2017 Fantasy Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks Preview
The Diamondbacks offseason has been considerably quieter than last year’s big splash. But they’ve continued to seek pitching improvements in acquiring Taijuan Walker (SP) along with Ketel Marte (SS) from the Mariners, sending Jean Segura (SS), prospect Mitch Haniger (OF) and young pitcher Zac Curtis the other way.
Wellington Castillo (C) departed to free agency to be replaced by Chris Iannetta (C) and former high-end prospect Peter O’Brien (OF) also left the desert.
Top Draft Picks (Studs)
Paul Goldschmidt (1B) stands out as the Diamondbacks star. Lamb had a power breakout in ’16 and if Pollock’s elbow stays intact, he’ll enter consideration.
But Goldschmidt still remains the Diamondbacks best fantasy option and arguably a top 3 pick overall.
Last year might have seen a drop in power but his stolen base increase made up for it. You can almost lock in a .300 average, 25+ homers, 20 steals, 90 runs and 90 RBIs to make him a true 5 category contributor.
Your first pick should present minimal risk and Goldschmidt is as safe as they come. With him on your roster, you have more flexibility around your following picks and looking beyond the elite first basemen, it’s not as deep a position as you may think.
High Upside (Sleepers)
Robbie Ray (SP) is already drawing so much hype you’ll be hard pressed to get some value from drafting him. But forgotten man David Peralta (OF) is the late round sleeper you want to be paying attention to.
Having not reached the Majors until 2014 at aged 26, Peralta can be considered a late bloomer. He was perennially at .300+ hitter in the before he reached The Show but never flashed much in the way of power or speed.
But in his first full season in Arizona, Peralta hit 17 homers and stole 9 bases in 462 at-bats. 2016 was predominately lost to injury and he never really managed to get going, which will keep his 2017 price at a considerable discount.
Batting left handed, Peralta offers the Diamondbacks something different (only Lamb bats lefty and Marte is a switch hitter who hits righties better). With solid OBP numbers, Peralta could hit atop the order, especially when facing right handed starters. He could also find himself second in the order, between Pollock and Goldschmidt.
So there’s runs available, a solid average along with some useful pop and speed. RBIs could also factor in so a late pick that won’t hurt you in any category and should be a useful contributor of runs is well worth consideration.
High Downside (Busts)
I hate to say it but AJ Pollock (OF) has the potential to hurt you in drafts, mainly by hurting himself. Two fractured elbows and a fractured hand puts enough red flags next to Pollock to cause concern. His comeback last year was also ended after a strained calf, which could be excused after missing so much time.
Look back at his 2015 season and I would not be surprised at a repeat. But would I be willing to draft Pollock as high as he’s currently going? Nope.
Early rounds should be about stability and getting enough solid picks to allow you to take chances later in the draft. In auctions, Pollock is worth the gamble as you can find cheaper guys at the back end of the draft. In snake drafts, you will be using a 3rd or 4th round pick on him.
Without proving his arm can stay in one piece for more than one year, I’m not prepared to be aggressive enough to get Pollock.
Fernando Rodney (RP) was signed to a one year deal in the offseason and appears all set to resume his 9th inning chaos at a new home. If you are like me and avoid paying too much for saves, Rodney could be a perfect choice. Just don’t get annoyed when the usual madness Rodney seems to bring to the mound rears its ugly head.
But there’s a good chance Rodney gets moved before the trade deadline if he does have some success and the Diamondbacks are too far back in such a tough division. Jake Barrett (RP) should be the main beneficiary of any Rodney move or failure. He spent the end of last season getting some saves in Arizona and is expected to be the set-up guy for Rodney.
Impact Minor Leaguers
Socrates Brito (OF) currently ranks as the Diamondbacks no.1 prospect, is 24 years old and should be ready to kick start his career. He struggled his first time around, suffering a demotion and injury, but looks primed to contribute in Arizona in 2017.
He’s an above average outfielder with a good arm so projects to play in right field, although could cover left or center if needed. If Tomas struggles or Pollock gets hurt, expect Brito to get a chance to see every day action.
But it’s his speed where he can really help you in fantasy. He doesn’t take enough walks to get on base other than when he puts bat on ball, but can leg out infield hits enough to make up for that. You can expect some more growing pains, but Brito is developing some pop in the bat too and there’s plenty of growth signs to suggest Brito can make an impact this year.
The Diamondbacks allowed a league high 106 inherited runners to score in 2016. That’s the highest any team has posted since the Dodgers 110 in 2010. This was despite Arizona ranking 4th highest for number of times relievers entered a game with the bases empty.
Bullpen troubles now with Fernando Rodney added to the mix!
Article written by Jaime Steed for TheFantasyFix.com.