With the Season Opener Tonight, Here are 21 Reasons the Arizona Diamondbacks Can Win It All
It's no secret that the Arizona Diamondbacks are in "win mode" after their acquisition of two top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers, Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller.
In honor of the $206.5 million dollar man, Grienke — who will wear number 21 and is scheduled to start on Opening Day 2016 at 6:40 this evening — we offer up 21 reasons the team can win it all this year:
21. Number 21, of course
The Diamondbacks' most glaring need in the team's mediocre 2015 season was starting pitching. Signing Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract directly addresses that. Greinke posted an insanely low earned-run average of just 1.66 last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The defensive side of the Diamondbacks already is great; in 2015, advanced stats show D-backs fielders saved more runs than any other team in baseball. Not only did Paul Goldschmidt (above) win a Gold Glove award last year (his second such honor), the team's added another defensive winner — Greinke, who's won one the last two years.
19. Yasmany Tomas is due
The Cuban outfielder with the big contract underwhelmed in 2015, especially considering Tomas — known as a power hitter in Cuba — hit just nine home runs in his first season in Major League Baseball with the D-backs. The team's expecting vast improvement from Tomas at the plate and in the field this year.
18. Bolstered bullpen
Just not having Addison Reed as the team's closer is an improvement, but the team also went out and signed veteran reliever Tyler Clippard.
17. Middle-infield options
Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings made a great double-play combo in the field, but weren't the greatest at the plate. The team now actually has options at those two positions if they need them after acquiring Jean Segura and Phil Gosselin.
16. Shelby Miller hitting his potential
Arizona traded a lot to get starting pitcher Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves (ESPN went as far as to say the Diamondbacks were robbed), but a lot of baseball minds see a load of talent in Miller, even though he lost a league-high 17 games last year. He can be incredible at times — including two complete-game shutouts and eight games with eight-plus strikeouts last year — and could really help propel the team to the top.
15. Stay hot, Welington Castillo
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Not much was expected of Castillo when he was acquired by the team last year in a trade with the Seattle Mariners — just two weeks after the Mariners traded for Castillo from the Chicago Cubs — but in just 80 games with the D-backs (the equivalent of about half a season), Castillo hit 17 homers and drove in 50 runs. If he can produce anywhere near those numbers over this season, the D-backs' offense ought to be in really good shape.
14. Rookies are ready
Sure, the front office has traded away some highly valued prospects recently, but there's no shortage of rookies who are actually close to making the show big time. These include Archie Bradley, who's still ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball, as well as slugging outfielders Socrates Brito (pictured above) and Peter O'Brien.
13. Jake Lamb's predicted breakout season
MLB.com's writers think third baseman Jake Lamb (pictured second from the left) is the D-backs player most likely to have a breakout season. We think they're right.
12. The resurgence of Jean Segura
Middle infielder Jean Segura — acquired from Milwaukee in a trade that sent Aaron Hill to the Brewers — was on fire in spring training, hitting above .500. His production decreased since his All-Star year in 2013, but if his spring training numbers translate into regular-season hitting, he'll be a force to reckoned with.
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