In order to have a strong starting rotation, Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller need to bounce back from a disappointing 2016.
The Arizona Diamondbacks could have a pretty darn good starting rotation in 2017.
Yeah, I know. They could have had, and should have had, a good rotation last year. Nobody really expected Shelby Miller to be a season-long bummer. And Zack Greinke too, who was immediately thrown into the role as the ace. He wasn’t horrible, but he certainly didn’t mimic his 2015 campaign in which he finished 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA.
But this season could be different for those exact two reasons.
For the last eight years, Greinke has finished with more than 10 wins in every season. The 2016 season, his first year with the Diamondbacks, was among the worst of his career. In 26 starts, the 33-year old compiled a 13-7 record with a 4.37 ERA. Not bad for a guy who’s been in the league for more than a decade.
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And while many pitchers around the game would have killed for a stat line a la Greinke’s, it felt like it didn’t meet his standards. He’s a three-time All-Star and a Cy Young winner. He won the ERA title in ’15 as a member of the Dodgers, where he outdid his superstar teammate Clayton Kershaw. Dominance is clearly nothing new to him, and he should have another All-Star caliber season with the Diamondbacks in 2017.
And then there’s Miller, who seems to perfectly capture what the Diamondbacks pitching rotation could be. He can be good, just like he was for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 and 2014 when he went 25-18 with a 3.40 ERA. Or it can get ugly quickly, similar to the career-worst 6.15 ERA he finished with last season.
Entering his sixth season in the majors, Miller is still a relatively young arm the Diamondbacks have. At 26 years old, he’s not necessarily a work-in-progress anymore, but more along the lines of a middle-of-the-rotation kind of guy.
Along with Greinke and Miller, the rotation figures to be pieced together by names like Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley, and Taijuan Walker. Others in the mix could be Patrick Corbin and Braden Shipley.
This is the year where we will find out if Miller really is the player Dave Stewart traded for in December of ’15, and if Greinke can continue his dominance he enjoyed for so long.
If both of these pieces come together, along with the help from some new faces, the Diamondbacks should have a really strong rotation in 2017.