At times last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks looked poised to make that next leap, but alas, they finished the season 81-81, another .500 record. There was plenty to be excited about (looking at you, Goldy), but at the same time, this team had it’s fair share of issues. For instance, as Al Melchior points out, the D-Backs were tied for 25th in home runs last season with 130. The bullpen also struggled, but luckily, it appears that Arizona has addressed these needs.
We take a look at the fantasy prospects for these snakes for 2014.
No one, and I mean no one, made me happier to see in my starting lineup last year than Paul Goldschmidt.
When drafting him, I knew I liked him, but I also knew that first base was an insanely deep position. However, I didn’t know that Goldschmidt would emerge into arguably the best first basemen in the league. 2014 was incredible for Goldy, as he batted an impressive .302, smashed 36 home runs (1st), 135 RBI (1st), scored 103 runs (3rd), walked 99 times (3rd), posted a .51 slugging percentage (1st) and a ridiculous .952 OPS (1st). He served as his name suggests…
And on top of all of that, the guy swiped 15 bags, which isn’t something you typically see from first basemen. In 2013, Goldschmidt saw terrific numbers because he is really good, but also because he improved both his walk and strikeout rate. He was also incredibly consistent, posting strong home/road splits. While at home, he batted .293, but away from Chase Field, he was even better, hitting .311 with 19 dingers. And in each of the last three seasons, his BABIP improved, meaning he is more than just a power hitter. His 36 doubles, which served as the 5th-most among first basemen, prove that to be true. At age 26, this guy is still just entering his prime and is already the surefire number one first baseman in fantasy.
He’s that good.
Meanwhile, the D-Backs tried to fill a power void in the offseason by bringing in heavy hitter, Mark Trumbo, who is averaging 31.6 home runs over his last three campaigns. I’m not in love with Trumbo from a fantasy perspective, as is such a liability in the batting average department. Over his last three seasons, Trumbo’s strikeout rate has gone up, and last year, he swung and missed an ugly 14.5 percent of the time. However, if you do need power, Trumbo is one of the 15-20 guys in the league that will hit 30-plus homers.
The sophomore season from Patrick Corbin was a bit overlooked, due to the breakout campaign from Goldschmidt, but it warrants attention. He won 14 games, struck out 178 batters and posted an ERA of 3.41 and a WHIP of 1.17. Per Melchior, Corbin posted a swing-and-miss on 11 percent of his pitches (hat tip to Baseball Reference), while walking just 42 batters in 172 1/3 innings. You can tell that Arizona has the utmost confidence in their young arm, as Corbin finished ninth in the National League in innings pitched (208.1) in just his second season. He also posted three complete games, the third-most in the NL. Because of this trust, Corbin has likely emerged into the ace in this rotation, and should serve as a top-30 pitcher in fantasy leagues.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.