Everyone talks about the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks and rightfully so, however let’s not forget about that bullpen. The back end of that bullpen was a big reason for the Dbacks success in 2011, specifically David Hernandez and closer J.J Putz. Both will need big seasons again to find another National League West Championship in 2012 and hopefully more.
Last year the set-up was perfect for the eighth and ninth innings. The seventh inning was hot and cold and this season it will be important to find that guy that can consistently perform in the seventh inning for the Dbacks.
Brad Ziegler, Bryan Shaw, and Craig Breslow seem to be the ones to be the best candidates, although Ziegler seems more like a specialty guy. Right now I give Shaw the best shot at making it happen, but there a number of other guys they could try in the spot in the spring.
Hernandez should be the eighth inning guy again with Putz closing. The competition for other spots in the pen will include Joe Paterson, Takashi Saito, Zach Kroenke, and Wade Miley. There will most likely be a surprise or two though and the pen usually is one of the most interesting competitions in spring. The good thing is, if you keep a guy going into the season and he fails or struggles, then you know you can replace him in a heartbeat. The Dbacks could have as many as 10-12 guys that could fill the six or seven spots in the pen though. I look forward to seeing what these guys can do.