Publish date:

2 D-BACKS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP ARIZONA

They're not in for a huge regression, but they will take a step back.... Even with a full season from A.J. Pollock, they're going to miss J.D. Martinez a lot. He took that offense to another level last summer. Steven Souza will help buffer that loss, but that's 40-homer production they're losing.... Yasmany Tomas has become a fifth outfielder. They would love to move him—he's owed a lot and their focus is to get more athletic and better defensively, and all he gives you is power.... Something clicked for Ketel Marte: He showed better discipline, a better approach, and he looks like he can be more than a defense-only guy.... Zack Greinke will never have the season he had in '15 again: His fastball has ticked back a couple miles per hour, but he's still got his smarts and a full arsenal.... There are question marks in the back of the rotation. Patrick Corbin nearly got back to his pre-Tommy John levels, but he struggles on the road, where his ERA was over 5.00. A change of scenery helped Taijuan Walker, but he has too many moving parts in his delivery.... I can't believe I'm saying it, but they're going to miss Fernando Rodney. The closer's role will be up for grabs all season. Archie Bradley has the most upside, but he's also better suited for multiple innings. If they fall short it will be because of the bullpen.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

The Diamondbacks' 2017 closer, Fernando Rodney, was allowed to leave for Minnesota, and that would seem to make Archie Bradley the closer ... but hold on. Torey Lovullo enjoyed having Bradley, who had a 1.73 ERA in his first full season out of the bullpen, as a multi-inning weapon. Lovullo's commitment to using his best reliever in the biggest spots was a key part of last year's 93-win campaign. With Brad Boxberger (41 saves in '15) acquired from the Rays, and Yosh Hirano signed out of Japan (156 career saves), Lovullo could run back last year's model, with Bradley as the fireman and a lesser reliever protecting three-run leads with three outs to go. How Lovullo uses Bradley will be the thing to watch in the Arizona bullpen.

OVER / UNDER

85.5

Offense has long been the team's calling card, but it will be the trio of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker that pushes Arizona toward 90 wins.

THE LINEUP

1. CENTERFIELD

A.J. Pollock

.287 BA/18 HR/22 SB

FANTASY BREAKOUT

2. SECOND BASE

Ketel Marte

.285 BA/8 HR/13 SB

Marte draws walks, steals bases and will score a ton of runs at the top of a high-powered offense.

3. LEFTFIELD

David Peralta

.280 BA/15 HR/7 SB

4. FIRST BASE

Paul Goldschmidt

.534 SLG/31 HR/18 SB

5. THIRD BASE

Jake Lamb

.254 BA/26 HR/5 SB

6. RIGHTFIELD

Steven Souza

.244 BA/20 HR/13 SB

7. CATCHER

Alex Avila

.227 BA/.353 OBP/10 HR

8. SHORTSTOP

Nick Ahmed

.238 BA/7 HR/7 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

Zack Greinke

13 W/3.73 ERA/1.21 WHP

2. LH STARTER

Robbie Ray

12 W/3.54 ERA/1.24 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Taijuan Walker

11 W/4.44 ERA/1.35 WHP

4. LH STARTER

Patrick Corbin

9 W/4.15 ERA/1.36 WHP

CLOSER

Archie Bradley

26 SV/3.46 ERA/10.2 K9

THE SKIPPER

Torey Lovullo