The Arizona Diamondbacks finished the 2016 season with a record of 69-93. One of the biggest reasons for their fall has to do with the injuries their players sustained over the course of the season. The team had high expectations with Yasmany Tomas, Zack Greinke, and Paul Goldschmidt, but they faltered and were unsuccessful. This season will still be no easy feat, as the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies will continue to be challenging opponents. If healthy, here is what the Arizona Diamondbacks’ lineup on Opening Day in 2017 could potentially look like.
- A.J. Pollock (CF) – Elbow surgery turned 2017 into a short season. After having a breakout season in 2015, Pollock was sidelined for just about all of 2016. If he can return to the form he was in during the 2015 season, Pollock is the type of player who can steal about 40 bases, hit 20 home runs, and hit around .300. If he can remain healthy, then there’s a chance he can return to the All-Star form he was in two seasons ago.
- Chris Owings (SS) – Despite having to deal with a foot injury during last season, Chris Owings hit a career-high 11 triples to go along with 24 doubles. He hit .277 over 119 games and had a career-high slugging percentage of .416. He also had a career-high 49 RBIs last season. At the top of the lineup, the Diamondbacks will need to steal bases (he had 21 last season), and drive Pollock (or any other runners ahead of him) over for Goldschmidt to drive in. While he is not a threat to hit home runs, his .315 OBP means that he has a decent ability to get himself on base to set up for the sluggers behind him.
- Paul Goldschmidt (1B) – The reason people go to see the Arizona Diamondbacks play, Paul Goldschmidt. He has been an All-Star the previous four seasons. Last season, he hit 24 home runs, had a .297 batting average, and had a slugging percentage of .489. As the face of the team, the Diamondbacks are going to be looking to Goldschmidt to have another All-Star-caliber year, and try to help the team remain in contention in a difficult National League West.
- Jake Lamb (3B) – Last season Jake Lamb hit .249 over 151 games. He drove in 91 RBIs and smacked 29 home runs. With Welington Castillo becoming a member of the Baltimore Orioles, the Diamondbacks are going to be counting on Lamb’s productivity more in the middle of the lineup.
- Yasmany Tomas (LF) – In his second season in the Big Leagues, Tomas hit 30 home runs, and his .272 batting average is nearly identical to his batting average from his first season (.273). He drove in 83 RBIs last season and had upped his slugging percentage by 100 points, ending the season at .508. In his third season, at age 26, look for him to continue to build on his Sophomore season.
- David Peralta (RF) – Last season, Peralta dealt with a wrist injury that put him on the DL. He was only able to play in 48 games last season, posting a .251 batting average in 171 at-bats. His 2015 season is a much better indicator of what the Diamondbacks can expect from Peralta when healthy since it is the only season he played through nearly the whole season. In his 2015 campaign, he hit .312 with 17 home runs, 10 triples, and 26 doubles. Much like multiple other Diamondbacks on this list, being healthy enough to stay on the field is going to be a key for his success in 2017.
- Jeff Mathis (C) – The new catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017. He has a lot of experience in backup roles, but will now have the chance to be the primary catcher. His career batting average is only .197, but the Diamondbacks are going to need him to do a better job hitting the ball. He replaces Wellington Castillo, who was hitting in the middle of the Diamondbacks’ lineup a year ago. In 41 games for Miami last season, Mathis hit .238 with 4 doubles and 15 RBI. [Kenny2]
- Nick Ahmed (2B) – A hip injury was an issue for Nick Ahmed last season, who hit .218, with 9 doubles and 20 RBIs in 90 games. In three seasons in the Big Leagues, the best season he had was in 2015, when he was a part of 134 games, hitting .226 with 34 RBIs. In that season, he managed to hit 17 doubles and 6 triples.