The Diamondbacks were determined to shake things up this offseason.
Not only did they get rid of their best young pitcher, in Trevor Bauer, they traded away the face of their franchise.
Justin Upton was having a down season, but apparently there was more going on behind the scenes than we knew.
When you go from being an MVP candidate one year, then mediocre the next, there’s something definitely wrong. Management tried to sweep it under the rug by making statements like “Justin is working on his swing”.
C’mon man, we’re not idiots. Justin Upton is too talented for those kinds of excuses.
He didn’t really have that tremendous of a dip in production, other than the fact that he went from hitting 31 home runs in 2011 to 17 in 2012.
Upton found a new home this offseason in Atlanta, after Arizona got everything out of him that they could.
The Diamondbacks shipped Upton and 3B Chris Johnson to the Braves in exchange for SP Randall Delgado, 3B/OF Martin Prado, SS Nick Ahmed, SP Zeke Spruill, and 3B Brandon Drury.
Atlanta got two instant starters, while Arizona made more long-term acquisitions.
Martin Prado will take over immediately at third base, but the other four are future projects.
The biggest shocker of the offseason was when the Diamondbacks chose to deal their best young pitcher in Trevor Bauer.
They were part of a three team deal, with Cincinnati and Cleveland, that brought them future SS DiDi Gregorious and RP Tony Sipp in exchange for three pitchers: Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw, and Matt Albers.
Gregorious could impact this season, if he’s able to make the Opening Day roster, but will most likely be a July call-up.
Arizona signed some key free agents to upgrade their roster in 3B Eric Chavez, OF Cody Ross, RP Heath Bell, and SP Brandon McCarthy.
Chavez will be more of a substitution/utility player, Bell will start the season as a setup man, while Ross and McCarthy will enter the starting lineup immediately.
The Diamondbacks are a hungry team that can’t seem to get over the hump, so they’re hoping that shaking up the roster will get them a little further than the first round of the playoffs.
Let’s see if Arizona did enough to improve their team from a year ago…
DIAMONDBACKS PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Adam Eaton CF The next star CF for the D-backs, no home run power, but has tons of speed and instincts to go around. He’s a .387 hitter against lefties, and a .355 hitter in the minors. He could be a solid .290-.300 hitter, with the ability to steal at least 20-30 bases in his first major league season.
2. Martin Prado 3B Has hit .300 or better in 4 of his last 5 seasons, stole double digit bases for the first time in his career last season, not a big home run player, but makes up for it elsewhere, no.3 outfielder option on draft day
3. Aaron Hill 2B Had his most balanced season in ’12, hitting .302 and 26 homers. Was always a swing for the fences player, but seems to have developed patience. Solid option in the middle rounds.
4. Miguel Montero C Showed consistency in being a .280 hitter that’ll get you 60+ runs, 15+ HRs, and 85+ rbi’s. He’s a top 10 catcher on draft day.
5. Paul Goldschmidt 1B Showcased a lot of ability, hitting .286, 82 runs/rbi’s, and 20 home runs. He will be even better this year. The secret’s out, so keep that in mind on draft day.
6. Jason Kubel LF He hit a career-high 30 HRs in his first season with ARZ, but sported a .253 AVG. He’s not the biggest name on draft day, so watch for him in the later rounds, as he’s worthy of being your third or fourth OF option.
7. Cody Ross RF He can have those streaks that he’s one of the most valuable OF’s, but then there’s those other times too…he’s a .260 hitter that can get you 20+ HRs, and 60 runs/rbi’s. Name to remember in the later rounds. Could see a slight numbers boost, playing in Arizona’s hitter-friendly park.
8. Cliff Pennington SS He’s never done anything to make you want to consider him in fantasy baseball, plus DiDi Gregorious is waiting in the wing.
1. Ian Kennedy A lot of owners were waiting for him to return to that version we saw in 2011 that went 21-4. A bounce back season is in store for Kennedy, with better run support. He should be considered a top 15 pitcher.
2. Trevor Cahill His first season in ARZ was forgettable. He just hasn’t been the same since his breakout 2010 campaign when he went 18-8, with a 2.97 ERA. Keep in mind, that was his second season in OAK & this is his second season in ARZ…
3. Brandon McCarthy He’s not a strikeout pitcher, but he’s a great inning-eater. He might have reverse fortunes, switching from a pitcher’s park in OAK to a hitter’s in ARZ. Tread lightly when considering him.
4. Wade Miley Could end of being the best pitcher on the staff when it’s all said and done. He’s definitely the one that you want to invest in. He has ace-ability, going up against no.4 opposing starters, creating a huge mismatch to take advantage of. Took a huge step in 2012, but lowering his ERA by a whole point from the year before. He can generate strikeouts and eat innings. He’s the total package that you can get at a discount in drafts, but should be considered elite.
5. Tyler Skaggs He got rocked when he was brought up last season’s end, but that shouldn’t judge him solely on that. Now that Bauer is gone, Skaggs is the top pitching prospect for the D-Backs. Temper expectations early, because he’s a second-half type of pitcher.
RP-JJ Putz- He was a little off from the save totals in his monstrous 2011 season, when he posted 45, but that was primarily due to nagging injuries. He should be a reliable option to draft once again. He’s a no.2 closer option.
Adam Eaton is one of these newcomers that you hear about every pre-season. His projections have fluctuated throughout his minor league career, but the one thing you need to know about him is…he’s so fast, he makes fast people look not fast. Not going to lead your team in home runs, but he’s fast. Eaton is the prototypical leadoff man. Hit the ball, get on base, steal a base, maybe hit a double or triple, turn a single into a double…you get the picture. He’s a threat. Right now, Eaton is good enough to be your fourth outfield option, but will elevate to a three by midseason. The lack of power is what keeps him down. He’s surrounded by some great options in Prado and Hill, so remember his name late in your draft.
Tyler Skaggs isn’t just one of Arizona’s top prospects, he’s one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball. He’s primarily a curveball pitcher that has a fastball up to around 92mph. He’s competing with Randall Delgado in camp for the no.5 spot in the rotation, but he should have the edge on that competition. Skaggs did go 1-3 in his short 6-game stint, towards the tail end of 2012, but that shouldn’t be the only thing for you to judge him on. He can go up to 7 innings per outing, sports an era of just under 3, and can get you around 6 strikeouts per outing. Just make sure that you temper your expectations early into the season. He’s definitely a second half type of player, just because he’ll go through some growing pains early on.