Vote in the poll below to let us know who you think the Face of the Diamondbacks is for our Face of the MLB tournament.
Here on the east coast us New Yorkers are snowed in. Meanwhile, pitchers and catchers for the Arizona Diamondbacks report tomorrow at their facility in Arizona. The reason they are reporting early this year is because they are traveling to Australia on March 23 to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Do you remember last winter when the D’Backs traded away slugger Justin Upton? They received Didi Gregorius, Martin Prado and traded away Upton and Chris Johnson. Everyone thought the Atlanta Braves had the best part of the deal, but really it was pretty even. Somehow Chris Johnson broke out, which no one even knew who he was before 2013 and Upton still hit bombs like before. Prado had a decent season for Arizona, and Gregorius is on the trade market for some odd reason. Does anyone know how the Arizona Diamondbacks will perform in 2014? They are a good team but it’s still not there time to shine.
Out in California I’m sure that many people are playing golf, at the beach, and not thinking about baseball. Well Puig, Kershaw, Ramirez, Gonzalez and the Dodgers are preparing for the big game in Australia. There is one problem for the crowded outfield in LA, there will be four players and only three spots. Of course Matt Kemp is still rehabbing, and said at Dodgers fan fest that he will take his time to have a great season in 2014. So in Australia it will not be a problem for the Dodgers. But heading into, say, May, what will they do? People are talking about trading Kemp, Andre Either, or Carl Crawford, but that is not the answer. If you trade Matt Kemp now, you will get nothing in return because of his past season. Carl Crawford has too much money attached to him for the Dodgers to trade. The only decent trade would be Andre Either, but he’s still young, has about $15M attached to him, and he’s still kind of young. When that time comes manager Don Mattingly is the best guy to fit in the four outfielders with Yasiel Puig.
Most clubs have their players reporting in about ten days, so we will finally have baseball back!
The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers to contract extensions with undisclosed monetary values.
Kirk Gibson has been the manager of the Diamondbacks since 2010, when he replaced A.J. Hinch and was promoted from his position as bench coach to interim manager. Shortly after the season, he was named the permanent manager. In his first year, Gibson led the Diamondbacks to their first AL West title since 2007, and was named NL Manager of the Year in 2011.
Kevin Towers was also hired by the Diamondbacks in 2010, and contributed to the Diamondbacks’ 94-game winning season and AL West division winners. He finished third in The Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year voting. Towers has 16 years of general managing under his belt, joining Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane and San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean as the fourth-longest tenured active general manager in Major League Baseball.
In the times of rookies and stars, some underrated players may be ready to shine. Let’s take a look at the breakout candidates.
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies- Highly touted as a prospect, Arenado was even better than expected as a rookie in 2013. He hit 10 homers, and put to rest any thoughts of moving to 1B. Becoming the 1st rookie in MLB history to win a 3B gold glove, he beat out perennial winners David Wright and Martin Prado. He also is underrated- most people selected Wright or Prado to play 3B in fantasy. This could be a great prospect to become the next Ryan Zimmerman.
Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres- As a power-hitting second baseman, Gyorko could follow the path of Dustin Pedroia. Gyorko had a slash line of .249/23/66 as a rookie last year, and that was with playing half of his games in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park. In the minors in 2012, he hit 30 homers and batted in 100 RBI’s. As Gyorko learns how to face major-league level pitchers, he could be among the likes of Jose Bautista and Chris Davis (in terms of power potential). Look for Gyorko to make a big statement this year.
A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks- Pollock was drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft and has been a machine for getting on base and getting into scoring position. A bit underrated for a while, in college summer ball he was a bench player- and won the “10th man award”. With a slash line of .269/8/38 in 2013 as a utility player, he offered some promise. Enough to be given the starting CF job for 2014. Pollock stole 36 bases in 2011 and 21 in 2012 (in the minors). Not unlike Jason Kipnis, he gets on base and then gets into scoring position, which is invaluable to a team. All in all, Pollock may have the best potential of all of these players.
Jose Fernandez had a remarkable rookie season for the Marlins and dominated the playing field. Fernandez won numerous awards including NL rookie of the year. But have you ever wondered who the next Jose Fernandez could be?
Well it just might be Archie Bradley. Archie Bradley is the number one pitching prospect in the Minor Leagues right now. Archie was 12-7 and had a 1.97 ERA in Double A last year. Bradley has numerous of pitches like a knuckle curve, 12-6 curve, and fastball. His fastball averages 92-95 mph with it clocking out at 97 mph. Bradley has great potential and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the D-Backs number one or two man in their rotation in years to come. The 21 year old will be working in the spring to get a spot on the rotation but will likely be in Triple A to start the year. I expect him to spend majority of the 2014 season in the major leagues. Bradley was drafted 7th overall in the 2011 player draft. He is a RHP out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He is 6’4 and weighs 225 pounds.