Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.
Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito
Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay
Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.
Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Aaron Hill, Archie Bradley, BRad Ziegler, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Gerrardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Kevin Towers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, spring training, Stephen Drew, Takashi Saito, Takashi Saito, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: June 3, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 10:44 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The baseball draft is certainly a different animal than its football or basketball counterparts. There's not a lot of hype leading up to the draft. It's being televised for just the fifth time this season, and chances are you've never seen any of the top prospects play.
There are plenty of negatives to the way the baseball draft goes, but there are plenty of positives, too. While in three of the past four televised drafts, the No. 1 pick has been a slam-dunk, sure thing, three days out from this year's first round (Monday, 7 p.m. ET on MLB Network), the question of who the Pirates will take is still just that -- a question.
The last two seasons, the Nationals took Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper -- two no-doubt, easy picks. In 2007, the first year the draft was on TV, there was little to no doubt that David Price would be selected by the Rays. In 2008, Tampa took high school shortstop Tim Beckham over the likes of Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer and Gordon Beckham.
This year is more like 2008 than the others in the TV era, and not just because Gerrit Cole will be selected in the first round of both drafts.
Cole, taken No. 28 overall by the Yankees in 2008, is considered the most likely choice of the Pirates on Monday, but others could be considered.
So, starting with Cole, here are the 10 names you need to know leading up to this year's draft, which starts Monday:
Cole, RHP, UCLA -- Cole throws 100 mph, which is something that's pretty special and tough to pass up.
Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn -- Barnes dominated in the Cape Cod League last year. At 6-foot-4, he has an ideal build to go with a mid-90s fastball and a hammer of a curve.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA -- UCLA's other starter has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum because of his unorthodox motion. He's a devotee of long-toss, which could scare off some teams.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS -- Bradley has signed a scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma, but a top-10 signing bonus can certainly change that.
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS -- The top high school pitcher in the draft has what some are already calling a major-league ready fastball and curveball. His 6-foot frame is about the only knock against him.
Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia -- The Diamondbacks drafted the lefty three years ago out of high school in the 10th round and most expect them to do so again on Monday with the third overall pick.
Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas -- A 6-foot-6 right-hander who went 13-0 for the Longhorns this season. He had a 0.95 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 116 in 122 2/3 innings.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy -- The top high school infielder doesn't have the great power that others have, but he's a very good defender at shortstop and is a switch hitter.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice -- If the Pirates don't take Cole with the top pick, they could take Rendon, who was relegated to DHing this season because of a shoulder strain. Still, when healthy, he has a plus arm to go along with plus power and a plus hit tool. A solid defender at third base, he played just eight games in the field this season.
Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) HS -- Starling may have as much potential as anyone in the draft, but he may be the biggest risk. Like Bradley, he's also a quarterback and there are reports that he will go to Nebraska in July regardless of where he's drafted.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.