This Could Be Your Ad!
Sponsor the Arizona Diamondbacks Team Preview Page!
Advertise your business, or send a shout out to your team!
2005 Record: 77-85 (5th Place NL West Division)
2005 Runs Scored: 696
2005 Runs Allowed: 856
Pythagorean 2005 Record: 66-96
2005 Starters: Chris Snyder
Projected 2006 Starters: Johnny Estrada
The 2004 version of Estrada would be a significant upgrade over Snyder, who barely kept his slugging percentage over .300, but the 2005 version would be a slight improvement. Still, Estrada has a reputation for handling pitchers well, and might be a difference maker with the D'Backs tumultuous rotation.
2005 Starter: Tony Clark, Chad Tracy
Projected 2006 Starters: Conor Jackson, Tony Clark
Tony the Tiger had an excellent year in 2005. Many people said he had returned to form from his All Star days with the Tigers, but this is incorrect - he was better last season than he ever was with the Tigers. Unfortunately, Tony does not appear to be part of the D'Backs plan, as Chad Tracy moves back to third this season not to make room for Tony, but to make room for Conor Jackson.
Truth be told, Jackson is a stud, so Tony is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jackson is a classic doubles-power guy who has always walked more than he struck out and keeps his OPS high. If Tony the Tiger wants playing time this year, he made need to get traded back to the Tigers.
2005 Starters: Craig Counsell
Projected 2006 Starter: Orlando Hudson
Counsell moves to short to make room from Hudson, a light hitting second baseman who won a Gold Glove in the AL last season. Unlike many Gold Glovers, the Fielding Bible actually supports Hudson's selection, as he finished 12th in the Majors in double play percentage, but 5th in plus/minus. Ironically, it was Hudson's lowest plus/minus in three years, as he finished 1st in 2004, and 3rd in 2003. Nevertheless, Hudson should provide support for Arizona's pitching staff, but will neither help nor hurt on offense.
2005 Starters: Troy Glaus
Projected 2006 Starters: Chad Tracy
|Moves to Third, Should Keep on Hittin'|
2005 Starters: Royce Clayton
Projected 2006 Starter: Craig Counsell
Any time you go into the season by getting rid of Royce Clayton, things are looking up . . .
Craig Counsell used to be incredibly overrated. His only full season in the Majors through 2004 was 2001, the year Arizona won the series, and he was quite media popular during that run, touted as a little guy who did all the little things to help his team win. Well, it must have been the little things he was doing, because he certainly wasn't doing any big things.
I bring this because last season was a strange one for the little guy. I bet you didn't realize that last season, Counsell hit 34 doubles, stole 26 bases, walked 78 times, and scored 85 runs. Not only that, he finished first in the Majors in plus/minus, according to the Fielding Bible. These were all career highs.
Counsell used to be the type of player only a mother could love. Last season, he was surprisingly good, and if he can do it again, shortstop will not be an offensively liability for the Diamondbacks.
2005 Starters: Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, A Bunch of Other Guys
Projected 2006 Starters: Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Eric Byrnes
|I Used to Be Good, Really!|
2005 Front Three Starters: Javier Vazquez, Brandon Webb, Brad Halsey
Projected 2006 Front Three: Webb, Orlando Hernandez, Miguel Batista
|Exciting to watch, but . . .|
Other 2005 Starters: Russ Ortiz, Shawn Estes, Claudio Vargas
Other Possible 2006 Starters: Ortiz, Vargas, Juan Cruz
Ortiz, though hurt, was fantastically bad last season, walking more than he stuck out, and finishing with an ERA of 6.89. If he can return to form this season, he will still be the guy who walks over a hundred batters every year, and flirts with the league ERA average. All he does is eat innings, and keep teams in games, which could be useful this season.
But check out this fun fact - these are Ortiz's ERAs for every season since 2001 - 3.29, 3.61, 3.81, 4.13, 6.89. I see a trend.
Claudio Vargas could be a wild card for Arizona this year. Last season was his third in the Majors, and he improved in several respects - ERA, SO/BB ratio, winning percentage, HRs. If he can get 200 innings, and continue to improve even slightly, he will be an asset.
2005 Top Relievers: Jose Valverde, Tim Worrell, Bruan Bruney, Brandon Lyon, Lance Cormier
Projected 2006 Top Relievers: Valverde, Brandon Medders, Jason Grimsley, Brandon Lyon, Luis Vizcaino
Terry Mulholland is on the spring roster. If he makes the team, this will be his eleventh . . .
Brandon Lyon looked okay for a spell last year, then went kablooie. The D'Backs will not count on him for much in 2006. Brian Bruney was even worse, getting torched in 47 games. He will not be back.
Jose Valverde has been fan-tiggidy-tastic in his first three years in the majors, besting the league ERA by 66%, and striking out 184 batters in 146.1 innings. If he is for real, and it appears that he may be, then the D'Backs will have no closer woes for the forseeable future.
Let's do a little "best case scenario" break down. In 2006, the Diamondbacks could have two of the premier young corner infielders in Conor Jackson and Chad Tracy, both of whom could hit 35 homers and drive in 120 RBI. They have slick fielding middle infielders in Craig Counsell and Orlando Hudson, both of whom are adept at turning double plays and have excellent range. The corner outfielders are both veterans, who give the team leadership, and both have the potential to finish with 25 homers and 85-90 RBIs, and their centerfielder is a scrappy young guy who fills gaps and has both slight power and slight speed. The pitching staff is solid and, if healthy, will keep this team in ballgames, and the bullpen is stocked with solid middle relief guys and an excellent closer.
In a weak NL West, the Diamondbacks could easily win the division title. Ironically, the Diamondbacks could also easily finish with a better record than 2005 but finish lower in the standings. I think this is more likely. The pitching just doesn't hold up.
Predicted 2006 Finish - 82-80, 3rd Place in the AL West