Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MLB Power Rankings # 25

I know its been a while, and im sure all of our faithful readers have been dying to find out what the #25 team is in my power rankings. Well i will skip all the pleasantries and jump right into it. The #25 team is the....Arizona Diamondbacks. After losing the 2007 NLCS this team has steadily declined, falling to a 65-97 record in 2010. This resulted in a change of GM's to former Padres GM Kevin Towers. He has already begun to revamp this team, making an effort to cut down on strikeouts. While they may do that in 2011 they are a much weaker offense overall without the powerful Mark Reynolds at the heart of their lineup. They will have to rely on a multitude of young players to come into their own if they want to improve. Lets dig deeper into this 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks team.

1. Ian Kennedy
2. Joe Saunders
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Barry Enright
5. Zach Duke

There are definitely some solid pitchers in this rotation, but they lack a true ace. Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson look to be the foundations of this pitching staff for years to come, but they are not near their full potential yet. Joe Saunders is a nice innings eater type pitcher but again not a guy who can carry your team. Barry Enright is a very weak #4 starter, but i do like Zach Duke as the 5th starter. He has been effective before but a had a rough 2010 campaign, i would look for him to rebound to at least be a solid back of the rotation option. This is not a bad staff but it needs some work, hopefully in the next year or so we can get a look at D-Backs top pitching prospect Jarrod Parker. But even then they need to get some more arms to bolster this rotation before they can contend again.

CL- J.J. Putz
SU- Juan Gutierrez
SU- Sam Demel
MR- David Hernandez
MR- Blaine Boyer

This is a major weakness of this team, but it was addressed somewhat by the Mark Reynolds deal. They are hoping that David Hernandez can become a solid set up man to Putz. The JJ Putz deal doesn't make a lot of sense for a team like the Diamondbacks who are clearly in a rebuilding mode. Closer is a area that rebuilding team do not need to spend money as they likely wont get many opportunities. The rest of the bullpen is made up of league average arms that they could easily replace, but Towers does have a reputation for building good bullpens. So by the end of the season this may be one of the better pens in baseball, but right now i think they are a very middle of the road group.

1. Chris Young-CF
2. Stephen Drew-SS
3. Kelly Johnson-2B
4. Justin Upton-RF
5. Miguel Montero-C
6. Melvin Mora-3B
7. Xavier Nady-LF
8. Brandon Allen-1B

There is some really good talent on this offense, but i don't think there is enough to keep them competitive in the NL West this season. Chris Young is not an ideal leadoff hitter as he does not get on base enough and hits for more power, but he does have good speed and provides some explosiveness similar to Alfonso Soriano a few years ago. Stephen Drew is a one of the elite shortstops in the game and fits perfectly in the 2 hole and could leadoff depending on Chris Young's performance. The big surprise for this team in 2010, was the emergence of Kelly Johnson. After a dissapointing 2009 in Atlanta the D-Backs picked him up from the bargain bin and they got more than there moneys worth. He posted career highs in HR,R,RBI,SB,and SLG and was the teams most valuable player in 09'. He likely wont repeat but he should at least remain one of the better offensive second baseman in the league. This biggest disappointment for this team in 10' was Justin Upton, after stellar sophomore season his numbers declined in almost every category. He will need to cut down the strikeouts if he ever wants to live up to the hype or else he risks becoming like his brother BJ Upton. The rest of the offense with the exception of stud catcher Miguel Montero is very middle of the pack. With veterans Melvin Mora and Xavier Nady manning third base and left field respectively. The most interesting position will be first base were Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda will battle for the starters job. Both are prospects who have seen little time at the big league level so they really are the unknown piece of this Arizona lineup. While Arizona has some nice pieces they have little to no chance to contend in 2011, they need to focus on rebuilding for 2012 or 2013. But they are a step up from the teams below them. I will try to get the rest of these rankings up a little quicker but things have been pretty busy lately.

Chris "Da Franchize" Hart

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