This time last year the Arizona Diamondbacks were the consensus pick to be the team, if any in the NL West, to move down the San Francisco Giants or the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year the Diamondbacks are almost a consensus pick to finish below .500. This befuddles me.
The free agent signing of Zack Greinke entering last season had few envisioning him having a sub-par year. Visions of Greinke duplicating his career best ERA (1.66) and WHIP (0.844) were replaced with a reality that was quite the opposite. His worst ERA (4.37) since his sophomore season and worst WHIP (1.273) since 2008 was the last thing any fan expected. It would be foolish to assume that Mr. Greinke returns to being a Cy Young Award runner-up form this season but even more foolish to assume he repeats last season’s performance.
The trade for their proposed new #2 Shelby Miller was a costly trade on many accounts. First off, Miller was terrible. He literally forgot how to pitch as they spent a majority of the season working on his mechanics trying to get him back on track. Secondly, it cost them Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte. Swanson was a piece of the future they mortgaged but after losing A.J. Pollock on what many fans wished was a really elaborate April Fools Day prank, the presence of Inciarte was sorely missed. By all accounts, Shelby Miller should pitch much closer to the version of himself we saw in Atlanta and St. Louis than what we witnessed last season.
In case you forgot how good Pollock is, MLB Network has named him the 5th best center fielder in baseball. Joining Pollock in the outfield is the ‘freight train” known as David Peralta. Peralta missed 114 games due to injury meaning two of the biggest pieces of the Arizona outfield played a combined 60 games last season.
Back to the pitching staff, the Dbacks tried again trading for an up and coming pitcher acquiring Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners. Surely he cannot perform the symphony of facepalms that Miller orchestrated last season. Also do not sleep on 2013 All-Star Patrick Corbin! He was another example of a Diamondback player that had a worse case scenario type of season.
That Paul Goldschmidt guy is pretty good too. If he played for the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers, he would be unanimously tabbed the best first baseman in baseball.
Official record prediction is 83-79. The same prediction I made last season but with more confidence this time around.