Which players will step up and make a difference for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season?
The late 2011 Diamondbacks were bolstered by the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, Chris Young, Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy.
For D-Backs fans looking for a repeat performance, Kennedy is 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA and opposing batting average nearly 50 points higher than his .227 performance last season; Upton's OPS has dropped over 200 points since last year; Young is injured; Roberts' numbers have also dropped dramatically—he is on pace to hit 10 HR through 143 games in 2012, compared to 19 HR through 143 games in 2011; and Goldschmidt is in the midst of a power outage.
Short of looking at the current NL West standings and considering San Francisco's lack of 2012 success an X-factor—only the Dodgers, tied with the Cardinals for the best record in the National League, are above the .500-mark in the division—how do fans of a team that holds a .452 winning percentage get excited about what is yet to come?
By remembering that baseball is a seasonal sport.
The excitement of Cy Young candidate Kennedy has given way to surprising outings from Wade Miley, and the cutting-edge anticipation surrounding Goldschmidt has been supplanted by that encompassing Cody Ransom.
Here are five surprising X-factors for the Arizona Diamondbacks, starting with Miley.