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Arizona Diamondbacks 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

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After an exhilarating return to the postseason in 2017, the Diamondbacks have the goods to contend in the NL West again, although slugger J.D. Martinez — one of the best trade-deadline acquisitions in recent history — will be missed.

With Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray anchoring a strong rotation and perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt headlining a potent offense, the D-backs appear to have the pieces in place for extended success. 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the DIAMONDBACKS

“I did not see this club being as good as it was, and I don’t see them going back to the playoffs. They got off to such a hot start last year, but they needed J.D. Martinez to carry them to the Wild Card. Paul Goldschmidt is their anchor, and he helps in every aspect of the game, but he does swing at a lot of pitches up in the strike zone. A.J. Pollock and David Peralta came back well from injury, and health overall was a big factor in their success — they got 25 starts from five different guys, which rarely happens anymore. Zack Greinke bounced back in a big way, and there’s still no one like him. He looks bored to death out there, but he’s very competitive and he’s so smart that even though he’s lost velocity, he finds a way to succeed. Robbie Ray is dominant, very difficult for hitters to center; he tried to pick up his tempo last year, and it really showed. I like Archie Bradley in the closer’s role — he’s got the perfect makeup for it. Brad Boxberger is solid as a setup guy.”

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Beyond the Box Score

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Good Boy

While D-backs 2017 first-round draft pick Pavin Smith’s career is in its infancy, Smith assured himself a spot in the son Hall of Fame when he surprised his parents by paying off the mortgage on their Florida home as a Christmas gift. “Thank you for raising me in a great home filled with love,” Smith wrote in part in a letter that his mother Pamela read on Christmas morning, with his father and sister looking on. “Because of all the sacrifices you made to get me where I am, I want our family home to be yours.” Smith, 21, used some of the $5,016,300 signing bonus he received in June on the gift.   

Corner men

Corner infielders are expected to be big contributors to any offense, and the D-backs have that covered. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and third baseman Jake Lamb were the fifth set of teammates in NL history to accumulate 30 homers, 85 walks and 105 RBIs in the same season. Goldschmidt finished 36/94/120 and Lamb was 30/87/105. St. Louis’ Mark McGwire and Ray Lankford (1998), San Francisco’s Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent (2000), Houston’s Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman (2001) and Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreu and Jim Thome (2004) are the other sets.

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Torey story

Torey Lovullo continued a trend when he won the NL Manager of the Year award as the D-backs made a 24-game improvement to 93 victories in 2017. Lovullo was the third D-back to win the award in the 20 years of the franchise’s existence, after Bob Melvin (2007) and Kirk Gibson (2011). Eerily, all three were drafted by Detroit and made their MLB debuts with the Tigers. 

Playing from ahead

The D-backs put up some remarkable numbers during their franchise-record 13-game winning streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 6, the run that all but cemented their spot in the postseason. During the streak they 1) led for 52 straight innings, the third-longest streak since 1920, according to STATS LLC, and 2) did not trail at any point in 97 consecutive innings, tied for the second-longest streak since 1900, according to Elias.

Dynamic duo

Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray were one of two pairs of NL teammates with at least 15 victories and 200 strikeouts apiece last year. Washington’s Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were the others. Since the D-backs entered the league in 1998, only nine teams have had such a combination. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it for Arizona in 2001 and 2002.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP
LF    David Peralta (L)
CF    A.J. Pollock (R)
1B    Paul Goldschmidt (R)
3B    Jake Lamb (L)

OF    Yasmany Tomas (R)
2B    Brandon Drury (R)
C     Alex Avila (L)

SS    Nick Ahmed (R)
BENCH
UT    Chris Owings (R)
C/OF  Chris Herrmann (L)
UT    Daniel Descalso (L)
SS    Ketel Marte (S)
C     Jeff Mathis (R)
ROTATION
RHP    Zack Greinke
LHP    Robbie Ray
RHP    Taijuan Walker
LHP    Patrick Corbin
RHP    Zack Godley
BULLPEN

RHP    Archie Bradley

RHP    Brad Boxberger
RHP    Yoshihisa Hirano 
LHP    Andrew Chafin
RHP    Randall Delgado 
LHP    T.J. McFarland
RHP    Jimmie Sherfy