Previewing the Arizona Diamondbacks’ potential 2024 Opening Day line-up

Opening Day is just around the corner, so let's look at what the Arizona Diamondbacks' line-up coul dlook like.
Fireworks light up the sky before the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on
Fireworks light up the sky before the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Alek Thomas
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Center Field

Alek Thomas

A former second round pick, Alek Thomas ascended through the Diamondbacks’ system and made his debut in 2021. He has since become the team’s primary center fielder over the last two seasons, providing great defense, but poor hitting. 2024 could be a make or break campaign for Thomas.

Last season, Thomas batted just .230/.273/.374 with a .278 wOBA, and 71 wRC+. Thomas had an above average 21.4% strikeout rate as well as upped his isolated slugging percentage to .144. But he still provided below average power overall, and drew walks less than 5% of the time. This marks two straight seasons he has posted a wRC+ below 75.

Thomas showed off some power potential. He increased his exit velocity from 87.4 MPH to 88.9 MPH as well as his hard hit rate from 34.6% to 41.6%. However, even though he’s hitting the ball harder, he still struggles to lift the ball. He is still below the 20th percentile of barrel rate and the 5th highest ground ball rate among batters with 400+ plate appearances.

Although Thomas was not a great hitter last year, he was a great fielder. Thomas was a Gold Glove finalist after racking up +5 DRS and +5 OAA in center field. He ranked third among National League center fielders in DRS and in OAA. The only knock on his defensive game is his arm strength. It’s about league average as his throws averaged 85.3 MPH, but that will play  from center field.

Thomas will likely get another chance at center field. If he can start lifting the ball, he could be a productive hitter with some pop. But the D-Backs have a handful of up and coming outfield prospects that could overtake Thomas if he can’t start hitting more.