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D-backs among top 10 of ESPN’s early 2018 power rankings

J.D. Martinez (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After a 93-69 season in 2017, ESPN ranked the Arizona Diamondbacks seventh in its way-too-early 2018 power rankings.

The Diamondbacks led the majors with a +291 run differential increase from 2016 and won 24 more games. While ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield said the D-backs “would be the popular pick for the one most likely to miss the playoffs,” he likes several of the team’s pieces.

Of the final eight teams, the Diamondbacks would be the popular pick for the one most likely to miss the playoffs, but there’s a lot to like here. I’m totally buying the breakout seasons of Robbie Ray (2.89 ERA, fourth among all MLB starters in strikeout rate) and Zack Godley (3.37 ERA), which helped give Arizona one of the best rotation in the majors, with ace Zack Greinke leading the way. A key will be re-signing J.D. Martinez, who raised holy terror for opposing pitchers while swatting 29 home runs in 62 games. Archie Bradley is probably ready to take over as closer from Fernando Rodney, but finding another set-up guy would help.

Martinez changed agents from Bob Garber of RMG Baseball to Scott Boras, according to a report by Rob Bradford of WEEI.com on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old outfielder was already going to command a significant sum of money as a free agent this winter. But clients of Boras have a history of commanding more money than most on the open market.

Rodney became a free agent at 6 a.m. MST on Thursday. Bradley’s role moving forward has not been determined, but the 25-year-old seemed to indicate where his heart is after the season.

“I always have dreams of starting again,” Bradley said, shortly after the season ended. “But I do understand what I did this year and how important it was to some of our success and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.”

Schoenfield ranked the World Series champion Houston Astros first. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals and New York Yankees rounded out the top five.

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