Much has been and will continue to be documented just how good the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks were and how good the 2012 Dbacks are expected to be and rightfully so. However, that does not mean there isn’t room for improvement. Even the World Series champs could say there is room for improvement. The Dbacks will essentially be the same team with a few additions in 2012. Therefore, it should be easy to be able to compare the two seasons once all is said and done in October.
The Dbacks won 94 games in 2011. It could have been a lot more. They left a lot of wins out on the field early as they were still trying to come together as a team under second-year skipper Kirk Gibson. The team didn’t really start jelling together until mid-May. Imagine where this team would have ended up with a decent April?
With the offense, the team did drastically cut down on strikeouts from 2010, so that was an area of improvement last season. This season, guys like Chris Young and Ryan Roberts need to be more consistent with production. That both produced some decent power numbers, but Young’s batting average was severely low once again. His power numbers and defense is what kept him in the lineup. Roberts started off hot, was so-so in the middle of the season and then got hot at the end again. The Dbacks also need their star Justin Upton to be more consistent as well. He was lights out till around mid-August and then seemed to hit cruise control. He easily should have made 100 RBI but finished with just 88 RBI.
The defense improved last season as well. Gold Glover Gerardo Parra gunned them down with the best of them in left field. The main worry here this season will be the insertion of free agent pick-up Jason Kubel. Kubel gives you more on offense, but is a big drop off on the defensive end of things. It is one of my worries as we enter a new season.
The pitching needs more consistency from the bottom end of the starting rotation. It clearly was better last season than the previous three seasons, however, consistency is the key. The Dbacks had several guys starting from the five towards the end of the season. You can’t find many faults with the pitching after such a dismal 2012 from a bullpen standpoint. The 2010 bullpen was one of the worst in MLB history. The 2011 made everyone forget all that. However the middle of the pack still needs to also find some consistency. It would be great if they could find a consistent seventh inning guy to set up David Hernandez and J.J. Putz. They have a lot of guys who could fill that role though.
So, as you see, there is plenty to work on and with the culture that Gibson has instilled that should be no issue in getting buy-in from the players.