Can the Diamondbacks make it a 3-team race?

When baseball writers have complained about how late their games are, much of baseball’s attention this season will be focused on Padres San Diego and Dodgers Los Angeles. The fact that the Padres beat the Dodgers in the division round last year gave this tango some stakes instead of Padres just saying it out loud. Realize that this Dodgers team may be the weakest team in recent classics (admittedly this “classic era” is one of the best of all time) while the Padres added Xander Bogaerts and have Getting a full season of Juan Soto only adds to the feeling that this exchange has become more intuitive.

But what if there’s a third team breaking up the party? It’s a stretch, but not impossible Arizona Diamondbacks will join the conversation this season, at least enough to preview a trio uproar in 2024.

Does Arizona have an app?maybe NL Rookie of the Year in Corbin Carroll?

Most of the buzz surrounding the D-Backs this season has revolved around Corbin Carroll, to whom they’ve given away $111 million over the next eight years in just 115 MLB games. He’s the key, main contender for Rookie of the Year, with Jordan Walker somewhere in the background. You can definitely look at Carroll’s minor league numbers, where he won both AA and AAA last year. Or maybe his cameo in Phoenix last season — .260/.330/.500 after just over a month of playing. But sometimes, you just have to look at a guy and he… fits the bill. Perhaps it was his poetic swing that created such effortless power, the ball jumping out of it in gratitude for being connected to something so sweet. Or the way he glides across the left court without even looking like he’s touching the ground. Or just watch his ability to command the offensive zone, where every AB feels like he knows something the pitcher doesn’t. Most players react to the pitcher. A special few seem to be in control, and Carroll is one of them.

Corbin Carroll jumps into the wall to catch the balloon hit by Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs

Corbin Carroll jumps into the wall to catch the balloon hit by Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs
Photo: Ross D. Franklin (AP)

What’s interesting about Carroll’s potential is that even though he showed his prowess last year during his brief stint in the Juniors, his control of the strike zone has yet to be fully achieved. , at least not by the numbers. Maybe it’s an eagerness to impress, but Carroll hit a 14-15% teen walking rate last year, which was halved when he was promoted. He’ll definitely be adding basic skills this season to his powerhouse, which should help him hit 0.900 or even 1,000 OPS.

Youth movement

But Carroll isn’t the only new attraction on the block in Arizona. The Opening Day lineup can have three other children 25 years of age or younger. Jake McCarthy made his debut on The Show last year, and while there were some tough moments in the right area in defence, he hit a respectable 116 wRC+ across the board. Alek Thomas, who will start at center, had a tough game on his maiden tour last year (71 wRC+), but there are small numbers in the league that suggest it will be there was a twist, as was the fact that he wasn’t buried in the strike. However, he will have to put the ball in the air more than a few times a week.

Those three quarterbacks made Daulton Varsho possible attrition, so the D-Backs brought him to Toronto to catch Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The latter won’t have to threaten anyone by wearing gloves, but can still hit and can get a boost from game halving most nights. Moreno seems to be a pretty good all-round catcher and another Arizona youngster who doesn’t attack much, though he does it through batting rather than walking. The D-Backs could very well have one of the more frustrating lineups to navigate in a year or two, or in a week or two, depending on how things go.

The rotation isn’t quite as flexible as the lineup could be, as it will feature MSG eaters Merrill Kelly and Madison Bumgarner in the middle, with Zac Gallen at the top. Bumgarner is the toast, and Kelly is due for some retracement because he doesn’t hit many people. Despite his ability to defend at the back in addition to talent as well as defensive ability, he can continue to pull off some monstrous BABIP betrayals to hit good numbers.

That’s not to say the D-Backs don’t have young pitches in a holster to match what it has in the lineup someday. Ryne Nelson has joined the rotation and Drey Jameson will part ways with the team in the box. But he can be switched to rotation as soon as everyone realizes Zach Davies is just a gas can and a welding torch wrapped in a baseball uniform, and he can only throw gas cans at 82. MPH. Brandon Pfaadt will also lurk in AAA if one of the other kids falters or Bumgarner drinks the wrong cup. All of these guys had some tough numbers in AAA last year, but part of that was due to the Reno-based D-Backs AAA team in the Pacific League, a fireworks factory. There’s more to these kids in rotation than in the lineup, but that’s also hard to imagine.

Contributing to that optimism is that Christian Walker may be recovering properly, and that’s after he had 122 wRC+ last season. His insidious BABIP betrayal worked against him last season (0.248), when he slashed his shots, increased his walk count and increased his launch angle. With some luck, he can come up with some monster numbers.

Can they run with the big dogs in California? Not sure. The cowshed is full of guys walking around too much and there isn’t really one who only eats them through attacks, at least not yet. Teams always find that guy out of nowhere, which is what the D-Backs are leaning on. How promising the lineup can be, there are no sure anchors. Of course, a person may appear, but that is more out of expectation and hope than reality right now. The creaking wheel.

Another problem for Arizona is that it looks like wildcard points have been talked about. Whoever loses the Padres-Dodgers will claim one. NL East probably took the other two. But the Diamondbacks could be on the same plane as the Brewers, ready to strike if disaster strikes with one of the three favorites.

It’s still a California song in the NL West for this season, but the Diamondbacks will show everyone why that will expand in the near future.


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