In Chip Hale’s first year as skipper of the Diamondbacks, he lead his team to a much improved 79-83 record. To complement one of the best offenses in the league, GM Dave Stewart spent his offseason solidifying the rotation, turning the D-Backs into serious contenders out of the NL West.
The Diamondbacks addressed their number one need, an ace of their pitching staff, and signed Zack Greinke this offseason. Greinke had arguably his best season in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, finishing with a 19-3 record to go along with a stellar 1.66 ERA. Greinke finished in second place in the NL Cy Young Award voting behind Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.
Signing Greinke took the baseball world by storm, but Stewart wasn’t satisfied with his rotation yet. Just 5 days later, he acquired Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves, in exchange for Ender Inciarte, prospect Aaron Blair, and first-overall pick of the 2015 draft, shortstop Dansby Swanson.
Tossing 205 1/3 innings and a 3.02 ERA with the Braves in 2015, Miller and Greinke are now set to be the top two guys in the rotation with Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, and Rubby De La Rosa projecting to be the final three starters.
In addition to their two new starters, the Diamondbacks will start off this season with a healthy Patrick Corbin. After being placed on the 60-day disabled list on March 27 following left elbow surgery, Corbin returned to the rotation on July 4. Through 16 starts, Corbin finished the year with a 6-5 record and a 3.60 ERA.
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In a trade with the Boston Red Sox in December of 2014, the Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Rubby De La Rosa. In 2015, De La Rosa lead the team in wins and strikeouts. He is believed to be the fourth starter for the upcoming season.
Logging 127 2/3 innings accompanied by a 3.52 ERA in 2015, 24-year old southpaw Robbie Ray is assumed to be the fifth starter in 2016. In the righty-heavy rotation that the Diamondbacks display, Ray gives them the lefty option that every team needs.
Stewart, making two big splashes in the offseason and electing to improve his starting pitching, doesn’t seem to be worried about the offense, and has no reason to be. Last season, their .264 team average and 720 runs scored were second in the National League, lead by Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock.
After dealing the versatile Inciarte, Yasmany Tomas is expected to take over the right field role, playing alongside Pollock and David Peralta in the outfield.
With two proven and successful veterans like Greinke and Miller at the top end of this youthful rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks are poised to contend out of the NL West in 2016.