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Predicting the Opening Day Arizona Diamondbacks roster

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A week tomorrow is Opening Day. What might the roster look like?

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With today’s game not taking place until the evening, thought we should perhaps review the Diamondbacks’ remaining roster, and see where we stand. Here are the 35 players left at this point. I’ve put the men I consider to be locks in bold, the possibles in bold italics, and the long-shots are in normal text.

Catchers

  • Alex Avila
  • Chris Hermann
  • Jeff Mathis
  • J.R. Murphy

Avila and Mathis will be the two obvious picks, and Herrmann looks all but certain to be a third catcher, with his positional flexibility. Murphy seems a long shot, but as we noted last week, appears to be out of options. The team will probably delay a decision on him as long as possible, so that other teams are more likely to have finalized their own rosters, which would increase the odds of the catcher making it through waivers.

Infielders

  • Nick Ahmed
  • Daniel Descalso
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Jake Lamb
  • Ketel Marte
  • Kris Negron
  • Chris Owings

With Goldy and Lamb manning the corner spots, the question remains about the middle infield positions. The most likely configuration appears to be Ahmed at short, Marte playing second, with Owings and Descalso as utility men, offering some platoon potential. Of the above, Lamb and Descalso are left-handed bats, while Marte is a switch-hitter. Ketel has hit better as a lefty too, with an OPS of .705 that way, compared to .632 when batting right-handed.

Outfielders

  • Jarrod Dyson
  • Rey Fuentes
  • David Peralta
  • A.J. Pollock
  • Steven Souza
  • Yasmany Tomas

The arrival of Dyson and Souza appear to have locked down the main four roster spots for outfielders. Tomas has hit better than expected this spring, as has Fuentes, but both of them do have minor-league options available, so can be stashed down in Reno as depth. Just as with starting pitching, depth will likely be important here. Last season, remember, the Diamondbacks had eleven different players start games in the outfield for them, so there will need to be replacements over the course of the campaign.

Starting pitchers

  • Patrick Corbin
  • Zack Godley
  • Zack Greinke
  • Matt Koch
  • Shelby Miller
  • Robbie Ray
  • Taijuan Walker

This is the area which is closest to being set in stone. Miller will start the season on the DL, as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Koch has had a good spring, but it would have taken something startling - or, more likely, an injury - for him to displace any of the five who finished last season in Arizona’s rotation. But his solid performances have probably helped to alleviate understandable concerns about the D-backs’ lack of depth in this department.

Relief pitchers

  • Michael Blazek
  • Brad Boxberger
  • Archie Bradley
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Randall Delgado
  • Jorge De La Rosa
  • Yoshihisa Hirano
  • T.J. McFarland
  • Kris Medlen
  • Fernando Salas
  • Albert Suarez

There may still be questions to be answered about specific roles, but Boxberger, Bradley and Hirano appear certain to be in. Chafin has not had a good spring, but his solid 2017 still makes him highly likely to have the first left-hander’s spot. Delgado will start on the DL, Medlen in Reno as starter depth behind Koch, and although Blazek has been seen in more games this spring than any other Arizona pitcher, he’ll be with the Aces too. This leaves De La Rosa, McFarland, Salas and Suarez competing for three spots. DLR and TJ are both lefties, and I can’t see us carrying three of them. McFarland probably has the edge.

With the team not needing a fifth starter for almost two weeks, it’s possible we could go with four starters and add an additional reliever. However, I think it’s more likely the team will still go five deep in the rotation, rather than optioning Godley (or whoever).

Conclusion

There are eight names above not bolded, who should be regarded as long shots for Opening Day. That takes us down to 27 players. The decisions left are whether it is McFarland or De La Rosa as a second left-hander out of the bullpen, and if Tomas’s power makes him our fifth outfielder, or the team prefers the versatility of Descalso. I would tend to think McFarland and Descalso will get the nods, and the Opening Day roster will look like this:

Catchers

  • Alex Avila
  • Chris Hermann
  • Jeff Mathis

Infielders

  • Nick Ahmed
  • Daniel Descalso
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Jake Lamb
  • Ketel Marte
  • Chris Owings

Outfielders

  • Jarrod Dyson
  • David Peralta
  • A.J. Pollock
  • Steven Souza

Starting pitchers

  • Patrick Corbin
  • Zack Godley
  • Zack Greinke
  • Robbie Ray
  • Taijuan Walker

Relief pitchers

  • Brad Boxberger
  • Archie Bradley
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Yoshihisa Hirano
  • T.J. McFarland
  • Fernando Salas
  • Albert Suarez