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Arizona Diamondbacks 2012 Predictions and Prospects

Justin Upton

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season.

After finishing first in the National League West last season (lost in the N.L. Divional Series to Milwaukee), Arizona is looking to prove that 2011 wasn’t just a fluke. After a few roster changes during the off-season, Arizona is ready to show what they can do in 2012.

One of the main parts to Arizona’s success was Justin Upton. He had his best year so far last season, finishing fourth in the N.L. Most Valuable Player voting as he helped lead the Diamondbacks to the N.L. West title. At only 24 years old, Upton is in his prime and  could have an even better season this year, possibly even winning the NL MVP. I’m predicting Upton to hit .310, with 32 home runs and 110 runs batted in.

Another important player to the team’s success was Ian Kennedy, who put up Cy Young award numbers, winning 21 games and only losing four. It was a career year for Kennedy, finishing fourth in the N.L. Cy Young Award voting. Many are hoping that Kennedy can repeat his 2011 performance again in 2012. My prediction for Kennedy is 15 wins while losing only seven and having an earned run average of 3.00.

Over the off-season, Arizona acquired outfielder Jason Kubel via free agency; and he is expected to play left field instead of Gerardo Parr, the starting left fielder for Arizona last season, playing in 141 games while batting .292 and driving in 46. Meanwhile, last season Jason Kubel was off to a very hot start in April, batting .351. He was a bright spot on an injury-plagued Twins team. However, Kubel’s average steadily declined over the course of the season. He finished with an average of .273 while driving in 58. But Kubel’s season averages surpass Parra’s. Kubel had a career year in 2009 during the last year the Twins played in the Metrodome. The next season, the Twins moved to Target Field, a ballpark that favors pitchers. Target affected Kubel’s offensive numbers. Kubel should be more productive in 2012, playing in Arizona’s Chase Field.

Chase  is one of the best hitter’s parks in the Major Leagues, which will contribute to Kubel’s offensive production. These factors give Jason Kubel a great opportunity to be a starting outfielder for the Diamondbacks in 2012. I’m predicting Kubel to hit .285, with 25 home runs and 80 driven in.

Arizona also acquired two pitchers, Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow, in a trade with Oakland during the off-season which will help both its rotation and bullpen. Cahill is hoping to contribute to the rotation by rebounding from a down year in 2011, finishing with 14 losses and an ERA above 4.00. Cahill is only 24 and is about to hit his prime, which is a good thing for the Diamondbacks. He showed signs of his potential in 2010. As a 22-year-old Cahill won 18 games and kept his ERA just under 3.00. Breslow will most likely end up being a solid set-up man for Arizona, as he has been fairly consistent throughout his career, averaging a 3.06 ERA during his four- year career. I’m predicting Cahill will win 13 games and lose nine, with a 3.50 ERA; and Breslow will finish 2012 with a 2.80 ERA.

Now, a look at the potential future stars in the Diamondbacks organization. The number one-ranked prospect in the Diamondbacks farm system and the ninth best prospect in all of baseball is right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer.He is just 21 years old and could be seeing some time with the Diamondbacks in 2012. He draws some comparisons to Tim Lincecum with his size and pitching motion. Bauer throws many different pitches, all for strikes, but the two that stand out are his fastball and curveball. Bauer’s fastball averages 93-94 mph with some movement, while his curveball has a sharp 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock break. In Bauer’s 25.2 innings in the minor leagues so far, he has struck out 43 batters and walked 12. Bauer could become the Diamondback’s ace in the near future.

One player we are most likely to see in 2012 is 20 year old left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs. He’s ranks as the 13th best prospect in all of baseball. Skaggs is only 20 years old and will most likely be seeing playing time this year. Skaggs was acquired by the Diamondbacks from the Angels when they traded Dan Haren in 2010. Skaggs’ fastball averages around 90-92 mph and, like Bauer, he has a sharp 12-6 curveball as his main strikeout pitch. Skaggs could be the future number two starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks behind Bauer.

The top position player prospect for the Diamondbacks is 20-year-old power hitting third baseman Matt Davidson. He is ranked the 97th best prospect in all of baseball. Last year in High-A level ball, Davidson hit 20 home runs and drove in 106 runs, while batting .277. He’s a below-average fielder which, in time, will improve as he gets older and plays more. His debut is likely coming in 2013 or 2014.

Arizona’s future is full of talent and possibly even a World Series Champion team. The upcoming season looks to be another exciting year for the Diamondbacks as they seek to succeed yet again and win the National League West and go deep in the playoffs.

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One Comment

  1. Laurielei

    March 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Very well written, with clear and concise thoughts and ideas. I look forward to reading more from Jordan in the future. Perhaps as a Sports Illustrator writer?!?

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