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2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Arizona Diamondbacks

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For two years running, the Diamondbacks have sat on the fence with a .500 record. This offseason, they made an attempt to address two problem areas, but is it enough to lift them up from mediocrity?

The Snakes tied the Mets for the 25th-most home runs last season, clubbing just 130 of them, so Mark Trumbo and his 30-homer bat are welcome newcomers to the lineup. In addition to bringing some thump, Trumbo will provide some protection for Paul Goldschmidt, who emerged last year as the National League's most potent hitting first baseman. The former Angel will also add some stability to an outfield that included only one player -- Gerardo Parra -- who started more than 110 games as an outfielder in 2013.

The bullpen was another area that lacked stability, but general manager Kevin Towers acquired Addison Reed from the White Sox to handle the closing duties. Owners won't have to worry about whether J.J. Putz can stay healthy or if Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez or Heath Bell can handle the closer's role. Bell was dispatched to Tampa Bay, while Putz, Ziegler and Hernandez will set up Reed and be rendered as Fantasy afterthoughts outside of leagues that use non-closers in relief spots.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

In order to get Trumbo and Reed, the Diamondbacks had to part with three potential up-and-coming stars, Adam Eaton, Tyler Skaggs and Matt Davidson, so the team is clearly in win-now mode. They are counting on Aaron Hill to bounce back from last season's broken hand, Miguel Montero to snap out of a two-year power decline and Martin Prado to continue to provide steady production. Hill and Prado join Trumbo as solid middle-round Fantasy options, while Montero is better saved for two-catcher mixed leagues.

The starting rotation appears to be set, and Patrick Corbin will likely serve as the ace rather than as the No. 5 starter that he was on opening day a year ago. Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy look like locks to retains their spots, and free agent signee Bronson Arroyo will round out the rotation. Reinforcements are available, as Randall Delgado and prospect Archie Bradley could serve in starting roles. Daniel Hudson also lurks as a possible mid-season rotation addition, should he recover from his second Tommy John surgery in time to contribute in 2014.

Goldschmidt may be the Diamondbacks' only member of the Fantasy elite, but especially with the addition of Trumbo, Reed and Arroyo, they have a healthy contingent of players who can help owners in standard mixed leagues. It's probably not enough to make them competitive with the Dodgers in the National League West, but their core group could help to keep both the Diamondbacks and your Fantasy squad in contention this season.

Head-to-Head hero ... Martin Prado, second base/third base/outfield

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Gerardo Parra CF
2. Martin Prado 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
4. Mark Trumbo LF
5. Aaron Hill 2B
6. Miguel Montero C
7. Cody Ross RF
8. Chris Owings SS
Bench Eric Chavez 3B
Bench A.J. Pollock OF

Prado has never hit more than 15 home runs and only once has he stolen more than five bases or driven in over 70 runs, yet he is far more valuable in points leagues than those numbers would suggest. Eligible at second base, third base and outfield, Prado's versatility serves him well in any Fantasy format, but his aversion to strikeouts and penchant for doubles make him especially useful in standard Head-to-Head formats. Those qualities may go underappreciated in Rotisserie leagues, especially given his lack of a speed-power combination. Don't allow his lack of Roto cred to influence where you would take Prado in your non-category leagues, as he will probably fall just short of the elite ranks at second and third base in those.

Underappreciated ... Patrick Corbin, starting pitcher

Corbin's sensational sophomore season could easily be forgotten by some owners, as he limped to the finish line with a terrible seven-start stretch. Through his first 25 starts, Corbin got swings- and-misses on 11 percent of his pitches (per Baseball-Reference.com) and walked just 42 batters in 172 1/3 innings, contributing to a 2.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Over the final five weeks, Corbin's whiffs dried up, and while he had previously benefitted from a generous .261 BABIP, his luck more than evened out by allowing a .387 batting average on balls in play. Maybe fatigue set in, as Corbin did lose some velocity over those late-season starts, but regardless of the reason, he showed over a large portion of the season that he can be trusted as a must-start in virtually all formats. Though he may have left a bad impression by ending with a slump, it's still reasonable to expect Corbin to repeat as a top 30 starting pitcher in 2014.

Impact prospect ... Archie Bradley, starting pitcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Patrick Corbin LHP
2. Wade Miley LHP
3. Bronson Arroyo RHP
4. Trevor Cahill RHP
5. Brandon McCarthy RHP
ALT Randall Delgado RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Addison Reed RHP
2. J.J. Putz RHP
3. Brad Ziegler RHP
4. David Hernandez RHP
5. Joe Thatcher LHP

You know how we will sometimes say of a prospect, "he has nothing left to prove in the minors"? Despite a 1.97 ERA in 21 starts at Double-A Mobile, that's not the case with Bradley. He walked 59 hitters in 123 1/3 innings, so at the very least, Bradley may need some time in Triple-A to work out his control issues. Earlier this offseason, it appeared that Bradley had an outside chance to make the team out of camp, but with the acquisition of Arroyo, the Diamondbacks can take their time to promote the 21-year-old. In the unlikely event he gets rushed to the majors, Bradley could evoke unpleasant memories of Trevor Bauer, but as Tony Cingrani showed last season, a lot of progress can be made in just a little time in Triple-A. If you don't grab Bradley as a reserve-round flyer, he could be worth eyeing as a mid-season waiver claim.

Prospects Report

Though Bradley almost certainly won't make the opening day roster, he could be in line for a midseason callup. If the opportunity for a promotion arises and Bradley isn't ready, Zeke Spruill, Charles Brewer or Chase Anderson could get a shot at the rotation, though all turned in disappointing seasons in Triple-A last year. ... Chris Owings could break camp with the big league club, and he could get the nod as the regular shortstop over Didi Gregorius. Further down the depth chart, 24-year-old Nick Ahmed could eventually overtake both shortstops, and he could be a stolen base threat. ... Davidson is gone, but the organization still has quality third base prospects in Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury. Both are probably at least a couple of years away. ... Braden Shipley, Aaron Blair and Jose Martinez have yet to advance beyond Class A, but all three are pitching prospects worthy of targeting in deeper dynasty leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al at @almelccbs .

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Player News
Jake Lamb, David Peralta still out for Diamondbacks
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:18 pm ET) Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb (quad) and outfielder David Peralta (back) remain absent from the lineup Wednesday against visiting San Francisco.

Lamb has had just one at-bat since Friday after an encouraging 7-for-19 stretch. Peralta has been sidelined since Sept. 5.


Nolan Arenado down again Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is set to sit again Wednesday against the visiting Dodgers with a chest contusion. Rafael Ynoa has been tabbed to man the position.

Arenado was on a 1-for-13 slide before going down.


Hanley Ramirez again a no-go Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:03 pm ET) An elbow strain that prevented oft-injured Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez from playing Tuesday night also has him sidelined Wednesday afternoon in Colorado.

Ramirez, who has missed more than 30 games this season, boasts a stat line of .277/.362/.444. He had nine hits in 17 at-bats before his latest physical setback.


Dee Gordon catching break Wednesday against Rockies
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:00 pm ET) Red-hot Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon will cool his heels Wednesday afternoon in Colorado. He is out of the lineup in favor of Darwin Barney, who will also assume his leadoff spot.

Gordon owns a 10-game hitting streak with seven multi-hit games. He is 18 of 41 during that stretch with 14 runs scored and four stolen bases.


Brad Peacock start Friday pushes Dallas Keuchel back a day
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:49 am ET) Astros right-hander Brad Peacock, who lost his Monday start to back soreness, has returned to the rotation, thanks to a pain-free bullpen session Tuesday. He is set to start Friday night against Seattle, the Houston Chronicle has reported.

The move pushes ace lefty Dallas Keuchel back to Saturday, giving him an extra day of rest.


Steve Pearce could be in line for occasional break
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:39 am ET) The promotion of prospect Christian Walker could mean a bit of rest for blossoming Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce downt the stretch after the team clinched the American League East title Tuesday night, per the Baltimore Sun.

Pearce has received more significant playing time than at any point in his major league career. He has been particularly hot lately with eight hits, including two home runs, in the last 17 at-bats. Despite having made his debut in 2007, his 320 at-bats this year nearly doubles his previous single-season high.


Yonder Alonso seeking return to Padres next year
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Padres shelved first baseman Yonder Alonso is hoping he will be asked back in 2015 after losing the last seven weeks of this season to a wrist injury that required surgery.

"I don't deal with the business side of it, but I think we have really good people here, really good guys that make really good decisions (as far as) the guys that came in," Alonso told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "They know the game, they know baseball and they know what I can bring."

What Alonso brought this year was a stat line of .240/.285/.397 and seven home runs in 267 at-bats. He finished with a flourish with 11 hits in his last 17 at-bats, including two taters.

Alonso could be non-tendered next season in his first year of arbitration eligibility.


Rusney Castillo not much help this year
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:31 am ET) Rusney Castillo's debut for the Red Sox Wednesday night in Pittsburgh shouldn't create the mad dash to the waiver we're used to seeing for midseason callups. If you play in a traditional weekly league, you have just one more opportunity to set a lineup, and nothing he does in the next five days would compel you to switch from what you already have (outside of AL-only leagues, of course, where he's probably been owned since the day he signed).

And I suspect it won't be so noteworthy anyway. Other than the 22 at-bats he got during the minor-league playoffs, he hasn't played competitive baseball in over a year. And now, he's competing against the best the world has to offer.

But his arrival is still welcome news in Fantasy. Often, the most difficult players to assess going into a new season are the ones imported from overseas, where the competition is questionable and the available scouting reports are limited. The Red Sox are removing much of the mystery by giving us this sneak peak.

So what would be a successful debut for Castillo? My latest post to the Fantasy Baseball Today blog discusses just that. Be sure to give it a look.


Offseason back surgery an option for Angel Pagan
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:22 am ET) The bulging disk that has plagued Giants center fielder Angel Pagan much of the year could require offseason surgery, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

That, however, is one of several options.

Pagan missed his second straight game Tuesday with the back issue. Bruce Bochy is hoping to plug him back in Wednesday as the team continues its fight for a playoff spot. Pagan has been one of the team's most dependable players when healthy. He owns a stat line of .302/.342/.391 with 56 runs scored in 381 at-bats.


Start schedule down stretch undecided for Chris Sale
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:09 am ET) Robin Ventura has yet to decide if White Sox super southpaw Chris Sale will make two or three starts before the season ends, per the Chicago Tribune.

Sale is set to pitch Wednesday night in Kansas City. He is also slatedt to start next week in Detroit, but it has yet to be decided if he will pitch again. The White Sox could go with a six-man rotation down the stretch.

The ace lefty is 12-3 with a 1.99 ERA and could use every win possible to give him the best shot to win the American League Cy Young Award.


 
 
 
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