Predicting Arizona Diamondbacks’ Opening Day Lineup
Predicting the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day Lineup
While the Arizona Diamondbacks finished at exactly .500 again in 2013, their offense was strong. They received a breakout performance from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and they also received solid contributions from Martin Prado and Aaron Hill. Overall, the Diamondbacks ranked fifth in the National League in runs scored, and they have the potential to be even better this season.
The acquisition of Mark Trumbo instantly transforms their lineup. Prior to the trade, the Diamondbacks only had one true power hitter in Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks did not have one player in 2013 hit over 14 home runs. Trumbo adds another power threat to the Diamondbacks' lineup that they desperately needed.
One of the strengths with the Diamondbacks' lineup is that they do not have many holes. Each position is filled with either adequate players or hitters who can produce above average statistics. However, they do have some question marks. Miguel Montero is coming off his career worst season, and Cody Ross looks like he will miss opening day due to an injury. Another concern is that they do not have a lot of speed within their lineup.
While these concerns are valid, the Diamondbacks' offense is good enough overcome them. With Paul Goldscmidt and the acquisition of Trumbo, the Diamondbacks will be a force offensively. In addition to their two sluggers, the rest of their lineup is filled with solid contact hitters who also provide gap power. Manager Kirk Gibson has a lot of options to consider, and it will be interesting to see how he orders the lineup. Here is a prediction of the Diamondbacks’ opening day lineup in 2014.
1. Gerardo Parra
While the Diamondbacks do not have a typical leadoff hitter, Parra makes the most sense to bat first. He is a solid contact hitter, and he showed some gap power last season with 43 doubles and ten home runs. He also adds some speed to the top of the lineup.
2. Martin Prado
Prado is an ideal candidate for the No. 2 slot. He’s a career .293 hitter, and he rarely strikes out. Expect another solid season from the veteran third baseman.
3. Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschimdt is the Diamondbacks' best hitter, and he should be in line for another MVP caliber season. He will also get a lot of RBI opportunities hitting behind Prado and Parra.
4. Mark Trumbo
With 66 home runs in the past two seasons, Trumbo is the perfect choice to bat cleanup. While Trumbo is not going to have a high average or OBP, he is a very dangerous hitter. He should be a lock for another 30 home run season.
5. Miguel Montero
Montero is coming off a very poor season at the plate, but he should return to form in 2014. Before last season, Montero was considered one of the top hitting catchers in the league. He is still in the prime of his career, so he is a solid bet to rebound.
6. Aaron Hill
Hill was limited to 87 games last year due to a fractured hand, but he produced when he was in the lineup. Hill hit .291 with 11 home runs and 41 RBI in 327 at bats. He is an excellent six-hole hitter, and he also provides Arizona with great power from the second base.
7. A.J. Pollock
In his first full season as a major leaguer, Pollock performed well. He hit .269 with eight home runs 12 stolen bases and 28 doubles. He also played solid defense in center field. He might lose some at bats to Cody Ross when he returns, but Pollock did enough last season to earn the starting job in 2014.
8. Didi Gregorious
Didi Gregorius will battle top prospect Chris Owings for the starting shortstop job in spring training. While Gregorius struggled at the end of last season, I believe he comes out on top. Since the Diamondbacks invested a lot in Gregouris, they will give him as many chances as possible to succeed.
9. Patrick Corbin
Patrick Corbin is the Diamondbacks' best pitcher, and he is the obvious choice to start on opening day. Corbin won 14 games and owned a 3.41 ERA in 208 innings pitched in 2013.
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