Four Reasons the Arizona Diamondbacks Shouldn’t be Taken Lightly in 2024

The Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Cinderella run in the 2023 MLB postseason was one of the most improbable and exciting postseason storylines in recent memory.

After an incredible offseason, the Snakes are reloaded for 2024, with a surprising lack of attention. The 2023 free agency class was absolutely stacked. With talents like Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Teoscar Hernandez, Jung-Hoo Lee, and Jorge Soler joining their division, the Diamondbacks’ impressive signings may get buried until the season begins.

The Diamondbacks have answered the question marks surrounding their team but still don’t have much attention surrounding their team at the start of spring training. Obviously, they aren’t in as big of a market as the Dodgers or the Mets, but the recognition is clearly lacking. This team is four months removed from playing in the Fall Classic, but come spring, everyone seems to have forgotten. And these four reasons will make you remember as well.

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook the Diamondbacks

1. The AnswerBacks

The Diamondbacks were on no radars to start the 2023 season. In March of ’23, the Diamondbacks were placed in the barrel, falling off the NL West waterfall with the Rockies. They opened the season with +6000 odds to win the National League (1.6% chance) and +12500 odds to win the World Series (0.8%).

Now, we know how the story ended, but a young team that over-performs like that should not be taken lightly. This team that got on, got over, and got in, played above their pay grade. It isn’t something that you can expect to happen again. But you can expect the best pieces to play like they are the best pieces and Tony Lovullo to get the best out of everyone on the roster.

Their fast style of play is easily recreateable, and their ability to stick in games demonstrates their grit. The ’23 Diamondbacks were so dangerous because of what they could do on the bases, they stole 166 bases and were only caught 26 times. NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll played a massive role in the speed, taking 54 bags in ’23. He is projected to hit 20 bombs and steal 40 bases in ’24, according to FanGraphs.

Cy Young finalist Zac Gallen is projected to throw 186 innings with 175 strikeouts in ’24. Tony Lovullo’s calm demeanor and vast baseball knowledge were half the reason the D-Backs were in the World Series in the first place; now, with many more pieces, it’ll be fun to see what he can shape out of this clay.

2. Impressive Offseason Additions

The Snakes brought sneaky reinforcements to the desert that might pay incredible dividends if the front office moves play out how they should. To start, they signed a veteran, the left-handed Eduardo Rodriguez. Then, Arizona continued their gouge of the Seattle Mariners by bringing Eugenio Suarez to compliment Emmanual Rivera at the hot corner. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. played his free agency window perfectly, racking up a 3.0 WAR season and earning a three-year extension, solidifying his spot in left field.

They didn’t stop improving the outfield with Gurriel. Bringing the platoon of both Joc Pederson and Randal Grichuk will be one of the most essential moves they made in the offseason. In 2023, Pederson had 14 home runs and 48 RBI against right-handed hitters but only one home run and three RBI against lefties. Grichuk, on the other hand, was hitting .244 against righties in ’23 but had an 84-point increase in his batting average when facing a left-handed pitcher. The platoon will move mountains for the D-Backs. Being able to react to whatever the opposition throws at you with a solid rebuttal is a vital chess piece to have over the course of 162 games.

The Snakes seem to be taking a page out of the freshly printed ’23 Texas Rangers book. Chris Young put down an amazingly clear blueprint for how to build a championship team. He completed the rebuild by going into free agency and buying proven guys to complement their young players who still had some kinks to buff out. Seager and Semien were a good constant in the lineup during the dips for players like Heim, Duran, Jung, and Carter. Now the Snakes are doing the same thing with Suarez and Pederson for players like Geraldo Perdomo, Alek Thomas, Jordan Lawler, and Carroll.

3. Blossoming pitching staff

The pitching staff, headed by Gallen, is still incredibly young. Gallen is just 28 and has finished top 10 in Cy Young voting three times in his short five-year career. After a career year in ’23, Gallen finished second in innings pitched with a whopping 210.0, and there aren’t many pitchers I would rather send out every fifth day.

Behind Gallen is a number of inconsistent pitchers who showed the height of their potential in the playoffs. Merrill Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt, and Ryne Nelson were all a little testy through the regular season but were rock-solid when the lights got bright. Kelly had an interesting path to the big leagues, he spent four years in the KBO before getting an MLB offer at the age of 30 in 2019. He has started 127 games for the Diamondbacks since 2019, and in the ’23 playoffs, he showed who he could be. He threw 24 innings through the postseason and struck out 28 batters including a dazzling performance in game two of the World Series. The Scottsdale native threw seven innings of one-run ball, striking out nine in the process.

Pfaadt had a performance very similar in game three of the NLCS against the Phillies. Hurling 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts, keeping them in the game while the bats were asleep. Nelson’s introduction to the World Series was not a clean one, being brought into a 10-0 game in the third inning is not an easy situation to navigate. But Nelson did, as he ate 5 1/3 innings of an irrevocable game, holding the Rangers to one run and three hits, and letting the Diamondbacks try to claw their way back into the game.

Gallen is still young at 28, but Nelson is 26, and Pfaadt is only 25. With Kelly to help teach the young players and bring in E-Rod, the starting pitching staff is in a very good spot.

4. Young Studs

The questions arising during the ’23 playoffs seemed to hover over the inexperience of the ‘Baby Snakes.’ Now, a season removed, the members of the ’23 National League Champion have that experience. Complimenting the additions of Pederson and Suarez, two veterans who have played in big games and have been a part of competitive teams. They both are going to be vital in helping the younger players get through the ups and downs of such a long season.

Carroll exploded onto the scene and deservingly won Rookie of the Year. Perdomo and Thomas have shown great promise and are perceived to take the next step in ’24, not to mention Jordan Lawler is #11 on MLB Pipelines Top 100 prospect list.

The Diamondbacks have a sneakily stacked roster and with the great coach they already have, the sky is the limit. Arizona has already shown us what they can do when everyone forgets about them, and we have made the same mistake over the ’23 offseason. The Diamondbacks can be really scary with the additions they have made and you should buy stock now.

Main Image: Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

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