The big dog:Paul Goldschmidt, who has twice finished second for the NL MVP Award. He’ll be helped by the return of A.J. Pollock to the lineup, and by Arizona’s possible return to relevance from a disastrous 2016.
The big concern: Pollock missed all but 12 games last year after fracturing his elbow, and the Diamondbacks need him to get back to being an All-Star caliber performer. Pollock hit .315, stole 39 bases and scored 111 runs in 2015.
The big variable:Yasmany Tomas hit .294 with 18 homers in the second half last season and if he can continue to build off that, through the conditioning work he has done this winter, the middle of the Arizona lineup will be daunting.
Olney also referenced the need for the pitching staff, often the Achilles’ heel of the D-backs in their disappointing 69-93 season, to step up.
Colorado probably has the best collection of young power arms it has ever put together, and Arizona’s young arms are good enough to hold up the back end of the Diamondbacks’ rotation if Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller are capable enough of leading the way.
Arizona’s offense was certainly productive in 2016. It ranked third in hits, eighth in batting average and 12th in RBI.
The Diamondbacks hope to have Pollock back to peak form and have made trades to bolster their bullpen. With a potent offensive unit ready to go, they’ll be out for redemption when the new season arrives.