We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Diamondbacks Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jim McLennan from AZSnakePit.
1) What’s your take on Mark Trumbo and how do you feel the trade to Arizona affects his fantasy value?
I think the move will likely help Trumbo. He’s going from a pretty extreme pitcher’s park, to one which is a lot more hitter friendly, first of all. He won’t be hitting behind Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton or Mike Trout, true – but he will instead follow National League MVP runner-up Paul Goldschmidt to the dish, so should still get plenty of chances to drive in runs. I have to confess, I wasn’t in favor of the deal, but the reasons for that shouldn’t affect his fantasy value, unless you play in a severely sabermetric league which uses OBP. Otherwise, his likely defensive struggles as Trumbo makes the transition to the outfield won’t have much relevance!
2) Miguel Montero had a down 2013 after being one of the more reliable options at catcher in previous years. Do you see him rebounding in 2014?
Fingers crossed Montero rebounds, not least because the likely backup option for the Diamondbacks is a 42-year-old Henry Blanco, who hit .142 between the Blue Jays and Mariners last year. Miggy was hurt by a truly awful start to the season: he was hitting below the Mendoza Line after the first week of June. However, he did pull things together the rest of the way, and hit .257 with eight HR in 63 games thereafter. He did miss most of August with a lower back strain, but he has generally been one of the iron men behind the plate. Entering the second season of a five-year, $60 million contract, he’ll be under scrutiny, but I’m still expecting something close to his career numbers, .267 with maybe 15 HR and 75 RBI.
3) After a solid first half in 2013, Patrick Corbin faded in the second half. What aspect of Corbin’s game should fantasy players be focusing on when deciding where to draft Corbin this year?
What we saw from Corbin was almost the poster-child for BABIP regression. Through the end of July. he had a 2.24 ERA and a BABIP of .250, which was unsustainably low. Thereafter, it ballooned to .360, and his ERA went up with it, to over six during Corbin’s final 11 starts. However, nor is that inflated BABIP something which you’d expect to carry forward, and his “true” level of talent would seem to fall between these two extremes. All told, his BABIP was .287, which is close to NL average (.296), so overall, an ERA around the 3.50 mark seems about right. He’s a year older now, and at age 24, that should help a little too. Don’t expect either extreme from Corbin in 2014. I think he’ll be good to very good, rather than great.
I honestly don’t know. Going in to this winter, the general opinion was that one or other of them would be traded during the off-season, but here we sit, almost back into spring training, and they’re both still here. When we looked at this recently, a SnakePit poll gave the edge to Owings, 55-43% [the remaining two percent proved Cliff Pennington's family must read the site...]. They both have weaknesses – Didi can’t hit left-handers, while Owings’ plate discipline in the minors was woeful – and it could well simply come down to who wins the job out of spring training. If I’d to guess, I’d lean toward Owings, but it’s not something on which I’d be prepared to wager any significant sum.
5) What is the Diamondbacks’ plan to keep opposing teams out of their pool in 2014?
I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say, I’ve heard rumours that Arizona’s (not-so) beloved mascot D.Baxter will be replaced this year, with Eddie the Electric Eel… :)
Follow Mike on Twitter @643ball