Arizona Diamondbacks 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: Moving on From Goldschmidt
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.
- The Diamondbacks traded away their franchise star, Paul Goldschmidt, and lost Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock in free agency this winter.
- After falling from 93 to 82 wins, oddsmakers have their win total at just 75 games this year.
- Though they still boast a solid rotation and a few decent bats, there's a chance they could pull the plug at some point over the next two years and go for a full rebuild.
Original analysis published on Mar. 1.
Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock … gone, all gone. Per fWAR, they were three of Arizona’s four best players last year and accounted for 13.9 wins above replacement. And let me tell you, the Diamondbacks haven’t replaced them with much.
Torey Lovullo’s Diamondbacks have been an all-around successful endeavor, but 2019 is going to be a struggle. It’s possible that things get worse before they get better too, as there are still a handful of veterans they could choose to part ways with if they decide to go into full-rebuild mode.
- Record: 82-80 (-3.3 units), 82-80 ATS (+0.1 units)
- Over/Under Record: 74-82-6
- Preseason World Series Odds: 30-1
- Win Total: 85
- Most Profitable Starter: Matt Koch (8-6, +4.6 units)
After a very surprising 2017 season in which the D’Backs went from 69 to 93 wins, they dropped back a ways, failing to go over their win total.
Based on their run differential, they should have won 86 games, but had a losing record in extra innings and went just 20-31 in one-run games.
They had been in the hunt most of the season and were certainly trending to go over that win total, but a horrid 8-19 month of September left over bettors curled up in the fetal position.
- World Series Odds: +8000
- Division Odds: +2500
- Win Total O/U: 75
- Playoff Odds: Make +600, Miss -900
The Diamondbacks have been a promising team under Lovullo, but their skipper will have to pull something out of his hat to have another winning season in 2019.
Since they knew they’d be losing both Corbin and Pollock in free agency, the Diamondbacks decided to ship out Goldschmidt to get something in return while they could, as their franchise slugger was entering the final season of his contract.
Though they still have a respectable rotation, their lineup just doesn’t look the same. I find none of their futures appealing. Arizona’s lineup leaves a lot to be desired, but I could still see it going over its win total thanks to the rotation and Lovullo’s managerial skills.
- Additions: Luke Weaver, Greg Holland, Adam Jones, Merrill Kelly, Artie Lewicki, Carson Kelly, Wilmer Flores, Robby Scott, Tim Locastro, Caleb Joseph, Rob Refsnyder (minors), Kelby Tomlinson (minors), Mark Rzepczynski (minors), Ricky Nolasco (minors), Matt Szczur (minors), Abraham Almonte (minors)
- Subtractions: Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock, Clay Buchholz, Randall Delgado, Daniel Descalso, Chris Owings, Brad Boxberger, Shelby Miller, Brad Ziegler, Jon Jay, Jake Diekman, Jeff Mathis, Chris Herrmann, Chris Stewart
- Potential Lineup
- Ketel Marte – CF
- Eduardo Escobar – 3B
- David Peralta – LF
- Jake Lamb – 1B
- Adam Jones – RF
- Wilmer Flores – 2B
- Nick Ahmed – SS
- Alex Avila – C
- Projected Rotation
- Zack Greinke
- Zack Godley
- Robbie Ray
- Luke Weaver
- Merrill Kelly
- Prospect Watch: Jon Duplantier (No. 73, RHP), Taylor Widener (No. 83, RHP), Taylor Clarke (Unranked, RHP), Yoan Lopez (Unranked, RHP)
- Key Injuries: Taijuan Walker (Tommy John, mid 2019), Steven Souza (Knee, out for the season), Silvino Bracho (Tommy John, out for season), Jarrod Dyson (Oblique, April)
- MVP Candidates: Eduardo Escobar (+8000), Jake Lamb (+8000)
- Cy Young Candidates: Zack Greinke (+3000), Robbie Ray (+5000), Zack Godley (+10000)
Player to Watch: Jake Lamb
In 2016, Lamb went from a career high of six home runs to 29. He followed that up with a 30-homer campaign in 2017. Last year? Back down to six, albeit in just 56 games.
Lamb is in line to take Goldschmidt’s spot at first base, and the D’Backs will be counting on him to bounce back offensively to fill some of the void left in the lineup.
Last year, Lamb injured his shoulder on April 2, and although he did initially return to the lineup in May and played a number of games, his season was cut short so he could have surgery on his rotator cuff.
The most notable difference in Lamb’s production was the drop off in power. His isolated power, which was .260 in 2016 and .239 in 2017, fell to just .126. You can’t hit home runs if the ball isn’t hit in the air (generally), and Lamb’s ground ball rate of 51.4% was 10.3% higher than it was in the previous season.
He also struck out in more than 27% of his plate appearances, which isn’t an absurd number these days, but a few percentage points higher than in 2017.
With Goldschmidt gone, this lineup has limited power sources. David Peralta is probably the team’s best hitter, while Steven Souza Jr. is in a similar boat as Lamb — coming off a season with injuries and a huge power dip. (Update: Souza is out for the season with a torn ACL.)
If Lamb can’t hit again, they’re in trouble.
Pitcher to Watch: Merrill Kelly
First thing’s first … who the H is Merrill Kelly? Well, probably the only people who know about him are Tampa Bay Rays fans, as he was drafted by them and worked his way through their farm system from 2010 to 2014. After reaching Triple-A, he went to play baseball in Korea.
His numbers in the KBO weren’t overly excellent, but a much-improved strikeout rate over the past two years is promising. Also, note that the KBO is known as a hitter-friendly league.
Though some may have high hopes for a Miles Mikolas-esque return to the majors, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Projections have him around a 4.50 ERA, with comparable pitchers being Shelby Miller, Ryan Yarbrough and Jaime Garcia.
The Diamondbacks are obviously hoping their two-year deal with Kelly turns out better than Miller’s stint with Arizona, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
D’Backs fans have to face the facts — Arizona’s ceiling this year is probably .500 baseball.
The Goldschmidt trade obviously has fans moaning and groaning in disgust, but from an objective standpoint, it’s not that bad of a move. Even with Goldschmidt, it’d be difficult for this team to compete with the Dodgers.
Wild-card spots in the National League will also be at a premium, meaning Goldschmidt’s final year under contract would likely not include a playoff run.
In my opinion, trading Goldschmidt very well may be a precursor for more moves to come. There are several players with either one or two years left under contract, including Lamb, Peralta, Robbie Ray, Greg Holland, Yoshihisa Hirano and the ailing Taijuan Walker.
You don’t want to see teams tanking, but teams like the Diamondbacks that aren’t major free-agent destinations sometimes have to rebuild. Either you do that or stay mediocre for a long period of time.
Which do you prefer, Diamondbacks fans?
All odds via Westgate SuperBook as of Mar. 1
Transactions accurate as of Mar. 26. Free agents deemed subtractions until they re-sign