Ten D-back questions at Spring Training: Part 3

Mar 11, 2011, 3:48 AM | Updated: 4:09 am

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.

Check out the questions that were asked last week.

6. Can Hudson and Enright handle a full season in the Major Leagues?

Daniel Hudson and Barry Enright showed flashes of brilliance last season in their first significant opportunities at the Major League level.

Hudson was acquired by the Chicago White Sox in the Edwin Jackson deal and Enright was brought up from Double-A in late June.

Hudson was downright dominating at times last season posting a 7-1 record with a minuscule 1.69 ERA striking out just under one batter for every inning pitched.

Enright was almost as equally impressive when first called up before tailing off the last month of the season but still compiled a solid 3.91 ERA over 17 starts.

The Diamondbacks are counting on this duo to be a part of the core of their starting rotation for years to come. We just don’t know if these guys are ready this season.

While both showed stretches of good pitching last season, it’s hard to say if they can pitch well for a full season. Many young pitchers come up to the Majors and succeed for half a season, but struggle to put it all together for a full season.

Enright and Hudson are still only in their early to mid twenties. Only time will tell if they can consistently perform at the Major League level.

The Diamondbacks brass is really making players having to earn jobs as part of their organizational philosophy.

As a result, the team has made sure to bring in plenty of competition for the starting rotation in Spring Training forcing the youngsters to earn jobs.

Don’t be surprised if one or both of them falter to see them sent down to the Minor Leagues to hone their mechanics.

However, one thing is for sure, the Diamondbacks need these guys to turn into the pitchers they showed they could be last season in order for the team to compete in the National League West.

7. Will the real Chris Young please stand up?

No player has ridden more of a roller coaster the last couple years than Chris Young.

When first called to the big leagues, Young belted 32 home runs and stole 27 bases in his first full season in 2007 prompting many to believe the team had found their center fielder for the next decade.

But as the league started to figure out that Young struggled with breaking balls and off speed pitches, his numbers started to slide the next two years. He bottomed out in 2009 batting only .212 which included a demotion down to Triple-A.

However, Young came back strong last season batting .257 with 27 home runs and 28 steals which led to his first All-Star selection.

The Diamondbacks are counting heavily on Young to continue his strong play. Run producers Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche are long gone leaving the team with a void in the middle of their line-up.

The D-backs desperately need Young to pick up the slack if they are to compete in the NL West.

8. Can Miguel Montero be an All-Star everyday catcher?

No player benefited more during the A.J. Hinch era than Montero.

The organization, at one point, and former manager Bob Melvin were huge fans of Chris Snyder, but when Melvin was relieved of his duties, there seemed to be a change over who was perceived to be the better catcher.

Montero got the bulk of the playing time in 2009 and he rewarded the D-backs hitting .294 with 16 home runs.

He was primed to get even more action in 2010 before injuring his knee in April which cost him almost the entire first half of the season.

Montero returned to hit .266 and continued to improve defensively behind the plate and working with pitchers which were considered his weaknesses early in his career.

Heading into 2011, the D-backs are counting on Montero to stay healthy and really establish himself as a leader.

Chris Snyder was traded away during last season and the D-backs brought in the 39-year old Henry Blanco to be the back-up and mentor to Montero so he will be seeing most of the action behind the plate this season.

If Montero can stay healthy and help replace some of the offense the team lost in Reynolds and LaRoche, it will go a long way towards improving the team from last season.

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