2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Depth Chart
After making it to the division series last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a uneven season. In a tight race to the postseason, the Diamondbacks’ room for error is rapidly deteriorating. The team is in a fight in the NL West for a playoff spot. Arizona is loyal to the use of new-age analytics and the erratic franchise needed this scheme shift. The middle-class team sits in a division with wealthy marquee franchises in Los Angeles and San Francisco. With many moving parts in a wild National League, the D-backs need to control their own destiny any way they can.
|Catcher||John Ryan Murphy||Jeff Mathis||Alex Avila|
|1st Base||Paul Goldschmidt||Christian Walker||Ildemaro Vargas|
|2nd Base||Daniel Descalso||Katel Marte||Ildemaro Vargas|
|3rd Base||Eduardo Escobar|
|Left Field||Steven Souza||Socrates Brito|
|Center Field||A.J. Pollock||Jon Jay|
|Right Field||David Peralta||Chris Owings|
Zack Greinke is no stranger to media attention. After opting out of his six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers in 2015, Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks. It is the largest contract in MLB history in terms of annual salary. The righty currently sits at #81 on Forbes 2018 list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. While off to a rocky start at the beginning of his tenure in Arizona, Greinke has been able to bounce back and recover a bit, finishing fourth in the Cy Young Award voting in 2017. Arizona’s star pitcher currently has a 13-9 record and a 3.08 ERA.
Patrick Corbin, on the other hand, will be a free agent after 2018. Corbin could stay in Arizona once his contract is up, but Zack Greinke is still owed $95.5 million and the D-backs likely won’t want to spend half their payroll on two pitchers. The lefty pitcher boats a 3.51 ERA and a 10-5 record this year.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo maintains that Brad Boxberger is their closer but his actions hint at something different. Lovullo has been pulling Boxberger in favor of Andrew Chafin against lefty hitters. Boxberger struggled in June, but the veteran converted 12 of his last 14 saves with a 3.14 ERA.
Arizona has a deep bullpen with their new additions complementing Yoshiha Hirano, Archie Bradley, and Brad Boxberger. If Boxberger and Bradley aren’t able to get their second half stats sorted out, Torey Lovullo will have to come up with alternative strategies quickly. The team may have to get more creative in the ninth inning down the stretch, perhaps looking to favor matchups more closely.
Lovullo has come under fire for some of his questionable pitching personnel decisions, but the manager continues to stand behind his decisions to use the bullpen in a different way strategically.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is one of the D-backs best players and biggest assets. He will be a free agent in 2020 and while trading him could net the Diamondbacks prospects, it may not be worth the cost. Goldschmidt is one of the most popular players in franchise history. The fan favorite also leads the team with a .321/.435/.057 (AVG/OPB/SLG) slash line. He’s tied for second in the National League in home runs and OPS (.951). Third baseman Eduardo Escobar is on track to set new career-best marks in every major hitting statistic this season. Ketel Marte also shows up for the D-backs. The second baseman and backup shortstop is 8-for-26 and projected to end the season with a .253/.324/.410 slash line.
The Diamondbacks also recently acquired right fielder Patrick Kivlehan from the New York Mets. This addition moved injured outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the 60-day DL list. Center fielder A.J. Pollock has proven to be a valuable asset in the offensive game with a .260 (AVG) for the season. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the first round in 2009.
As far as the starting lineup goes, Arizona stays fairly regular. Jon Jay is frequently first up at bat. A.J. Pollock, or sometimes Eduardo Escobar, bats second. Power hitter Paul Goldschmidt normally shows up third, followed by David Peralta and then Steven Souza Jr. The Diamondbacks will sometimes switch up batting order when a southpaw’s on the mound.
Going forward, the Diamondbacks are going to face a strategy choice. They need to decide if they can feel they can realistically contend in 2019. If so, they will need to invest accordingly. If not, Arizona may disassemble the roster and trade assets in an effort to build for the future.