2018 Fantasy Baseball Team Preview - Arizona Diamondbacks
If you want to get your fantasy draft off to a good start, consider selecting first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt in the first round. Last season among first baggers, Goldschmidt finished fifth in home runs (36), second in stolen bases (18), and led the position in runs (117) and RBIs (120). He also hit .297, so starting your team with a five category producer like Goldy is a fantastic way to start your draft. I have Goldschmidt as my third overall player this year behind only Mike Trout and Jose Altuve.
Paul Goldschmidt 2017 stats: 665 PA, .297 BA, 36 HR, 117 R, 120 RBI, 18 SB
The Geek’s 2018 projection: 680 PA, .305 BA, 35 HR, 110 R, 115 RBI, 20 SB
If you like power from your third baseman, you may want to look at third baseman, Jake Lamb. Lamb hit 29 bombs in 2016 and topped that by air mailing 30 over the wall last season. At 27 years old, he’s entering his prime and while it would be nice to see him improve his batting average, he can help you solidify your power categories if you don’t draft a third baseman early in your draft.
Jake Lamb 2017 stats: 635 PA, .248 BA, 30 HR, 89 R, 105 RBI, 6 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 650 PA, .255 BA, 34 HR, 95 R, 105 RBI, 5 SB
There is some uncertainty in the Diamondbacks middle infield as they have five players all in consideration for two spots. Brandon Drury or Daniel Descalso could man second base, while Ketel Marte or Nick Ahmed battle for shortstop, and Chris Owings could play both. I’m predicting that Drury will see a majority of time at second, Marte at short, and Chris Owings getting a ton of plate appearances by playing second, short and some outfield as well.
Owings is the most desirable of the three however, as he has a little more power than the rest and could net you 20 stolen bases if things shake out correctly. While I wouldn’t necessarily want Owings as my second baseman or shortstop, he makes a tantalizing middle infielder, especially considering his multi-position eligibility.
I also like Ketel Marte as a sleeper option in 2018. Fangraph’s Jeff Sullivan wrote a great piece on him (you can find it here) where he talks about during Marte’s time at Triple-A last year where he worked on improving his swing and adding more lift. Last year, Marte lowered his strikeout percentage, raised his walk percentage, and hit for a career high in hard hit percentage, while reducing his ground balls at the same time. There is some optimism that Marte could take that new swing and hit for career numbers in 2018.
Brandon Drury 2017 stats: 480 PA, .267 BA, 13 HR, 41 R, 63 RBI, 1 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 400 PA, .270 BA, 11 HR, 35 R, 40 RBI, 1 SB
Chris Owings 2017 stats: 386 PA, .268 BA, 12 HR, 41 R, 51 RBI, 12 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 500 PA, .270 BA, 15 HR, 55 R, 60 RBI, 18 SB
Ketel Marte 2017 stats: 255 PA, .260 BA, 5 HR, 30 R, 18 RBI, 3 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 550 PA, .275 BA, 12 HR, 60 R, 55 RBI, 10 SB
Chris Ianetta has departed, leaving a likely timeshare between Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann. Mathis is a defensive minded catcher who hasn’t hit more than two home runs or hit better than .238 since 2013. Chris Hermann has a little more pop in his bat, but he hit .181 last season. You can safely avoid both in either one, or two catcher formats.
Jeff Mathis 2017 stats: 203 PA, .215 BA, 2 HR, 13R, 11 RBI, 1 SB
The Geek’s 2018 projection: 300 PA, .225 BA, 6 HR, 25R, 25 RBI, 1 SB
Chris Herrmann 2017 stats: 256 PA, .181 BA, 10 HR, 35 R, 27 RBI, 5 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 300 PA, .200 BA, 11 HR, 37 R, 33 RBI, 4 SB
The Diamondbacks have a huge hole to fill in the outfield, as JD Martinez is not currently under contract and is out seeking a huge payday on the open market. There is a chance the D-Backs will bring him back, but as of now it appears that Yasmany Tomas will try to fill Martinez’s shoes, with AJ Polluck and David Peralta rounding out the outfield.
With AJ Polluck, the question is always going to be health. He missed seven weeks last season with a groin/quad injury and only has one season with more than 500 plate appearances over his career. If healthy, Polluck is a fantasy stat stuffer who could go for 20/20. However, if you are adverse to risk, you may want to look elsewhere.
AJ Polluck 2017 stats: 466 PA, .266 BA, 14 HR, 73 R, 49 RBI, 20 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 550 PA, .285 BA, 19 HR, 90 R, 75 RBI, 23 SB
Peralta saw his first full-time action in Arizona last season and didn’t disappoint, hitting almost .300 with 14 homers. His batting average was aided by a slightly elevated BABIP so I expect a little regression in his average, but a slight uptick in his power numbers may be in store.
David Peralta 2017 stats: 577 PA, .293 BA, 14 HR, 82 R, 57 RBI, 8 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 600 PA, .275 BA, 18 HR, 85 R, 70 RBI, 8 SB
Tomas hits the snot out of the ball and if given the opportunity, could smack 30+ home runs this year. Unfortunately, 37 hitters hit 30+ dingers in 2017, making his upside a little less impressive as it would have been in years past. Peralta should be viewed as a OF5 or OF6 type of guy, while Tomas is more of a late round flier.
Yasmany Tomas 2017 stats: 180 PA, .241 BA, 8 HR, 19 R, 32 RBI, 0 SB
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 500 PA, .255 BA, 27 HR, 60 R, 75 RBI, 1 SB
Zack Greinke rebounded from disastrous 2016 and turned in a very nice 2017 campaign where he finished fourth in voting for the NL Cy Young Award. Greinke is under contract for four more seasons at a hefty price tag of $126.5 million, so it remains to be seen if Arizona will hang on to their ace or try to move on from his contract. Arizona is a hitter’s park, so if he is moved, his value may see a slight increase. As a Diamondback, Greinke should put up numbers worthy of making him a high end SP2.
Zack Greinke 2017 stats: 202.1 IP, 17 Wins, 3.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.56 K/9
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 200 IP, 15 Wins, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
There were signs that Robbie Ray was going to break out last season, but I’m not sure anyone expected him to perform as well as he did. He struck out a whopping 218 batters in 162 innings and maintained a sub-three ERA (2.89). He did find himself in bad situations last season, however. His propensity to give up hard contact to opposing batters (40.4%) as well as his elevated walk rate (3.94 BB/9) makes me worried that regression may be in store for the 26 year old hurler. He will strikeout a ton of batters, but I’m not quite ready to put him in SP1 territory just yet. Be wary of his average draft position come draft day.
Robbie Ray 2017 stats: 162 IP, 15 Wins, 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12.11 K/9
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 175 IP, 15 Wins, 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 11.0 K/9
I have a feeling that Zack Godley will be a very hot name in preseason chatter this year. He came out of nowhere last season to post a 3.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and strikeout over a batter an inning. Can he repeat his 2017 performance this season? That will be up for debate, but with only roughly 100 innings pitched before last year, I fear now that batters have a bead on him and we may see a dip in production. We already started seeing that as he posted a 2.58 ERA over the first half of the season, versus a 4.01 ERA in the second half. I would take him as a SP4, but not sure I want to reach much higher than that.
Zack Godley 2017 stats: 155 IP, 8 Wins, 3.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.58 K/9
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 160 IP, 10 Wins, 3.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.0 K/9
It seems like every year that Taijuan Walker has been on my sleeper list. This year I am going to go the route of “cautious optimism”. Last season Walker dealt with blister issues early in the year and was up and down in terms of production later in the season. At 25 years old, he still has time to put everything together, and his upside makes me feel good about drafting him as SP4/5.
Taijuan Walker 2017 stats: 157.1 IP, 9 Wins, 3.49 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 8.35 K/9
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 180 IP, 13 Wins, 3.90 ERA, 1.35, WHIP, 8.40 K/9
With one year left on his deal, Patrick Corbin is a prime candidate to be shipped off this season but as of now, he’s on the D’Backs so let’s assume he’s there on Opening Day. Corbin started out the year slowly but closed out the second half of the 2017 in style as he pitched to a 3.26 ERA over 88.1 innings and struck out 83 in that stretch. Corbin was very good in 2013, missed all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery, good again in limited action in 2015, but struggled mightily with control issues in 2016. He used his slider much more last year (38% in 2017 vs 26.5% in 2016) and that may be one factor that led to his success. He gave up less hard hit balls last year and if he can carry over that late season success into this year, he could be a decent SP6/7 to round out your pitching staff.
Patrick Corbin 2017 stats: 189.2 IP, 14 Wins, 4.03 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 8.45 K/9
The Geek’s 2018 Projection: 150 IP, 11 Wins, 4.00 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.25 K/9
It appears that Archie Bradley will be given the closer role in Arizona, but it’s not a lock as they brought in veteran Brad Boxberger, as well as Japanese pitcher, Yoshihisa Hirano. Boxberger will likely serve as a setup guy, but Hirano was a very good closer in Japan and could push Bradley depending on how they look this spring. Whoever wins the job should be a decent RP2, and as of now, I give the edge to Bradley.
You can find me on Twitter @fantasygeek37