Arizona Diamondbacks Team Preview 2017

Expectations ran high for the Arizona Diamondbacks entering the 2016 season after making the biggest splash in the free-agent pool with the signing of pitcher Zack Greinke to the highest per annum contract in baseball history. Willing to mortgage the future for an immediate run at contention, the Diamondbacks dealt shortstop Dansby Swanson, the team’s top prospect and number one overall pick in Major League Baseball’s 2015 amateur draft, to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Shelby Miller, who led the league in losses the previous season but was still considered a front line starter.

It didn’t not pan out well for Greinke, Miller, or the Diamondbacks; Greinke was shelled in his first two starts and sputtered to 3-3 mark before finding his groove, rattling off seven straight victories from mid-May to late-June but soon suffered a strained oblique that sidelined him for next two months and never really got back on track. In one horrendous outing he was rocked by the Boston Red Sox for nine runs in 1.2 innings. Greinke finished the season at 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA, not bad for a middle of the rotation starter but not what you’d expect for $34 million from a guy who went 19-3 with a 1.67 ERA the previous season.

Miller’s season was far worse going 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA in 20 starts. He was optioned to AAA Reno for six weeks from July 14 to August 31 and went 1-3 upon his return, finishing strong with 11 shutout innings in his final two starts. A good candidate for the comeback player of the year Miller is signed through the 2017 season. Meanwhile Dansby Swanson hit a composite .275 at A Carolina and AA Mississippi and made his big league debut with the Braves on August 28 hitting .302 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 38 games.

One of few bright spots, second baseman Jean Segura enjoyed a breakout season hitting a career-high .319 and leading the National League with 203 hits while knocking 20 home runs with 64 RBI from the leadoff spot, stealing 33 bases and scoring 102 runs. In a move resembling the Dansby Swanson for Shelby Miller trade the Diamondbacks chose to parlay Segura’s success by trading him to the Seattle Mariners for 23 year old Taijuan Walker.

The Diamondbacks 69-93 record represented a 10-game drop off from the previous season and would have been the worst record in the National League if not for the lowly San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds. Both general manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale were fired at the end of the season replaced respectively by former Boston Red Sox GM Mike Hazen and former Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.

Arizona Diamondbacks Prospects to Watch

Middle infielder Dawel Lugo hit a combined .311 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI at single-A Visalia and AA Mobile and was named AZ Fall League Player of the Week for Oct. 31 – Nov. 5.