The 30 teams in 30 days series continues with a team hoping to make a strong run in the NL West this season. With the potential to have the best 1-2 punch atop their rotation and a strong offense if everyone clicks, the Arizona Diamondbacks will look to bounce back from their 70-92 record in 2009 which left them in the basement of their division.
|C Miguel Montero||.294||.355||.478||61||16||59||1||425|
|1B Adam LaRoche||.277||.355||.488||78||25||83||2||555|
|2B Kelly Johnson||.224||.303||.389||47||8||29||7||303|
|SS Stephen Drew||.261||.320||.428||71||12||65||5||533|
|3B Mark Reynolds||.260||.349||.543||98||44||102||24||578|
|LF Conor Jackson||.182||.264||.253||8||1||14||5||99|
|CF Chris B. Young||.212||.311||.400||54||15||42||11||433|
|RF Justin Upton||.300||.366||.532||84||26||86||20||526|
Unsettled: Left Field. Conor Jackson went on the DL on May 12 with an illness later diagnosed as Valley Fever (a lung infection which is somewhat common in the Southwest US) and was replaced with rookie Gerardo Parra, who filled in admirably with a .290 average and .724 OPS. Jackson was hitting .182 at the time he was placed on the DL, and with another slow start he could find himself on the bench with Parra back in the lineup at least 80 percent of the time (as he struggled with lefties in his freshman campaign. Centerfielder Chris B. Young has seen a drop in his Home Runs, Stolen Bases, and Batting Average since he went 32/27 in 2007. If he struggles again to begin 2010, he could also find himself losing time in favor of Parra.
Target: Justin Upton. The player who has scouts comparing him to Ken Griffey Jr. at the same point of their careers is on the verge of staking his claim to be a first round pick in fantasy for the next 10 seasons. If you have an early second round pick and you want him, you have to take him there, because he won’t fall back to you. If you aren’t in a position to grab Upton, take a look at Mark Reynolds who may be the biggest enigma from a fantasy perspective in 2010. His 2009 season was nothing short of amazing as his 44 home runs and 24 steals from a guy who was drafted as a late round flier in most leagues helped many an owner win a fantasy title. On the surface 44/24 makes for an easy first round pick, but Reynolds couples it with a low batting average (.260) thanks to his high strikeout total, and many owners are wary of taking a guy who set career highs across the board in the first round. He makes a great pick anywhere past the mid-second round though. Miguel Montero makes an excellent catcher choice in any spot after the 10th round.
|Dan Haren (R)||14-10||3.14||1.00||223||38||229.1|
|Brandon Webb (R)||0-0||13.50||2.00||2||2||4|
|Edwin Jackson (R)||13-9||3.62||1.26||161||70||214||w/ Det|
|Billy Buckner (R)||4-6||6.40||1.59||64||29||77.1|
|Kevin Mulvey (R)||0-3||8.14||1.68||18||12||24.1|
Unsettled: Brandon Webb. After a Cy Young caliber 2008, Webb managed to only pitch in 4 innings last season after undergoing right shoulder surgery. Webb is expected to be ready in time for Spring Training, and he is a high risk high reward talent who should be taken sometime after the top 20 or so SP are off the board, with the ability to finish in the top 5.
Neither Billy Buckner nor Kevin Mulvey impressed much at the end of last season. Ian Kennedy, who came over as part of the Max Scherzer trade, has struggled in brief MLB looks, but is still just 25 on Opening Day. Now removed from the NY spotlight, he sports minor league career marks of 1.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9 and should be on your watch list.
Target: Dan Haren. Haren emerged as a legitimate fantasy ace last season and should be among the first 10 SP off the board. If you aren’t scared by his pedestrian win total (and you shouldn’t be as wins tend to be a product of luck) you’ll be acquiring 200+ strikeouts with a low 1.00 WHIP and low 3.00 ERA in over 200 innings pitched.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Chad Qualls (R)||24||3.63||1.15||45||7||52.0|
|Juan Gutierrez (R)||9||4.06||1.37||66||30||71|
Chasing Saves: Qualls enters the season cemented in at closer and makes a solid second tier option. His season was cut short after he dislocated his kneecap on August 30 but has undergone surgery and rehab is said to be going well, still it is a situation worth monitoring. Juan Gutierrez filled in for the remainder of the season and would likely take over as closer if Qualls were to have any setbacks. Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman could also find themselves in the mix, but neither of them are worth drafting in even the deepest of leagues.
Arizona is a team that sports three studs and a bunch of question marks. Montero is a rising star, but Johnson, Drew, Conor Jackson, and Young all performed below expectations last season. Webb’s injury makes him a valuable risk, but I don’t see the upside in any of the remaining rotation outside of Kennedy. If you do draft Edwin Jackson, temper your expectations, and be sure to sell high (2.52/5.07 ERA split at the halves).
Ken Kesterson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Ken in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of bigken117.
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