Not this year. Well, not quite for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Snakes are technically only five games back of first in the NL West, which some teams would kill for in their division (see Twins, Minnesota), but it seems highly unlikely they hop over the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re also 10 games back of the Wild Card.
But, on the bright side, the Diamondbacks weren’t expected to do much and have exceeded all expectations. They are in third place in their division, and have the sixth-best team batting average in the league. Their pitching hasn’t been great, which was expected, but the staff as a whole shows a lot of potential.
As a whole, this team looks as close to “set” as you can get on offense, just as long as they continue to produce. Paul Goldschmidt has become the best first basemen, and arguably player, in the NL in just two years. He ranks third in the league for average (.330) and second in RBIs (93). He also has 24 home runs, which puts him in the top-20 in that category.
With any good team, there’s a star player. And with that star player, there is a solid supporting cast which the Arizona Diamondbacks certainly have. A.J. Pollock is right behind Goldy in average, and has solid home run and RBI numbers to boast (13 and 54). Ender Inciarte has put together a nice second season in the bigs: nothing to write home about, but it has definitely gone under the radar (.295 average, .327 OBP). David Peralta has 13 home runs with 66 RBIs and a .294 average. Yasmany Tomas has also shown the D-Backs why they picked him up from Cuba. Welington Castillo deserves a mention as well.
When it comes to the pitching, it’s not as solid as the offense — but still good. Not good enough to make the playoffs, but good enough to make things interesting.
Despite all having ERAs north of 4.00, Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Chase Anderson all have been consistent throughout the year. Paired with an ace at the top of the rotation, the rotation could in fact be built around them. The ace could possibly be one of those three or Archie Bradley, who still has a lot of potential despite getting beaned in the head by a line drive in April.
To seriously contend, the front office will have to address starting pitching. An offense with a “meh” starting pitching staff can’t win you championships, as proven by the Boston Red Sox, unless those pitchers seriously overachieve. Adding another mid-rotation starter could help to solidify the staff. Spending money or trading for a top of the rotation pitcher would help the most. It doesn’t have to be David Price or Johnny Cueto, but it could be close.
Other than that, the D-Backs seem ready to contend once they address the pitching next year. And things can only get better. A young team with a lot of potential already winning? It’s safe to say giving up Justin Upton won’t seem so bad after all.
They better clear the pool in Chase Field because there’s going to be a lot of celebration happening in there, but soon enough, it will be the home team’s turn.