2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
If you look up the word "underachievers" in the dictionary, you could very well find a picture of the Arizona Diamondbacks logo. The Diamondbacks have made the postseason just four times since stunning the world and winning their only World Series title in 2001. They enter the 2018 season with high hopes and will be aiming make the postseason for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002.
Last season, the Diamondbacks finished with a record of 93-69, which earned them a wild-card game where they went on to beat the Colorado Rockies before being swept by the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Essentially all the pieces are back from last year's team, so anything short of another wild-card spot would be classified as a wasted season.
The Diamondbacks open the regular season with a six-game homestand commencing on March 29 versus the Colorado Rockies and finishing off with the LA Dodgers. From there, the DBacks hit the road for nine games, with three-game sets against the Cardinals, Giants and Dodgers. The Diamondbacks are expected to be competitive this year, which is why they are +2500 to win the World Series, +1200 to win the NL Pennant and +600 to win the NL West. Their season win total sits at 85.5 (-120 to the "under").
All odds are courtesy of Bovada.
Diamondbacks 2018 Projected Lineup
The Diamondbacks projected batting order features just one big-name player in Paul Goldschmidt and a compliment of relatively under-the-radar guys like Jake Lamb and Steven Souza Jr. As of writing this, the Diamondbacks batting lineup looks something like this:
1. David Peralta
2. A.J. Pollock
3. Paul Goldschmidt
4. Jake Lamb
5. Steven Souza
6. Alex Avila
7. Ketel Marte
8. Nick Ahmed
9. Pitchers Spot
As you can see, the only "big-name" player is Goldschmidt. He is coming off an excellent campaign where he was named to his fifth consecutive All-Star team and proceeded to finish the year with a .297 average, 36 home runs and 120 RBIs, which earned him his third Silver Slugger award to go along with his third Gold Glove award. If the Diamondbacks are to have a successful season, Goldschmidt must continue to produce like he's done for the last handful of years.
Behind him, you will find Lamb and Souza Jr., the latter of which came over this past offseason as part of a three-team deal involving the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. Souza Jr. was a key contributor for the Rays last season, knocking out 30 dingers and driving in 78 RBIs. If he can duplicate that, the DBacks will be very pleased with their newest acquisition.
Further down the lineup, you'll find Alex Avila, who will do the catching, Ketel Marte, who will play the shortstop position, and Nick Ahmed, who will play second base. Avila split time last year between the Tigers and Cubs, where he hit just 14 home runs and drove in 49 in 102 games. Marte and Ahmed are coming off rather disappointing 2017 campaigns where Marte hit just five home runs and knocked in 18 RBIs in 73 games and Ahmed contribute six dingers and 21 RBIs in 53 games. Any uptick in production from the latter two players will only contribute to the team's success.
Diamondbacks 2018 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Diamondbacks' rotation this year has all the makings to be great, and it all starts with their ace, Zack Greinke. Greinke is a four-time all-star and four-time Gold Glove winner. Last season, Greinke posted solid numbers all around -- a 17-7 record, 3.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 215 strikeouts.
Behind Greinke, the Diamondbacks will rely on Robbie Ray to become a bonifide No.2 pitcher. Ray is coming off a stellar year where he won 15 games and lost just five. He also posted a team-best 2.89 ERA. If Ray can carry that success forward into this season then the Diamondbacks will have a lethal one-two punch in the rotation.
As far as the rest of the order goes, Taijuan Walker, Zack Godley and Patrick Corbin all pitched well at times during last year's campaign, but each one of them had their moments where they struggled to be effective. Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA, Godley went 8-9 with a 3.37 ERA and Corbin went 14-13 with a 4.03 ERA. The wins and losses will come, but it will be tricky for these pitchers to keep their ERA down in a hitter-friendly ballpark like Chase Field.
The problem with the Diamondbacks is in the bullpen. One look at this bullpen roster will leave you scratching your head and asking your friends if they've heard any of these names before. Archie Bradley is the only known commodity, and he will do the closing. He had just one save last season, so your guess is as good as mine as to how he will fare with a full-time closer's role. Setting Bradley up will be Andrew Chafin, Brad Boxberger, Randall Delgado and Yoshihisa Hirano.
Diamondbacks' 2018 Predictions
FanGraphs projects Arizona to suffer a major regression from last season's 93-69 season. They are projected to finish the 2018 campaign with a record of 82-80, which would put them "under" their season win total of 85.5. Arizona has always played well below expectations, so going against the trend could prove costly. However, the bullpen and lack of consistency from pitchers three through five concerns me. It's also concerning that the DBacks are just one Goldschmidt injury away from being among the worst teams in baseball. I'd rather have my money on the "over" 85.5 wins, but there are too many vital factors that point to the "under", so it's a pass for me.
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