The 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks begin their 14th season in the National League on April 1st at Coors Field in Denver. Ian Kennedy will make his first Opening Day start of his career.
Manager: Kirk Gibson begins his first full season as the helm.
Coaching Staff: Don Baylor (Hitting Coach), Charles Nagy (Pitching Coach), Alan Trammell (Bench Coach), Matt Williams (3B Coach), and Eric Young (1B Coach). The All-Star coaching staff should provide further leadership.
2010 record: (65-97)
After advancing to the 2007 NLCS, the Diamondbacks have regressed during the past three seasons. The late season hiring of GM Kevin Towers was a step in the right direction. He has the opportunity to enhance his reputation by remarking one of the worst bullpens in big league history.
Off-season Pitching Acquisitions:
Towers signed free agent J.J. Putz to become the team’s new closer. He will take over the ninth-inning responsibilities from Juan Gutierrez. Putz features a mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking slider that can dominant the opposition. The right-hander has a 3.19 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 106 saves during his eight-year career.
RHP David Hernandez and RHP Cam Mickolio were acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a deal that sent 3B Mark Reynolds to the ‘Charm City’.
Off-Season Hitting Acquisitions:
- Henry Blanco signed a one-year contract to fill the role of backup receiver.
- Russell Branyan adds “light tower” power to the roster and could share first base duties.
- Juan Miranda was acquired from the NY Yankees and could land the first base job.
- Geoff Blum provides infield depth with his ability to play all over the diamond.
- Xavier Nady signed as a free agent and could be the starting left fielder.
- Mark Reynolds (3B) was traded to the Baltimore Orioles.
- Adam Laroche (1B) signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals.
- Brandon Webb (SP) signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers
The 2011 Potential Roster:
- Catcher: Miguel Montero, Henry Blanco
- First Base: Juan Miranda, Brandon Allen, Russell Branyan
- Second Base: Kelly Johnson, Ryan Roberts
- Shortstop: Stephen Drew
- Third Base: Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum
- Left Field: Xavier Nady, Gerardo Parra
- Center Field: Chris Young
- Right Field: Justin Upton
- Starting Pitchers: Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Daniel Hudson, Barry Enright, Armando Galarraga
- Closer: J.J. Putz
- Relievers: Juan Gutierrez, Daniel Hernandez, Steve Demel, Kam Mickolio, Esmerling Vasquez
In 2010, Diamondbacks relievers posted a 16-32 record, 5.74 ERA, and converted only 59% of save opportunities. Meanwhile, the bullpen featured a 1.61 WHIP, 1.48 K/BB, and a league-worst, 62 home runs allowed.
An improved starting staff and added bullpen depth should decrease the number of blown leads late in games. The continued development of Justin Upton and health of Miguel Montero should increase the offensive production. Expect the Diamondbacks to compete every night with MGR Kirk Gibson running the show. Prediction: 75-87, Last Place in the NL West.
About the Author
Written by Josh Robbins
Josh is a freelance video-journalist and baseball historian in Chandler, Arizona. In 2010, he earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from CSU-Long Beach. From June 16 to July 11, 2008, he watched a game in all Thirty Major League Baseball stadiums in a world record 26 days by car. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at Thirty27.com.