Marcos Mendoza | February 20th, 2020
Arizona Diamondbacks are the next team we look at on our team previews. The Snakes are a team on the rise entering the 2020 season in a competitive National League. Filled with a great mix of Youth, and season Veterans the Arizona Diamondbacks are poised for a big season in 2020. To start let’s take a quick recap of the 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks.
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Last season the Arizona Diamondbacks finished second in the NL West at 85-77 and only four games from a postseason berth. Many questions surrounded the Diamondbacks in 2019 with the departures of Patrick Corbin, Paul Goldschmidt, and A.J. Pollock, but despite losing three franchise stars the Diamondbacks increased from their 2018 total by three games. After missing the postseason once again in 2019, GM Mike Hazen made a number of significant offseason acquisitions for a push to have a 2020 playoff berth.
This infield will hold pretty firm for the entire 2020 season. The Diamondbacks will have a few infielders battling for bench spots in spring training such as Jake Lamb, Josh Rojas, Ildemaro Vargas, Domingo Leyba, Dalton Varsho, Kevin Cron, and Andy Young. It’ll be a fun battle to look for throughout spring training to see which of the eight ultimately win the bench jobs. Led by Gold Glove winner Nick Ahmed, the Diamondbacks will have a strong defense entering the 2020 season. Carson Kelly is a strong defender behind the plate with a 1.99 pop time to 2B. He’s also a fantastic pitch framer with seven extra strikes and a 52.2% Strike Rate.
It’s a new look outfield in 2020 for the D-Backs with the acquisitions of Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun. The three OFers have the potential to be one of the best OF groups in all of baseball. Peralta was a Gold Glove winner in 2019 and posted a .275/.343/.461 .801 OPS, .186 ISO, 107 wRC+ and 1.7 fWAR in 2019. Marte had a solid 2019 season with the underperforming Pirates, posting a .299/.342/.503 .845 OPS .208 ISO 119 wRC+ and 3.0 fWAR in 2019. Calhoun, the oldest of the group, had a power surge in 2019. Calhoun slugged 33 HRs with a .236 ISO and a line of .232/.325/.467 .792 OPS 108 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR. Together the three combined for a 7.0 fWAR which I believe will improve in 2020.
Starting Rotation Projections
Although much of the conversation this Spring Training will be for Zac Gallen competing for a rotation spot, it will be Mike Leake and Merrill Kelly battling it out for the final rotation spot. I believe the veteran Mike Leake will ultimately win the final spot. The rotation is a fantastic mix between the three veterans in Bumgarner, Ray, Leake, and the young guys Gallen and Weaver. This will be a very strong rotation in 2020 with a strong defense behind them as well. Bumgarner is entering his first season with the Diamondbacks, Ray is pitching for a new contract after 2020, Gallen had a fantastic 2019 season after being traded from the Miami Marlins, Luke Weaver is returning with full health after a strong 2019 season which was cut short due to injury, and Leake will look to go out there to eat innings and pitch like the veteran he is.
Definitely, the weakest link for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020 is this bullpen. I’ll be interested in what the Diamondbacks plan to do with Alex Young and Jon Duplantier who are normally SPs but have the potential to pitch in the pen in 2020. Bradley will be the presumed closer for the 2020 season. His 2019 wasn’t strong but it wasn’t a horrible season either. The 27-year-old logged 18 Saves, 7 Holds, and 3 blown saves. We will see if Bradley is able to hold the closer role all season as Hector Rondon has the most potential to take his job.
Players To Watch For
The 26-year-old second baseman is coming off a breakout season in which he finished 5th in the National League MVP race and earned his first career All-Star appearance. It was a fantastic season for Marte as he slashed .326/.389/.592 with a .981 OPS, 150 wRC+, and .264 ISO. Marte was among the best in the game facing fastballs with a .349 BA, .633 SLG, and .437 wOBA. I see Marte continuing his 2019 season into the 2020 season and will finish in the top 3 in the MVP race for 2020.
One of the most polarizing pitchers throughout the fantasy baseball community, all eyes are on the young righty in 2020 after an impressive 2019 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In just 80 Innings the 24-year-old posted a 2.81 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 4.23 SIERA, 10.8 K/9, and 4.05 BB/9. Gallen has a strong repertoire, he relies on 5 pitches Four-Seamer(47.6%7, Curve (18.9%), Changeup (15.9%), Cutter (15.4%) and Sinker (2.2%). This strong pitch mix should lead Gallen to have an excellent 2020 season and be among the best in the NL.
Walker had his first full season at age 28 and he didn’t disappoint in 2019. The first basemen slugged 29 HRs with a .217 ISO, .824 OPS, and a 2.2 fWAR. His advanced metrics are among the best in the game. With 375 Batted Balls in 2019, Walker had 43 Barrels, 13.1 Barrel%, 91.1 Exit Velocity, .346 wOBA, and a 48.4 Hard Hit. Walker is one the best in the game at hitting the ball hard at an elite rate. It will be just his second full season in the Majors, I believe he is poised to be an All-Star in 2020.
The Diamondbacks don’t have it easy as they have the Los Angeles Dodgers in their division who recently acquired a top 5 player in baseball in Mookie Betts. They are one of the most balanced teams in all of baseball and have a great amount of pitching depth and depth on their bench. It will be extremely hard for them to dethrone the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title. I believe the Diamondbacks will be the first National League Wild Card with a record of 91–71.
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