Spring training is officially underway, and it's time to get ready for your fantasy draft. As part of RotoBaller's ongoing effort to help you win your leagues, we're previewing all 30 MLB teams. In these articles, we discuss each team's offseason moves, as well as their hitters, pitchers, and prospects.
Today's installment covers the 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Team Outlook, and previews their potential fantasy baseball contributions.
Editor's note: for even more draft prep, visit our awesome 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It has lots of in-depth staff rankings and draft strategy columns. You will find tiered rankings for every position, 2017 impact rookie rankings, AL/NL only league ranks and lots more. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
Walker is leaving pitcher-friendly Safeco Field for hitter-friendly Chase Field where his home run problems might be exposed even more. In his final season in Seattle, he amassed a crazy-high 1.81 HR/9 and if you think that was just a blip on the radar, consider that his HR/9 in 2015 was at 1.33. I think this move could be devastating for Walker and owners should steer clear of him. Marte showed promise a few seasons ago, but he is no Jean Segura and lacks the power to fully utilize Chase Field’s potential for hitters. He is also leaving a strong lineup for a slightly weaker lineup, limiting the runs scored and RBI upside.
Signed about a million veteran players
Fernando Rodney, Jorge de la Rosa, Brian Matusz, J.J. Hoover, Tom Wilhelmsen, Kevin Jepsen, Chris Iannetta, Hang Conger, etc. I really wasn’t kidding when I said they signed about a million veteran guys. You will notice most of them are pitchers who have been awful lately. Arizona is not kind to pitches, especially those with struggles. Only Fernando Rodney figures to have a fantasy impact as he is expected to close for Arizona this season. All other free agent signings are not worthy of owning.
Arizona is a haven for hitters and thus has several guys fantasy owners should target in the draft. The clear top dog here is Paul Goldschmidt. He can run, he can hit for average, he can hit for power and he always drives in runs. And now with A.J. Pollock back in the lineup, expect him to pass that 100 RBI mark once again. Speaking of Pollock, he’s another guy who should be owned in all leagues. He will likely bat leadoff in this lineup and if he hits like he did in 2015 when he slashed .315/.367/.498 with 20 homers and 39 stolen bases, fantasy owners are in for a real treat.
Jake Lamb burst onto the scene in 2016 with a .249 average and 29 home runs while playing third base. He could again be a solid power threat, but I worry about his plate discipline and inability to hit lefties eventually landing him in a platoon. Brandon Drury also broke out last season and though he was kind of streaky throughout the season, the end result was a .282 average and 16 homers. He too could be a solid fantasy guy to own this season.
Yasmany Tomas emerged as a power threat last year in Arizona and while his plate discipline numbers are concerning and a .270 average may be a bit high to ask for again, he should be good for at least 25 home runs again with 80+ RBI. David Peralta is a great hitter capable of hitting over .280 with some home runs, but the question, ‘can he stay healthy?’ will continue to linger around him. He’s going to try and do just that in 2017 and might be worth a late flier in fantasy drafts.
Much like the Colorado Rockies, the Diamondbacks play in a very hitter friendly environment and thus pitchers are often not the wisest investment from their team. With that said, there are a couple guys who could be intriguing this season. Robbie Ray was a strikeout machine last season, striking out 218 batters in only 174.1 innings (28.1 percent). He is often the victim of the long ball, but he could be a solid guy to own for owners in need of some punchouts.
Zack Greinke was kicked around last season, but he might still have fantasy value. It’s just that value is now more of as a rotation depth piece rather than a full-fledged ace. Patrick Corbin could be a solid sleeper, but he will need to not only put his health issues behind him, but lower that HR/9 rate to below 1.00. But to be honest, those three are probably the only arms who deserve owning in standard 8-14 team redraft leagues.
This is one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Of the prospects they have, only southpaw starting pitcher Anthony Banda stands out as someone who might have fantasy value. Neither Domingo Leyba nor Socrates Brito are terrible, but neither have a super enticing skill and both are blocked at nearly every position at the big league level. Don’t expect any prospects to have an impact with this team.
There is talent in Arizona and it was a bit surprising they were so awful last year. A 69-93 record does not quite seem right for a team that had Goldschmidt, Greinke, Lamb and Segura.With that said, the loss of Segura hurts and even with Pollock returning, they are not a playoff team and may still finish fourth in the division. However there is plenty of fantasy upside to be had here, especially with the offense.