Top Candidates to Enjoy Breakout Seasons for Arizona in 2015
Entering the 2015 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to be in a rebuilding mode but with a bright future.
Young players are dominating the D-backs rotation and starting lineup thus far in spring training. Chase Anderson (27), Rubby De La Rosa (26), Jeremy Hellickson (27) and Archie Bradley (22) are all confirmed as part of the rotation.
In the lineup, Chris Owings (23), Nick Ahmed (25) and Ender Inciarte (24) join Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo and A.J. Pollock as players under 30 who are entering the primes of their careers.
The abundance of youth will allow these players to grow and mature at the big league level right away. That bodes well for the future in Arizona.
Who among the young talent is poised to enjoy a breakout season in 2015? Let's find out.
After setting a franchise record with 60 hits in his first 50 games, Peralta has picked up where he left off after his surprising 2014 season.
This spring, he is hitting .333 with seven RBI. Most impressively, he has only struck out five times in 57 at-bats.
In his first two stints with the D-backs organization, Peralta has shown the ability to make solid contact and cover a lot of ground in left field. Despite his 6'1", 215-pound frame, Peralta legged out nine triples and 12 doubles in only 88 games in 2014.
The only thing that could stop Peralta from having a breakout season is the exceptional play from fellow outfielder Inciarte, who is hitting .354 this spring.
But there is no way manager Chip Hale can keep Peralta off the field for long. He should see plenty of time in left field and possibly hold onto the No. 2 spot in the order for the entire season.
The D-backs lineup looks strong this year. However, besides Peralta, there are no other lefties projected to be in the lineup on Opening Day.
That is, unless Jake Lamb steps up—and thus far, he has. Entering Saturday, Lamb is hitting .359 with two home runs and six RBI.
With Yasmany Tomas' situation up in the air, Lamb has a good chance to win a starting job. As of now, it is expected that Tomas will remain in the big leagues to start the season. But "Lamb appears to have [the] edge" when it comes to third base, according to Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona.
With plenty of playing time, Lamb could hit 20-plus home runs in 2015. With Goldschmidt, Trumbo and Tomas all projected to hit 20-plus home runs this season, the addition of Lamb could make the D-backs lineup one to fear.
If the spring is any indication of how Bradley will pitch in 2015, then the D-backs rotation just got much stronger.
Bradley leads the team in innings pitched (22.1) while going 3-2 with a 1.61 ERA and striking out 14.
Bradley will enter as the No. 5 starter, following Josh Collmenter, Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Chase Anderson.
All of a sudden, the rotation doesn't look as weak as it did earlier in the spring. Watch out for Archie Bradley. If he lives up to his potential, the D-backs could possibly surprise in the National League West.