The Arizona Diamondbacks had a disappointing season in 2020, leading to the team being sellers instead of buyers at the Trade Deadline. Will 2021 be a bounce back year for the D-Backs?
#8 - 2nd in NL West, WILD CARD, lose in NLDS
MIH - Starling Marte
MIP - Robbie Ray
PTW - J.B. Bukauskas
#25 - 25-35, 5th in NL West
Every year, there are one or two teams I whiff pretty badly on. Last year, the Diamondbacks might have been the team I missed the worst. I took a stab thinking they could be a surprise team to reach the Divisional Series in the NL. Instead, they missed the playoffs, even with them expanded by almost double the teams. The Diamondbacks made the choice to jump into the sellers market when few were ready to give up on the season. My Most Important Hitter and Pitcher for the team last season were both traded to contenders at the deadline, as well as closer Archie Bradley and setup man Andrew Chafin. This dropped the D-Backs down to the cellar of the NL West.
Additions / Subtractions
The most significant moves the Diamondbacks made were the moves made at last year's Trade Deadline. The returning lineup is almost identical to how they ended the year, with the signing of veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera being the only semi-significant move. Their pitching staff is fairly untouched as well, with veteran arm Joakim Soria being the only significant addition.
Most Important Hitter
One of the biggest surprises for the Diamondbacks over the last few seasons has been the emergence of Ketel Marte. This 2B/SS/CF started to break out in 2018, then finished 4th in MVP voting in 2019 showing he was one of the brightest stars to watch across the league. Marte's 2020 season was solid, but definitely saw a drop off from the production of the previous two seasons. The D-Backs need to see Marte bounce back to his All Star level if the current group is going to have any success in 2021.
Most Important Pitcher
The Diamondbacks made a splash before the 2020 season when they signed the man, the myth, the legend, Madison Bumgarner. However, his production in 2020 was less than stellar, finishing the shortened season with a negative WAR and a 6.48 ERA. The Diamondbacks have some great young pitching, but MadBum needs to be their leader. He is only entering his age 31 season, but all the work he put in while fighting for championships in San Francisco may have left him with not many bullets left.
Prospect to Watch
The Diamondbacks do have some exciting young talent coming up through their system. The one most likely to make a splash in 2021 is shortstop Geraldo Perdomo. This 21 year-old is the best defender in the D-Backs system. He is also a switch hitter that can hold his own at the plate. Ranked the 79th best prospect in all of baseball, there may be some space for him to make his debut around the infield at some point in 2021.
4th in NL West
The Diamondbacks made a clear decision last season to take a step back. Now they are not into a full rebuild, but they are stuck in a division with two of the most stacked rosters in all of baseball. They (and the Rockies for that matter) are set up to be a doormat in 2021 and end up with a lower record than their talent might otherwise warrant.
Madison Bumgarner will be not be on the Diamondbacks roster at the start of 2022.
The Diamondbacks have stripped back almost all commitments to veteran players recently in an effort to get younger and possibly open up a window later on down the road when it might be a little easier to win the division. The last one left is MadBum. If he shows flashes in 2021 that he is back, look for the Diamondbacks to try and unload him in a similar move to what they did for Zack Greinke a few years ago.