The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Arizona Diamondbacks roster and schedule:
DIAMONDBACKS ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Diamondbacks roster to begin the season:
With a gaping chasm in the starting rotation after trading Zack Greinke last summer, the Diamondbacks went out and added Madison Bumgarner in free agency. Bumgarner, soon 31, is not the dominant lefty he was just a few years ago, but he’s still more than capable of turning in a dominant season. Last season, Bumgarner averaged nearly five strikeouts for every walk and put up his best strikeout rate since 2016. Nevertheless, he finished with a 3.90 ERA, the highest mark of his career. Moving from the spacious home park in San Francisco to the more hitter friendly confines in Arizona will not do him any favors. But if you put any stock in his defense-independent numbers, he is not to be overlooked.
Mike Leake opted out of the season due to COVID-19. His spot in the rotation will be taken by either Merrill Kelly or Alex Young. The rest of the rotation will feature Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, and Luke Weaver. Over 12 starts in 2019, Weaver flashed potential, posting a 2.94 ERA and averaging close to five strikeouts per walk issued. If he can continue that kind of dominance, and if Robbie Ray can bounce back from last year’s disappointing — by his standards — 4.34 ERA, the D-Backs could be working with something here.
The D-Backs also added outfielders Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun. While Marte’s defense in center field leaves a bit to be desired, he is one of the most dynamic players on offense. Last season, he collected 31 doubles, 23 homers, and 25 steals while knocking in 82 runs and scoring 97 times. Calhoun, not to be forgotten, slugged 29 doubles and 33 homers for the Angels in 29. Marte’s addition allows Ketel Marte to move back to second base. Marte, mostly playing center field last year, broke out with a .981 OPS, earning his first All-Star nomination and finishing fourth in NL MVP voting. We haven’t even gotten to Carson Kelly, Christian Walker, David Peralta, Eduardo Escobar… this is an offense that could contend as one of the league’s best if everyone performs to expectations.
The Diamondbacks’ weakness will be their bullpen. This is not to say that it’s bad, but if things go wrong, it will likely be here. Archie Bradley will handle save situations and he’s only a few years separated from a dominant 2017 in which he posted a 1.73 over 73 innings. But in the closer’s role last year, Bradley accrued 18 saves with a 3.52 ERA. He’s not in the elite echelon yet. And, again, there is no one truly lights out and major league-proven behind Bradley, either. He’ll be flanked by Hector Rondón, Andrew Chafin, and Kevin Ginkel.
No surprise, the Dodgers are expected to run away with the NL West. The Diamondbacks, however, are legitimate Wild Card contenders.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
- July 24-27: @ Padres
- July 28-29: @ Rangers
- July 30-August 2: vs. Dodgers
- August 4-6: vs. Astros
- August 7-9: @ Padres
- August 10-12: @ Rockies
- August 14-16: vs. Padres
- August 17-18: vs. Athletics
- August 19-20: @ Athletics
- August 21-23: @ Giants
- August 24-27: vs. Rockies
- August 28-30: vs. Giants
- September 1-3: @ Dodgers
- September 4-7: @ Giants
- September 8-10: vs. Dodgers
- September 11-13: vs. Mariners
- September 15-17: @ Angels
- September 18-20: @ Astros
- September 22-23: vs. Rangers
- September 25-27: vs. Rockies