2014 Final Record — 64-98 (5th Place)
2015 Projected Record — 66-96 (5th Place)
After finishing dead last in the NL West in 2014, Arizona didn’t do enough this off-season to make me believe there would be much, if any, improvement in the standings. I think they can pick up a game or two, but they will likely be flirting with losing 100 games going into the final week. Despite this, there are still some players that could help your fantasy team.
Projected Starting Lineup
|1||CF – AJ Pollock||25+ SB, 10+ HRs and should hit over .275 but doesn’t walk enough for a leadoff batter.|
|2||RF – David Peralta||Weakest hold on a starting job. Only useful in deep leagues.|
|3||1B – Paul Goldschmidt||MVP Candidate and Top 5 Overall Fantasy Hitter. Should hit 30+ HRs, 110+ RBIs and slash around .300/.380/.550|
|4||LF – Mark Trumbo||Comeback Player of the Year Candidate. If healthy, should reach 30+ HRs, 100+ RBIs but will likely struggle exceeding .250 AVG and .300 OBP|
|5||3B – Yasmany Tomas||True Wild Card…Could move back to OF if he can’t hang at 3B. Don’t expect Puig like rookie numbers, but 20+ HRs, 70+ RBIs are realistic. Slash line might be similar to Trumbo and likely hits the century mark in strikeouts.|
|6||2B – Aaron Hill||Once a Top 10 option at 2B should be left undrafted in most standard leagues.|
|7||SS – Chris Owings||Finally the unquestioned starter at SS. Slash numbers will hold him back, but 12+ HRs and 12+ SBs isn’t bad for the bottom third of the order in the NL|
|8||C – Tuffy Gosewisch / Oscar Hernandez||Please look away, nothing to see here…|
Obviously, Goldy is a 1st round draft pick and gives you everything you could want to anchor a lineup. You are probably not reading fantasy analysis to be convinced of his worthiness. Unfortunately, once you get past Goldy, there might not be more than one hitter that gets over .250 AVG and .300 OBP. Trumbo is a nice power bat to target in the mid to late rounds. He is more valuable if he’s eligible at 1B and OF. Tomas is going to be a hot pick because everyone wants him to be the next Puig. Whereas he has the tools, I’m not convinced he will be able to hit the advanced pitching in the majors. AJ Pollack is a blue collar fantasy player that will help a little everywhere and therefore could be a valuable late round pick. Chris Owings is probably a year away from really breaking out, but he, like Pollack, could be a nice late round flier to help fill out the box score. If any of these guys were patient enough to take a walk from time to time, they would have a chance of improving their run production and perhaps their record in the standings.
Impact Hitting Prospects for 2015
1. Jake Lamb – 3B — I wrote about Lamb in my 3B pre-season rankings and I like his chances of contributing this season. Lamb is average or above at nearly every tool and if he hits well in the spring, it could be tough to keep him off the 25 Man Roster. Tomas may not be able to handle the hot corner and if they give up on that experiment and move him back to the OF, expect Lamb to be the everyday 3B and give decent production for deeper leagues.
2. Peter O’Brien – C,1B — Arizona really wants him to succeed behind the plate. After hitting 34 HRs in 2014, he certainly has a lot to offer with the stick. His plate discipline leaves a little to be desired, but there is NOTHING blocking him in Arizona. He should be up at some point this summer and offer some power numbers for a weak position in fantasy. He could be worth a bench spot in deeper leagues.
|1||Josh Collmenter||#1 starter by default. Likely below .500 record, 3.80 ERA and 6-7 K/9|
|2||Jeremy Hellickson||May lead team in INN and QS but expect mid 4s ERA. Expect decent K/9 (around 7) but will average 3 BB/9. #2 starter for ARI but bottom of the rotation fantasy starter.|
|3||Chase Anderson||Could be a sleeper pick to get be the only starter over .500 and 8 K/9. Thinking 10 Ws and Low 4 ERA is attainable.|
|4||Rubby De La Rosa||Shouldn’t be on a fantasy roster except in the deepest of leagues.|
|5||Allen Webster||Holding down the fort until one of the prospects are ready for promotion.|
This is not a rotation that you are targeting in the first half of your draft. Collmenter, Hellickson and Anderson have some value as depth starters, but are not going to be anchoring anyone’s fantasy team. If healthy, Chase Anderson has the highest upside this season and worth a late flier. Reed is a decent closer option, but the only real excitement here is in the impending arrivals of their top pitching prospects.
1. Addison Reed (CL) — Despite the team’s low win total, Reed should get chance to earn 35+ saves, 10 K/9. Solid choice as RP2 type of investment.
2. Brad Ziegler (SU) — Ziegler can be valuable in leagues that reward middle reliever stats. As the 8th INN setup up guy, he could earn 25+ holds with a decent WHIP. Don’t expect many strikeouts.
3. Daniel Hudson (MID) — He has become the forgotten man after two Tommy John surgeries. If healthy, he could offer solid stats across the board as a middle reliever with an outside shot of earning a rotation spot. Once a top organizational prospect, but now worth a late flier in deeper leagues.
Impact Pitching Prospects for 2015
1. Archie Bradley, RHP (AAA) — Still the top prospect in the organization, there seems to be some concern that he is still “Ace, #1 Starter” material. He has four pitches that could be above average or better, but he really struggled with his command this past season after recovering from an elbow injury. Bradley should begin the season in AAA. If his fastball and curveball present as plus pitches (as they project) he could be in the Diamondbacks’ rotation by the summer. Dynasty leagues have him wrapped up already but keeper leagues and deeper leagues need to be ready to jump on him when he’s rumored to be called up as he could reach 9+ K/9 over the back half of the season.
2. Aaron Blair, RHP (AA) — Blair has ascended quickly through the minor league system with three plus pitches. He could overtake Bradley over the course of the season and see Arizona this summer. He looks to start the season in AA but should be up to AAA in May and ready to take over for one of the ineffective starters shortly after the All-Star break. He is not as flashy as Bradley (or #2 prospect, Brandon Shipley) and does not have as high a ceiling, but has lesser risk. He could settle in as the #3/#4 starter for the balance of the year once called up.
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Major League Fantasy Sports: Join Ej Garr and Corey D. Roberts on Sunday March 8th from 7pm-8:30pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers during the show at 646.915.8596. This week’s show we will be discussing the 3rd base and catcher positions for the fantasy baseball 2015 season.