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Can the D-backs Do It Again?

Next up for the NL West, is the reigning NL Pennant Winner, the Arizona D-backs.  That just hurts to say, but sometimes the truth just hurts.

Arizona was not a big thumper team, but was built with speed.  The rule changes played right into the D-backs strategy.  They were aggressive at the plate and on the bases.  They were grinders, doing whatever it took to get a win.

Corbin Carroll was the leader of this team.  He was the runaway NL ROY.  In 645 PA, he hit .285/.362/.506/.868.  Where he shined was with 54 stolen bases against 5 caught stealing.  Some are projecting him for a 40/60 year.

Arizona has one more year of control for their one true HR threat, 1B Christian Walker.

Arizona is proof positive you do not need four elite starting pitchers to make the World Series.  In 2001 they had two pitchers that carried them to a WS victory: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.  This year their top two pitchers were again very near the top of the list for top NL pitchers: Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

Gallen (28) was the Ace of the staff.  In 34 starts, 210 IP, 3.47 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 3.26 FIP, 125 ERA+, 220 K, 47 BB, .238 BAA.  He was third in the NL CY award.  It was his second consecutive season with top 5 CY votes.  He was also 9th in 2020.  He has been good for a while now.

Kelly (35) also had his second excellent consecutive season, and three out of the last four.  In 2023 Kelly had 30 starts, 177.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 1.193 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 132 ERA+, 187 K, 69 BB, .222 BAA.

Kelly arguably had the better season, but with IP and strikeouts, Gallen got the attention.  Kelly was also the best D-backs starter in the playoffs.

Arizona had 14 different starters.  But none were very effective until rookie Brandon Pfaadt starred in the postseason.

Most of the D-backs from 2023 were due to remain for 2024.  Free Agents:

  • Tommy Pham
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  • Evan Longoria
  • Mark Melancon

Kyle Lewis and Zach Davies were also a pair of parttime 2023 D-backs that are no longer with the team.  Neither were to be counted on and will be easily replaced.

Pham was a trade deadline addition.  Longoria was the primary 3B.  Gurriel was a regular OF in the Arizona lineup.

Gurriel Jr. has re-signed with Arizona.  Arizona traded hard throwing RHRP Carlos Vargas and backup catcher Seby Zavala to Seattle for Eugenio Suarez to replace Longoria at 3B.

Arizona, needing another starter, signed LHSP Eduardo Rodriguez to a 4 year $80MM deal.  Arizona is now four deep in starting pitching with a number of candidates for #5.

All that is missing now is to replace Pham as the DH.  JD Martinez, Justin Turner, and Jorge Soler are all under consideration to become the 2024 DH.  The last time JDM was with Arizona he was a wrecking ball.  In 62 games, 257 PA, .302/.366/.741/1.107, 29 HRs (HR every 11.3% of PA).

I suspect that Arizona will add a quality DH bat before they hit ST.

 

Arizona’s current lineup:

1B – Christian Walker

2B – Ketel Marte

3B – Eugenio Suarez

SS – Geraldo Perdomo

LF – Corbin Carroll

CF – Alek Thomas

RF – Jake McCarthy

C – Gabriel Moreno

DH – Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

 

Bench:

C – Tucker Barnhart

3B/1B – Emmanuel Rivera

INF/OF – Jace Peterson

OF – Dominic Fletcher

 

Rotation:

Zac Gallen – (R)

Merrill Kelly – (R)

Eduardo Rodriguez – (L)

Brandon Pfaadt – (R)

Ryne Nelson – (R)

 

Relievers:

Paul Sewald – (R)

Kevin Ginkel – (R)

Miguel Castro – (R)

Andrew Saalfrank – (L)

Scott McGough – (R)

Ryan Thompson – (R)

Joe Mantiply – (L)

Luis Frias – (R)

 

I expect Mike Hazen to monitor the bullpen as he did last year.

Arizona has a very good front line 26, but they lack depth, especially pitching.  So as long as the D-backs stay injury free, they will be formidable again in 2024.  I do not expect the Dodgers to take Arizona lightly at all this year.  I fully expect Arizona to be the closest pursuer of the Dodgers.  I do think they could be a 90 win team IF they get a top DH and IF they stay healthy.

 

 

 

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Oldbear48

Arizona has always been a thorn in the Dodgers side. I will say this going into the playoffs, I thought it was advantage Dodgers because they have owned both Gallen and Kelly in their careers. Gallen, even though he has kept LA to a .205 BA, was 1-4 against the Dodgers. Kelly was even worse with a .315 BA against and an 0-11 record in the regular season. But the offense went to sleep, Kersh pitched like the injured pitcher he was, and they lost the first two games to those guys. Then Lynn allowed the four homers to a team that doesn’t hit homers, and the Dodgers went home. Kelly is 35 this season, Gallen is 29 in August. Rodriguez will turn 31 in April. Pfadt and Nelson are the kids. I still like LA’s rotation and bullpen better. And the Dodgers are going to slug a ton. I just hope JD goes somewhere other than the NL West. JT is now 39 and won’t play every day.

Badger

“But the offense went to sleep”

Spot on Bear.

And yes, Lynn gave up 4 homers in one inning, a record that will likely last forever, those were the only runs Arizona scored. The Dodgers lost because the offense went to sleep for the entire series.

And how do you prepare a year in advance to guarantee that doesn’t happen again?

You don’t.

Bobby

“you don’t”. That’s it. You pay stars to be stars when it matters, and most often than not, our stars fold when it matters.

Let’s hope Ohtani helps change that. And let’s hope Mookie Betts understands bunting to get on base in Oct is actually a smart idea.

Oldbear48

Not exactly true. LA does not win in 20 without Betts, Kershaw, Urias and Smith having some great moments. Yes, they lost in the worst possible way to a team they dominated. But I still say the 5-day break between games has a lot to do with that.

Oldbear48

Unlike Julio Urias who looks like he will not be charged, but still has MLB to deal with, Wander Franco is in deep doo doo. ESPN.com showed some of the evidence obtained so far in the case. Franco is looking at 20 years in prison.

Oldbear48

Padres supposedly are interested in Hyun Jin Ryu for their rotation. LA still has 1 open spot on the 40-man. They can wait until they get to spring training, sign Kershaw and immediately place him on the IL. It is where May and Gonsolin will no doubt start the season. Kershaw can then rehab with the team.

RC Dodger

DBacks have a good chance to improve their team over last year’s WS team. They return all of their top players and have made two great additions in Eduardo Rodriguez and Eugenio Suarez. Plus the young team will have another year of experience. They start the year with a solid starting rotation that is more proven than the Dodger’s rotation. Four of their starters pitched 140 plus innings in the MLB last year which was more than any Dodger pitcher.
I see them as the likely second place team in the division, and they could be a problem in the playoffs again.

Last edited 5 months ago by RC Dodger
Badger

Can they do it again? Of course they can. As a Wild Card entry. Anything can happen in the MLB Postseason.

I already made my prediction. The West will finish just like it did last season. Then? Roll the bones.

Mark Timmons

Ketel Marte usually does not put up great back-to-back years. He has had a couple of .900+ OPS years, followed by low .700 OPS years. I don’t expect it or predict it, but I am aware of it.

Suarez has great power and could hit 35 HR there, but after having a three-year run in Cincy with .828, .892, and .930 OPS, he is a .700 OPS guy now. His recent lack of production could be Seattle-related. He’s more of a bottom-of-the-order hitter.

Outside of Carrol, they do not have a player who would start for the Dodgers. JD Martinez would improve the team tremendously.

In my opinion, their rotation is comprised of three #3’s and two #5s. After 162 games, they will likely make the Wild Card, and as Badger said, “Roll the bones!” It’s a shame that 162 games can end in three, but that is the system we live (and die) under.

Badger

I got a question for the economic majors here:

Economics of MLB Ballparks

February 18, 2012 by Frank P. Jozsa Jr. ·

“Several sources in the literature provide general and specific economic and financial data and basic sport statistics about each current and former Major League Baseball Ballpark (MLBB). These sources, as a group, include academic studies, articles in books, journals, magazines and newspapers, industry reports, and websites. With respect to MLBBs, authors focus on and analyze such details, facts, and results as their capacity, cost and year of construction and any renovations of them, location and specific site, naming rights, ownership, attendances at teams’ home games, and perhaps average ticket prices and gate receipts.”

Then the article goes on a while but I couldn’t tell if those who owned their parks or those who leased them were making more money. That was written over a decade ago. What does it look like now?

I have a Stanford friend in Sedona, old money, who kinda knows Kendrick and says the guy is uber wealthy with a publicly subsidized park, who, like McCourt would walk away with a billion if he decided to sell. The point being, he could raise payroll if he chose to, but who knows, if he chose to maybe his team, and the finances, would look like the Padres.

The money flying around MLB is nuts. Even the worst run organizations in the game are worth over a billion. Small media markets seldom compete, but do on occasion (Tampa). So do medium media markets, (dbacks). But who, if anyone, has the advantage when it comes to owning a stadium?

Mark Timmons

Well, I’ll take a stab at this:

A stadium and the land it is built on should be an appreciating asset. Dodger Stadium is worth well over a Billion dollars – It cost 23 Million to build, so if you have the money to pay for it, you also have an asset. However, if you can get someone to pay for it, I suppose that might be very desirable as well. For example, Lucas Oil Stadium cost $720 million – The stadium was financed with funds raised jointly by the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis in conjunction with the Indianapolis Colts. After 15 years, $633 million is still owed on Lucas Oil Stadium, meaning that, after 15 years, about $100 million of the original construction cost has been paid. The building will be 30 years old when it’s scheduled to be paid off in 2037. Jim Irsay is only a billionaire, so I guess it is a good deal for him.

Badger

That’s Indianapolis. How about in a city like San Francisco?

Don’t answer that.

The dbacks had a pretty good tv deal but in July, they were the second major pro team to have their local rights dropped by Diamond Sports Group, the bankrupt parent of Bally Sports, a situation that has since greatly complicated local media planning across MLB and other leagues and has ushered in a new era in Phoenix sports media. Im just curious, they lease that stadium, now what? Does Maricopa own it? Who pays for the $500 million in renovations needed? If a team owns their own building it seems to me it would be a huge advantage. Write off repairs, make money on everything that goes through it, including beer, hot dogs, peanuts and Taylor Swift concerts.

All of this admittedly is over my head.

Dionysus

No they can’t.

Teoscar will bury them.

Mark Timmons

Am I missing something?

Bumsrap

Marbles?

Mark Timmons

Did anyone find them?

Dionysus

It’s always the couch cushions

Badger

I gave up looking.

Cassidy

In response to Mark’s comment about DBacks pitching. Zac Gallen is NOT a #3! Cmon, he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting last year and had an even better year in 22 and finished 5th!

Badger

For some reason he projects lower on fangraphs. 199 innings of 3.8 ERA 3.7 WAR. If that’s a #3 1&2 must be pretty good.

Mark Timmons

3.21 Career ERA
1.119 WHIP
3.47 ERA last year
He’d be a #3 on the Dodgers and some other teams.
Maybe I should have said #2 or #3.

Maybe I just am unimpressed with his 9.90 ERA and 2.10 WHIP against the Dodgers last year.

Bumsrap

I found a taw but lost the ducks.

Badger

Good find. Shooters are valuable. The ducks are Mark’s. Keep ‘em. He wouldn’t use them.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Mark Timmons

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Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Scott Andes

Ginkel was especially effective against the Dodgers in last year’s NLDS.

The Dbacks did 2 things very well last year against the Dodgers.

1. Neutralized Mookie and Freddie
2. Kept the rest of the Dodgers in the park. only Dodger home run in the series was JDM.

Don’t see that happening again. Seems like JDM would be a great fit for the Snake lineup. Probably 85-90 wins again if they all stay healthy and Gallen and Kelly have great years again.

Duke Not Snider

D’backs are a very good team and should get better, especially if they bring back JD Martinez.
Their rotation exposed just how poor the Dodgers’ rotation was at the end. (But still too bad that Pepiot didn’t get the start instead of Lance Lynn.) And now the Dbacks have added Eduardo Rodriguez. Pfaadt (or however its spelled) came on strong.
While the Dodgers have gone full villian mode, the D’backs have solidified their position as a likely playoff team. It’s still a bit odd to think they’d be better competition than the Giants or Pads, but I think they are. And that’s before they add JDM or another big bat.

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