2015, what a difference a year makes.
This time one year back most of us were mildly optimistic that we'd at least be competitive in our division and perhaps even make the wild card. Several hundred injuries and an abysmal pitching lineup later kind of changed that outlook.
So where does that leave us for the 2015 season? Well needless to say expectations are very very low, but I'm confident they'll have a better year. That's not saying much I know, yet if the injury bug is kinder this year and some semblance of pitching found this could be an 80-85 win team.
So here's my final verdict on the season: 85 wins
My predictions, yeah? Well they're not good. I mean after last year I'm not too confident, and I'm not particularly hot on any of our free agent moves outside of Yasmany Tomas. I mean our rotation was pretty weak last year and well, it's not a whole lot different from last year. Yeah we got Allen Webster and Rubby De la Rosa, but neither of those guys have exactly set the world on fire. Hellickson isn't much better either. At least we'll have Goldschmidt back and if he can stay healthy the entire season than we'll probably see a slight up tick in wins. I think as a whole this season'll be better, but not by much. My prediction for this season's record is 70-92
As the season wears on, some of the young pitching will start to distinguish itself as possible long-term pieces. The lineup will hit fine, though nothing god-like save for Goldschmidt. Speaking of, Paul will pick up where he left off before his injury, but still finish second in MVP voting to the best player on an unexpected Playoff team. Archie Bradley will make his big league debut. Cody Ross will be designated for assignment sometime around June or July. Peter O'Brien will be primary catcher by season's end. Bronson Arroyo will struggle upon return and will not have his option picked up for 2016. The team won't be over .500, but show signs of improvement late. They will finish fourth in the NL West, ahead of the Rockies.
Projected Record: 76-86
I'm not expecting in any way that the Diamondbacks will be fighting for a playoff position, let alone a winning record. 75Obviously, I hope they do, but it's hard to put them ahead of the Dodgers, Giants, or Padres at the point before the season. The rotation is a question mark, and there's going to be a lot of youth movement. It could be a lot of fun, though, if we can see a young player like O'Brien or Tomas breakout, or it could be excruciating. In the end, though, there will probably be a lot of losses. 75 wins, tops.
When the 2015 Arizona Diamondbacks take the field for the 1st time this season, expectations will be low with obvious reasons after the disaster that was 2014. But after an off-season in which we saw Dave Stewart and Co. hoard lots of young pitching assets, it’s safe to say this organization is on the up. Young players, like Jake Lamb and Chase Anderson, will surprise with solid seasons, and the veterans will play up to the level we expect. When 2015 is all said and done, the D-backs will finish 80-82 and will be in a prime position to add solid veterans to a growing group of youngsters.
I think the offense is incredibly underrated. A nice mixture of speed and power should provide some runs, especially if Tomas has a decent year. The starting pitching can't possibly be as bad as last year, right? I just hope we don't wait around to pull the plug on Cahill if he continues to be an automatic loss every fifth day. Reed started to come into his own in the second half. Hopefully that carries into this year. I'm really anxious to see how Marshall does in a full season as set-up man. The bullpen is solid, but not spectacular.
Overall I think this team will be far better than last year, but not quite good enough for a winning record. 79-83
My prediction for this year is pretty pessimistic. I don't believe the Diamondbacks will have a good year at all and be lucky to break 70 wins.
I admit there is some hope that if Pollock and Goldschmidt can return to form from before their injuries that would be a huge boost to the offense. The addition of Tomas and potentially O'Brien could very well make the Diamondbacks one of the most potent lineups.
However, my concern with this team has always been pitching. Hellickson is basically replacing Wade Miley, Cahill is still inconsistent, and we really don't know what's going to happen with our 4th and 5th spots. Our bullpen has a closer that has lots of saves, but an ERA that would make you think he should be in the minors.
Maybe if Corbin can come back strong, Collmenter can maintain a 1st in the rotation ERA, and some of the relief pitching that's been sidelined by injury does their job we can break 80. Other than that, 4th place in the division with 69 wins is all I'm willing to give.
With the wholesale changes which have taken place, on and off the field, it's difficult to predict how this season could go. It feels as if a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon could be enough to tip this team from 70 to 80 wins, or vice-versa. I don't expect us to contend. I don't even expect us to reach .500, we don't have anything approaching the starting pitching for that. What I do expect is some improvement, and a much better idea at the end of the year of what young pitchers and players should be part of the core going forward. Reasonable health should also translate into a few more wins. I'll say ten games better in total, and a record of 74-88.
What awaits the Diamondbacks in 2015? Well, I think we can all agree that the team will, most likely, play 162 games in the regular season, give or take. Where we may disagree is the idea that we're probably going to lose the majority of them. Yeah, I know, some of you may have your optimism pegged to 11- or 2011, as the case may be- but I'm a cranky old man, and I can't convince myself that we should set our sights any higher than, possibly, the middle. We come into the season with a lot of questions in our lineup, and I think a lot of those questions are just going to linger.
We aren't going to see a break-out season from someone at catcher, we aren't going to see multiple triumphant returns to the rotation from injured players, we aren't going to see Mark Trumbo suddenly learn to play left field. We'll have some good days and some bad days. Paul Goldschmidt will hit some dingers. Our defense will shake out some flaws. Our bullpen will stumble. And we'll be done with our season in Houston on October 4th, discussing what off-season moves we'll hope to see. My prediction: 71-91, fourth place in the NL West. Goldschmidt takes fourth in the MVP voting.
I can’t recall being more apathetic about an upcoming baseball season than this one. The lack of any frontline starting pitching makes it impossible for me to imagine how this team can be competitive in any way. I can’t even get to caring about the offensive lineup because it simply won’t get the opportunity to make a difference. When your opening day starter is Josh Collmenter, a pitcher who wouldn’t even make the rotation for half the teams in the National League, it’s tough to be optimistic.
It’s a team that has some young pitching that might give us a chance in another year or two, but it has blocked most of that young talent this year and is delaying their development. Maybe in some alternate universe several of these middle of the road pitchers will have breakout seasons and carry the team to a .500 record or better, but I don’t see it. I predict a 70-win season, another high draft pick and a constantly revolving rotation that will be an ever-present source of frustration.
It's hard for me to have any positive feelings about a team where three of the five rotation spots are up for grabs in spring training. It just doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence. The offense should be satisfactory, I think, with Tomas, Goldschmidt, and Trumbo in the heart of the line up. However, two of those listed are defensive liabilities, so that makes defense a big hit. With the two of the three components of a baseball team with huge question marks, I just can't see this team doing any better than 72 wins. I like what the new management is doing, overall, but I doubt it pays off this season.
We all expect to see the team be better than last year. But there is no agreement, and indeed, wide variation as to the scope of the improvement. The panel's expectations for the 2015 Diamondbacks range from five to 21 wins better than in 2014. Pitching, and the rotation in particular, appear to be the biggest areas of concern, and hope for a resurgence seems to rest firmly on young prospects blossoming into everyday or better major-leaguers. About the only thing upon which we can rely, appears to be Paul Goldschmidt, and as last season saw, one errant pitch can remove even that certainty. Average projection: 74-88.