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Arizona Diamondbacks Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Hard to believe, as some of us still have VERY cold temperatures outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have started reporting to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Diamondbacks Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

The National League West has seen plenty of different teams challenge for the crown over the last few years, from the Giants to the Dodgers to the Rockies to the Padres, but the Arizona Diamondbacks have really been the odd team out in recent seasons. After saying goodbye to stalwarts Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and Mark Reynolds, it appears the D-Backs are in full-fledged rebuild mode. Is 2011 too early for the young crop to make an impact?

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Angry Diamondbacks fans may shake their fists at Arizona management for trading away Haren and Jackson late last season and Reynolds this offseason. But the truth is that those three guys, all in their prime, couldn’t take the Diamondbacks very far anyway. Arizona was better off stocking the prospect cupboard and starting over.

One of the blue chippers acquired via trade, Daniel Hudson, made an immediate impact after coming over in the deadl that sent Jackson to the White Sox. He went 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA over 11 starts. The Diamondbacks hope Hudson can continue that dominance and emerge as their ace this season.

Joining him as another go-to guy in ’Zona’s rotation is Ian Kennedy. The Yankee castoff is still homer-prone but had a respectable 3.80 ERA and 168 strikeouts last year while holding opponents to a .228 average.

Hudson and Kennedy have solid upside; the rest of Arizona’s rotation is comprised of ho-hum innings eaters like Joe Saunders and Armando Galarraga. They’ll give their share of quality starts but they’ll get rocked plenty of times as well.

Offensively, the Diamondbacks have a decent core of young talent to build around. Stephen Drew has arrived as an above-average hitting shortstop; Miguel Montero is one of the game’s better offensive catchers but his 2010 was a write-off because of injuries. Chris Young takes a lot of flak for his inconsistency but the 27-year-old centerfielder hit 27 homers and stole 28 bases last season.

The crown jewel is, of course, Justin Upton. Were the D-backs really thinking about trading this guy over the offseason? Let’s hope not. He’s still just 23 years old and already has 60 major-league homers with an .824 career OPS. Believe it or not, he’s one of the most productive players ever relative to age.

Arizona fills out its core with veterans like Melvin Mora, Kelly Johnson and Xavier Nady. This lineup is high on power and athleticism but I’d argue that it doesn’t have a high ceiling. Aside from Upton, no Diamondback regular has superstar potential.

The Diamondbacks’ bullpen should be reasonable this year – if J.J. Putz stays healthy. The newly anointed closer is lights-out when he avoids the infirmary but his career trajectory suggests he’s no sure bet to play a full year.


Arizona was pitiful last season, going 65-97. While I don’t think the Diamondbacks will keep up in the NL West this season, I don’t think they’re bad enough to lose 97 games again. They have enough respectable young bats and arms to boost their win total into the 70 or 75-win range.

Prediction: 4th, American League West


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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.