Over the next four weeks, I will examine what the biggest question marks are surrounding the Arizona Diamondbacks as they head into the regular season.
1. Who will fill out the rest of the starting rotation?
The team is counting on Joe Saunders with his experience to be the Opening Day starter. Ian Kennedy is also a lock to make the team.
After that, there is no sure thing.
Make no mistake, the team is crossing their fingers that Daniel Hudson and Barry Enright can go out and dominate in Spring Training and stake a claim to starting spots.
However, the D-backs are going to make them earn positions with the team as the organization made sure to assemble plenty of competition for the rotation.
If either Hudson or Enright falters in camp, the team has Armando Galarraga, Aaron Heilman and even Mike Hampton waiting in the wings to grab a spot in the rotation.
Zach Duke is probably the hands on favorite to get the last spot.
He is a former All-Star that the D-backs are hoping will regain his former self after struggling mightily with the
Pirates last season.
Youngsters Jarrod Parker and Wade Miley will both get long looks in camp, but they would have to really impress and force the organization to put them on the team.
However, there’s a very good chance that both will find their way to the Majors at some point this season.
2. Whose on first?
Adam LaRoche manned the position in 2010 and did a respectable job hitting 25 home runs with 100 RBI’s, but he’s moved on to Washington.
First base is the most up for grabs job the Diamondbacks have going into the season.
The frontrunner, if you can call him that, is newly acquired Juan Miranda.
He came to the team in an offseason trade with the Yankees. Miranda has all of 46 games of Major League experience and he hit only .219 in limited action last season.
Brandon Allen is also still in the mix as he will be given yet another opportunity to win a Major League job in Spring Training, but he has fit the mold of a player that tears up Triple-A pitching, but can’t hit big league pitching.
The team could explore giving Xavier Nady some work over at first and see if he can handle playing the position and move Gerardo Parra in Nady’s left field spot.
Russell Branyan is a late addition to the first base mix and would fit manager Kirk Gibson’s desire to add more veterans to the roster.
The wild card in this scenario would be Micah Owings.
Owings has already begun putting on a hitting display in Spring Training and the team is toying with the idea of figuring out once and for all if Owings is capable of being a full-time Major League hitter or is he just one of the best hitting pitchers.
Owings has shown so far that he can field the position, but whoever the team throws out at first it will be a downgrade defensively from LaRoche.