ESPN ranks D-backs 20th on Opening Day power rankings
With a new MLB season set to get underway, it is time for everyone to give out their annual Opening Day power rankings.
In ESPN’s first 2019 MLB power rankings, the Arizona Diamondbacks came in at No. 20.
After leading the division most of the season, the D-backs finished last year 82-80 and failed to make the playoffs after winning the NL Wild Card in 2017.
Over the course of the offseason, the D-backs lost All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield provided his best case scenario for the D-backs in 2019:
They’ve lost Patrick Corbin, but Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly have the potential to emerge as an above-average rotation. Jake Lamb and Steven Souza Jr. combine for the 60 home runs they hit in 2017 rather than the 11 they hit in 2018. Adam Jones finds the fountain of youth. Somebody locks down the ninth inning, a big problem last year. Look, the Dodgers have won six straight division titles. They have depth and star power that Arizona lacks. A lot will have to go wrong in L.A. for Arizona to have a chance to win the division, so maybe a wild card is the best-case scenario.
As a part of its rankings, ESPN chose a “make-or-break” player for every team.
For the D-backs, that player was Robbie Ray.
Ray has as good stuff as any lefty in the game, and it all came together in 2017, when he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA. He maintained his sky-high strikeout rate in 2018, but he walked too many batters and had some minor injury issues. If he returns to All-Star level, he and Greinke give Arizona one of the best 1-2 tandems in the majors.
Ray finished 2018 with a 3.93 ERA in 24 starts. While battling injuries all year long, the 27-year-old still managed to strike out 168 batters in 123.2 innings.
The D-backs’ 2019 is already off to a rough start with outfielder Steven Souza Jr. out of the season with a torn ACL and LCL.
The D-backs open up the 2019 season Thursday with a four-game series in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.
The D-backs were ranked No.12 in last year’s ESPN Opening Day rankings.