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Arizona Diamondbacks Predictions / 2010 Season Preview

2010 MLB Predictions/Previews: Arizona Diamondbacks

Hard to believe that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have reported to 2010 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year. I for one can’t wait to start MLB betting online with the expert picks from CappersPicks.com.

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MLB Team Preview – Arizona D-Backs

The National League West is suddenly quite crowded among the top four and, despite their poor showing in 2009, the Arizona Diamondbacks could be every bit as competitive as their roommates.

They worked hard to retool in the offseason and they have plenty of budding prospects. Still, they’ll need bounce-back seasons from more than a few players to be relevant in 2010.

On paper, this lineup looks like it can really score. Everyone has heard the Justin Upton/Ken Griffey Jr. comparisons and it’s hard to argue with them so far. Upton has speed, range in the outfield and rapidly developing power; all signs point to him becoming a superstar. Then there’s Mark Reynolds, who gets a bad rap for his strikeouts but still “quietly” topped 40 homers last year.

Even if he doesn’t do anything else well, his power is real.

The fun shouldn’t end there on offense. Miguel Montero emerged as one of the NL’s top hitting catchers last season and we’ve gotten used to Adam LaRoche – an offseason signee – mashing in the second half. Maybe the desert heat will warm him up quicker? Both Conor Jackson and Kelly Johnson have good on-base skills and could be plus players offensively as well. Then there’s Stephen Drew and Chris Young. Both guys were promising prospects a year ago but both flopped last season.

If they can regain their strokes, there’s no telling how many runs this lineup could produce.

Starting pitching is a concern, however. Dan Haren is among the game’s best pitchers, flashing strikeout ability thanks to an amazing splitter and pinpoint control. But he can’t do it on his own. Edwin Jackson made the All-Star team last season but he still doesn’t miss a ton of bats and he moves to a more hitter-friendly environment.

Brandon Webb is a stud when healthy but he isn’t ready to return yet from shoulder surgery; at best, he’ll be back in a month. Ian Kennedy (who hasn’t really succeeded at the major-league level) and stopgaps like Billy Buckner and Rodrigo Lopez round out a shaky, shallow rotation.

’Zona’s bullpen looks strong. Chad Qualls isn’t overpowering but he was a fairly steady closer last season. Juan Gutierrez, Aaron Heilman and Bob Howry all bring solid experience in short relief and will ensure that the D-backs have plenty of options should Qualls struggle at all.

I can’t blame any Diamondbacks fan for feeling optimistic about 2010. It’s hard not to see the potential when you look up and down the deep, young, talented lineup. But the hitters are still not guaranteed to recover from their 2009 struggles.

More importantly, in a division where pitching rules, the D-backs’ rotation is a house of cards. I just don’t see the starting staff contributing enough to get this team into the playoffs.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the NL West had four teams .500 or better. Even if Arizona falters in the end, it could stay competitive for much of the year.

Diamondbacks Prediction: Fourth, National League West

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