Better than advertised? Predictions for the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2019 season

Will this be a down year for the D-backs?
Posted at 5:12 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 20:15:53-04

Let's get right to it: Not much is expected from the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.

After a late-season collapse that cost them a playoff spot last year, the D-backs lost several of their top players to free agency (A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin) or via trade (Paul Goldschmidt) in the offseason. Most experts believe this year's squad will finish the year below .500 and well outside of the playoff picture.

But as we know, the experts are often wrong. Are they wrong about the 2019 D-backs? Here are some season predictions from the ABC15 team as the D-backs prepare to open their regular season at the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:10 p.m. Thursday.

ABC15 sportswriter Shane Dale

The D-backs will be able to weather the storm of offseason departures if their starting rotation collectively pitches as well as it's capable. Zack Greinke should still manage a season ERA in the 3-3.25 range -- and if the 2017 versions of Robbie Ray and Zack Godley reemerge, and Luke Weaver (acquired in the Goldschmidt trade) picks up where he left off in Cactus League play (1.04 ERA), the D-backs could be a formidable club defensively.

I also like what the D-backs' bullpen looks like heading into the regular season. They did some addition by subtraction in letting ineffective closer Brad Boxberger go and replaced him with Greg Holland, a three-time All-Star who should be able to shake off a poor spring. Strong setup guys Archie Bradley and Yoshi Hirano are back, along with reliable lefty Andrew Chafin.

It's the batting order that will present problems for the D-backs. They wisely added five-time All-Star Adam Jones earlier this month and re-signed 2018 midseason acquisition Eduardo Escobar. David Peralta is coming off an All-Star-caliber season, and Jake Lamb is still capable of hitting 30 home runs. But without Goldschmidt, Arizona simply doesn't have an all-around hitter who strikes fear into the hearts of its opponents. That's why, even if the pitching comes through, it's not likely we'll see the D-backs in the postseason in 2019 -- although they won't be as bad as advertised. Prediction: 80-82, fourth place in National League West

ABC15 real-time editor Seth Pines

It was a tough offseason for the Diamondbacks as they lost crucial players with Goldschmidt being dealt to the Cardinals and Corbin and Pollock leaving the club in free agency. Ultimately, I believe the team’s inability to replace the production this trio brought in recent years will haunt the D-backs in their 2019 campaign.

The front-end of the team’s rotation with Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, and Zack Godley should keep the D-backs in the hunt through the first half of the season. But life will be difficult for the D-backs in terms of offensive production day in and out with the loss of Goldschmidt, and now Steven Souza Jr., who has been sidelined with a season-ending injury.

Not only will the team have to contend with the reigning National League champion Dodgers, but the Colorado Rockies are also poised for another playoff push with Nolan Arenado, and suddenly the San Diego Padres aren’t to be trifled with after the signing of Manny Machado. I imagine the D-backs will stay competitive for the first few months but will be out of the playoff hunt by mid-July. Prediction: 74-88, fourth place in NL West