Diamondbacks toward bottom of preseason 2022 MLB power rankings
After a miserable 2021 season, the national media is keeping the Diamondbacks near the bottom of Major League Baseball.
Heading into 2022, ESPN projects a slight improvement for the D-backs with a 66-96 record and a 1.5% chance to make the postseason. These predictions follow last year’s 52-110 record, one loss from tying the franchise’s worst record set back in 2004.
Bright spots pointed out are Ketel Marte and the potential for another MVP caliber season as well as a veteran pitching group that should show signs of improvement from the 2021 roster. On the other hand, there are still a lot of questions on the offensive side and the ceiling for this team is relatively low.
In order to rebound in 2022, most of the core players are returning and general manager Mike Hazen has made a couple moves to keep the word “rebuilding” out of the equation.
Last season, the pitching staff was a revolving door as injuries and poor play kept the starting rotation a mystery all year long. Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly headline the starting five, with Caleb Smith and new Diamondback Zach Davies filling the final spots.
Arizona’s bullpen should also see improvement with key offseason signings in Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy. Luke Weaver is also a new relief pitcher, changing from his starting role after struggling over the past two seasons.
Offensively, there are still plenty of questions for the snakes. Last season, only 144 home runs were hit by Arizona, the second-lowest among MLB teams. This mark comes two years after totaling 220 home runs in 2019.
Eduardo Escobar was responsible for hitting a team-high 22 home runs in just 98 games before he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 21. A healthy Marte and bounce-back seasons from David Peralta and Christian Walker could bring power back into the lineup.
If the D-backs struggle again in 2022, fans could see young talent from the team’s farm system, which was ranked No. 4 by MLB.com.
Arizona’s top-rated prospects, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll, are two outfielders awaiting their opportunity. First baseman Seth Beer is also looking to lock down a spot within the lineup after suffering a shoulder injury just five games into his major league career.
Recent draft picks could also begin to pay off for the pitching staff. Drew Jameson (2019), Ryne Nelson (2019) and Bryce Jarvis (2020) are three right-handed pitchers that can make it to the big leagues if the injury bug hits the Diamondbacks again.
No matter what the ball club has done heading into the 2022 season, there is still the threat of a loaded NL West. In most of the power rankings, Los Angeles is at the top spot while San Diego and San Francisco sit within the top-10, not helping the D-backs’ chances for a comeback season.
However, Arizona has made massive turnarounds in the franchise’s history.
After finishing the 1998 season with 65 wins, the Diamondbacks followed it up with 100 wins, still the most in franchise history. Another 65-97 record in 2010 was wiped away with a 94-68 season in 2011. Most recently, the 93-69 record in 2017 for Arizona flipped the 69-93 record in the year prior.
Finishing as the worst team in all of baseball last season, there is nowhere but up to go for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2022.