I hope you like dingers. The Diamondbacks are coming off a dismal season in which they finished with the game’s worst record, and they have a long way to go to return to contention. It’s a roster filled with interesting but unspectacular players. With that being said, they should be able to hit some dingers.
With names like Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo, and Yasmany Tomas, this is going to be an exciting offense to watch. However, as potentially fun as they may be, there isn’t a lot of definite production coming from this group. On the other side of the coin, their pitching is mostly unexciting with very few sources of upside.
A note for our readers. While informative, since we are still months away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, these previews are far from definitive or complete. Free agent signings, trades, and other offseason news will change the landscape for most if not all teams. For any moves that take place after a team preview is written, please look to our Transaction Analysis coverage for instant reactions, and then check back on the Team Previews for more detailed updates (including lineups, rotations, bullpens, etc.) as we get closer to Opening Day.
Another note for our readers. The characterizations below (for example, “stud”) are designed to be taken in context for each team. Not every team has a Mike Trout or Giancarlo Stanton, so the “stud” category represents the best player or players on each team, not necessarily in comparison to the league.
Paul Goldschmidt – 1B
There aren’t a lot of sure things on this roster, but Goldschmidt is one of them. As one of the premier bats in the game, he’s going to be right in the center of this lineup all year and there is no reason to expect anything less than elite production. He’s a relatively safe bet to hit .300 with a .400 OBP, 30-plus HRs and 100-plus RBI. The 27-year-old missed a big chunk of 2014 with a fractured hand, but should be fully recovered by Opening Day. A clear first-round pick, Goldschmidt could find his way into the top five in fantasy drafts this year.
Jeremy Hellickson – SP
The Diamondbacks were in need of some help in their rotation, but I’m not sure Hellickson was the right guy to help them. After being an extremely useful fantasy starter in his first two full seasons in the league, the 27-year-old has completely fallen off in the following two years. If he remains on the field, he can rack up a healthy number of strikeouts, especially now that he’ll be facing the opposing pitcher every nine at-bats, but that’s about it. The move to Arizona puts him in a more homer-friendly environment, with a much worse defense behind him. Beyond a few attractive streaming matchups, he shouldn’t see fantasy rosters in 2015.
Trevor Cahill – SP
All hope is not lost for Cahill, despite putting up a 5.61 ERA in 2014. The former All-Star paired that atrocious ERA with a respectable 3.89 FIP, meaning it’s entirely possible he’s heading towards a bounce-back 2015. I’d let someone else take that gamble, though. It’s true that his BABIP rose to .356 last year, and while that should come down a bit, there are troubling signs that point towards it staying up. He was smacked around last year for a 29 percent line-drive rate, and Arizona’s shoddy outfield defense does not pair well with his declining ground ball rate. With a different team behind him he may be worth giving a shot, but he should be avoided in drafts if he remains in the Diamondback’s rotation.
What You See Is What You Get
Mark Trumbo – 1B/OF
Trumbo is almost the very definition of “what you see is what you get.” When you draft him, you know you’re not going to get help in AVG or OBP, and you’re definitely not getting more than a couple of token stolen bases. However, you’re going to get some insane power, provided he’s on the field. He missed roughly half the season with a fractured foot last season, but still was on pace for around 30 homers in a full season’s amount of work. If the batters ahead of him in the lineup perform like they should, Trumbo will also rack up 90-plus RBI. He’s not going to blow you away, but his power will always make Trumbo a rosterable fantasy player.
Miguel Montero – C
At any other position, Montero would be someone to let ride the waiver wire. However, with there being such a dearth of production behind the plate, Arizona’s backstop has some use as a late-round option and depth play, especially in two-catcher leagues. Formerly one of the most interesting backstops in the game, Montero has taken a clear step back in the last two years, and this is the area he’s likely to stay near as a catcher in his 30s. Though his upside is very minimal, it’s not hard to envision a .250 AVG, 15 home runs, and 75 RBI. Those numbers won’t blow you away, but at such a weak position, it’s not a terrible piece to have available later in drafts.
Wade Miley – SP
To paint a picture of just how weak Arizona’s SPs are right now, Miley is very likely going to be the best of the bunch, at least until Patrick Corbin comes back. While he’s not good enough to be heading anyone’s rotation, he can be a useful late-round SP in deeper leagues. He just finished up his third full season without a trip to the disabled list, and he’s been around league-average in that time. Although his ERA took a hit last season, his K-rate improved in a big way, and he continued to get ground balls. If you’re towards the end of a deep draft, you could do worse than Miley, who should get you the innings to rack up a good number of strikeouts, and the ground ball-rate combined with their infield defense should give him a respectable ERA and WHIP.
Yasmany Tomas – OF
Just like Trumbo was the prototype in his category, Tomas is exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about X-Factors. The Cuba import has no major-league experience, making the possibilities for what he can do in 2014 almost endless. He may start the year in Triple-A, but given the commitment the team made to him, he should be up for good within the first month of the season. From there, he could become the next Jose Abreu, or fall flat on his face. His calling card projects to be power, and when he connects with a pitch it often goes a long way, making him a threat in any park. Putting him in Arizona just makes that threat more real. With that being said, his contact skills could make for a rough transition in his first major-league season. Given the recent success of Cuban players, fantasy players may be too aggressive on him in 2015, but if he’s still available later in re-draft leagues, he’s a great high-risk, high-reward player.
Patrick Corbin – SP
If Corbin can come close to replicating his 2013 success, he’s going to be a steal in next year’s drafts. In his first full season, he put up a 3.41 ERA over 208 1/3 innings with 178 Ks and a 1.17 WHIP. Unfortunately, he also underwent Tommy John survey last spring and missed the entire 2014 season. Now, the words “Tommy John” are no longer a terrifying thing to hear for a pitcher, but you still never know how someone will come back from it. On top of that, it appears unlikely Corbin will be ready to start the 2015 season, so a full season of production isn’t coming. While his success after a full year off is no guarantee, I’d definitely be looking to take the risk on him in redraft leagues this year. If you give yourself room to stash him for a month or two, he could play huge dividends later in the year.
Aaron Hill – 2B/3B
Chris Owings – SS/2B
These two players have similar chances of being good buy-low candidates in mixed redraft leagues this year, but for entirely different reasons. Hill watched his value plummet this past season after being surprisingly productive during his time in Arizona. His peripherals were all near career worsts, so be cautious with drafting him, but a bounce-back is by no means out of the question.
Owings, on the other hand, is looking to play in his first full season. Although he won’t walk much, he makes good enough contact and limits his strikeouts enough to be confident in his high averages in the minors. Though he doesn’t have a ton of home run power, he will hit enough extra base hits to cross the plate a lot as long as he hits in front of Goldschmidt, Trumbo, and Tomas. There’s a lot of risk in hoping he can reach his potential this year, but he’ll be worth taking a flier on late in drafts.
Up and Coming
A.J. Pollock – OF
When he’s at his best, Pollock a dynamic contributor across the board, and it’s not hard to see him performing close to his peak in 2015. Though he missed about half of last season after being hit by a Johnny Cueto fastball, his production when he played was outstanding. There’s some obvious concern that his .344 BABIP will cause serious regression in 2014, but he was a high-average hitter throughout his minor-league career, and also has the wheels to keep that number above average. He still seems to be a bit under the radar, so you may be able to sneak him in later in drafts, which would be a huge steal. He’s likely to put up something close to a .290 AVG with 20 steals over a full season, and the powerful lineup behind him have him sniffing the upper echelon of the runs leaderboard.
Didi Gregorius – SS
Gregorious has seen his name in trade rumors all offseason, but if he remains in Arizona on Opening Day, he’ll likely be their every day shortstop. The bad news is that he’s yet to figure out the offensive side of things, and remains a glove-only shortstop at this point. The good news is he’ll only be 25 in 2015, with plenty of room to grow offensively. Even with that growth, though, he probably isn’t going to be a highly productive fantasy piece. I’d expect something around a .255 AVG with minimal home run power. He doesn’t have the bat to drive in a lot of runs, and won’t be in a spot in the lineup to be driven in much himself. He’s draftable in NL-Only leagues, but that’s about it.
Addison Reed – CL
Assuming the Diamondbacks don’t add any more significant bullpen pieces this winter, Reed should begin the year as the team’s closer. That’s good enough to make him worth picking up in NL-Only leagues. In his first year in Arizona, though, the closer struggled in his new role. Although he picked up 32 saves in 2014, he was also hit around hard to the tune of a 4.25 ERA and a concerning 1.7 homers per nine innings. If he can limit all the hard contact that plagued him a year ago, Reed could be useful in mixed leagues, but at this point it’s just as likely he loses the role midway through the year. It’s safe to limit him to NL-Only leagues for now.
Josh Collmenter – SP
Chase Anderson – SP
Both of these pitchers are in danger of losing their rotation spot when Corbin returns from injury. If I had to bet one on of these guys, it would be Collmenter, who is better served in a relief role. However, if he remains a starter, he can be useful towards the bottom of an NL-Only rotation in need of ERA help, as he’s never posted a below-average number. Anderson, on the other hand, just finished his first MLB season by putting up respectable enough numbers to earn some Rookie of the Year votes. Though his 4.01 ERA is nothing to write home about, his peripherals were good enough to take a chance on him in deep or NL-Only leagues. There is risk in the fact that he has options remaining, making him a candidate to be dropped from the rotation. However, a strong early season performance will alleviate that risk.
Prospects for 2015
Archie Bradley – SP
Most were hopefully that Bradley would see major-league time at some point in 2014, but between and elbow injury and underperformance, that never happened. He made just 17 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, and struggled at both levels. However, with good health in 2015, he should see a rebound and sniff Arizona’s rotation at some point around midseason. Of course, elbow injuries can be very risky, so pick him up with this in mind. At this point, anything from a no. 2 starter all the way to a reliever is within the spectrum of outcomes for Bradley.
Aaron Blair – SP
Braden Shipley – SP
While both of these guys have high upside, they figure to start the year at Double-A. It’s possible that they impress enough in the minors next year to see a midseason promotion, but a cup of coffee in September is likely the best-case scenario for both in 2015. With that in mind, hang on to both of them in dynasty or keeper leagues, but don’t expect too much value in 2015.
Jake Lamb – 3B
Lamb got his first taste of MLB action last season, though it was probably a bit rushed. As a fantasy player, Lamb’s contact skills won’t be enough to help anyone, but he has the power and plays in a good enough park to help with home runs. Unfortunately, injuries will be the only path for him to receive the playing time he’ll need to provide any value.
Peter O’Brien – C/1B
Acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Martin Prado, O’Brien will start the year in Triple-A with a chance to earn a promotion to the majors as soon as midseason. Like Lamb, his calling card is power, but will need injuries to get significant playing time. With catcher eligibility, he could be an interesting deep league piece, but if he sticks only at first base, he’s likely waiver wire fodder.