2020 MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Can They Actually Improve After Surviving The Loss Of A Hall-Of-Famer?

It was the weirdest thing. The Arizona Diamondbacks said so long to their best hitter, Paul Goldschmidt and arguably their best pitcher, Zack Greinke, and somehow managed to not implode. All we can say is hats off to General Manager Mike Hazen whose squad exceeded Spitter projections by 13 games.

Ketel Marte came up with the Seattle Mariners in 2016. He didn’t exactly miss but he didn’t exactly hit either… not until last year. .329 32 home runs 92 RBIs 981 on base plus slugging percentage in an All-Star season. He more than doubled his previous career high in homers and hit 69 points higher than the previous year. 

It was a shock and enough to make up for the loss of future hall-of-famer Paul Goldschmidt. Merrill Kelly and Robbie Ray aren’t spectacular but in an age with numbers not seen since the steroid era they’re good enough to be number four starters. The signing of Madison Bumgarner gives them a number three with flashes of greatness. Alex Young’s walks and hits per innings in his first season of starting were solid at 1.19, a significant surprise for a pitcher whose ERAs the previous two seasons at Triple A were higher than 6.00.

Luke Weaver and Alex Young both had career-best seasons but Zac Gallen looks like he’s got staying power. Great stats in the Marlins minor league system translated to the big leagues and he continued to produce after the Marlins inexplicably traded him to Arizona for prospect Jazz Chisholm, who was hitting .207 in Double A. 

If either Weaver or Young can duplicate last year and Gallen continues along with Bumgarner this is a staff capable of duplicating last year’s surprising Wild Card bid. If Marte returns to Earth, there aren’t a lot of guys who can carry this club. And maybe that was the point: to stock it with .250 hitters who were going to be consistently… .250 hitters, or to put it another way, fair to middling. The addition of outfielder Starling Marte (no relation to Ketel) is so important. A Gold-Glover in the field and four-time All Start, Starling more than makes up for the loss of Wilmer Flores, who hit .317 in 89 games (roughly 52 points above his career average). Starling also brings someone for fans to really rally behind after the death of his wife in May.

Is all of it enough to improve over last year? I’m guessing the surprises of last year fall back, but are bailed out by the newbies. Is that improvement though? Wild Card contenders again and 84 wins. 

Coronavirus 60-game prediction: 31-29

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