To this point in the 2013 Major League Baseball season the Diamondbacks have shown us plenty.
They were afterthoughts within their division; the trade of their franchise player (Justin Upton) to the Atlanta Braves made them afterthoughts everywhere else. Everywhere else, of course, but Arizona and to those actually paying attention (I’ll credit myself as one of those paying attention).
I stated before the season that I liked the makeup of this ball team. They give you nine solid innings of baseball every night and the importance of that can’t be understated. I also pointed out that the top three in their rotation of Ian Kennedy,Trevor Cahill, and Brandon McCarthy was a formidable trio to be reckoned with (and all three have come on strong in recent weeks). What I didn’t take into consideration was the emergence of 24-year old lefty Patrick Corbin. Corbin (7-0, 1.44 ERA, 51 K’s) has been downright filthy in 2013 and isn’t showing any signs of letting up.
Of course the biggest catalyst in this desert revival is one Paul Edward Goldschmidt (middle name added for effect). The 26-year old’s continued development from his breakout 2012 has put him in the conversation for National League MVP already. His numbers (.329 BA, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 1.030 OPS) have lamented his status as “the man” in Arizona, and his bat has been the perfect fit for a lineup that has budding shortstop Didi Gregorius (.369 BA, .424 OBP in 22 games) and a rejuvenated Eric Chavez (.343 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI). The combination has produced an early record of 26-19 and a one game lead in the National League West.
The biggest concern (as I also pointed out in early April) will be the sustaining of some semblance of a stable bullpen. Heath Bell (4.50 ERA, 6 Saves) and J.J. Putz (4.26 ERA, 5 Saves) have already blown six saves between them, and while Josh Collmenter has been a nice addition to the bullpen since coming out of the rotation they have to finish games better if they hope to compete with the Giants, Rockies, and (to some degree) the Dodgers for a playoff spot.
Right now, though, the Diamondbacks are showing they will be a force within this division throughout the summer.