It’s been a month to forget for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and we’re only halfway through August. First, the Dbacks started August without David Peralta after he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. Then, the team placed LHP Kyle Nelson on the 15-day injured list, and then a bizarre double play cost the team a loss to the Pirates.
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Oddsmakers are treating the DBacks as an afterthought, but that can be a benefit to the savvy Arizona sports bettors. While most sportsbooks don’t have odds on the NL West (the Dodgers are running away with it), the last weeks of the 2022 regular season can help Arizona fans understand how to bet on their favorite baseball team in 2023.
So, who are the Diamondbacks? And where is the franchise headed? With David Peralta off the roster, one big question remains, which current players will be a major part of the Snakes’ future, if any?
Peralta Trade Sunk Diamondbacks Playoff Odds to +250000
There’s a maxim in baseball: never make a trade with Tampa Bay. Well, it’s not a rule, but it’s a damn good idea. The Rays have a track record of fleecing trade partners.
So when the Snakes traded longtime favorite David Peralta at the deadline in late July, and it became clear he was going to the Rays, fears emerged. Had the Diamondbacks been tricked by the Tampa front office?
The price for Tampa to get Peralta was a catching prospect named Christian Cerda, an undrafted player who has still to celebrate his 20th birthday. Cerda is an unranked prospect, and he’s only appeared in about 60 games as a pro. It’s way too early to know if this kid has the baseball skills of Mike Piazza or Mike Jordan.
The Peralta trade was less a white flag and more of a spreadsheet move. Arizona will probably not be competing for a playoff sport for 2-3 years, say the experts, and soon-to-be 35-year-old Peralta doesn’t have a place in the future success of this franchise. That’s too bad, because Freight Train was one of the most beloved players in Diamondbacks history, even as short as that history is. His game has few weaknesses, and he does everything above MLB standards while also being a good guy.
Arizona has few “top ranked” prospects in its system that are position players, but the No. 1 ranked is the alliterative Corbin Carroll, an outfielder. Carroll was drafted 16th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft. He’s hit over .300 in about 160 professional games so far. He’s at Triple A and might get a taste of the big leagues later in 2022.
But to paraphrase an old saying: “There are lies, damn lies, then there are MLB prospect rankings.”
The heralded prospect lists that send so many fans into salivation are rarely worth paying attention to. Because here’s a little secret that shouldn’t be little nor a secret: roughly 60% of all first round picks end up as busts.
Of the 41 players taken in the 2014 MLB Draft, for example, only five position players have ended up playing as many as 300 games in the majors, and just three pitchers from that draft have appeared in 100+ games in the big leagues. Only eight “top prospects” taken in the first round just eight years ago have produced as many as ten Wins Above Replacement in the The Show.
That’s to say, Carroll might be a steady big leaguer, he might end up being an All-Star, or he might end up driving a produce truck in his native Washington.
As the late-great Philp Seymour Hoffman said in The Big Lebowski: “At this point, we don’t know dude.”
Arizona Diamondbacks Future
Are the Diamondbacks in a rebuild?
It’s not fair to call this a rebuild. The Diamondbacks are really in a controlled reset. There were 110 embarrassing losses in 2021, the second-most in franchise history. The young talent is bubbling to the surface, but this isn’t a rotten team. Two impactful free agent signings this offseason could make the Diamondbacks a .500 team.
Which Diamondbacks players will be important to the future of the team?
Second baseman Ketel Marte is signed through 2027, and young position players Alek Thomas, Seth Beer, and Geraldo Perdomo are expected to be tentpoles in the lineup. There is talent in the clubhouse, though unrefined.
But the most anticipated player in the system is only 19 and at Single-A, where the Snakes have tucked away 2021 1st round pick Jordan Lawlar. A shortstop who projects to potentially be as good as Trea Turner, Lawlar has already suffered two significant injuries. Still, he hit a blistering .365 with eight home runs, 29 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases in only 41 games in his first pro stop in 2022.
Can the Diamondbacks compete in the NL West with the Dodgers and Padres?
If studios keep giving money to Adam Sandler to make movies, then anything can happen.
The Dodgers have a roster that could win for another decade if things go even modestly well. The Padres acquired Juan Soto and add him to the mix with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.
The Padres and Dodgers will be a fierce two-headed dog at the top of the division for the foreseeable future. But, with three wild cards now, the DBacks could nudge into a playoff scenario for sure.