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Arizona Diamondbacks

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Projected WARMarket Value

16.7 150


15.7 141


2.4 22


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • David Peralta, LF
  • A.J. Pollock, CF
  • Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  • Jake Lamb, 3B
  • Steven Souza Jr., RF
  • Alex Avila, C
  • Ketel Marte, 2B
  • Nick Ahmed, SS
  • Robbie Ray, LHP
  • Taijuan Walker, RHP
  • Zack Greinke, RHP
  • Patrick Corbin, LHP
  • Zack Godley, RHP
  • Torey Lovullo

Health Check

“Rather than being able to proceed on an expected process of steady improvement, Mike Hazen and company now have to handle the pressure of putting out an immediately competitive roster, without sacrificing the longer-term goal of sustainable success. It’s a difficult balance to strike, especially for a mid-market team like Arizona, which has traditionally been in the lower half of clubs with regard to payroll. However, there is some indication the purse strings are being loosened, and the team may now be benefiting from the long-term television deal they signed with Fox Sports Arizona in February 2015.

The team finished last year at a payroll around $105 million, and President Derrick Hall was warning fans not to expect any significant increase: “You’re not talking about $10 million.” It seemed likely the team might have to trade higher-ticket arbitration players, like Corbin, in order to balance the books, and had little or no chance of adding salary. However, perhaps as a result of the windfall received from the sale of MLB Advanced Media, payroll has gone up significantly. As well as retaining virtually all their arbitration candidates with their increases, the team brought in Brad Boxberger, Jarrod Dyson and Steven Souza. shows a 2018 payroll of $136 million.

But that still isn’t going to be enough past this year. Even with the departures of Pollock et al mentioned above, and presuming they’re replaced only by minimum salary prospects, keeping the rest of the roster together for 2019 will cost almost $150 million. Some of that may come from the TV deal, whose income is reported to increase over the 20-year course of the contract. But the team will face tough decisions in which young players it wants to lock up, and which free agents it wants to re-sign. Letting Goldschmidt walk might be the most logical decision — he’ll be 32 by the time his current contract expires, and you’ll likely be paying for his decline. But the prospect of him playing anywhere else? Ick.”

—AZ Snake Pit

Key Player

On September 4 last year, J.D. Martinez hit four home-runs at Dodger Stadium. However, overshadowed by that fear was was the almost-as-impressive performance of Robbie Ray, who tossed 7.2 shutout innings and fanned 14. It had been more than 13 years since any Diamondback pitcher had struck out as many in a game. But it was par for the 2017 course for Ray. His K-rate of 12.11 per nine innings was in the all-time top 10 by a qualifying pitcher, and there were times when he was utterly dominant. Witness the spell of five starts from May 20-June 11. His combined line over that time: 37 innings, 14 hits, 48 strikeouts, nine walks, and just a 0.24 ERA thanks to a single run allowed.

When Ray was on last year, he was stellar, his wipe-out slider reminiscent of another left-handed Arizona power starter: Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. However, to take the next step, Ray will need to improve his control. His 2017 walk-rate of 10.7 percent was higher than all the qualifying pitchers ever to post a K-rate greater than 11, save for Kerry Wood. With Robbie still only 26, he has time to address that, and if he does, he could give the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer a run for their money in the 2018 Cy Young voting. It’s possible Ray’s outings will become appointment television in the same way as the Big Unit’s at his peak, where there was always a chance of an epic, or even historic performance.

—Jim McLennan, AZ Snake Pit

Best Case

The D-Backs lost J.D. Martinez to free agency, but they did add Steven Souza, Alex Avila, Jarrod Dyson, and remade their bullpen, so they did make moves to try to make it to the postseason once more. While the Dodgers likely remain out of reach in this world without Martinez’s incessant dingers, Arizona still has a legitimate shot at a wild card out of the gate, thanks to a lineup that still has Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, as well as a rotation that could still be pretty good even if Zack Greinke’s worrisome spring is indeed a portent for his summer.

Worst Case

Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, and Zack Godley all were good in 2017, but nothing says they need to repeat that in 2018. Lesser campaigns from that trio, plus Greinke looking more like his problematic 2016 self than his 2017 one, means suddenly the lineup is really going to notice the absence of J.D. Martinez, because the runs it can score are not enough often enough — especially in a division that not only features the Dodgers and Rockies, but also the revitalized Giants.