MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Doubters
Every season, when Spring Training rolls around, both doubters and supporters of all 30 MLB teams re-emerge from their winter hibernation. It is no different for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but unfortunately for this team there are more doubters than supporters for the 2015 season.
Several early predictions have the Diamondbacks ranked last of all the 30 teams. They have been projected to win between 65-70 games during the 2015 season.
Back in 2011 predictions had the Diamondbacks winning 65-70 games, but that team ended up winning 94 games and winning the National League West, with a new manager full time manager in Kirk Gibson, a new roster, and, at the beginning of that season a suspect starting pitching staff. They did not play well to start the 2011 season, but they worked with Kirk Gibson to turn the season around. Pitchers Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez and even closer J.J. Putz had career years. Position players Miguel Montero, Justin Upton and even Ryan Roberts also had career years. Add the Aaron Hill trade and Paul Goldschmidt making his move to the big leagues in August 2011, and you can see how this team was able to make the run that they did.
The 2015 season looks very similar to the 2011 season. A new manager, a new roster and, once again, a suspect starting pitching staff. But, in order for the 2015 team to make a run at repeating the success of the 2011 team, several facets of the game must come together for this team.
First, they must remain healthy. Diamondback players missed over 1,400 games last year due to injuries, the most in the National League, and those injuries started before opening day and lasted the entire season. Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez missed the season, both after undergoing Tommy John surgeries last March. Bronson Arroyo missed the final three months after his Tommy John surgery. Chris Owings missed two months. Mark Trumbo missed almost three months. A.J. Pollock missed three months. And, the team’s best player, Paul Goldschmidt, missed the last two months of the season.
In addition, this Diamondbacks team will need to score more runs and win at home. The 2014 Diamondbacks were awful with runners in scoring position, with 615 runs, which was 25th in all of baseball and Chase Field is a hitter’s park! With the core of those hitters remaining healthy and, if Yasmany Thomas can hit MLB pitching, their offense cannot help but be better.
There are other factors as well, including solidifying their starting pitching rotation, these pitchers must average more than 6 innings per game and their bullpen must be consistent; and the 2015 team must cut down on errors.
Who knows what the 2015 season will bring, but let’s hope this team is similar to that 2011 team. With new leadership, from Tony La Russa to Dave Stewart to De Jon Watson, who were all winners from previous teams, and manager Chip Hale, who won a college World Series championship at the University of Arizona and led the then Tucson Sidewinders to the Class AAA title, this team could have a shot at a winning season in 2015.
The Diamondbacks first regular 2015 season game is scheduled for April 6th, so until then, enjoy Spring Training 2015.
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