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Arizona Diamondbacks 2022: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

Ketel Marte and the Diamondbacks hope better health and development of younger players will allow Arizona to be more competitive in the rugged NL West

The Diamondbacks were two games over .500 and two games out of the NL West lead a month into 2021 before hitting a wall. An 8–50 stretch ensued. Injuries hurt, as did the lack of identifiable progress on a rebuild that began with the trades of Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke the previous two seasons. The D-backs have pieces in Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen and Ketel Marte, but the unforgiving NL West makes for a tough climb.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Diamondbacks

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"They're not going to go from 52 to 90 wins, but there's reason to think they can be much more respectable. They've got the best pitching coach in baseball now with Brent Strom, who combines old-school wisdom with genuine curiosity and fluency in new-age data. So I'd expect their staff to be better overall, and I'd look for an especially big year from Zac Gallen; he's a very smart pitcher and looked great at the end of the season. Madison Bumgarner will always be tough to hit because of that crossfire delivery, and he got on a nice roll there for a while after the shoulder problem. But it didn't last, and that's an albatross contract they can't move. Mark Melancon's a nice pickup as the closer — and prime trade bait if he's pitching well around the deadline. There's not a lot to like offensively besides Ketel Marte; Pavin Smith got some regular playing time, but he's a low-ceiling guy. I do like Daulton Varsho a lot — he's got the pedigree, the athleticism to play center or catcher and a great eye. He will be part of the next winning team here."

Beyond the Box Score

Another shot Manager Torey Lovullo received a one-year contract extension with a team option for 2023 in the final week of the 52–110 season. "I am the one who charted the course we were going to go," GM Mike Hazen says. "I need to be honest where things have gone." Lovullo was the NL Manager of the Year in 2017.

Arizona Diamondbacks 2022 Baseball Cover

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Launching pads Four NL teams hit their longest home run of the 2021 season against Arizona, two at Chase Field. Adam Duvall's 483-footer for Atlanta in Arizona on Sept. 20 was the fourth longest in the majors. San Francisco's Austin Slater hit a 467-footer at Chase on July 4, Milwaukee's Avisaíl García hit a 464-footer at home June 3 and Kyle Schwarber hit a 463-footer for Washington at Nationals Park on Apr. 16.

Thin skin In June, managing general partner Ken Kendrick wrote an email calling former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods an "arrogant a--hole" and threatening "a very unfortunate outcome" should the two meet, according to The Athletic. After the D-backs' major league-record 23rd straight road loss, Woods tweeted: "KK needs to sell the team to someone who cares. Or don't expect us to care." Woods, a former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. John McCain, died of a heart attack Oct. 23.

Sign of the times Arizona partnered with Caesars Entertainment to place a 20,000-square foot sports book in a former restaurant outside the main entrance to Chase Field in 2022. The D-backs were the first major league team to host wagering at the ballpark when Caesars opened a betting window at Chase last Sept. 9.

Founding D-back Hall of Fame executive Roland Hemond, who joined the Diamondbacks' front office when the team was granted a franchise in 1996 and was a major player in Arizona's early success, passed away Dec. 12, 2021, at 92. "We were lucky he was a D-back for 19 years as our organization is better because of his time here," Kendrick said. A three-time Executive of the Year winner, Hemond spent 16 of his 70 seasons in baseball with the Diamondbacks. Three annual awards are named in his honor.

Out of retirement Brent Strom became the Diamondbacks' fourth pitching coach in seven seasons when he joined the staff following an eight-year stint as the Astros' pitching coach. "I was home for, like, two or three days and got the itch again," says Strom, 73. Houston had a 3.76 team ERA last season, seventh in the majors. He replaces Matt Herges.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

2B    Ketel Marte (S)
RF    Daulton Varsho (L)
3B    Josh Rojas (L)
1B    Christian Walker (R)
LF    David Peralta (L)
C     Carson Kelly (R)
DH   Pavin Smith (L)
CF    Jake McCarthy (L)
SS    Nick Ahmed (R)

BENCH

1B    Seth Beer (L)
INF  Josh VanMeter (L)
OF   Jordan Luplow (R)
INF  Geraldo Perdomo (S)

ROTATION

LHP    Madison Bumgarner
RHP    Zac Gallen
RHP    Merrill Kelly
LHP    Caleb Smith
RHP    Kyle Davies

BULLPEN

RHP    Mark Melancon (C)
RHP    Ian Kennedy
RHP    J.B. Wendelken
LHP     Joe Mantiply
RHP    Noé Ramirez
RHP    Luke Weaver
RHP    J.B. Bukauskas
LHP    Tyler Gilbert

2022 Prediction: 4th in NL West