Thursday, April 30, 2009

Verducci Dissects D'backs Woes, Concludes They Have Woes

The Diamondbacks are 9-12 and it's time for the "What's wrong with Arizona?" articles. From "Has the Diamondbacks' dynasty been derailed or just delayed?" by Tom Verducci at

Sixteen months ago the Diamondbacks were NL West division champions, sitting on one of the greatest stockpiles of young players in baseball. [...]

"The best team in baseball," one GM called them at the time, "and the only one with an easy path to the postseason."

And then something very odd happened to baseball's next growth franchise: It ground to a halt. Since that 19-7 start, Arizona is 71-84 while hitting .245 and scoring 4.1 runs per game. Nearly across the board, the development of its young stars has stalled -- except for that of [Carlos] Quentin, who has become a slugging sensation for the White Sox, not the Diamondbacks.

This season, despite a ridiculously favorable schedule in which it hasn't left Arizona since spring training began except for three games in San Francisco, Arizona has started 8-11 and lost Webb for at least six weeks with a shoulder injury and Drew for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain.

"I look at them now," the same GM said, "and I see a franchise in some crisis."

Verducci goes on to detail how the team's young stars are either injured and/or underperforming. But as last year's April taught us, it's pointless to make predictions based on small sample sizes, tempting as it may be (a 108-54 record for the Dodgers, anyone?). The Padres seemed like surefire cellar dwellers during spring training, yet they're only 2.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers. The Giants may have the best pitching staff in baseball, but they just reached .500. And the last-place Rockies—okay, well, some forecasts are safe to make.