Arizona Diamondbacks 2017 Season Review
And so D-backs fans, without further ado, a review of an otherwise odious 2017 season is in order.
The Good News: Despite a staggering 109 losses (fourth-worst record in league history, third team with back-to-back 100-loss seasons), the Arizona Diamondbacks hopefully turned the corner in 2017 by achieving all of their pre-season goals: 1) Obtaining the #1 pick in next year’s entry draft. 2) Many new players were given a chance to play regularly at the major league level, giving management a head start on planning for next year. 3) Josh Beckett retired (before he could be kicked to the curb, alas).
The Bad News: It could still take a while for the prospects and hangers-on to turn into a playoff-contending roster at the major league level. A long while, actually.
Some relevant high- (and low-) lights …
The Very Good: LF Rich Dixon (.278/.364/.496, 27 HR, 83 RBI). The #4 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Rich Dixon lived up to the OSA preseason projections by making his first All Star appearance in his first full season in the majors. “A cornerstone of the offense hopefully for years to come.”
The Good: Every team needs spare parts, and the Diamondbacks spent a great deal of time trying to develop some of theirs this season. The bullpen also looks to be setting itself up well for the future.
1B/2B Alfredo Zavala (.283/.335/.379, 18 SB): One of 14 rookies on the roster, Alfredo Zavala proved the scouts wrong and appears to be a decent table-setter at the top of the order. “All this cat does is hit.”
2B/SS/3B Chris Owings (.265/.306/.395): Despite being asked to play three positions and bat up and down the lineup, Chris Owings was solid (if unspectacular) at the plate and in the field all season.
RP Jose Jose (6-2, 1 save, 3.06 ERA, 1.20 WHIP): Another surprise, Jose2X wasn’t really expected to compete for a job in the bullpen let alone excel at it.
CL Tyler Green (3-6, 21 saves, 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP): Tyler Green made the most of his uncontested-layup opportunity in the closer’s role this season.
RP Joel Lima (2-4, 2 saves, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP): Another surprisingly consistent reliever, last year’s Rule 5 pick has evolved into a top option in the AZ bullpen.
SP Alexander Carreras (3-8, 3.27 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 15 starts): File this one under ‘big surprises’ also. Alexander Carreras earned an extended look after a solid season in the PCL last year, but no one expected the level of consistency he has shown at the major league level thus far. “He’s gone from a placeholder to someone who will have to be out-pitched for a spot in next year’s rotation.”
The Bad: As you might expect from a 109-loss team, there were plenty of poor performances to go around.
1B/RF Bobby Stone (.220/.304/.411, 21 HR, 182 K in 445 at-bats): “He’s got one of the three-true-outcomes down solid.” Bobby Stone led the NL with 182 strikeouts despite only 445 at-bats. While his defense and his walk- and home run-rates are not terrible, he is in line to be replaced before long unless he improves significantly.
3B Drew Maggi (.232/.319/.383 in 462 at-bats): Suffice to say the bar was fairly low in AZ this year, but more was expected from Drew Maggi after a strong rookie call-up in 2016. “Maggi could be odd-man-out as early as next season.”
SP Michael Wacha (7-14, 5.11 ERA, 1.42 WHIP in 29 starts): Peripherals suggest that Michael Wacha was unlucky this year. Still, more was (and is) expected.
SP David Perez (8-9, 4.84 ERA, 1.49 WHIP in 30 starts): David Perez took a step backwards this year. The team hopes that he can learn from it. Other options are (finally) waiting in the wings if he can’t.
SP Scott Clark (6-10, 5.13 ERA, 1.35 WHIP in 19 starts): The defacto ace struggled early, like much of the team, then sat out two months with an injury, and finally was shelved in the season’s waning days after another minor injury. An incomplete grade, but more is expected as he heads into his arbitration years.
The Ugly: SP Koryusai Jouda (traded to Boston mid-season) & SP/RP Josh Beckett (announced his retirement immediately following game-162 after allowing 7 runs in 4 innings). Jouda and Beckett’s primary job this season was to ‘lead’ the Diamondbacks to the #1 pick in next year’s draft, and they certainly delivered (Jouda even gets an assist for recording a loss for the Red Sox against Houston in the season’s final week). R.I.P.
The Angry: RF Miguel Velazquez (.280/.329/.486, 13 HR, 47 RBI in 81 games with Arizona). While he didn’t undermine overall team morale as many had feared, Miggy-V has announced on more than one occasion that he is unhappy with ‘disruptive elements on the team’ (whenever he looks in the clubhouse mirror, apparently). His production was solid enough, and his disruption muted enough, that he likely will be offered an arbitration contract for next season.
The Future: Get out the sunglasses, the future is finally brighter than the present for D-backs fans! Look for OF Arturo Velazquez (1st round pick in 2015; no relation to Miguel, we hope), SP Andrew Morales, and SP Bill Hauck to all get an opportunity in spring training as the Diamondbacks finally turn the corner and begin to head back towards respectability. Waiting in the wings are C Matt Hanson and OF Daz Cameron (both now in AA after breakout half-seasons at single-A) who might get an invite to spring training, as well as recent draft choices SP Carl Deer (2nd round 2015, now at AA) and SS Jeremy Scott (2017 #1 overall pick; almost single-handedly carried otherwise-benighted S-A Hillsboro to within one game of a playoff berth) who might both only be a year or two away from The Show.