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2018 MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

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A look at the Arizona Diamondbacks with fantasy baseball in mind.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 93-69
Runs: 8th
Home Runs: 12th
Stolen Bases: 7th
ERA: 3rd
Saves: 11th
Strikeouts: 6th

Everybody’s sleeper pick in 2016 finally put it together in 2017 to make the postseason. And although they were swept by the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks had an amazing season. The team finished top 12 in all the fantasy related categories. The ERA ranking being perhaps the most surprising considering the hitter friendly home ballpark.

Let’s take a look towards 2018.

The Superstar: Paul Goldschmidt

Not much of an explanation is needed here for the fantasy superstar first baseman. Since 2013, Goldschmidt has averaged 30 HR 104 RBI 101 R and 19 SB per season. He’s also hit .304 with a .953 OPS during that span. In addition to his production, Goldschmidt hasn’t missed much time due to injury. Over the past 5 years, he’s played at least 155 games in all but one of those seasons. Mike Trout and Jose Altuve will likely be ahead of Goldy in drafts, but the Diamondbacks 1B shouldn’t last past pick #3.

The Sleeper: Archie Bradley

I wrote it back in October (link to the article here):

Archie Bradley received the biggest boost in value without saves involved. The Diamondbacks reliever jumped up 23 spots from #38 to Pure Reliever #15. Bradley appeared in 63 games posting a 1.73 ERA 1.04 WHIP and a 9.7 K/9. The Diamondbacks might have found their closer of the future. Fernando Rodney is a free agent after this season. If Rodney is no longer a Diamondback in 2018, Bradley has a ton of fantasy appeal heading into next season’s drafts.

Well, Rodney is out! Bradley has top 10 RP upside next season IF Arizona commits to him as the closer. I say “IF” because I’m not 100% sure that’s the route they want to go. The former 1st round draft pick failed as a starter in 2015 and again in 2016. He posted a 5.18 ERA over 34 starts in that span. In 2017, the team used him exclusively out of the bullpen. In return, Bradley posted a sparkling 1.73 ERA with a 9.7 K/9. The problem was that he was never used as a closer. The Diamondbacks added former Rays closer Brad Boxberger in the offseason, as well as Japanese free agent Yoshihisa Hirano (a closer himself in Japan). This could mean Bradley stays as a multi-inning reliever a la 2017. A part of me thinks the Diamondbacks still believe Bradley can be the dominant starting pitcher he was drafted and hyped to be. It’s possible he joins the rotation rather than the 9th inning role. My hopes and dreams have him becoming the full time closer and Corey Knebel -ing his way into the top 5 at RP in 2018.

The Guy to Avoid: Jake Lamb

The final numbers seem good. 30 HR 105 RBI and 89 R. Lamb finished 2017 as the #114 overall player. #15 at third base. A couple of problems I see with Lamb. Firstly, the 1st half/2nd half split is real. He’s basically 50% of himself in the 2nd half. He has a .220/.305/.383 slash line in the 2nd half for his career. Secondly, I think he’s in a straight platoon next year. Lamb is hitting just .159 against lefties for his career (.144 last season). Sure, sitting him against lefties could help his final batting average but are you really taking a platoon guy in the top 100? I sure hope not!

The Prospect To Watch: Taylor Clarke

The Diamondbacks don’t have a ton of prospect appeal. Certainly not in 2018. Clarke is my pick for this section because he seems on the fast track for some major league innings in 2018. Over the past 2 years, in which he spent time in literally every level of the minors, Clarke has a 3.33 ERA over 294.1 IP. The K/9 isn’t great (7.8) but the BB/9 is pretty solid (2.6). A 4.25 ERA pitcher who gets 100 or so big league innings has value in NL only and deeper formats.