2018 Diamondbacks: Arizona's Aging Roster a Two-Edged Sword

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:37 AM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 11:37 AM UTC

The Diamondbacks are an aging club that overperformed expectations in 2017. Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop looks at their roster in 2018 for significant contributors to keep an eye on.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks of the NL West. The Diamondbacks crushed expectations in 2017 when they put up a 93-win season against a futures line of just 77.5 wins. Their bar has gone up 8 wins as a result for 2018, with a total set at 85.5 at books such as Bovada.

Pitching Staff

One reason the Diamondbacks surprised in 2017 was the emergence of Robbie Ray as a winning pitcher. However, Ray’s FIP only improved from 3.76 to 3.72 from 2016, yet his win-loss record went from 8-15 to 15-5. That is a great example of the power of luck, as Ray’s BABIP plummeted from .352 to .267 year over year. What shouldn’t be going away for Ray, though, is strikeouts, and he has complete control over his career 10.49 K/9 rate. That’s stellar and likely not going away anytime soon. It looks as if Ray has been named the opening day starter for Arizona in 2018. Behind Ray will be Zack Greinke, who put up a 5.1 WAR season in 2017 and 17 wins. He’ll be looking forward to the humidor to be installed in Arizona as his HR/FB% has been elevated for two years in a row now. Archie Bradley will get plenty of opportunities out of the bullpen and is projected to have some saves thrown in the mix as well.

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🙌 days until #DbacksOpeningDay. pic.twitter.com/0CVxtHcKXW

— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 20, 2018
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Lineup

Not looking forward to the humidor being installed in Arizona are the hitters, but Paul Goldschmidt shouldn’t be affected too much. A true 5-tool player who can hit 30 HRs and steal 20 bags, Goldschmidt has a career 144 wRC+ and .399 OBP. Penciling him in for another successful year is a no-brainer. A.J. Pollock is a little riskier proposition, but his 6.5 WAR 2015 season is a glimpse of the value he can produce when healthy. Another 30 HR talent on the Arizona roster is third baseman Jake Lamb, who doesn’t hit much for average but can mash right-handed pitching. And yet another is Steven Sousa Jr., who put up 30 HRs last year with the Tampa Bay Rays. If anything, the top of the Arizona lineup should be fun to watch, but the rest of the lineup drops off of a cliff.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

The one thing that the Diamondbacks have is experience, as most of their stars and significant contributors are entering their 30-year-old seasons. That has its upside and downside, as injuries will eventually pop up with the aging ball club. The Diamondbacks have depth in the outfield to keep everyone healthy, but the infield is a different story. They will have to catch lightning in a bottle to exceed their 85.5-win total in 2018.

Current Win Total: 85.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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