MLB Team News & Rumors: Arizona

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Arizona Diamondbacks Team Projection

The Diamondbacks have played .500 ball over the last 2 seasons, scoring their lowest amount of runs in 2013 (685 - 14th in the NL) since 2004. Arizona also finished tied for 25th in HR's (130) and only stole 62 bases (26th in the league). Furthermore, they finished 10th in the NL in ERA (3.92) and allowed the most HR's (176) in the National League. During the offseason, Arizona acquired OF Mark Trumbo in a three way trade with the Angels and White Sox for Tyler Skaggs and OF Adam Eaton. They also acquired P Addison Reed in another trade with the White Sox and signed P Bronson Arroyo to add depth to their starting rotation. Overall, this team doesn't look like a contender in the NL West, and I think they will have a tough time staying in the wild card hunt.

1. OF Gerardo Parra

Gerardo Parra fantasy baseball

Parra was able to play a full season in the outfield thanks to a couple of injuries. Overall, he didn't do anything exceptionally well. His K rate (16.1%) was a career best, while his walk rate (7.2%) has declined over the last 2 seasons. Gerardo also only hit .198 against LH pitching with no HR's in 177 at bats (.226 SLG %). However, he played well against righties (.297) and may have more power against them in the future (10 HR's in 424 at bats - 38 doubles). Parra played his best ball before the All Star break (.285 with 7 HR's, 27 RBI's, and 6 SB's). His lack of success against lefties led to less playing time over the 2nd half of the year (.242 with 3 HR's, 21 RBI's, and 4 SB's). Gerardo is a GB hitter (55.3%) with a short HR/FB rate (8.2%). Parra was a career .314 hitter in the minors with short power and possible 25 SB upside. His lack of success against lefties makes me believe he is a platoon player in 2014. Possible upside in batting average and steals, but he'll never see 601 at bats this year.

2. 2B Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill fantasy baseball

Hill caught a tough break in mid April when he broke his left hand, which ended up costing him 10 weeks of the season. Over the last 3 months of the year, Aaron hit .292 with 8 HR's and 33 RBI's. He had the most success of his career against LH pitching (.321 with .538 SLG %). In addition, his K rate (13.3%) remains elite, while his walk rate (8.0%) was above his career average (6.9%). However, his FB rate (39.6%) is trending downward. Hill has three 20+ HR seasons on his resume, but he has never had a high HR/FB rate (8.5% during his career). In his best seasons, his power was driven by a high FB rate. Overall, Hill is a solid option at second base. He has 20+ HR power with double digit speed, and his low K rate gives him upside in batting average. Hill should have a very good opportunity hitting in front of Goldschmidt.

3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt fantasy baseball

Goldschmidt had a monster season in 2013. He led the NL in HR's (36), RBI's (125), SLG % (.551), and OPS (.952). His K rate (20.4%) has improved over the last 2 years, but it is too high to support a .300 batting average over the long term. His walk rate (13.9%) was a career high, which was helped by 19 intentional passes. Paul was very good against RH (.300 with a .534 SLG %) and LH (.309 with a .604 SLG %) pitching. Furthermore, he had 5 HR's or more in each month with 18 or more RBI's. His HR/FB rate (22.5%) has been in an elite area in 2 of his 3 seasons in the majors. While his success was driven by his ability to hit a fastball (.347 vs. four season fastball with a .649 SLG % and .358 vs. sinker with a .642 SLG %), he was still pretty good hitting the changeup (.286 with .633 SLG %). Goldschmidt has elite power with speed, which gives him a nice edge at first base. His batting average has been over .300 in each season in the minors and his K rate last season was stronger than his minor league resume. Paul is a 35/15 guy, but his batting average may only come in around the .280 range in 2014.

4. OF Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo fantasy baseball

Trumbo gives the Diamondbacks another power bat to add depth to their lineup. Mark's power and production have increased during each season in the majors. He set career highs in plate appearances (678), at bats (620), HR's (34), RBI's (100), walks (54), and K's (184). As his power rises, so does his K rate (27.1% career high). However, his walk rate (8.0%) has shown growth over the last 2 seasons. Trumbo had his most success against LH pitching (.265 with a .599 SLG %), but only hit .223 against righties. His K rate rose to 32.6% over the last 3 months of the year, but Mark did have 5 HR's or more during every month of the season. His HR/FB rate (20.9%) is in an elite area (career high). Trumbo also had a career high GB rate (45.9%). This year, he will get full time at bats in the outfield. He has a plus AVH (1.938), which gives him elite upside in power. However, his contact rate is declining, which invites more batting average risk. Solid 30 HR hitter with possible bounce back in average in 2014.

5. C Miguel Montero

Miguel Montero fantasy baseball

Montero had a tough start to 2013, hitting only .205 over his first 58 games with 3 HR's and 19 RBI's. Miguel started to play better in June and July (.260 with 6 HR's and 18 RBI's), but he suffered a back injury in late July that cost him 25 days in August. His K rate (23.2%) has declined over the past 2 seasons and it was above his career average (20.0%). Additionally, his walk rate (10.7%) has improved in his last 2 years. He struggled against LH pitching (.190) with only 3 extra base hits in 105 at bats. However, Montero had success against LH pitching in 2012 (.259 with a 4.26 SLG %). His GB rate (47.2 %) was a career high, which led to a career low FB rate (31.4% - 15+% below his career average). His HR/FB rate (11.3 %) has been in a tight range over the past 3 seasons. Last year, Miguel never found his rhythm and had no value after his back injury. He had success in 2011 and 2012, but his power has never made a step forward. I expect better in 2014, but his batting average most likely won't be an asset. Montero had minor surgery on his left index finger in early October.

6. 3B Martin Prado

Martin Prado fantasy baseball

Prado gets a nice bump in value just by qualifying at second base this season. Martin had one of the lowest K rates (8.0%) in the game, while his walk rate (7.8%) continues to be just below the league average. His RBI total is trending up, however, his run total is moving downward due to a drop in the batting order in 2013. Prado had almost equal success against RH (.280) and LH (.291) hitters, but he was a stronger overall hitter against lefties (.473 SLG % - 21 walks and 12 K's in 148 at bats). He was great in July and August (.348 with 7 HR's and 45 RBI's). Martin has a short FB rate (30.3%) and a short HR/FB rate (8.2%). As we saw last year, his speed in 2012 wasn't repeatable. Overall, Prado is just a steady option at second base. His runs and RBI's should come in about neutral for his position and he has upside in batting average.

7. OF Cody Ross

Cody Ross fantasy baseball

Ross didn't play at a high level in 2013, suffering a hip injury in August that required surgery. Cody has started taking batting practice and hopes to be ready for the start of the season. He also missed the start of the season with a calf injury. His K rate (14.3%) was a career low by a wide margin, while his walk rate (7.1%) has declined in each of the last 2 years. Ross was not productive in his first 211 at bats (.256 with 3 HR's and 20 RBI's), but he started to play better in July and August (.321 with 5 HR's and 18 RBI's) before going down with a hip injury. He crushed LH pitching (.391 with a .582 SLG %), but couldn't hit righties (.217). Cody may start off slow this year due to his recovery from hip surgery. He isn't a lock to get full time at bats, but he is getting paid enough where he should get the first shot in right if he is healthy. Ross has 20 HR upside with some batting average risk.

8. SS Didi Gregorius

Didi Gregorius fantasy baseball

Gregorius didn't play at a high level with he was called up in 2013. He showed some early pop (3 HR's in his first 30 at bats) and had a 10-game hitting steak to start his career (17 for 30 - .422). His batting average declined in every month in the majors (May - .293, June - .241, July - .234, August - .197, and September -. 182), and was only a part time player over the last 3 months of the year. Didi was a career .273 hitter in the minors with 22 HR's, 168 RBI's, and 41 SB's in 1,766 at bats. He struggled to hit the slider (.200), curveball (.214), and cutter (.174) with Arizona. This year, he doesn't have a clear path to full time at bats with Chris Owings in the mix for the starting shortstop job. Gregorius has a plus glove, but is a low upside fantasy player across the board.

9. SS Chris Owings

Chris Owings fantasy baseball

Arizona gave Owings 55 at bats in September last season in which he hit .291 with no HR's, 5 RBI's, and 2 SB's. His K rate (16.4%) came in lower than his minor league career (20.0%), but he only had a 3.5% walk rate during his minor league career. Chris hit .291 in the minors with 47 HR's, 221 RBI's, and 46 SB's in 1,968 at bats. He has a potential 20/20 skill set, but his last of approach may lead to some slumps early in his career. His glove can match Gregorius, but he should be an above average shortstop. His offense may give him an edge in playing time for the Diamondbacks.

10. OF A.J. Pollock

A.J. Pollock fantasy baseball

Pollock made the Diamondbacks out of spring training after Adam Eaton went down with an elbow injury. He showed some upside in April (3 HR's, 10 RBI's, and 3 SB's in 82 at bats), but struggled to deliver any production over the last 5 months of the year (5 HR's, 28 RBI's, and 8 SB's in 361 at bats). A.J. only played about 2/3 of the games after April. He hit .303 during his minor league career with 14 HR's, 147 RBI's, and 67 SB's in 1,233 at bats. His K rate (17.0%) was higher than his minor league career (12.8%), while his walk rate (6.9%) was in line with his minor league career. Pollock was a better hitter against LH pitching (.283 with a .480 SLG %). This year, A.J. will get regular at bats against LH pitching. He should get a chance to prove himself early in the season if Ross isn't ready. His skill set may be slightly higher than Gerardo Parra's. If he plays well in April, he may emerge as the starting center fielder. Possible 10/30 skill set with some upside in batting average.

11. C Henry Blanco

He is nothing more than a defensive backup catcher. Henry is a career .223 hitter with 72 HR's and 298 RBI's in 2,761 at bats.

12. MI Cliff Pennington

He has been downgraded to a utility infielder in 2014. Cliff is a career .248 hitter with 25 HR's, 180 RBI's, and 71 SB's in 2,017 at bats.

13. CO Eric Chavez

He will provide LH power off the bench. Chavez has played very well as a bench player for Arizona over the last 2 seasons (.281 with 25 HR's and 81 RBI's in 496 at bats). He has injury risk, but is an above average replacement player if he gets full time at bats over the short term.

14. OF Matt Tuiasosopo

He gave the Tigers some very good replacement at bats in 2013 (7 HR's and 30 RBI's in 164 at bats). Matt will compete for the 5th outfield job with the Diamondbacks.


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