After three-straight seasons of .500 baseball or better, Arizona won only 39 percent of their games in 2014. In a division full of movers and shakers, the Diamondbacks made their push for the Cuban defector, Yasmany Tomas. He signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract.
Key additions: Jeremy Hellickson, Yasmany Tomas, Robbie Ray, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa
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Key losses: Didi Gregorius, Miguel Montero, Wade Miley, and Eric Chavez
Jose Fernandez, Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Jose Abreu are the current players who defected from Cuba and made an MLB All-Star team. Tomas hopes to add his name to the list with his 2015 debut. In 2013, with Industriales de La Habana, Tomas batted .290 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 65 games. His 2012 campaign was his best thus far. During that season he hit 15 homers and delivered 60 RBI (.289 batting average) in 81 games…Paul Goldschmidt sure needs the protection in the lineup. A broken hand shortened his 2014 season, but Goldy still managed a .300 average. His 19 HR, 69 RBI was a sharp fall from his 36/125 performance in 2013. The Gold Standard was still able to improve his double total from 36 in 2013 to 39 in 2014, in 196 fewer at-bats…Mark Trumbo was supposed to help Goldschmidt last year. The power-hitting outfielder was traded from the Angels in a three-team deal where the Diamondbacks parted with Adam Eaton. A stress fracture in his left foot cut Trumbo’s season in half. In his 88 games, Trumbo hit 14 home runs with 61 RBI (.235). If he was able to play a full season, back-to-back 30 homers and 100 RBI could have been possible.
Pitching was a problem for Arizona last year. The Diamondbacks finished with a 4.26 team ERA in 2014 (ranked 26th in MLB). Only the Rockies had a worse team ERA in the National League (4.84 ERA)…Josh Collmenter was the best starting pitcher on the staff last season. He accumulated a 3.46 ERA in 28 starts. He also set a career-high in innings pitched (179.1 IP) and strikeouts (115 Ks)…Jeremy Hellickson was traded to Arizona in November to help breathe life into the rotation. Last season was a bust for Hellickson. In his final year with the Rays, he won only one game in 13 starts. Arizona is hoping that he can return to that 13-win, 2.95 ERA season Hellickson produced in 2011…Outside of those two arms, the staff is full of question marks. Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are recuperating from Tommy John surgery, with Corbin on pace to return sooner. Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster were traded to Arizona from Boston. Combined, they won 13 games in 29 starts. Robbie Ray is a dark horse candidate. Though he concluded 2014 with a 1-4 record in six starts (8.16 ERA), Ray struck out 160 batters in 142 innings in the minors in 2013.
Fantasy Sleeper: Yasmany Tomas
Archie Bradley, SP – As you can see from the projected rotation, Arizona needs some help. Bradley was drafted seventh overall in 2011. Last year was a learning experience for him. In 18 minor league starts, Bradley tallied only three wins and a 4.45 ERA. It was a severe dip from his 14-win, 1.84 ERA in 26 starts in 2013.
Braden Shipley, SP – Another first-round draft pick (15th overall in 2013), Shipley punched out 127 batters in 126 innings last season.