By David Miller @DavidMillerRant on March 17, 2014
Last season the Arizona Diamondbacks checked out of the divisional race about the same time everyone else did; when the Dodgers ran away with it. This year they have made a few huge changes and find themselves as the probable favorite going into the 2014 MLB season. They have already set their roster for the two-game Australia series but that will not be their Opening Day roster.
Speaking of additions; this is the biggie for the 2014 DBacks. Adding this power bat to the mix everyday is one of the key things that has shifted this roster from second best to favorites. Trumbo has been solid this spring and looks to have no issues stopping him from having a great debut season in Arizona.
Pollock has had a great spring with a batting average above .400. He looks to be primed to take advantage of the improved DBacks’ offense and likely should have a great season.
Parra has emerged as one of the leading defensive outfielders in the National League and the game itself. His spring numbers suggest that his offensive game is ready to take another step forward as well. Everything could work much more efficiently with this offense this season and the starting outfield is certainly a big part of that.
Last season Prado was a little mixed up with the recent trade and all that came with it. He still had a good year but this season he is more comfortable and ready to show what made him an MVP hopeful a few years ago with the Braves. He will open any eyes that wonder why he is considered to be such a great member of this team in 2014.
Both Owings and Didi Gregorious will go to the Australia series but only one is going to make the final Opening Day roster. Neither have lit it up this year but Owings has shown better overall numbers during the spring. He will likely win the starting job with Gregorious being sent down to the minors to get steady at-bats instead of riding the bench.
Hill has a home run and three RBI to go along with a great batting average this spring. If the DBacks can get a good thump of offensive production from him as well, they really are going to start looking like a very dangerous line-up to face.
There is no first base battle on this team. Many think Goldschmidt should have won the MVP last season but regardless of that he is a candidate for it again this year. The addition of Trumbo around him in the batting order will only improve his situation and the pitches he sees.
Montero is the unquestioned leader at catcher for the DBacks and seems to improve with each season. His spring numbers are not astronomical but they are certainly solid offensive production which in addition to his defense is all the DBacks want.
The fact that Chavez is behind Prado on the DBacks’ depth chart is fitting because they are similar players. Chavez can play many positions well and he has proven to be a good bench bat as well.
The backup catcher job will fall to Gosewhisch this season in spite of a small battle for the spot. He should do a fine job backing Montero who will get the lions’ share of the playing time.
Pennington isn’t just the third shortstop going along to Australia because he will have a spot on the Opening Day roster no matter who wins the starting job. He can play more than just short of course and is a decent bench bat in addition to that.
Ross is not quite ready for the roster heading to Australia but Kirk Gibson and company expect him to be ready to go on Opening Day. This is obviously a good thing and is very good to hear after his injury last season.
The last extra outfielder will probably come down to either Tuiasosopo or Tony Campana and neither has blown things up as of yet this spring. Whichever one leaps ahead in the final days of Spring Training is likely to be the winner of this fifth outfielder spot.
Perez was signed recently by the Diamondbacks but is expected to be ready to go for the Australia trip and beyond. He is expected to be used in short stints probably taking advantage of his left-handedness and therefore doesn’t need much time to get ready.
Though he does have starter stuff and starter potential, Delgado also is a capable long arm out of the bullpen which makes the choice to pull him from the rotation a little easier. He has proven good at the long reliever job in the past so expect him to get this slot again to start this season. If they need a starter on short notice however it very well could be him.
Hernandez has been good this spring and was chosen from the huge mix of pitchers to make the Australia trip. Assuming he puts up good numbers there as well, he should have no problem transitioning to the final Opening Day roster.
It is likely that Thatcher will be considered the number one lefty out of the bullpen while Perez will be the shorter length option. His spring has been great and he is another reason that this should be a very good bullpen in 2014.
Collmenter deserves a big job with this bullpen. If there was any doubt that he was one of the biggest members of this team, his perfect spring season should prove those doubts wrong. He should be a very critical member of the team not just the bullpen.
There are a few whispers that Putz could be officially in the running for the closer position but I think that will clearly fall to the next gentleman on our list. Putz should be one of the big names in the ‘pen however. His spring has been very good so far so all signs are good.
The trade that brought Reed in is said to be the best move the DBacks pulled off this offseason. When you consider Trumbo came via trade that is a large statement. I’m not sure I fully agree but if this team is to be great, they will need a solid bullpen. For that they will need a reliable closer who can get the job done. Reed is going to be a big up step in that situation.
The biggest note for the starting rotation is that Patrick Corbin could be down for a while. Because the problem is his elbow, he could have a torn ligament and we all know what that means. McCarthy isn’t making the trip to Australia but he will keep working in Arizona and should be ready to give a better season to the DBacks by Opening Day.
Bradley was thought to be a guarantee for the starting rotation by many but with the signing of Arroyo those chances dwindled. No one likes injuries but the Corbin injury swings the door wide open for Bradley to step in with the big spring he has had so far. How long he stays depends on his performance and of course the injury situation.
Though he has been roughed up a tad this spring, Cahill is still a solid starter for the beginning of the season. They should have some depth if everyone but Corbin remains healthy so there are options if he or any one starter struggles.
The DBacks have no clear Ace starter without Corbin but Miley is getting the first start in Australia which should stand for something. The DBacks need solid and consistent seasons out of Miley and the other mid-rotation starters they will run out this year.
Arroyo is having back issues that have some worried he might hit the Disabled List for the first time in his long career. He isn’t making the long trip but he is already throwing without pain. It is something he has dealt with before as well. Those things in addition to his ability to stay off of the DL for an entire career give him the deserved benefit of the doubt here. While he might not be an Ace, he will be the veteran leader of the staff.
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