After surprising everyone in 2011 by taking the National League West crown, no one was fooled in 2012 as the Arizona Diamondbacks were unable to repeat that success. They’re win total dropped from 94 to 81.
But what’s in the past is in that past, and this is a preview for the 2013 season.
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Speaking of things in the past, this team dealt its best player in Justin Upton during the offseason in what is being viewed as a change in the organization’s character.
Brought back in the trade was a player who, without a doubt, resembles the type of character and passion you want out of a player on the field. Martin Prado will be a huge pickup for this team and its future.
Bad news, though, for the Arizona Diamondbacks: The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the same division, and it seems ownership will do (spend) whatever it takes to win the division and a World Series. And if that’s not enough, they’re also in a division with the team that has won two of the last three World Series, the San Francisco Giants.
Arizona Diamondbacks lineup
As mentioned before, the Diamondbacks worked to bring in guys that are “ballplayers.” They now have a lineup full of them with the additions of Prado and Cody Ross.
Just about every position is filled and backed up. Adam Eaton is set to replace Upton in center field and will give them a good option at the top of the order.
Aaron Hill has quietly been one of the best second baseman in baseball over the past couple of years, and I think he becomes the center piece of this lineup moving forward.
I think the Arizona Diamondbacks might figure out how important Upton was in the middle of their lineup as this offense takes a step back in 2013.
Arizona Diamondbacks rotation
In each of the past two seasons this team has finished ninth in the National League in ERA at just under four. Similar to its offensive lineup, there are a lot of good pitchers up and down the rotation, but nobody is going to win the Cy Young.
Ian Kennedy is the leader of this rotation, starting at least 32 games each of the past three seasons. After a great ERA in 2011, his numbers were brought back to reality a little bit in 2012. I still believe he’s a top-of-the-rotation pitcher who can win 15 games.
The big addition this offseason was getting Brandon McCarthy. There is no questioning this guy’s ability to pitch; only his health problems prevent him from being a frontline starter.
The fifth spot in the rotation is still up for grabs between youngsters Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado. Corbin has been just a tad bit better this spring and might have the edge. But whoever gets the nod will be a serviceable fifth starter.
I expect this rotation to be just a little better than the previous campaign; possibly enough to give them a winning season.
Arizona Diamondbacks lineup
Arizona Diamondbacks prospect watch
The Arizona Diamondbacks front office made a conscious effort this offseason to bring in a long-term solution at shortstop. In a trade that sent Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians, the Diamondbacks received one of the top shortstop prospects out there in Didi Gregorius.
While Gregorius won’t break camp as the team’s starting shortstop, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes the year supplanted firmly in that role. He is an outstanding defender, and they are just waiting on his bat to develop. He was invited to big-league camp this spring and has been impressive, hitting .474 in 19 at-bats with two home runs. The Arizona Diamondbacks are hoping this 23-year-old is their guy at shortstop for a long time.
I don’t think anyone is expecting the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the World Series in 2013; they just don’t have a lineup or rotation that scares anyone. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish with a winning record and possibly sneak into a wild card spot.
More than likely, they finish third in the west behind the Dodgers and Giants. I say they win 83 games and just miss out on the playoffs.