Projecting the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day active roster
The Arizona Diamondbacks have to get their Opening Day roster down to 30. On Monday, they announced the pool of 60 players that they’ll bring into spring — er, summer — camp this week.
But what will that active roster look like? New rules, such as the placement of a runner on second base in extra innings and the use of a designated hitter in both leagues, could change the dynamics of roster construction for general manager Mike Hazen.
Plus, unforeseen circumstances throughout the season could prompt Hazen to change course and make additions and subtractions from the player pool.
“None of us have ever done this before,” Hazen said to media members in a video call on Monday. “None of us have ever played without a minor league season. How do you calculate the loss of a season for any one person?”
That being said, we try to predict what the 30-man active roster will look like when the D-backs get their regular season underway.
These names are in alphabetical order.
Madison Bumgarner (L)
Robbie Ray (L)
Comments: The Diamondbacks’ rotation seems easy to predict, apart from which pitcher will replace Mike Leake, who opted out of the 2020 season. Kelly seems like a logical choice, but so too would Alex Young or others. It may just come down to how they look in camp leading up to opening day.
Andrew Chafin (L)
Alex Young (L)
Comments: With familiar names like Bradley, Chafin and Lopez back in the pen, the D-backs will also likely rely a lot on two free agent adds, Guerra and Rondon, for key outs. And with well beyond five options for the starting rotation, some guys who normally could pitch more innings might get relegated to the bullpen. Because there will be a designated hitter, manager Torey Lovullo might opt to stack a longer arm behind a struggling starter on a given day.
Keep in mind that the active roster limit eventually narrows to 26, which means the luxury of so many arms in the bullpen will be temporary.
POSITION PLAYERS (14)
Comments: Cron would seem to be a logical fit for designated hitter, and most of the other players listed here shouldn’t be controversial choices. The cases for Rojas and Vargas are helped by their versatility.
Comments: No surprise here. If any of these players need a day off of their feet, perhaps they DH and Lovullo cycles players around on the diamond. Keep in mind that Jon Jay and Trayce Thompson are two outfielders that are on the 60-player pool but aren’t on the 40-man roster to start with.
Comments: Daulton Varsho, the D-backs’ No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is on the 60-player pool but not on the 40-man.