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Towards a 2023 Diamondbacks Opening Day roster v2.1

Position players arrive in camp tomorrow, so where do we stand as spring training properly gets under way?

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Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Not an enormous amount of change since our last projected roster. But it’s probably worth looking at the situation as we go from the off-season into the pre-season, as much to figure out what remains to be decided.


  • Carson Kelly
  • Gabriel Moreno

In spring, it will be interesting to see how the catching duties get broken down. The general expectation is for Kelly to have the bulk of the work behind the plate as the season opens, with Moreno gradually increasing his workload. But will that be done on a “personal catcher” basis, or will both men be expected to work with the entire starting pitching staff? We’ve seen in the past that some pitchers prefer the former approach, but I was interested to see that last year, Madison Bumgarner’s starts were almost evenly split between Kelly (14) and Jose Herrera (13).

Infield starters

  • 1B Christian Walker
  • 2B Ketel Marte
  • SS Nick Ahmed
  • 3B Josh Rojas
  • DH: Evan Longoria

Going by what we saw last year, the DH spot is going to be a rotation - nobody even had 40 games there this year. We might see a little more there, with Torey Lovullo using it to rest the veteran Longoria and try to keep him healthy. But he is also going to see time platooning with Rojas at the hot-corner. Gurriel, Smith and possibly even Marte, if his hamstrings start getting balky, could see time there. The rest seems fairly set, providing both Marte and Ahmed demonstrate they’re healthy enough. At this point, there’s no reason to think anything else.

Outfield starters

  • LF: Corbin Carroll
  • CF: Alek Thomas
  • RF: Lourdes Gurriel Jr

Thomas is probably on the thinnest ice here, having posted an OPS+ of only 76 last year. Yes, it was his rookie season, but he had a wretched September, going 7-for-55 (.127) with a .302 OPS. There’s a reason he ended the season off the 25-man roster. If Thomas doesn’t turn it around, then perhaps McCarthy could take over there, though he only played 12 games in center last year. But with the departure of Varsho, “true” center fielders are a bit thin on the ground for Arizona. It’ll be interesting to see whether Carroll gets LF, or whether he swaps with the more experienced Gurriel, who has never played RF in the majors. With Carroll being the future, and Gurriell only having one year left, I’d give it to the rookie.

Non-catcher bench

  • Geraldo Perdomo
  • Pavin Smith
  • Jake McCarthy

Smith seems to be back in play, with some glowing praise from Mike Hazen during the off-season. “We think he can really hit, that he controls the strike zone and has an approach, and we think he has a real chance to impact our team.” As a left-handed hitter, he meshes nicely with Longoria at DH and Walker at 1B. The arrival of Longoria probably bumps Emmanuel Rivera out of a roster spot. McCarthy is probably going to see more starts than most bench players, between Gurrrel potentially rotating into a DH role, and the chance Thomas might not be fixed. But there are other options as well, such as Kyle Lewis.

Starting pitchers

  1. Zac Gallen
  2. Merrill Kelly
  3. Zach Davies
  4. Madison Bumgarner
  5. Ryne Nelson

Davies has returned to the fold since we last write, probably becoming the team’s #3 starter for all intents (though the actual rotation order might not reflect this). That means there is only currently one open spot looking to be filled, and there’s no shortage of potential young contenders. Beyond Nelson, Drey Jameson, Tommy Henry and Brandon Pfaadt are the expected contestants: it could end up being any of them, and I would not be surprised in the slightest. Pfaadt has a demerit as we go into play, in that he is not on the 40-man roster, so using him would necessitate a move there. But he also has the highest upside. We may not see him until late in the year, possibly retaining rookie eligibility for 2024.


  • Miguel Castro
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Kevin Ginkel
  • Joe Mantiply
  • Scott McGough
  • Mark Melancon
  • Kyle Nelson
  • Corbin Martin

The return of Chafin locks up another spot here. There seems only one of the eight which doesn’t have a clear, obvious choice, and Martin gets it because he is out of options. The question-marks here are more to do with the roles each man will have. Torey Lovullo seems inclined to the dreaded “closer by committee”. Though we heard much the same thing last year after Melancon lost the job, and it just seemed to mean Ian Kennedy blowing saves instead. I do feel a bit more confident in the other arms this year, and the breadth of options might help Lovullo avoid over-taxing the same people, simply because they were the sole reliable ones. Through 50 games last year, three relievers had 22+ appearances for Arizona.