Heading into the season, there was probably no more polarizing team in baseball than the Diamondbacks. Despite adding Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, and Tyler Cllippard over the winter, our preseason forecasts pegged Arizona as a 78 win team, a win worse than they finished a year ago. The organization themselves saw a wildly different picture, and so many articles were written about the divide that I had to write a piece in March trying to dispel the notion that we had some kind of bias against the franchise.
You know what’s happened since then. First, the team suffered a devastating loss when A.J. Pollock‘s lingering elbow issues turned into a season-ending injury right before Opening Day. Then Zack Greinke gave up seven runs in his first regular season start with the team, and struggled through a slow start to the season. Then Shelby Miller imploded, pitching worse than any other starter in baseball this year. And now it’s the end of May and the team is 23-30, already nine games behind the Giants in the NL West race.
But this isn’t a post gloating that we were right all along. In reality, some of the D’Backs optimism surrounding their team has actually been more correct than our pessimism about the team’s chances, if you look beyond the overall record, anyway. Our projections didn’t like the Diamondbacks because it had a negative view of their role players, thinking that this was basically a stars-and-scrubs team that relied too heavily on a few elite players. But so far, those role players have been carrying the team, keeping it afloat while the big names struggle.