Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Following a last place finish in the National League West, the Diamondbacks set out to make some changes to their roster in the offseason. Those changes include trading away C Miguel Montero, SS Didi Gregorius and SP Wade Miley. Among the players acquired by the Diamondbacks are SPs Jeremy Hellickson and Rubby De La Rosa.
The Diamondbacks’ .248 batting average last season was right around the NL average, but they were below average in OPS (.678), home runs (118) and runs per game (3.80). No one on the team hit more than 19 home runs last season, and Montero had the team’s third-highest home run total with 13. As far as pitching goes, the D’backs 4.26 ERA ranked second-worst in the NL, as did the 4.58 runs per game allowed by the pitching staff. That may be why the team decided to change 40% of its starting rotation.
Without adding any significant players to the offense, you likely won’t see much of an improvement in the team’s numbers there. With Hellickson and De La Rosa joining the team, you could see better pitching numbers if they pitch well. Hellickson has a career 3.78 ERA, but it has been higher than 4.50 each of the last two seasons, while De La Rosa’s ERA in just 28 major-league starts is 4.34.
I don’t see the Diamondbacks having much of an improvement this season. They’re in one of the toughest divisions in the baseball with the Dodgers and the defending World Series champion Giants at the top and the Padres, who made some significant moves this offseason to improve their team. Those teams are clearly ahead of the Diamondbacks and Rockies. No matter what happens with the Diamondbacks this season, I can’t see them finishing any higher than fourth place in the NL West this season.