With the Season Opener Tonight, Here are 21 Reasons the Arizona Diamondbacks Can Win It All

Page 2 of 2

11. Emergency options at starting pitcher
If — knock on wood — something were to happen to one of the D-backs' starting pitchers, it wouldn't spell a season-ending disaster. With a much-improved rotation, back-up options look good — Zack Godley won five games in six starts last year, Archie Bradley is still a top prospect, and Josh Collmenter (pictured) always is good for an emergency start.

10. The D-backs' offense is awesome
Despite some speculation about whether the team will have enough offensive production with A.J. Pollock probably out for the season with an elbow injury, the numbers prove the Diamondbacks (led by the All-Starr slugger above) still can produce hugely. They scored the second-most runs in the National League in 2015, and with rookie slugger Brandon Drury in the mix, they still should be hot on offense.

9. Talent in the rest of the rotation
The middle and end of the rotation isn't filled with scrubs, despite all the attention paid to Greinke and Miller (above). Patrick Corbin played just three years in the majors, and was an All Star in his second one. Rubby De La Rosa won a team-high 14 games last year as a starter. And Robbie Ray, who will be the number-five starter, actually had the lowest ERA of any D-backs starter in 2015.

8. Fan support

In the wake of the Greinke and Miller acquisitions, there hasn't been this much fan excitement about the team in quite some time. Common sense says landing perhaps the biggest free agent in baseball will put more fans in the seats. It helps immensely to have a packed ballpark cheering at home games. Tenth Man anyone?

7. A bold front office
This new front office, led by Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa and General Manager Dave Stewart, has made dozens of trades so far, including giving up some young talent and top draft picks to get major front-line talent now. This proves that LaRussa and Stewart aren't afraid to make bold moves in a bid to win it ASAP.

6. The Freight Train will keep rolling
David Peralta — who came from baseball's lowest professional level to the big leagues in just a couple years — has proven he's not a fluke, maintaining a Major League batting average of .301 over 237 games. Peralta, nicknamed "Freight Train" for his hard running around the bases, will continue to be a force on the team.

5. A.J. Pollock's absence won't hurt that much
There's no getting around the fact that losing injured Pollock (above) isn't good. He's a Gold Glove center fielder who hit .315 last season. But don't despair. The D-backs still are loaded with hitting talent: Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, Yasmany Tomas, Wellington Castillo, and let's hope that slugging rookie Brandon Drury becomes a second Goldy at the plate. Speculation is that slugger Socrates Brito replaces A.J. in the outfield down the line, with glove man Chris Owings getting the start tonight.

4. Tony La Russa's Midas touch

Tony La Russa posted a winning record during about 75 percent of his 33-year managerial career, winning league pennants six times and World Series championships three times. This year will demonstrate whether that Midas touch extends to front-office management. We're betting it does.

3. Daniel Hudson and Tyler Clippard as part of a closing team
Every team has a closer, but the World Series champion Kansas City Royals really had three — a trio who pitched the last three innings of ballgames. Seemingly taking a cue from the champs, the Diamondbacks have pitchers primed to do the same thing: Daniel Hudson (pictured), Tyler Clippard, and in the ninth inning, Brad Ziegler. 

2. Games saved by Brad Ziegler
If you want to win the World Series, you have to win close games. And since the closer role was turned over to Ziegler last year, he successfully closed 30 games in 32 opportunities. The team won 28 straight times last season when he was on the mound at game's end. 

1. Paul Goldschmidt
Despite having played just four full seasons in the majors, Goldschmidt has been the runner-up for league MVP twice. Goldy is a superstar, and no other player gives his team a chance to win quite like he does.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley