Potential X-factors for the Diamondbacks 2024 season

The Diamondbacks have two potential X-factors on their 40-man roster as we approach the 2024 season.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ryan Thompson (81) during spring training workouts at Salt River Fields
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ryan Thompson (81) during spring training workouts at Salt River Fields / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

It’s not a bold prediction or hot take to say that Corbin Carroll will be a great player in 2024 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He set a rookie record in home runs and stolen bases. It also isn’t a bold prediction or hot take to say that Zac Gallen will be one of their best starting pitchers. He was a Cy Young finalist in 2023. But every year, a team has an X-Factor player that helps them significantly. Last year, I think you can say that was Kevin Ginkel, who had a 176 ERA+ in his age-29 season after never having pitched more than 30 innings in any prior season.

I think the Diamondbacks have a few players who could be X-factors in 2024, starting with right-handed reliever Ryan Thompson. Thompson was signed to a minor league deal in August of last year after being released from the Tampa Bay Rays. The side-armer had just a 6.11 ERA, 5.07 FIP but a quality 1.09 WHIP in 17.2 innings for the Rays. However, Thompson pitched 13 more innings for the D-Backs down the stretch, allowing just a single earned run, one walk, and one home run.

Thompson might not have super high expectations, but he could eventually find himself pitching in important innings. It’s not as if Thompson hasn’t ever had success in the big leagues. In 2021 and 2022, he pitched 76.1 innings and had a 3.17 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and 1.11 WHIP. The most innings he’s ever pitched in the Major Leagues is just 42.2, which was in ‘22. But his heavy ground ball approach will work well on such a good defensive team like the Diamondbacks. He has a career of 54.5% GB%, as well as a quality of 87.1 MPH exit velocity.

Potential X-factors to watch for the Diamondbacks.

The potential X-factor position player I want to bring some attention to is Jorge Barrosa. Barrosa isn’t the first outfield prospect you think of when you see ‘Diamondbacks outfield prospects,’ but he’s consistently been a solid batter each and every season since 2021. Last year, he batted .274/.394/.456 with a .385 wOBA and 110 wRC+ for Triple-A Reno. Barrosa walked nearly as often as he struck out, with 80 free passes and only 82 K’s. Barrosa did hit 13 home runs and had a .180 isolated slugging percentage, but do keep in mind that this was in the Pacific Coast League.

Dating back to 2021, Barrosa is a .279/.374/.439 batter with a .369 wOBA, and 110 wRC+. He’s walked a decent amount at 11.8% of the time while having a strong 16.8% K-rate. Barrosa is considered a plus fielder with plus speed. Depending on whether Alek Thomas can breakout or not in what could be a make or break season, Barrosa might be handed the keys to centerfield for a test drive. He is already on the 40-man roster as well.

Both Thompson and Barrosa aren’t projected to play major roles, but I could definitely see a future where they are key cogs for the Diamondbacks in 2024. They could both have the opportunity to do so, and it wouldn’t be all that shocking if they took full advantage, helping the Diamondbacks make another deep playoff run during this upcoming season.