Arizona Diamondbacks 2024 Season Preview

The reigning NL champs took the world by storm last year, and now return with a more well-rounded roster to try to finish what they started.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 24: The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 in Game Seven of the Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Let’s start with some wisdom from FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski, a writer who knows baseball numbers as well as anyone:

He was then asked how World Series losers typically fare the following season, to which he replied:

And that is where the National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves as the 2024 season begins: Ahead of where they thought they’d be in terms of their competitive window while knowing, historically, there’s a lift ahead of them as they attempt to return to the Fall Classic.

Vice president and general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo have this in mind as they prepare for 2024, and they’re going to do their best to defy the odds.

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How was the D-backs’ offseason?

Pretty good, actually.

Back in October when the D-backs had finished an exhilarating, yet ultimately disappointing season that found them losing the World Series in five games to the Texas Rangers, Hazen took responsibility for his role in the roster’s shortcomings.

He also set his offseason goals. “I have a lot of regrets,” Hazen said. “It’s kinda painful to sit here and talk about this after getting bounced from the World Series and feeling like what happened in Game 4 isn’t 100% on me.”

(As a refresher, Game 4 found the D-backs scheduling bullpen game due to the lack of starters.)

The Diamondbacks, Hazen said, would be in the market for a starting pitcher; an upgrade at third base; and a right-handed outfielder as well as a possible designated hitter. He understood that a team with a negative run differential (-15) would need to make substantial offensive improvements.

Owner Ken Kendrick opened his wallet, and when Hazen had finished his shopping, all $136.5 million of it, the team had the highest payroll in its history. The D-backs added the following players:

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• Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (free agent)

• Third baseman Eugenio Suárez (trade with Seattle Mariners)

• Right fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr (free agent)

• Designated hitter/OF Joc Pederson (free agent)

• Designated hitter/OF Randal Grichuk (free agent)

And there were all the other minor signings teams make — like backup catcher Tucker Barnhart — but these are the ones designed to fill in holes from the D-backs’ 2023 roster.

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(No more bullpen games in the playoffs if Hazen can help it.)

What’s the D-backs’ projected starting lineup?

It’s a fast, powerful group of hitters that’s longer than it was in 2023.

Arizona Diamondbacks Projected 2024 Opening Day Roster
Ketel Marte | 2B
Corbin Carroll | OF
Gabriel Moreno | C
Christian Walker | 1B
Joc Pederson/Randal Grichuk | DH
Eugenio Suárez | 3B
Geraldo Perdomo | SS
Lourdes Gurriel Jr | OF
Alek Thomas | OF
The Arizona Diamondbacks projected 2024 lineup

In Suárez, the D-backs have added at least 20 home runs, a lot more strikeouts (that’s just his game), and more consistency at third base. If Marte can have another outstanding season at the plate, he will lengthen the lineup considerably. The D-backs will also need Thomas, an elite defender, to develop at the plate and Perdomo to find consistency.

The bench is still sorting itself out. Clearly, Barnhart will backup Moreno, and Pederson and Grichuk are able outfielders (though Grichuk is the better of the two, and whether he will be ready for the start of the season due to an ankle injury is uncertain). For their final two bench spots, then, they will need to choose between Emmanuel Rivera, Jace Peterson, Blaze Alexander and Kevin Newmann.

Decisions, decisions.

Still, this is a stronger roster — and bench — than the team had a year ago.

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What about the starting rotation?

Things here are more straightforward.

The D-backs will bring back one of the best one-two starting pitcher combinations in MLB with Cy Young finalist Zac Gallen as well as underrated Merrill Kelly.

Eduardo Rodriguez will get off to a late start after he suffered “left lat tightness.” Brandon Pfaadt take the third given his skillful handling of the postseason and his strong showing in spring training. The fourth and fifth starters, then, remains in play between Ryne Nelson and Tommy Henry or perhaps a late trade or signing..

Still, here’s the starting rotation:

Starting Rotation Depth Chart
Zac Gallen (RHP)
Merrill Kelly (RHP)
Brandon Pfaadt (RHP)
Ryne Nelson (RHP)/Tommy Henry (LHP)/Someone el
Ryne Nelson (RHP)/Tommy Henry (LHP)
Arizona Diamondbacks Projected Opening Day rotation

Both Nelson and Henry have had solid spring trainings, so the player that will start the season in Phoenix remains an open question though adding Henry would bring a lefty to a mostly right-handed rotation.

How’s the bullpen?

It’s pretty good — and also the most difficult part of the lineup to project. Here’s what it looks like right now:

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Bullpen options
Paul Seawald (RHP and closer)
Kevin Ginkel (RHP)
Ryan Thompson (RHP)
Kyle Nelson (LHP)
Miguel Castro (RHP)
Scott McGough (RHP)
Luis Frías (RHP)
Joe Mantiply (LHP)
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Projected Opening Day Bullpen

Perhaps Henry or Nelson — whichever pitcher does not make the rotation — will slot in doing long relief. There may also be a spot for Andrew Salfraank (LHP) or Corbin Martin — or perhaps they’ll work into the rotation later in the season.

This part of the roster will probably be in flux throughout the season, but the D-backs have a good bullpen to begin 2024.

Which prospects might help in 2024?

Here’s where things get exciting because the D-backs’ farm system is deep.

Shortstop Jordan Lawlar was called up in September and stayed on the roster through the postseason even though he saw limited action. He will begin the season in Triple-A Reno, but expect him to become a regular part of the D-backs’ roster. Similarly, Blaze Alexander is making a name for himself and had a hot spring training. Add to that pitchers Slade Cecconi and Blake Walston or outfielder Jorge Barrosa and Tristan English.

In short, the D-backs have reinforcements.

What will a good season look like for the D-backs?

This one’s easy: They will need to, at a minimum, return to the World Series and, at best, win it.

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After all, this is mostly the team that surprised all of baseball in 2023. It returns in 2024 sounder and more experienced. Players will need to stay healthy; the D-backs will need to score more runs (a point they already know) and continue to create chaos on the base paths; they will need to be judicious in deploying their pitching, especially given the extra innings Gallen and Kelly threw last season; and their stellar defense will need to return.

Look for the D-backs to play fearlessly in a loaded NL West.

As Zac Gallen put it during the playoffs, “If you’re scared, stay home.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks won’t be scared in 2024; they’re not planning to stay home; and they want more than anything to celebrate again in that pool — this time with the Commissioner’s Trophy in hand.