Arizona Diamondbacks Season Preview

I haven’t done a season preview in a while – they take a lot of time to assemble and think through. However, I started loading all this data and decided to take a shot at a team that interested me for 2023, and the next thing you know… Here goes.

2022 Season:

Record: 74-88 (4th, NL West)
Runs Scored: 702 (9th in NL)
Runs Allowed: 740 (11th in NL)
Expected W-L: 77-85

Defensive Efficiency: .707 (4th in NL)
DP Efficiency: 6.02% (11th in NL)
Factors: The infield was responsible for 58% of the outs, the lowest ratio of infield vs. outfield outs in the league. That meant they weren’t going to get a lot of double play balls to the infielders and it showed up in the rate of baserunners removed.

100 Run Improvement Goal:

Can they score more runs?

They can if some of the young guys get to play more and produce.

First, they need way more production at SS. Nick Ahmed’s best season won’t cut it. Propsect Jordan Lawlar can’t get here soon enough. Ahmed is better than Geraldo Perdomo, though. There should be a minor improvement here.

Daulton Varsho (RF-C) generated offense – but not necessarily more than Lourdes Gurriel, for whom Varsho was traded. You’d wish that Varsho was a better catcher – he makes more mistakes than Carson Kelly, though is arm appears to be stronger. If Gabriel Moreno works out at catcher, though, the trade of Varsho to Toronto might at least not be a loss (Moreno was also part of the Varsho/Gurriel deal). I think Moreno could generate at least 40 more runs of offense improvement by himself, as Carson Kelly didn’t light it up with his bat.

A full year of Corbin Carroll in the outfield (CF-LF) might be fun, too. Is he that much better than David Peralta? Maybe a few runs. Maybe not. Jake McCarthy (OF) and Josh Rojas (INF) need to play more, Christian Walker (1B) needs to do that again…

If Alek Thomas (CF) could improve, too – bat, say, .260 and draw a few more walks, that would add another 15 runs. His minor league numbers suggest he should be able to bat better than he did last year. If not, Carroll will take his job and Thomas will become a fourth outfielder.

Josh Rojas (INF) might be a better hitter than the league average Ketal Marte (2B), but where does he play? Rojas played both second and third base well, and he’s an above average hitter based on last year’s stats. Adding Evan Longoria is a decent fall back at third, but I’m not sure I’d want to play him at third base unless Rojas was at second. Geraldo Perdomo proved to be competent at shortstop, but you can’t have a SS that bats less than .200 in the lineup.

Can the pitching improve?

Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly were great and very good (respectively) leading the rotation last year. And, four starters made regular turns, which is good. (Sort of) The biggest problem was with Madison Bumgarner, who cost the team nearly 30 runs. After a fine career, he needs a rebirth to continue in MLB. If Zach Davies is the swing man and not the fourth starter, that would help, too. I’m not totally sold on Humberto Castellanos and Tommy Henry, so finding three starters who could pitch at least league average would help. 20 good starts from rookie Ryne Nelson and 15 good starts from rookie Drey Jameson would benefit Arizona immensely.

They also had a bullpen that was generally below average. Joe Mantiply was pretty good, Kyle Nelson was decent and Caleb Smith would help more if he threw more strikes. But the bulk of their bullpen (heck, about 85% of the pitchers) were below average, including the closer, Mark Melancon. That would need to change. I don’t see where Arizona made moves to address this.

So, there is room to improve if the rookies join the rotation and hang in there, but not more than, say, 20 runs. I don’t see an impact pitching change on the horizon.

(I will say, however, if all these kids put together a solid offense, then it’s on the executive team to go buy some immediate pitching help because that would make Arizona a playoff contender for sure.)

Can the defense improve?

They were pretty awsome in 2022, actually – by my count saving their pitchers more than 60 runs thanks to an outfield of Peralta (when he was there), Thomas, and Varsho. I think McCarthy will play more and Gurriel will play some – and that’s probably a step back. Corbin Carroll is a great outfielder, but not necessarily better than Peralta was.

On the infield, getting Evan Longoria isn’t going to move the needle defensively. Walker (1B) Marte (2B), Rojas (2B-3B), Perdomo (SS), Ahmed (SS) – all good defenders.

Realistically, the defense might fall back some, but not too much. Even if it was 25 runs worse than last year, the pitchers will have no room to complain too much.

Down on the Farm?

A.J. Vukovich might be a hitter. He reached AA Amarillo and wasn’t overmatched as a big (6’5″ 210 lb.) 20 year old. I just don’t know that he has a position. And he strikes out a lot. Thankfully the DH is in the NL now… Drey Jameson was impressive pitching in AA, too. It’s not easy to be a minor league pitcher for the Diamondbacks – Reno and Amarillo are murderous.

Jordan Lawlar is a 20 year old SS with a good reputation but is a year or so away, unless Arizona decides to give things a whirl.

This year we should get to see Druw Jones, son of Andruw Jones, which should be fun for minor league fans. By 2024, he could be a major leaguer.


I think the Diamondbacks should play anywhere between .500 ball (more offense, a shade better pitching offset by slightly worse defense) and .470 ball – which puts them at right about 79 wins. They will be fun to watch – mostly young players with skills – but frustrating when the pitchers don’t keep leads. And, they play in a tough division, so a division title would be tough with the Dodgers and Padres ahead of them. Still, don’t be surprised if they finish a strong third in the NL West.

One alternate possibility exists, though. What if Arizona gets off to a good start – six to eight games above .500 heading into July. The tempation will exist to supplement the pitching staff for the stretch run. Suddenly, Druw Jones is peddled for an arm or two and the Diamondbacks make the playoffs. Conjecture, sure, but that would be a possible scenario.


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