2014 NL West Preview And Predictions

4 of 6

Sep 22, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin (46) delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

3) Arizona Diamondbacks: 81-81

1- Why will this team exceed expectations?

Tom Lynch from VenomStrikes: This team will exceed expectations in two ways. The first is Mark Trumbo will get his on-base average to somewhere in the .320 range with 25 less strikeouts and about 35-40 home runs. I feel confident that Miguel Montero will bounce back, Aaron Hill can play 130 games and Martin Prado can continue to sizzle. Trumbo needs to be able to get runs home from third with less than two outs. I don’t care if it happens with a hit or an out. Just get it home.

The second is that the five starting pitchers have the potential to win 12 games or more. Trevor Cahill won 9 last season, Brandon McCarthy, 5. Cahill was hurt for the first time in his career. McCarthy is always hurt but this is the year at 30 years old and a free agent after the season, that he gets double digit wins for the first time.

2- Why will this team fall short of expectations?

This team will fall short of expectations because the starting rotation has depth but not much in the way of impact arms. Bronson Arroyo starts to feel his 37 years of age and miles on his arm. Patrick Corbin’s two month slide continues into the 2014 season and both McCarthy and Cahill can’t recover from subpar 2013 seasons.

Archie Bradley could provide a shot in the arm but that’s asking a lot of 21-year old with no experience above Triple-A. Offensively, there is no way Paul Goldschmidt can duplicate last year, could he? Trumbo will still whiff at an alarmingly high rate and Hill can’t stay on the field for at least 100 games again.

The team strikes out way too much and once again can’t get a key hit in numerous situations. They also start playing an inordinate amount of extra inning game sand their legs give out by September.

3- Look for the team to make (this trade)

There could be a trade coming sooner than we think. A D’back shortstop will be on the move at some point over the next seven months. There is a competition between last year’s starter, Didi Gregorius and last year’s PCL MVP Chris Owings. The loser figures to be ticketed for Triple-A, a level where neither player has anything left to prove. The Mets are dying for a shortstop and have the type prospects Arizona is looking for.

If both are somehow in the organization by season’s end, the Yankees will be looking for a replacement for Derek Jeter. Kevin Towers was an assistant there during the 2010 season and is close with Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman.

4- Watch out for the emergence of (prospect)

Archie Bradley is the easy answer. So is Chris Owings, either with the D’backs or what he brings back in a trade. The guy I am going with is reliever Jake Barrett. Like Bradley, he has not pitched above Double-A but he has an electric arm just like him.

Barrett could easily be the first guy up from the Minors when a member of the bullpen goes down with an injury or is ineffective. The memory of a league-high 29 blown saves is still fresh in everyone’s mind and management will do anything to prevent a repeat. I expect him to be up sometime around the All Star Break, if not then in September. If the team makes the playoffs, Barrett will play a big role down the stretch.