2023 Diamondbacks: Re-visiting pre-season player predictions

ESPN was way off on some of their pre-season Arizona Diamondbacks predictions .
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four / Harry How/GettyImages

On February 20th of this year, I wrote an article referring to ESPN’s fantasy baseball predictions for all the D-backs starting players.

The writers/analysts obviously have no idea what is going to happen throughout the season so to no surprise, some predictions were way off (Alek Thomass OPS).  But for taking educated guesses, some predictions were very close/accurate (Gabby Moreno’s home runs).

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how ESPN did…

Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno

ESPN’s pre-season prediction: (348 ABs, 8 HRs, 61 RBIs, .777 OPS)
Actual numbers: (341 ABS, 7 HRs, 50 RBIs, .747 OPS)

As you can see, ESPN thought highly of the rookie backstop.  They had his OPS in the upper 700s which would be considered above average for catchers.

Moreno had a fine debut season in Arizona.  He was statistically the best defensive catcher in the game leading all MLB players in defensive WAR (3.1), and being awarded the NL Gold Glove for catchers.  He also led the D-backs in RBIs (12) on their Cinderella playoff run.

Don’t be surprised if he is in the all-star game next season.

Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker

ESPN’s pre-season prediction: (584 ABs, 29 HRs, 81 RBIs, .772 OPS)
Actual numbers: (582 ABs, 33 HRs, 103 RBIs, .830 OPS)

Talk about disrespect.  ESPN really doubted this man after he hit 36 HRS, and 94 RBIs in 2022.

Walker built on a very strong 22 campaign with more offensive production in 23.  He led Arizona in homers, runs batted in, and doubles.  He also was once again very impressive in the field.

He led all MLB first basemen in outs above average and runs prevented.  The D-backs have two defensive gems in Moreno and Walker.

Diamondbacks 2B Ketel Marte

ESPN’s pre-season prediction: (494 ABs, 16 HRs, 59 RBIs, .797 OPS)
Actual numbers: (569 ABs, 25 HRs, 82 RBIs, .843 OPS)

The disrespect continues.  Marte outshined his pre-season outlook.

It’s hard to find a player like Marte in the league.  His blend of skills is just so unique, and they help this team find ways to win.

Marte shined in the Postseason, and he led Arizona in a lot of advanced stats during the regular season.  One thing Marte did really well this year was put the ball in play.  In the 23 season, he was in the top 18% in baseball in strikeout percentage.

Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll

ESPN’s pre-season prediction: (474 ABs, 21 HRs, 65 RBIs, .892 OPS)
Actual numbers: (565 ABs, 25 HRs, 76 RBIs, .868 OPS)

I think there is about a 1% chance someone other than this guy will win the Rookie of the Year award.  Carroll was electric this season.

Among all MLB players, Carroll finished 7th in runs scored, 2nd in triples, 3rd in stolen bases, and 13th in OPS.  Let me remind you that he did all of that as a rookie.

This kid is going to be special and I didn’t even mention the fact that he was in the top 15 percent in outs above average…

Diamondbacks OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

ESPN’s pre-season prediction: (457 ABs, 12 HRs, 63 RBIs, .768 OPS)
Actual numbers: (551 ABs, 24 HRs, 82 RBIs, .772 OPS)

ESPN vastly underestimated Gurriel’s power.  Lourdes was consistently a spark plug for this team in his debut season.

After starting the season red hot, Gurriel cooled down a little after the all-star break.  That being said, he finished with respectable numbers and instantly became a fan favorite in the desert.

His post-season heroics did not go unnoticed either.

Diamondbacks OF Alek Thomas

ESPN’s pre-season prediction:  (315 ABs, 8 HRs, 35 RBIs, .774 OPS)
Actual numbers: (374 ABs, 9 HRs, 39 RBIs, .647 OPS)

No way around it, Thomas struggled at the plate in the regular season.  It even got so bad that he was sent down to the minors for a little while.

But he came up big when he needed to.  He had some unbelievably clutch long balls this post-season that won’t be soon forgotten.

Thomas played exceptionally well in the outfield however; His outs above average of 7 ranked him in the top 20 among all outfielders.