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Arizona Diamondbacks Preview

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, March 22, 2010 10:36 AM | Comments: 24
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Arizona Diamondbacks: (70-92, Last Place – NL West in 2009):

What was supposed to be another stellar year in the supposedly-easy NL West turned into a wreck for the Snakes. Brandon Webb, their co-ace along with Dan Haren, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury just four innings into the season.  It was an uphill climb from there, and the D-Backs forgot their hiking boots.

The stumbles continued throughout the lost season, which included the firing of manager Bob Melvin on May 7, and the hiring of 35-year old, former Phillies backup A.J. Hinch.  The switch was an effort to toss the team a life-raft, but it did not take and the Diamondbacks found themselves dead last in the West by October.

Chris Young, a former 30-homer guy, hit just above .200 and was sent down to the minors for a minute. It got so bad for ARZ that outfielder Conor Jackson, a .300-type hitter with decent power, was diagnosed with Valley Fever.  Don’t know what it is? Look it up – it’s not your everyday illness.  Even the Phillies got their shots in at the Snakes by taking 5-of-6 from the hapless Diamondbacks.

In a year of mistakes and misfortunes, Arizona had a few bright spots. Mark Reynolds became one of the premier power hitters in the National League by swatting 44 home runs and knocking in 102 runs in the middle of a bad lineup.  Justin Upton just recently signed a six-year contract to stay in Arizona after he hit .300 with 26 bombs in 2009.  At just 21, he’s one of the blossoming gifts of the game and has the tools to get better.  In the pitching department, it was all about Dan Haren once again.

The perennial all-star was what he always is – solid- forcing his way into 14 wins and an ERA in the low-three’s.  The guy struck out 223 while walking just 38, so control is his specialty.  However, there was no controlling the awfulness of the D-Backs in 2009.

2010 Season:

Here in Mid-March, not much looks different out in Phoenix.  The biggest move was nabbing power righty Edwin Jackson from Detroit as the Tigers purged their roster, giving the D-Backs a formidable 1-2-3 top-of-the-rotation. That is, if Webb can get healthy.  They did move developing fireballer Max Scherzer to get Jackson, who by the way was an AL All Star last season, but they got a bit older and wiser with the trade.  Jackson should do quite well in the spacious NL West.

The offense looks the same, save for the pickup of Adam Laroche to play first base.  He jumps in where Chad Tracy, Josh Whitesell, and Brandon Allen failed a year ago.  Reynolds and Upton are the centerpieces, while Stephen Drew could use a nice bounce-back and new second baseman Kelly Johnson needs to provide some stability at another below-average position for Arizona.

The fact of the matter is, this season hinges on the health of Brandon Webb.  If he can return to his all-star form, then the Diamondbacks could have just enough offense to go with the outstanding rotation.  If not, they’ll be in for yet another downer in the desert.

PREDICTION: 79-83

We continue our MLB Previews with the Colorado Rockies coming up next.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1668 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The D-Backs are a non’factor. As I’ve said before, the Rockies are the team to beat in that division.

     
  • Posts: 0 Pat Gallen

    Even with that top 3? Writing them off completely?

     
  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    Any team with the Freak and Cain fronting their rotation can not be over looked.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I wouldn’t write off the Dbacks completely, but I think it would take a lot for them to win the division. They stand a chance at the Wildcard though maybe, but only if all the key players stay healthy and have above average years.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I have the D-backs 4th… I really think the division is up for grabs among the Giants, the Rockies, and the Dodgers. The Dodgers’ rotation looks bad at first glance, but they have two great arms in Billingsley and Kershaw… if we expect Hamels to bounce back for us, why can’t the Dodgers expect Billingsley to bounce back too? He got a lot of heat last year, even though his ERA was 4.03 –not THAT bad!

    Kershaw is very solid, and will keep improving…

    With their offense, and IF Billingsley and Kershaw have a strong season, I think the Dodgers take it. As of now, though, I think the Rockies seem more balanced and will finally win it…

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Rockies win the division. Dodgers and Giants battle for 2nd….and the wild-card spot….along with the Braves in the East.

    Yes, I am writing off the D-Backs completely…..but didn’t you already do that, Pat…..with your 79-83 prediction?

     
  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    The “if Webb can get healthy” is pretty significant in regards to their 1-2-3.

    And Edwin Jackson tailed off substantially in the 2nd half of last season so it’s hard to say which pitcher he is, the 2.62 or th3 5.07 guy.

    Moving Scherzer for Jackson was the most baffling move of the offseason.

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Cole Hamels was shelled by the Yankees — 4 innings, 7hits, 7 runs(6 earned) and looking like the Cole of ’09. Let’s not get our hearts set on Cole being a star. We may be thanking the Lord for both Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer.

     
  • Posts: 0 Blaise

    I think the Diamondbacks compete for the NL West and have a chance to win it. Haren-Webb-Jackson is very good.

    Upton-Reynolds-LaRoche are a great 3-4-5. They also have guys like Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero who are at the top of the league at their positions too.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Im on record too as having the Rockies in the NL West…. to me, they’re the most complete team

    Dodgers.. not the greatest Starting Rotation . . . their everyday players are mostly aging, on the downturn of their careers . . . Manny, Casey Blake, Rafeal Furcal . .. Russell Martin has been bad for two years now.. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are good, but not great (they aren’t close to any two players the Phillies have) …Loney is underrated. . . they’ll be worse than the past two years in my opinion

    Giants.. definitely have all the pitching.. Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Sanchez.. not set on a 5th yet, I dont think.. but Madison Bummgar-something is said to be legit. They lack offense.. but close games, create tough teams.. and I think the Giants are that.. a tough team

    The thing about Arizona.. is that I always though that was a pitcher’s park.. but the more I looked into it … they say its really OFFENSE-FRIENDLY.. so they need their young offense all to click if they want to have a chance.

    I think they’ll be good… but too many questions to contend. Webb’s health? . . Haren breaks down in the 2nd half of every season.. Edwin Jackson could be good.. it was a risky move trading Max Scherzer to the Tigers, it will be interesting to see how that trade works for both teams

     
  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    BurrGundy, Hamels will be fine. He was working on his fastball today, not mixing in many secondary pitches, throwing the heat in situations where he normally wouldn’t in regular season games. And also, not that I need to say it, but it was one bad start in an otherwise excellent spring.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    hahaha

    “Burrrrrgundy” now putting stock in Hamels’ spring training start, calling him the “Cole of ’09″

    My heart, and mind ARE already set on Cole Hamels being a star… because he’s already proven it. A “down” year in 2009, has people like you discounting the fact that he lead us to a WORLD SERIES TITLE in 2008 . . . . Im guessing you want to trade him if he doesn’t throw a No-hitter before the caldenar reads MAY ?

     
  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Also, I don’t expect the Diamondbacks to compete this year, but they’ve certainly set themselves up to do so with Haren anchoring the rotation and Justin Upton locked up to a bargain of a contract.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Meanwhile, David Herndon pitched 2 more scoreless innings this spring, keeping his ERA at a very low, wait for it…. 0.00!!

    -Manny
    Founder of the Keep Herndon in Red Pinstripes Movement

     
  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    raul, way to many swings and misses, is he not seeing the ball?

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah, we may be “thanking the Lord for both Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer.”

    But for OTHER reasons than Cole Hamels having ONE bad outing in Clearwater, Florida.

    Oh, and I’m gonna give up on Raul Ibanez too….because he hasn’t hit all that well this spring. As a matter of fact, I’m ready to make John Mayberry, Jr. the new everyday left-fielder.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    ^Wow. “pheeling it” must have read my mind. The difference is HE was being serious….I was being a smartass.

     
  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    hes not even getting a piece, just giant swings and total misses. polanco on the other hand has a new style of oppo boppo

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I agree with everyone who says we have to keep Herndon, but I still want to see him in a few regular season games for a better indication of what we have. He has impressed me a lot this spring training, but it’s the regular game performance that is going to count more.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    I really think the biggest problem for the D-Backs is maturity, as talented as they are and as good as Josh Byrnes and his team are at finding talent there just doesn’t seem to be much of it in the organisation.

    I heard Mark Reynolds say the strikeouts don’t really concern him because of his production with his bat and ability to run with it, but that’s not a very good baseball attitude, the difference between a fantasy stud and a core contributor on a winning team are those little things a guy does to help his team win. The D-Backs just don’t seem to have those guys. Montero, Drew, Jackson, Young, Kelly Johnson… You look at their roster and either think prospect or failed attempt to make a star.

    On the pitching the front office has handled Brandon Webb terribly and their gonna pay the price either in salary or losing him if he does give them the shot in the arm for them to contend this year.

    Take away the Padres and every other team in that division thinks it has a grouping of players that can win deep into the season, you just can’t see that with the D-Backs. They need a lot of guys to turn into tested veterans if they want to be more than just talent and promise.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^Wonder if the Phils are working on a trade for Herndon since it looks unlikely there’ll be a spot for him.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I think the Phils will try to offer something to the Angels, but I guess we’ll see how it goes.

     
  • Posts: 0 Billy

    I fully expect the D’Backs to compete in the NL West, I think that division is actually going to be one of the closer races all year because I think every team except San Diego has a legitimate chance. The Rockies seem like the obvious team to pick but outside of Ubaldo I really can’t give that starting rotation any confidence at all, am I supposed to come into a season expecting good years out of Jorge De La Rosa, Jason Hammel, Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook or that Tim Redding can come in and pitch well if one of them go down? They definitely have the offense and bullpen that can carry them to the playoffs but they still need a lot of good things to happen: Tulowitzki has to play like the MVP candidate he played like last year, Helton can’t decline, you really don’t know what to expect out of guys like Barmes and Mora and there’s a lot of pressure on the younger talent like Young, Fowler and Gonzalez especially Fowler and Gonzalez to contribute every day. The Diamondbacks could make a run for the NL West though, if Webb is healthy him and haren make one of the best 1,2 in baseball, Jackson has always had the talent and it looks like he’s finally figured out how to pitch even though I don’t think they should have traded scherzer for him, Conor Jackson has looked amazing this spring and if him and chris young bounce back then those 2, upton who is one of the best players in baseball, reyolds, drew, laroche, montero should make up a pretty solid line up. They may not win this year but they’ll definitely compete, they definitely can’t be written off before the season’s started and they’re definitely going to be pretty good pretty soon.

     
  • Posts: 0 Cherrie Fehr

    Congrats Edwin Jackson on your no hitter you are amazing great job..

     
 
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