Welcome to the first installment of the Prospect Junkies 2-A-Days. Please join us every day where we preview 2 different teams, writing about key additions and losses, breaking down their lineup and pitching, and giving you our outlook for the upcoming season. I encourage you to leave comments or ask questions as we go along. I will provide my picks division by division, and I also encourage you check out our podcast near the beginning of opening day. And last, thank goodness baseball season is here!!!
Brad Koesters – Prospect Junkies MLB Corrospondant.
Key Additions: Jason Kubel, Aaron Hill, Joe Saunders, Trevor Cahill
Key Losses: Jason Marquis, Xavier Nady, Jarrod Parker
Lineup: This is a lineup that was good enough to win the division last year, and I only think it got better. I’m not saying I think it is going to be good enough to win again, I am just stating it got better. The addition of Aaron Hill at 2B allows Willie Bloomquist to go back to a more comfortable utility role, although I don’t think that pushes this infield lineup to much more than just average. Stephen Drew has not shown the consistency you would like, and I just don’t Ryan Roberts provides enough to be the everyday 3B. Paul Goldschmidt will be crucial to this lineup. He showed signs of proving to be a middle of the order bat in limited time last year, and with the chance to be the everyday 1B I expect him to put up solid numbers. In Miguel Montero they have an above average catcher, and he should bring good production to that spot. With the addition of Jason Kubel I like their outfield quite a bit. Kubel will produce, and with only a 2 year deal he has incentive to maintain productivity. Chris Young in center can be frustrating to fans, but he is solid, and we all know Justin Upton is a star. I fully expect this outfield to carry this lineup.
Pitching: Their rotation was instrumental in getting this team to the playoffs last year, and I fully expect that to continue this year. They added Trevor Cahill at a time when they expected to lose Joe Saunders. However, as it turned out, Saunders is back in a D-Back uniform slated to be the #4 pitcher behind Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and Cahill. Those top 3 make up a very young, affordable, and good top 3 of the rotation. As long as health does not get in the way, I think they will be a big part of a few year stretch of success with the D-Backs. Rounding out the rotation is young Josh Collmentor, who for a #5 doesn’t have powerful stuff but should be a solid contributor. Their bullpen is what concerns me, although adding Takashi Saito gives them experience. I am fairly concerned with the middle of that bullpen being able to get the game to JJ Putz, but once it is in his hands they should be okay. A big part of this is their young arms going late in games to make the bridge as short as possible. All in all, this starting staff should give D-Backs fans something to be excited about for not only this year, but for the years to come.
Outlook: On the surface, considering they won the division last year and added a few solid pieces without losing much, you have to figure that the D-Backs are a good bet to be right back where they started. But I will say I think their overall victory total was a bit inflated last year as the rest of the division fell apart. With that being said, I fully expect this team will be fighting for something in late September, as long as that rotation can stay healthy.