StrategyMarch 5, 2009

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30 Teams in 30 Days: Arizona Diamondbacks

By Jason Jarvis

Next on the list of teams in “30 Teams in 30 Days” is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Even though the Snakes took a step back in 2008, they still finished above .500 for the second straight year. This team is full of high-upside youth that will only keep getting better. This youth, mixed with two of the top-10 starting pitchers in all of baseball, tells me they are almost guaranteed a third straight year above the .500 mark.

For a closer look at the Arizona Diamondbacks and the rest of the NL West, be sure to check out the The Can of Corn NL West Preview Podcast.

Offensive Starters

C Chris Snyder.237.348.4524716640334 
1B Conor Jackson.300.376.44687127510540 
2B Felipe Lopez.283.343.387646468481w/2T
SS Stephen Drew.291.333.5029121673611 
3B Mark Reynolds.239.320.45887289711539 
LF Eric Byrnes.209.272.369286234206 
CF Chris Young.248.315.44385228514625 
RF Justin Upton.250.353.4635215421356 

Unsettled: Chad Tracy. There is a possibility that Chad Tracy plays first base, moving Conor Jackson to left field, if Eric Byrnes struggles again or a trade occurs. Look for the left-handed Tracy to gain a good amount of at-bats, since he has always been successful against right-handed pitching. If Miguel Montero, who has been linked in trade talks is retained, then he would have a chance to take the starting spot from Chris Snyder, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point.

Target: Stephen Drew. Drew was a highly touted prospect who had a successful 2008 season and looks to take yet another step forward. This 26-year-old shortstop looks to cement his name as the fourth SS off the board. Chris Young and his 30/30 potential can’t be ignored either, though he’ll likely continue to struggle with consistency so don’t reach for him. Some others who are definitely worth looks in the later rounds are Jackson, Felipe Lopez, Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton.

The Rotation

Brandon Webb (R)22-73.301.2018365226.2 
Dan Haren (R)16-83.331.1320640216 
Jon Garland (R)14-84.901.519059196.2w/LAA
Doug Davis (L)6-84.321.5311264146 
Max Scherzer (R)0-43.051.23662156 

Unsettled: Doug Davis, Max Scherzer, and Yusmeiro Petit. Scherzer is plenty good enough to stay in the rotation, but there is still a chance the Snakes put him back in the bullpen for a while. Davis, the only lefty, is the veteran of the three, but I’d like to see Petit take hold of the fifth spot in this rotation. Spring Training should reveal what happens here.

Target: Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. These two are no-brainers as they are both top-10 talents. If Scherzer can keep a rotation spot most of the year something along the lines of a 3.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 140 Ks and 10 wins in 140 IP is not out of the question.

The 8th and 9th Innings

Chad Qualls (R)92.811.07711873.2 
Jon Rauch (R)184.141.19661671.2w/2T

Chasing Saves: As of now it appears Qualls is your man for saves in Arizona going into 2009. He had a very nice 2008 campaign, and if he can continue that success he should keep his job. However, if Qualls falters, Jon Rauch would take over. Rauch also had a solid year in 2008 and being almost 7-feet tall would make him an exciting guy to watch close a game in the ninth. Either way these two are both lower-tier closer options since neither will have a tight grip on this position.

Final Thoughts

Arizona has its couple of studs in Brandon Webb and Dan Haren who look to be third and fourth rounders. Outside of these two, this team is loaded with young, high-upside talents in Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Justin Upton, and Mark Reynolds. I’ve seen Drew go as early as the fifth round and I’ve seen him fall as far as the eighth. Not reaching for Drew is probably the wise choice, since he is in a tier of SS that go almost ten deep. Young and Upton have two of the highest ceilings out there, though they’re likely to be very inconsistent so temper expectations. While Reynolds is a hacker at the plate, the 30/100 potential is something you don’t want to overlook and is definitely worth the late-round price tag.

Yesterday we previewed the St. Louis Cardinals. Check back tomorrow for the Colorado Rockies, the next installment of “30 Teams in 30 Days!”

Jason Jarvis is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jason in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of J35J.
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