Marcos Mendoza | October 14th, 2019
The 2019 Regular Season is over and the Arizona Diamondbacks have missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. They have not clinched a National League West title since 2013, an NLCS since 2007, or a World Series title since 2001. We will recap the 2019 season and what to look forward to for the 2020 season.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB team recaps here.
2019 Season Recap- (85 – 77) 2nd place in the NL West
What Went Right
There were plenty of concerns entering the 2019 season for the Diamondbacks after losing Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, and A.J. Pollock in the offseason. A lot went right for Diamondbacks in 2019 as they went on to finish with a better record than 2018 without the three stars.
The majority of the success for 2019 came from huge breakout seasons from a number of players. They had career years from Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Wilmer Flores, Nick Ahmed, Carson Kelly, Christian Walker, and Luke Weaver.
Marte was the biggest contributor to the team of the players to have a career year. The 26-year-old second baseman entered the season with a new contract after earning a $24 MIL 5-year contract extension. He proved his worth in 2019 with an MVP-caliber season. Marte finished with a line of .329/.389/.592, .981 OPS, 150 wRC+, 37 HR, and a 7.1 fWAR. His 7.1 fWAR finished 7th in all of baseball and 3rd in the NL. It will definitely land him a top-five NL MVP finish.
While having a ton of breakouts on the Major League squad, the Arizona Diamondbacks also had their Minor League system drastically improved from 2018. At the start of the season, the Diamondbacks’ farm system was ranked 13th via Fangraphs THE BOARD rankings, and they ended the season as the 5th-ranked MILB system in baseball. Outfielders Kristian Robinson and Alek Thomas headline the Diamondbacks’ system as they had terrific 2019 seasons to improve their prospect pedigree.
What Went Wrong
Finishing with a 38-38 division record in the NL West which had three teams below .500. The Diamondbacks finished 11-8 vs the (70-92) San Diego Padres, 9-10 vs the (71-91) Colorado Rockies, and (8-7) vs the (77-85) San Francisco Giants. Arizona was unable to take advantage of the lower end of the division and it ultimately came back to haunt them.
Impending Free Agents
There isn’t much to say about these impending free agents. The most likely to remain with the team of the bunch is Wilmer Flores. Flores finished the season with a 1.1 WAR and was worth $8.8 MIL in 2019. Retaining him for $6 MIL in 2020 would bring great value for the Diamondbacks with Flores being a key role player off the bench.
Players to watch in 2020
Gallen was acquired by GM Mike Hazen at the trade deadline in exchange for top prospect Jazz Chisholm. The 24-year-old RHP made eight starts for the Diamondbacks logging 43.2 IP with a 2.89 ERA 7.6 H9, 1.0 HR9, 3.7 BB9, and 10.9 SO9. Gallen has been impressive in his short time with the Diamondbacks and should be a consistent force at the top of the rotation in 2020.
Weaver was fantastic in his 12 starts for the Diamondbacks in 2019 until suffering a UCL strain in May, which led him to be on the IL until September. In his 12 starts, Weaver threw 64.1 IP logging a 2.94 ERA, 7.7 H9, 0.8 HR9, 2.0 BB9, and 9.7 SO9. Gallen and Weaver are two young starters who will be extremely important to the Diamondbacks’ success in 2020.
Although many baseball experts thought the Diamondbacks would be an afterthought in the NL West in 2019, they stayed competitive and weren’t out of the race until the last week of September. It was a solid season for Arizona, even though they didn’t make it to October. The D-backs were able to stay competitive throughout the season while also improving the Minor League system. This past season was a big turning point for Arizona, as they didn’t commit to a full rebuild and rebuilt the farm system while staying competitive. What do they need to do to take the next step and upend the Dodgers seven consecutive NL West division titles?
Needs: RF and Bullpen
The Diamondbacks don’t have a large payroll to work with to lure big-name free agents, and will likely won’t hand out a big contract this offseason. Even though it doesn’t seem likely for the Diamondbacks to hand out a big contract, they saved a ton of money dealing Zack Greinke at the deadline. General Manager will first likely look to extend SS Nick Ahmed and LHP Robbie Ray this offseason as they are free agents after the 2020 season. If they were to hand out a large contract this offseason, OF Marcell Ozuna should be at the top of their list. Rebuilding the bullpen should also be a focus for Mike Hazen in the 2019 offseason. If they can land some key relievers this offseason, it will be a big step toward reaching the postseason in 2020.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images