2021 Roster Review: Arizona Diamondbacks

52-110 (5th in Division; 29th in MLB)


SP Wins: 30 (28th)

RP Wins: 22 (30th)

Saves: 22 (30th)

1+ Save: 8 (Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard 6, Stefan Crichton 4, J.B. Wendelken 2, Noé Ramirez, Riley Smith, Sean Poppen, Chris Devenski 1)

100+ Ks: 4 (Zac Gallen 139, Merrill Kelly 켈리 130, Madison Bumgarner, Caleb Smith 124)

.260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 3 (Ketel Marte .318, Pavin Smith .267, Josh Rojas .264)

65+ Runs: 2 (Rojas 69, Smith 68)

65+ RBI: 1 (Eduardo Escobar 65)

10+ HRs: 7 (Escobar 22, Marte 14, Carson Kelly 13, Smith, Rojas, Daulton Varsho 11, Christian Walker 10)

5+ SBs: 4 (Rojas 9, Nick Ahmed 7, Varsho 6, Locastro 5)

BEST BUY: Josh Rojas

Rojas looked like he was breaking out with an 81-game run from late-April to mid-August during which he hit .306/.384/.502 with 10 HR and 6 SB in 340 PA, but then finished with a .530 OPS in his last 149 PA leaving his full season line a bit underwhelming (102 wRC+). Power/speed bat with triple eligibility (2B/SS/OF) who won’t be super expensive and still carries some upside, even at age-28.

ON THE RISE: Pavin Smith

Smith is a strong hitter who skipped Triple-A and held his own at the majors (96 wRC+ in 545 PA). His best fantasy skills at peak will be AVG and runs scored, the two most overlooked offensive stats in the game. If he could add some pop that puts him at a low-20s HR output, then he is an easy all-formats OF/CI (he has 1B elig.) option.

OFF THE RADAR: Andrew Young

Young is selling out for power, mashing 17 HR in just 328 PA but also posting an egregious 38% K rate. Despite it ballooning to 43% with Arizona, he was still a net positive bat (105 wRC+) because the power was so good (.275 ISO). We just saw Patrick Wisdom pop 28 HR in 106 games with a 41% K rate, a season Young could definitely replicate if given the playing time.

HOT TAKE: Daulton Varsho is a top 3 catcher in 2022.

Varsho finally showed what the hype was all about with a strong summer showing, posting an .802 OPS with 11 HR and 6 SB in 271 PA starting when he was recalled on June 20th. The full season pace is 23 HR and 13 SB which is a plausible upside. He went 20 HR/8 SB between Triple-A and MLB in just 402 PA. He also plays the outfield a ton with 52% of his innings out there including 36 of his 73 starts. The other 37 came behind the dish, ensuring another season of eligibility. He spent the end of the season in the 3-spot and even led off a couple games. I see a high-volume catcher-eligible bat with speed (and not just for the position, he has an 84th percentile sprint speed)

ICYMI: Luke Weaver showed some flashes of his old self (15% K-BB, 4.29 SIERA in 66 IP), but once again couldn’t stay healthy (shoulder) and battled HR issues (1.5 HR/9).

IF THE DH RETURNS (NL Teams Only, of course): Seth Beer feels like the obvious winner. He continued to show above average power (.224 ISO, 128 wRC+) with strong contact skills (18% K%) while tackling Triple-A for the first time. I think he’d still be a 25+% K% guy in the bigs, but .240 AVG/30 HR plays.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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8 months ago

The question remains mostly unanswered for this team in general, but for fantasy especially: is Ketel’s power gone? I almost pulled a huge blockbuster for him when he was injured this year early and just couldn’t get everything to fit and he was still good, but wouldn’t have been worth the trade. But he’s still high on my radar again. Should he be?

Brad Johnsonmember
8 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

If you’re thinking he’s a true talent 30+ HR bat, then yes, the power is gone. Likely, it was never there and 2019 was just a 80th percentile outcome for his HR (plus, remember that extra juicy ball?).

That said, he popped 14 in just 374 PA, a pace of 24 HR per 650 PA. That’s roughly league average which, when combined with his AVG and run production, makes him a near-elite player when healthy. Honestly, the real bummer imo is that he’s not clicking those 10 SB anymore.

Matthew Tobin
8 months ago
Reply to  Brad Johnson

I mean, There are still really encouraging signs.

Average EV : 91.1mph( 83rd%tile)
Max Exit Velocity: 116mph!(97th %tile)
Hard Hit Rate: 48.4% (86th %tile)

The issue is he clobbers the ball into the ground too much (10.3° LA), but I wonder if he or the team will be willing to change that approach because he doesn’t appear to be the runner he once was. Maybe we get lucky and Arizona moves him.

But we are still looking at a upper 20’s HR 2B with elite AVG with maybe some upside for more power. I mean that AVG is a pretty big deal if he can stay healthy.