The Diamondbacks went from one of the game's rising young teams to being a disappointment last year. They are still young and promising, sure, but how in the world did they let 2008 Fantasy breakthrough player of the year Carlos Quentin get away? Ouch.
Missing the playoffs was bad enough, but losing almost its entire farm system in deals for Dan Haren and then trade-deadline acquisition Adam Dunn hurts, too. This looks like a team built to win now, and yet still a year or two away.
|Download a Draft Kit! | Join a Mock Draft!|
|Sign up to play FREE Fantasy Baseball|
The front-line aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren are a great start to a contender. They supplement them with free-agent addition Jon Garland and lefty Doug Davis. Max Scherzer is the 96 mph beast on the come and will likely win the final spot in the rotation.
As for the lineup, they really could use a thumper -- one they could have had in Quentin or thought they were getting in free agent Dunn. Mark Reynolds has 40-homer potential, but it comes with a Dunn-like .230 average and close to 200 strikeouts.
Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, Reynolds, Justin Upton and Chris B. Young are all just scratching the surface and should be their best yet this season, while Eric Byrnes is coming back from a torn hamstring that cost him almost all of last season. The bench figures to be led by Chad Tracy, who says he is healthy and ready to assume full-time duty, and Miguel Montero. Montero is one of the better young backup catchers in baseball because of his pop at the position, but starter Chris Snyder is a defensive whiz and a masterful game-caller.
The biggest position battle in camp figures to be at the closer spot, where Chad Qualls enters as the short-term favorite. Qualls was serviceable down the stretch last season in that role, while another midseason trade acquistion Jon Rauch struggled and was demoted back to mopup duty when things were all said and done. Tony A. Pena will push Qualls in spring training and figures to be a closer long term, so we might see him rise up with some real Fantasy value before the end of 2009.
Sleeper: Conor Jackson, 1B
We have outlined the late-round potential of Jackson in depth in our story on the top 27-year-olds for 2009. Jackson is just now entering his prime and we could see a nice bump in the power department. Because he has been labeled a Mark Grace among first baseman, a position deep on top sluggers, Jackson will go very late in your draft. But Grace didn't have Jackson's power at a similar age. Few could have seen Quentin developing into a Fantasy MVP so quickly a year ago, and it shouldn't be forgotten that Jackson was arguably the prospect-equal to Quentin when they were both coming up through the Arizona system. They brought Jackson up first, kept him and dealt off Quentin. We obviously label it as a mistake now, but Jackson is too young to give up on as a potential 30-homer man, too.
Bust: Jon Garland, SP
We thought about naming Scherzer as their bust, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. That arm is just too intriguing, even if it has been sidetracked by shoulder soreness a bit too much for our liking. You really have to jump on Scherzer earlier than his probable returns, but the potential to really soar is just too great. Garland, meanwhile, peaked years ago. He posted a full-season's worst 10 victories in 2007, which led him to being dealt to Anaheim, where he posted a career-worst 4.91 ERA last year. The move to the NL likely lowers his ERA, but Garland to us is a pitcher who relies on run support. The young D-Backs lineup lacks that thumper as we said and figure to be streaky for the next few years.
Breakout: Justin Upton, OF
You can interchange Jackson and Upton as sleeper or breakouts. B.J.'s younger but stronger brother has a body of destruction, even if his .250 average, 15 homers, 42 RBI, 52 runs and one steal aren't impressive on Draft Day. He is so young, raw and without a track record of big-time numbers, he should be underrated in your league. It is one thing to know the hype, but it is another thing to buy into it before it consummates. He likely won't reach .280-30-100-100 in his first full season, but you shouldn't be surprised if he does. This guy is a future MVP candidate.
|Arizona Diamondbacks Outlook|
| ||Pos.|| |
|1||Stephen Drew||SS||1||Brandon Webb||RH|
|2||Eric Byrnes||LF||2||Dan Haren||RH|
|3||Conor Jackson||1B||3||Jon Garland||RH|
|4||Mark Reynolds||3B||4||Doug Davis||LH|
|5||Justin Upton||RF||5||Max Scherzer||RH|
|6||Chris B. Young||CF||Alt||Yusmeiro Petit||RH|
|7||Felipe Lopez||2B||Top bullpen arms|
|8||Chris Snyder||C||CL||Chad Qualls||RH|
|Top bench options||SU||Tony A. Pena||RH|
|R||Chad Tracy||C||RP||Jon Rauch||RH|
|R||Miguel Montero||C||RP||Scott Schoeneweis||LH|
|R||Tony Clark||1B||RP||Doug Slaten||LH|
|1||Jarrod Parker||20||RH SP||Low Class A||High Class A|
|Elite pitching prospect very well could force his way to the majors by the end of the season.|
|2||Cesar Valdez||24||RH SP||Double-A||Triple-A|
|He will open the year in Triple-A and be a candidate to serve as an injury replacement.|
|Hype has exceeded his numbers, until this winter season. He is still more speed than power.|
|If Jackson moves back to the outfield in a pinch, Whitesell's power could come in handy.|
|5||Billy Buckner||25||RH SP||Majors||Triple-A|
|The Garland signing forces him back to Triple-A, but he could use the seasoning anyway.|
|Best of the rest: OF Collin Cowgill, SS Mark Hallberg, SP Tony Barnette, SP Brooks Brown, 3B Rusty Ryal, 2B Taylor Harbin, SP Matt Torra, SP Trevor Harden, SP Kevin Eichhorn, SS Pedro Ciriaco, SP Barry Enright, 1B Ryne White, C Rossmel Perez, RP Daniel Schlereth, SP Wade Miley, SP Juan Gutierrez, SP Hector Ambriz, RP Reid Mahon, SS Reynoldo Navarro, SP Wes Roemer, SS Justin Parker and SP Esmerling Vasquez.|
You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.