The 2014 season was nothing but disappointing to the Arizona Diamondbacks. After finishing second in the NL West in 2013 with an 81-81 record, they made some key additions, headlined by the acquisition of Mark Trumbo to get them over the hump.
However, injuries (and loads of them), and some regression, left the D’backs with the worst record in baseball last year. Not only that, their offense took a step back, ranking 25th in the league in home runs, 18th in stolen bases and in average.
The only thing that made their hitting look good, was their pitching. As a staff, the D’backs pitched to a 4.26 ERA, the fourth-highest in the league, and allowed the sixth-most home runs per game. To make it worse, their starters compiled a 4.44 ERA, fourth-worst in the bigs. Despite all that, there are a number of D’Backs that should be on Fantasy owners radars this draft season.
We took the projected lineup, rotation and bullpen from RosterResources.com.
2015 Arizona Diamondbacks “Go To” Lineup:
- A.J. Pollock, CF
- David Peralta, LF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Mark Trumbo, RF
- Yasmany Tomas, 3B
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Chris Owings, SS
- Tuffy Gosewich, C
Diamondbacks Starting Rotation:
- RHP Jeremy Hellickson
- RHP Josh Collmenter
- RHP Rubby de La Rosa
- RHP Allen Webster
- RHP Trevor Cahill
The D’backs currently sport an all right-handed rotation, and on paper it could be quiet possibly one of the worst rotations in the league. In fact, I have no D’Backs starter in the top 100 starting pitchers in my Head-to-Head rankings. The two Diamondbacks pitchers I have ranked the highest are not starting the year off with the team and they are Archie Bradley and Patrick Corbin (did you forget he is still a thing?), and the reason for that is pure upside. But some fun facts you need to know about these starters.
- Hellickson has never logged over 200 innings at any point of his career and is a career fly-ball pitcher (41 percent FB rate). Exactly what you do not want to be in the thin air of Arizona. Expect an increase in his HR/FB ratio (10.2 in his career).
- Collmenter, to the surprise of many, pitched much better at home (2.63 ERA) than he did on the road (4.76 ERA). Much of his success can be pointed to a career-low FB rate. Expect an uptick in fly balls to tamper his value.
- De La Rosa is a good fit for Chase Field as he is a big time groundball pitcher (45.7 percent GB rate in ’14). He does have command issues, allowing over 3 BB/9 in ’14, but Chase Field could play into his hands. Last year, the park ranked 26th in total walks, which could mean hitters are more aggressive due to the friendly venue. He is a late-round flier option.
- Webster is similar to De La Rosa, as his high rate of groundballs (46 percent) make him a good fit in Chase Field. One positive for Webster is his left on base (LOB) percent can go nowhere but up. If he threw enough innings to qualify his LOB percent would rank second-lowest in the league, only higher than Clay Buchholz. He should improve on last years numbers but his very low strikeout ability and command issues makes him nothing more than a player to scout.
- Cahill was awful in 2014. The advanced metrics may indicate that he pitched better than he did last year, but that was as a reliever. He was as bad as advertised as a starter. Stay away!
- It is easy to forget about Corbin, as he missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected to return until June. Corbin was one of the most dominate pitchers in the first half of 2013 and is worthy of a late-round flier or early season pickup, if an owner has a bench/DL spot to stash him.
- RHP Addison Reed (closer)
- RHP Brad Ziegler (setup)
- RHP Evan Marshall (setup)
2015 Arizona Diamondbacks Fantasy Stud: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldy is everything you want in a first-round pick. He is consistent both home and away, and month-to-month. That consistency is key, especially in H2H formats. Some may point to his 2014 as a down year, after the video game numbers he posted in 2013, but looking deeper, he was as good as advertised.
Despite the HR decrease, his Isolated Power (ISO) was on par with his ’13 season, and he was on par to steal close to 15 bases again. Last year, his BABIP had increased to .368, which some may say is unsustainable, but it is only slightly higher than his career rate, and increased due to a slight uptick in LD and GB rate.
Last season was only a down year for Goldy because of a fractured hand that ended his season in August. With the injury long behind him, he should be a lock as a top 5 pick and the top first baseman off the board.
— MLB (@MLB) January 16, 2015
Breakout Candidates: Yasmany Tomas, Mark Trumbo
It is hard to call a player we have never seen before a breakout, but Yasmany Tomas is as good a pick as any. In Cuba, he displayed the ability to hit between .280 and .290, with a ton of power and some speed. His ability to hit for an average that high is questioned by some scouts as he has a high tendency to swing and miss, but no scout will deny this kid has a quick and explosive swing. The ball jumps off his bat, giving him the opportunity to hit 25+ home runs, especially in this ballpark. What makes him an even sweeter deal later in the draft is he may soon have OF and 3B eligibility. Trumbo tends to be under-appreciated for what he brings to the table, raw power. Trumbo consistently belted 30 bombs playing for the Angels, in a home ballpark that consistently ranks in the bottom third of HR, according to park factors. Chase Field on the other hand, consistently finished in the top third, meaning the ballpark change turns Trumbo into a legit 40-homer threat. Do not look much into last year, as it was a wash. Last season he missed two months with a stress fracture in his left foot, and even after he returned displayed little power, until September, when he belted six long balls. Another good sign, we hardly got to see Trumbo and Goldy in the lineup together.
— MLB (@MLB) January 23, 2015
Sleeper Candidates: A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings
I would be lying if I did not say I was bullish on Pollock. In a 39-game span from April 12 through May 31, he hit .359 with six home runs, 24 runs and eight stolen bases. It may be a small sample size, but there was nothing here to justify that he cannot duplicate success like this again.
During this stretch his LD rate (15.1 percent), GB rate (49.1 percent) and FB rate (35.8 percent) were all on par with his career rates. The biggest jump came with his HR/FB rate, jumping to 15.8, but it is not hard to believe at the age of 26 he was coming into his own power wise. Pollock than missed time with a fractured right hand and struggled when he initially returned. Now, fully healthy, he can be a great value pick later in the draft. Even if the HR/FB rate from that stretch decreases he has the ability to hit around 15, he has the ability to steal close to 30 bases, hit close to .300 and score 80+ runs.
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Owings is a sleeper in 14-team H2H leagues or those who punt the MI position in Roto leagues. In a season plagued by injuries, Owings showed that he has some pop at a rather scarce position. His .145 ISO, would have ranked 7th amongst shortstops, had he qualified. Owings hits the ball hard often so his .314 BABIP is certainly sustainable. However, he is limited by a few factors, such as his low walk rate and the fact that he strikes out 20 percent of the time.
His main problem though is that his spot in the order will limit his counting stats. If he gets off to a hot start and works his way into the two-hole, he could be a worth waiver wire add later in the season.
Top Diamondbacks Rookies: Yasmany Tomas, Archie Bradley
We already dove into Tomas, so lets focus now on Bradley. The organizations top prospect, had an awful disappointing ’14 in the minors. The 22-year-old saw an increase in ERA, FIP, BABIP, BB/9 and a decrease in K/9. For this though, we will focus on his Triple-A numbers. In Triple-A, his ERA ballooned to 5.18. However, he wasn’t as bad as it sounds as he sported a 3.78 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and had an extremely low LOB rate of 66.7 percent. That with a .351 BABIP, well higher than he had at any other level, shows that luck was just not on the youngsters side.
Still, he is rated by Baseball America as the 2015 Arizona Diamondbacks’ top prospect and one of the best pitching prospect in the league. He sports a fastball that can hit 97 MPH, and a knuckle curve that has a devastating break to it. He has to work on his command, but it is possible he gets the call up in the second half, making him worthy of a minor league spot, for leagues that have one.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) January 31, 2015
What Should We Know About the 2015 Arizona Diamondbacks?
Despite ranking 25th in HR last season, expect a big bounce back, with all their boppers now healthy. Last year, according to park factors, Chase Field ranked seventh in HR, fifth in hits, eight in doubles and sixth in triples. This lineup has the ability to surprise many and outlive their draft day values.
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