MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks
Well, our projected speed for churning these previews out has slowed to a Bengie Molina on the basepaths like pace. But weâ€™ll see if a preview of the Diamondbacks cant get us back onâ€¦track. Lots of â€śacksâ€ť in there.
The Arizona Diamonbacks originated in 1998. They promptly came out of the gate and were World Series Champions by their 3rd year. Seems fitting. The Diamondbacks and Marlins have both won World Series titles while pitiable franchises like the Cubs havenâ€™t so much as sniffed a World Series appearance in decades. Even the Rays and Rockies have been to the Series in the last few years. Doesnâ€™t seem right.
On a side note, why do these expansion teams always pick the worst names? The Nashville Predators? The Toronto Raptors? I guess fans of Arnold and/or Jurrasic Park were clamoring for sports franchises to cross over to? At least the Diamondbacks took the normal route of selecting a local animal to represent themselves with, but a poisonous snake?
Hey Kids! Come on out to the ballpark and win a chance to pet Diamondback mascot Freddy the Rattlesnake! Donâ€™t worry Mom and Dad, heâ€™s been de-fanged!
(In a brilliant marketing move, the Diamondbacks have selected this to be their actual mascot)
Anyways, terrible name. Snakes are dangerous and children should fear them at all costs.
These Diamondbacks though, letâ€™s see how much fear theyâ€™ll inspire in the rest of the National League in 2010.
UTL â€“ Gerrardo Parra, Chris Snyder
Closer â€“ Chad Qualls
Honestly, I really want to dislike this team. I donâ€™t know why. Call it latent snake hatred if you want, but just from their lineup and first three starters, theyâ€™ve got a good chance to compete in the NL West. Picking up LaRoche and Johnson in the offseason on reasonable deals (4.5M and 2.3M respectively) were quiet but smart value moves as both should see improvemed hitting in Arizona.
Mark Reynolds was a player that won a lot of league titles for fantasy owners last season. The only player in the league to hit 40 HR, 100 RBI and 20 SB, Reynolds came out of Jack Cust like depths of the waiver pool and produced at an elite level. Justin Upton, on the other hand, had all the pedigree you could hope for, and actually delivered by hitting 26 HR to go with 20 SB. Upton is 20 years old or 17 or some ridiculous age that makes everyone salivate over his eventual ceiling. This isnâ€™t the year he reaches it, but expecting him to increase 2009â€™s totals is a fairly easy thing to do.
The pitching staff might boast the best 3 pitchers on any team in the NL. Dan Haren is a perennial stud, posting back to back 200+ strikeout seasons, with an ERA in the low 3â€™s and a whip in the low 1â€™s. Heâ€™s good. Brandon Webb is coming back from shoulder problems last season, but was the NL Cy Young in 2006 and runner up in 2007 and 2008. If heâ€™s healthy again, there is no reason to expect different from him. Edwin Jackson was picked up in the Max Scherzer trade, and Arizona can expect the young hurler to see improved numbers in an inferior league.
Chad Qualls is their closer. His last name begins with the letter â€śQâ€ť which is unusual, I think.
The Diamondbacks will be overlooked in the NL this year due to their poor showing last season and because all people fear and hate snakes. But if healthy, theyâ€™re a team that you probably wouldnâ€™t want to face in the playoffs simply because of the top of their pitching rotation and a couple of big power hitters. People may scoff at â€śplayoffsâ€ť and â€śDiamondbacksâ€ť in the same sentence, but thatâ€™s a difficult division out there and the winner could come out with 88 wins or so.
Team MVP â€“ Webbâ€¦if heâ€™s healthy this team has a shot at the playoffs
X- Factor â€“ Snakes across the great State of Arizona will gather and prepare for a massive first strike campaign against the people of that state. Act accordingly.
Standings â€“ 2nd Place NL West (potential Wild Card winner)