With the new year rolling in, it’s time to look into 2021 MLB predictions for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Entering 2021 MLB.com has the Diamondbacks ranked 26th in the first power rankings of 2021, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves staring up at what is the two-headed monster atop the division with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. In 2020 the Diamondbacks finished with a disappointing 25-35 record and the light at the end of the tunnel might be a few years away.
2021 MLB Predictions: Nobody Knocking Down the Door in the Desert
A year after making a splash with the Madison Bumgarner signing, The Diamondbacks now don’t seem to be major bidders this time around the free-agent market despite the holes in their lineup. The Diamondbacks could opt for a cheaper bat to fill in for them up the middle at second base if they opt to stick Ketel Marte back in the outfield. With only two realistic options on the team for 2B, that being Josh VanMeter and Andy Young who combined have only 373 career plate appearances (only 34 PAs from Young).
A few infielders that I would look at the Diamondbacks taking a chance on are players such as Jed Lowrie, Jason Kipnis, and Greg Garcia just to name a few. All three of these players aren’t flashy and are merely placeholders, but there’s very low risk in these signing given the lack of depth in the infield and the fact they will be able to bring these guys in on very cap-friendly deals.
The pitching side for the Diamondbacks looks virtually the same, with Archie Bradley now gone the team lacks a true closer. Barring any moves, the Diamondbacks will roll into the season with a bullpen consisting of only one player (Yoan Lopez) with more than one season’s worth of games in his career.
Of the free agents available some of the more interesting names the Diamondbacks could take a look at, are Brandon Workman, Keone Kela, and Brandon Kintzler. Of the three, Kela is the most interesting given his career 3.24 ERA, Workman and Kintzler could end up being trade chips if they perform well enough for the Diamondbacks through mid-summer.
How the Roster Projects:
As it stands right now, here is how the lineup projects for the Diamondbacks:
Now the order is subject to change, but on paper, this doesn’t look like a terrible lineup. Is it a top-10 lineup? No, but this lineup could be a middle of the pack team offensively speaking if everything goes their way (keyword “if”).
The bench for the Diamondbacks is where the lack of depth shows. The projected bench players for the team are all returning players from 2020, those being: Stephen Vogt, Josh VanMeter, Andy Young, and Tim Locastro. The bench as a whole doesn’t carry much reliability, which is an FA signing could make a dent in the team’s progress.
The starting five for the Arizona Diamondbacks:
Even with any new additions, this is the most likely outcome for the rotation entering 2021. The team will be looking for a bounce back from their big free-agent signing from last winter, to say Bumgarner had a bad 2020 would be sugarcoating it, and with his decrease in velocity on his fastball that no longer reaches 90 miles per hour (lost three MPH on both cutter and four-seam). This year is a big year for Bumgarner, he’ll look to reclaim his old self that prior to 2020 saw him as one of the top workhorses in the game.
As mentioned previously the Diamondbacks rotation has a serious lack of experience and an even bigger hole at closer. With no additions this is how the Diamondbacks might look like come opening day:
- Stefan Crichton
- Kevin Ginkel
- Keury Mella
- Taylor Widener
- Travis Bergen
- Alex Young (long relief)
- Yoan Lopez
- Taylor Clarke (long relief)
With no clear closer, look for the Diamondbacks to opt for the “closer by comity” game-plan early on.
As for September call ups?:
The Diamondbacks have three prospects ranked inside the top 100 according to MLB.com. The big three outfield trio of Kristian Robinson, Alek Thomas, and Corbin Carroll who are joined by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo will all look to be spending the entirety of the year in the minors considering none of them have any at-bats past A-ball.
Injuries happen disappointing seasons happen, you shouldn’t be shocked if come September the Diamondbacks test some of the young arms they have in the system. Some of the names to watch out for if an injury pops up are:
With Corbin Martin now almost two years removed from Tommy John surgery (July 2019 surgery) the Diamondbacks might look to give him a shot considering what he showed in the Astros system prior to coming over in the Zack Greinke deal where J.B. Bukauskas could appear as a future rotation piece.
Under the circumstances of the 2020 season which resulted in no season for minor league baseball. You might see the Diamondbacks being careful with call-ups, the team has no reason to rush bringing up their top talent and instead should opt to let them work on their game in the minors for 2021.
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