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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #117: Same FO in 2017?

Tony La Russa expects the front-office to return in 2017. But clearly something needs to change.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke
RHP, 11-3, 3.67
Rick Porcello
RHP, 15-3, 3.40
Jean Segura - 2B Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Michael Bourn - CF Brock Holt - SS
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Mookie Betts - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B David Ortiz - DH
Rickie Weeks - DH Hanley Ramirez - 1B
Yasmany Tomas - RF Jackie Bradley - CF
Chris Owings - SS Aaron Hill - 3B
Brandon Drury - LF Sandy Leon - C
Tuffy Gosewisch - C Andrew Benintendi - LF

"I think we have really effective people everywhere. When you don’t have the deepest pockets, you better have the best scouting and development." -- Tony La Russa

Fine in theory perhaps. But can La Russa perhaps explain, if "the best scouting and development" is a top priority, why the Diamondbacks had precisely ONE player in Baseball America's mid-season ranking of the Top 100 prospects last month? And that guy, Braden Shipley was one the current front office inherited, having been drafted under the previous regime the previous June/ Put another way: there have now been three drafts since La Russa was hired in May 2014. Yet not one of the players chosen by the Diamondbacks made it into the top 100 prospects in baseball. Hardly seems like "the best scouting and development" to me.

Of course, more than any other major sport, baseball prospects are an inexact science. Never forgot 245 players went ahead of Paul Goldschmidt in the 2009 draft. Hell, even the Diamondbacks passed over him a full dozen times, for such stellar choices as Bobby Borchering, Eric Smith and David Nick. The same goes for the best pitcher we ever drafted, Brandon Webb, also picked in the eighth round, in 2000. But the general consensus is that the Diamondbacks' farm system is mediocre at best. Just before this season, Minor League Ball ranked the D-backs 19th, down from 11th in 2015. Baseball Prospectus was even harsher at the same point: #24, down from 7th.

There's no doubt that injuries have hampered the team, in particular losing A.J. Pollock for the entire season. But the starting pitching has been so terrible, that even with a full season of Pollock and the other injuries, I suspect this team would have fallen short of last year's 79 wins. They're currently on pass to fall short of that by 10-15 wins - and, don't forget, this is a team intended to do much more than merely match last season's tally. The bottom line is, Dave Stewart, Tony La Russa, etc have not delivered on the expected level of performance. If they are asked to return in 2017, I hope they have learned that their 2016 approach has not worked, and adjust it accordingly.

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