The Arizona Diamondbacks completed one of the biggest trades this offseason. They shipped their presumed franchise outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to Atlanta for 3B/OF Martin Prado and mix of young talent.
It would be easy to write Arizona off this year, but this team won their division in 2011 and finished last season with a .500 record. They are going young, but they’re not rebuilding.
Can manager Kirk Gibson push his team and make the playoffs?
Which starting pitcher will step up and help Ian Kennedy lead the staff?
Will Arizona miss Justin Upton’s presence in the middle of their lineup?
Key Additions: OF Cody Ross, 3B/OF Martin Prado, P Brandon McCarthy, 3B Eric Chavez, OF Eric Hinkse, C Rod Barajas, OF Tony Campana, P Heath Bell, P Tony Sipp, SS Cliff Pennington, P Matt Reynolds, P Garrett Mock, 1B Kila Ka’aihue
Key Losses: OF Justin Upton, 3B Chris Johnson, OF Chris Young, P Trevor Bauer, P Brad Bergesen, P Matt Lindstrom, C Henry Blanco, 3B Cody Ransom, 1B Cody Ransom
Interleague Schedule: AL East + Texas Rangers
Projected Starters: Miguel Montero, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Martin Prado, Cliff Pennington, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton & Cody Ross
Projected Starting Rotation: Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy & Tyler Skaggs
Closer: J.J. Putz
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Gerardo Parra – The Diamondbacks have an abundance of young outfielders, which was one of the reasons why they traded Justin Upton. They went forward and also signed Cody Ross and traded for Tony Campana. Jason Kubel and Cody Ross aren’t known to stay healthy. Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton will see plenty time in 2013. Parra has speed and will get your steals. If he reaches somewhere near 500 at-bats, he will get over 20 steals, easily. He is worth a late-round pick in a deep league. Also, if Paul Goldschmidt slides in your draft, pick him up if he’s available late. The first base position is deep, so he could slide in favor of more established talent.
Team Analysis: Martin Prado is a very good player, but I don’t see him doing as much as the projected season of Justin Upton. I like pieces in their lineup (Jason Kubel, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero), but there are holes offensively longterm (Cliff Pennington, Cody Ross). Their pitching staff has improved by adding Heath Bell, Tony Sipp and Brandon McCarthy. Because the NL West has improved so much, I see them losing a few close games they won last season. They’re not going to fall off completely, but I don’t see them being a .500 team.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 82 (Prediction: UNDER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 76-86 (3rd in NL West)
…and for some reason, my site gets found by the phrase “Martin Prado Shirtless” quite often. I’ve never posted a picture of him shirtless, so to please all my curious readers, here’s a picture of Martin Prado showing off his new tattoo…shirtless.