2015 Arizona Diamondbacks Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
by Alan Matthews - 2/12/2015
The makeover of the Arizona Diamondbacks began last May when the team hired Hall of Famer and three-time World Series-winning manager Tony La Russa as the club's Chief Baseball Officer, a newly-created position. Basically that gave La Russa carte blanche to do what he wanted.
And to no surprise, La Russa cleaned house. He fired General Manager Kevin Towers in September with the Snakes in the midst of a third straight disappointing season. With just a few games left in the season, La Russa dumped Manager Kirk Gibson. The former Dodgers and Tigers World Series hero took over as interim manager in 2010 when A.J. Hinch was fired, then got the full-time job. In 2011, his first full season, he led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title and was named NL Manager of the Year.
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Interestingly, Gibson's firing was announced 15 minutes before a news conference to hire new GM Dave Stewart. He is the fourth current general manager to play in the big leagues - he spent 16 seasons in the majors, most notably with the Athletics (under La Russa) and Blue Jays - and is the only GM to have spent time both as a player and a coach. Stewart spent the previous decade as an agent.
Finally, in October the club hired Chip Hale to replace Gibson. It's Hale's first big-league managing job, though he apparently finished as a runner-up for managing jobs with the Mets and Mariners in recent years. Hale spent the first 10 years of his coaching career in the Diamondbacks' organization, first as a minor-league manager and then as the Snakes' third-base coach under former manager Bob Melvin. Most recently he was Melvin's third-base coach in Oakland.
Arizona lost 98 games last year, the second-most in franchise history and most in baseball. Will all these changes, and a few of offseason moves, lead to playoff contention this year? Short answer: heck no.
Diamondbacks 2015 Projected Lineup
Stewart traded two regulars from last year's lineup: former All-Star catcher Miguel Montero (team-leading 72 RBIs) to the Cubs, in what was essentially a salary dump, and shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Yankees in a three-way deal that netted the Snakes young pitcher Robbie Ray. This actually might be a decent lineup if some guys have bounce-back seasons from an injury-plagued 2014.
Outfielder A.J. Pollock will lead off and he was a nice surprise last season, hitting .302 with 14 steals in 75 games. Second baseman Aaron Hill did play 133 games but really was battling injuries all season and struggled, hitting just .244 with 10 homers. He used to be one of the best offensive players in MLB at his position. The Snakes tried to dump Hill this offseason as well but found no takers for the two years and $24 million left on his contract.
The 3-4-5 of Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo and Cuban import Yasmany Tomas could really be something. Goldschmidt is an NL MVP candidate but was limited to 109 games last year. He hit .300 with 19 homers and 69 RBIs. Trumbo was the team's big acquisition last offseason but played in only 88 games, hitting.235 with 14 homers. He was a big-time bat with the Angels. Then there's Tomas. Arizona won a bidding war for him by signing Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million deal. He's supposed to have big-time power in the mold of the White Sox's Jose Abreu, the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year. Some compare Tomas to former slugger Kevin Mitchell. Tomas was expected to be an outfielder, but the Diamondbacks are hoping to use him at third.
The rest of the lineup is nothing special, likely to be shortstop Chris Owings (who won the job over Gregorius but then got hurt in 2014), David Peralta and Tuffy Gosewitch, who takes over for Montero. Cody Ross likely will platoon with Peralta in left field.
Diamondbacks 2015 Projected Rotation & Closer
Arizona's best pitcher is young left-hander Patrick Corbin, but he's coming off Tommy John surgery and won't be ready until midseason. He was a 14-game winner in 2013 but didn't pitch at all last year. Thus, the ace is likely to be Jeremy Hellickson, who was acquired from Tampa Bay. Hellickson was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2011 but regressed since then. He began the 2014 season on the disabled list and went 1-5 with a 4.52 ERA.
Two other new additions could be in the rotation in Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. They were acquired from Boston for pitcher Wade Miley, who was 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA last year. De La Rosa was 4-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 19 games in 2014. Webster went 5-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts for the Red Sox. Both are young and were considered good prospects in Boston but hadn't yet panned out. The rest of the rotation should be Josh Collmenter (11-9, 3.46) and Trevor Cahill (3-12, 5.61). Guys like Vidal Nuno, Chase Anderson and top prospect Archie Bradley also could be in the mix.
Closer Addison Reed was a huge disappointment last year after coming over from the White Sox. He was just 1-7 with a 4.60 ERA. He's likely to have a short leash.
Diamondbacks Futures Odds & 2014 Trends
Only World Series and pennant props out thus far team-wise, but that should change in a few weeks.At Sportsbook.ag, the Diamondbacks are +12000 to win the World Series and +6000 to win the pennant. Goldschmidt is +2000 to lead the majors in homers, while Trumbo is +3000 and Tomas +10000. Arizona was 79-83 against the runline last season and 74-82-6 "over/under." On the moneyline, the Snakes were -3160 units for the year.
Arizona Diamondbacks 2015 Predictions
FanGraphs projects Arizona to finish 74-88 and last in the NL West. The lineup should be better than last season as long as Trumbo and Goldschmidt stay in there and Tomas is at least solid in his rookie year. The rotation doesn't look good at all, however. Expect Arizona to take a pitcher with the No. 1 overall pick in this summer's draft, not that he will help this year. I think 74 wins is a few too high.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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