Diamondbacks: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Preview

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Arizona Diamondbacks

AL East: BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR

NL East: ATL, NYM, PHI, MIA, WAS

AL Central: KC, CWS, DET, CLE, MIN

NL Central: STL, PIT, CHC, MIL, CIN

AL West: SEA, LAA, TEX, OAK, HOU

NL West: LAD, SF

The Diamondbacks added many pieces to the bullpen and bench, but the core group didn’t change. There is some value on this team, but you might have to wait.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled recently, winning less than 80 games in each of the last three seasons. The front office made a lot of moves this offseason, but will it make any difference in 2017?

The Diamondbacks didn’t lose many players to free agency. They will have a new catcher, starting pitcher and closer. Looking at my rankings, only two of the three are ranked inside my top 300.

Arizona’s offense hit surprisingly well last season. There were four batters hit at least 20 home runs and one reached 30. While no one reached 100 RBI, two broke 90.

The team ranked 10th in runs scored, 16th in home runs, and eighth in team batting average.

It does help that Chase Field is a very hitter-friendly park. The field ranked second in home runs, third in hits, and second in runs. The park also provided the hitters with gap power, ranked highly in doubles and triples too.

Those numbers translate to the poor performance from the starting pitchers. The pitching staff finished last in ERA, last in WHIP, and 28th in quality starts. There seems to be a trend here. Yet, I still have three starters ranked in my top 300.

There is only one Diamondbacks player ranked my top 50. Two more fall into the top 100, but the other eight players are No. 154 or worse. These are the players to draft for bench depth injury replacements.

Sep 16, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Even with the lack of success the starting rotation had last season, I like some of them this season.

Zack Greinke is clearly the ace. He was the only pitcher reach double-digit wins but had a 4.37 ERA and 1.273 WHIP. In 26 starts, he had only 134 strikeouts and 41 walks. His FIP showed that he is to blame for his performance. He is my No. 20 starting pitcher. If he can bring down is earned runs and raise the strikeouts, he could move up to the top 15.

The Diamondbacks traded for Taijuan Walker. I recapped the trade here. I like the move for Walker. Him leaving the Seattle Mariners and American League will benefit him. Walker is my No. 53 starting pitcher.

Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller, and Patrick Corbin round out the rotation.

The Diamondbacks gave up the farm for Miller and that hasn’t worked out. Ray made a team-high 32 starts with an 11.3 K/9. He will be a flier in the late rounds. Corbin made some appearances in the bullpen, so he may be in a new role for 2017, which is something to keep an eye on.

Aug 19, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Miami won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks made a lot of moves to revamp their bullpen. According to Roster Resource, they added three new relievers through free agency.

The new closer for Arizona will be Fernando Rodney. He was the closer for San Diego for the first half, then became the set-up man for Miami in the second half. For the season, he finished with a   3.44 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, and 25 saves. I wrote about the impact of the signing here. I have him at No. 26.

The other relief pitchers to mark off on your sheets are Jake Barrett, 3.49 ERA and four saves, Tom Wilhelmsen and Kevin Jepsen. The latter two will be middle relievers but can get a couple of saves throughout the seasons.

Sep 16, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. The Dodgers won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks infield took a big hit in the Walker trade.

They gave away middle infielder Jean Segura. The team received Ketel Marte, but he looks to be starting the season in Triple-A. As a result, Chris Owings and Brandon Drury will be the starting shortstop and second baseman, respectively. I don’t like either in standard fantasy leagues.

The team signed Chris Iannetta to replace Welington Castillo as the catcher. The position is filled with talent. If you have to draft Iannetta, then you have bigger problems.

The star of the infield is first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He is my top first baseman, just beating out Anthony Rizzo. He hit 24 home runs, 95 RBI, and .297 in 158 games last season. I would like to see a bump in power without hurting his average. He is a bona fide first round pick.

Third baseman Jake Lamb had a poor second half, recapped by my colleague Brad Kelly’s piece here. Barring another collapse like that, I like Lamb as a backup third baseman or corner infielder.

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks outfield is a big question mark. With one coming back from injury and the other two unproven talents, they will be drafted late.

Kelly recently wrote about A.J. Pollock possibly being overlooked this season. He only played in 12 games last season. Pollock will likely be 100 percent by Opening Day, but can you trust him? I like him enough to be my No. 19 outfielder.

The other two outfielders are Yasmany Tomas and David Peralta. Tomas hit 31 home runs, 83 RBI, and .272. He walked just 31 times and struck out 136 times. If he can close that gap, he’ll get on base more and score more runs.

Peralta was also injured, playing in 48 games. He hit .251 with four home runs and 15 RBI. He is a low-risk, high reward pick this season.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks are carried by one player. The rest of the team is supporting cast. Some of them will perform better than others, but I think the success will be inconsistent.

The starting pitchers have a risk of high ratio stats. The offense will crush the ball, but will it amount to a lot of runs scored? It’s Goldschmidt and everyone else. There are plenty of other options at the other positions to draft.