Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS system has crunched the numbers, and come up with the current standings for 2017. While it’s obviously far too early for these to be anything like accurate, with five months of trading, signing and development, they do give some indication regarding the task ahead of the new Diamondbacks front-office. The article is Insider only, if you want the full details, but here are the projected standings for the National League West:
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 86-76
- San Francisco Giants: 86-76
- San Diego Padres: 78-84
- Colorado Rockies: 76-86
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 76-86
The Dodgers and Rockies win the tiebreaker, with a slightly higher chance of winning the division, consigning the D-backs to last place. It’s definitely a bit of a reality check for anyone who thought this team was just a healthy A.J. Pollock away from competing. However, it’s not necessarily all bad news, for ZIPS currently gives the D-backs a 9.1% chance of making the post-season, which seems higher than I’d expect, even if it’s only better than the Brewers, Braves and Phillies among NL teams. Most of it (5.6%) is as a wild-card, with a 3.5% chance of winning the division.
Here’s some of what Dan has to say about the D-backs:
If Arizona thinks that it can just stand where it is and everything will just work out in 2017, it has another thing coming. But luckily for fans of one of 2016's most disappointing teams... in are former Red Sox GM Mike Hazen and Boston's head of amateur and international scouting, Amiel Sawdaye. Both bring Arizona's front office something it was lacking at the top: knowledge of how front offices need to be run to be competitive in 2016 rather than in 1990.
This does represent an improvement of seven games over our 2016 record. While there’s no individual breakdown, I suspect most of it is likely due to a full season of Pollock, plus probably a bit of a rebound from Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Given the team finished 22 games back of the Dodgers this year, finding themselves only 10 back in the projected standings seems like a manageable task. Though as noted earlier, much will depend on how the teams ahead of us handle the off-season, their impending departures, etc.
But, for now the question is this: What moves can the D-backs make this winter which will allow them to get 10 games better?