Though they technically are already two games into the 2014 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks began the the long marathon that is a Major League Baseball regular season on Monday against the San Francisco Giants.
Below is the official Opening Day roster for the 2014 Diamondbacks:
Pitchers (13): Bronson Arroyo, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter, Randall Delgado, Will Harris, Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley, Oliver Perez, J.J. Putz, Addison Reed, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Joe Thatcher and Brad Ziegler.
Catchers (2): Tuffy Gosewisch and Miguel Montero.
Infielders (6): Eric Chavez, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Chris Owings, Cliff Pennington and Martin Prado.
Outfielders (4): Tony Campana, Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo.
15-Day Disabled list (5):
LHP Patrick Corbin (torn left ulnar collateral ligament, retroactive to March 19).
RHP David Hernandez (right ulnar collateral ligament injury, retroactive to March 27).
RHP Daniel Hudson (torn right ulnar collateral ligament).
LHP Matt Reynolds (Tommy John surgery, retroactive to March 19).
OF Cody Ross (dislocated right hip, retroactive to March 19).
This year’s Diamondback team has a similar makeup to the rosters the team fielded over the past few seasons. That said, there are some notable needs that were addressed by General Manager Kevin Towers during the offseason.
The team needed to add a power bat to the lineup from one of the corner outfield positions. They did so in adding Mark Trumbo from the Angels in an offseason trade. During spring training and through the opening series in Australia against the Dodgers, Trumbo has hit fifth behind Martin Prado. The Diamondbacks’ are confident that the combination of Trumbo hitting behind guys like Prado and Goldschmidt, plus half his games being played in hitter-friendly Chase Field, will allow Trumbo to make a big impact with his power numbers.
After a season where the Diamondbacks lead the Major Leagues in blown saves, there is a new closer in town by the name of Addison Reed. His closer experience and prior success with the White Sox lead many to believe that Reed will be the answer for this season and for years to come. He was expected to work in tandem with eighth inning set-up man David Hernandez until Hernandez was injured and in need of Tommy John surgery. With Hernandez down for the second consecutive season, someone will need to step up in that bullpen to fill the void. J.J. Putz’s velocity was down this spring and the team wants Brad Zeigler in a role where they can use his ability to get ground ball outs in situations when players are on base. One big storyline as the season unfolds will be the identification of who steps up to assume the critical set-up role out of the bullpen.
Speaking of needing someone to step up, we turn our attention to the starting rotation. The only new face in the rotation from a season ago is Bronson Arroyo, who the team hopes will be a 200 plus inning guy this season. Despite the addition of Arroyo and the optimism about the coming of Archie Bradley, the team’s ace, Patrick Corbin, is also lost for the season and has undergone Tommy John Surgery.
So who will step up? Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy are both yet to reach the expectations that existed when they were first acquired by the team. Wade Miley had a great spring, but they will need him to get back to that rookie of the year candidate-caliber level from two years ago. Arroyo has the experience and Randall Delgado is expected to be the fifth man rounding out the rotation. The Diamondbacks will need someone among these starters to have a break-out season if they are to remain in the playoff discussion through September, regardless of when Archie Bradley is called up for AAA.
For Diamondbacks fans who aren’t as familiar with shortstop Chris Owings, you will soon know him and will be racing to jump onto his bandwagon. Owings beat out Didi Gregorious’ defensive superiority at shortstop because of what he can do with the bat in his hands. Owings was the organization’s minor league player of the year after hitting .330 AVG, 180 hits, 104 runs, 31 doubles, 8 triples, 12 home runs, 81 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and a .359 OBP. Kevin Towers said in his last press conference of Spring Training that they ultimately decided in favor of Owings based on the need for greater offensive production out of the shortstop position. Don’t be surprised if by season’s end, you hear Owings’ name tossed around as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
Perhaps the biggest key for the Diamondbacks will be the need to get off to a fast start. That’s obviously something that every team wants to do, but given the strength of the NL West and the talent on the Dodgers’ roster, getting behind too many games early in the season can make it a very difficult uphill climb.