The Diamondbacks had their share of misfortune in 2009 and things haven't changed much so far in 2010. Brandon Webb was expected to be ready by opening day but once spring training began he entered the Jason Schmidt zone. He's been shut down, visited several doctors, and might be back in late May. Or not. We know how that dance goes. Miguel Montero the promising young catcher tore his meniscus over the weekend and was just placed on the DL. They upgraded at 1st and got Conor Jackson back in LF. They rebuilt the front end of the bullpen but it remains to be seen if they will be anymore effective then the bodies they replaced. The rotation would look better with Webb but without him they are using Rodrigo Lopez as the fourth starter and luckily for them have not had to use a fifth starter yet.
The Diamondbacks are fresh off a 15 run outburst against the Pirates which propelled them into 2nd place with a 4-2 record.
Old Friends: Edwin Jackson, Tony Abreu
1st Base-Ex Brave Adam LaRoche comes over to give the power position some punch. LaRoche a notorious slow starter has hit over 20 home runs every year since becoming a regular 1st baseman. A huge upgrade over the position in 2009 he was a big part of the Braves 2nd half run at the Phillies.
2nd Base-Another ex-Brave Kelly Johnson was signed as a FA to handle the 2nd base chores after losing his job to Prado in Atlanta. Johnson has good power for a 2nd baseman and brings some solid on base skills. He had a lot of health problems in 2010 and if they resurface expect Tony Abreu to step right in to fill his shoes.
SS -Stephen Drew had a tough 2009 after posting an excellent OPS+ of 109 in 2008. Other then his debut season he has yet to match up his production with the hype that followed him when he was drafted with the 15th pick in 2004. He enters his age 27 season so big things could still happen for him.
3rd Base - Mark Reynolds probably had his career year in 2009 with 44 home runs. Those home runs come with a price as he has struck out over 427 times in the last two years. Hard to keep a batting average around .260 when you make so little contact. Expect some regression across the board this year.
C - Miguel Montero developed into a solid catcher in 2009 replacing Chris Snyder. However Montero just tore his meniscus and has been placed on the 15 day DL meaning we will see Chris Snyder. Snyder who lost his starting job to Montero last summer had a huge game on Sunday driving in five runs.
CF - Chris Young holds promise but every year he comes up empty. He hit 32 home runs in his 23 year old rookie but that has dropped from 32 - 22 - 15 right along with his slug% from .467 - .443 - .400. Combined with a low batting average he's been a liability for the lineup. He has gotten off to a fast start in 2010 fueled by zero K's in the first week of the season.
RF - Justin Upton is expected to battle Matt Kemp for best complete player in the NL West over the next few years. Justin made his debut at the tender age of 19 so while he's been around a few years he's only 22 and primed for big things in 2010.
Bench -Tony Abreu provides support at 2nd, SS, and 3rd base. Geraldo Parra is an excellent fourth outfielder.
Starting Pitching for our Series:
Game One -Ian Kennedy was the number one pick in the 2006 draft out of USC for the Yankees. Ian came over in the three way Scherzer - Jackson - Kennedy deal where the Diamondbacks filled two spots in their rotation. Ian Kennedy was hurt last year but is expected to be a mainstay in the rotation this year.
Game Two - Much traveled Rodrigo Lopez will go in game two. Lopez has not pitched more then 14 games in the majors since 2006 but here he is in the Diamondback rotation. His skills are gone, and he may not be here the next time I do one of these.
Game Three - Diamondback ace Dan Haren will go in game three. Haren has typically been one of the best 1st half pitchers in baseball ever since he joined the Diamondbacks. With Webb still sidelined Haren has a huge load to carry until Webb shows up.
Bullpen: Chad Qualls has turned from a quality setup man into a quality closer. Trying to get the ball to him will be ex-Cub Aaron Heilman, ex-Brave Blaine Boyer, ex-Giant Bob Howry, and LHP Jordan Norberto. Filling out the bullpen is Juan Gutierrez, Esmerling Vazuez, and Leo Rosales. The only LHP in the bullpen appears to be Norberto so they will have a hard time matching up with Andre in late game situations. Heilman and Gutierrez have the best skills in the bullpen.