Here at your Valley Honda Dealers, were avid fans of our hometown Diamondbacks. With the 2016 MLB season just underway, now is a good time to see what’s in store for our D-Backs this season.
Under the helm of skipper Chip Hale, the D-Backs look to make a serious run at the NL West title. Last year, they posted a 79-83 record, falling 13 games behind the Dodgers. However, they ranked 2nd in the NL in runs scored.
New Management & Coaching Staff
A new management team featuring GM Dave Stewart and Sr. VP De jon Watson join chief baseball officer Tony La Russa in the front office. They’ve gone about revamping and improving the D-Backs’ lineup with some key off-season acquisitions.
Several new faces have also joined the coaching staff, including former Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher and former Athletics’ pitching coordinator Garvin Alston.
Zack Greinke A Key To Success
One of the big reasons for this optimism is the off-season signing of right-handed pitching phenom Zack Greinke, who inked a stunning $206.5 million (yes you read that correctly) six-year deal with the club. Last year, he led the Majors with an outstanding 1.66 ERA, .864 winning percentage, and 30 quality starts. He finished second in the balloting for the National League Cy Young Award and hopes are high that his leadership and work ethic will energize the D-Backs’ talented pitching corps.
Pollock Out Indefinitely
However, the D-Backs were dealt a severe blow during the final days of Spring Training when All-Star and Golden Glove center fielder A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow getting up after a head-first slide into home base. Pollock, 28, had missed most of Spring Training due to a sore elbow. Last year Pollock hit .315 with 39 doubles, 20 home runs, 39 stolen bases, 111 runs scored, and 192 hits. Not only were these all career highs, but the 192 hits also led all major league outfielders.
Pollock broke his right elbow in 2010 diving for a ball. This was a year after the D-Backs drafted him in the first round, 17th overall, from Notre Dame. There is no timetable for his return to the club.
“It was just one of those things where I was going to dive head-first sometime this season,” said Pollock. “It wasn’t a dive, it was more kind of [on] the pop-up. I felt something. I’ve done it before, so I kind of didn’t have a freak-out. I knew what happened. Lot of frustration.” Pollock hopes aggressive rehab will get him back in the lineup as soon as possible.
A Strengthened Pitching Staff
With the exception of Pollock’s injury, not only did the D-Backs complete a successful Cactus League Spring Training schedule, but they also reloaded and strengthened their pitching staff with right-hander Shelby Miller and hope to get some quality innings from lefty Patrick Corbin, who appears fully recovered from Tommy John surgery two years ago.
Former Braves’ pitcher Miller is this year’s “X-Factor” and will join ace Greinke in the starting rotation for a powerful one-two punch. However, the D-Backs had to give up outfielder Ender Inciarte, last year’s overall #1 draft pick Dansby Swanson, and right-hander Arron Blair to get Miller in a Diamondbacks uniform. Miller has already proven that he knows how to win and has the pitching chops to do it with successful stints in St. Louis and Atlanta. Alex Young and Taylor Clark look to give the pitching staff additional depth.
The club hopes to have some extra depth this season, bolstered by some quality players, such as the D-Backs’ number 3 prospect Brandon Drury, who could be called up from the Minors when needed. Veteran first baseman Paul Goldschmidt likes the attitude of the team going into the season, noting that he’s seeing a lot of hard work, selflessness, and team camaraderie in the clubhouse that gives him reason to be optimistic.
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