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2016 Arizona Diamondbacks Preview: Bench and Bullpen

While the bench and bullpen take back seats to the rotation and starting lineups, they are no doubt important to a team's potential postseason run. With new additions in both places, can they improve and support the team in 2016?

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks bench was utilized heavily in 2015, ranking 6th league-wide in PA's with 432 and 9th in OPS at .654. While solid, key contributors such as Cliff Pennington and Aaron Hill were traded to other teams and their expected replacements are inexperienced and young, like the rest of the team.

Like the bench, the bullpen was leaned upon as the starters struggled going deep in games with a league leading 579.1 IP. But unlike the bench, most of the regulars will return in 2016 with a big signing in Tyler Clippard.

Catcher: Tuffy Gosewisch

Despite his struggles at the plate during Spring Training, Tuffy brings balance behind the dish, combining with the defensively challenged Welington Castillo to form a solid pairing. Chris Hermann, acquired in the offseason for Daniel Palka, has surprised with a superb Spring Training and could be another left handed option off the bench. A slight edge at this point goes to Tuffy but don't be shocked if Hermann gets the job.

Infield: Chris Owings, Phil Gosselin

With Jean Segura at the 2nd base position, Owings is relegated to the bench where his versatility should prove valuable. Same story for Gosselin, who has done nothing but hit since being acquired from the Braves last year. Chip Hale likes him off the bench as a pinch-hitter but may force his way into the lineup if one of the starters struggles.

Outfield: Socrates Brito, Rickie Weeks Jr.

Another youngster who flashed in a late-season appearance, Brito looks to take the place of Ender Inciarte as the 4th outfielder. While no one should expect him to play defense as well as Inciarte, he has shown more power than Ender and at just 22, still has room to grow.

The 25th spot on the roster is a toss-up at this point but in the end Rickie Weeks will earn the job as a mentor to all the young players. It also helps he's shown up to camp and performed well. Others in contention for the final spot on the bench include Peter O'Brien, Brandon Drury and Evan Marzili. Each of them have hit well, but won't see the necessary at-bats to continue their development.

Bullpen: Brad Ziegler, Tyler Clippard, Daniel Hudson, Randall Delgado, Josh Collmenter, Andrew Chafin, Jake Barrett

Most of the bullpen is cemented with only the last spot up for grabs. Ziegler is the closer, with Hudson and Clippard in the 7th and 8th innings respectively. Delgado and Collmenter handle the longer relief options with Chafin being the fireman, getting outs when the team needs them the most. For the last spot in the bullpen, Chip Hale has mentioned he'd like a 2nd lefty but with only Wesley Wright performing well in the Spring and an abundance of hard-throwing righties putting in solid performances, Chip will have a tough choice. In the end though, Barrett will win the job with his excellent performance. Others on the bubble include Enrique Burgos, Silvino Bracho, Wesley Wright and Evan Marshall, who have all pitched well enough to earn a spot back there.


After a 2015 where both of these groups were leaned upon heavily, will the new additions in the starting lineups lighten the load? Spring performances are leaning towards confirming that, but who knows what will happen once the real games get underway. With the experience of a full Chip Hale managed season already, regardless of which players are chosen, we're sure to see heavy use out of the ones he chooses.