbacks system, but in all of baseball as well. Bradley tossed 152 innings with 162 K’s and a 1.82 ERA with the bulk of those innings at AA. If the Diamondbacks had not opened their wallet for Arroyo then Bradley may have found himself in the rotation to begin the year, but now Bradley will likely need an injury to find his way into the rotation. Chris Owings saw 20 games with the big club last year and may challenge for the starting SS position this year. Prior to his call up Owings posted a .330/.359/.452 slash line in 120 games at AAA. The Diamondbacks used their first pick in the 2013 draft on RHP Braden Shipley from Nevada who could see a lot of time at AA this year.