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2023 MLB Season Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

There’s real hope growing in the desert.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images

If you squint hard enough, you can start to make out the light at the end of the tunnel of what has been a dark time for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After a mediocre 25-35 season in 2020, the Diamondbacks bottomed out in 2021, finishing the year 52-110, and very little hope to go along with it. In 2022, Arizona saw, ironically enough, a 22-game improvement to 74-88, and you could start to see the makings of a decent team coming. But the vast majority of hope in desert lies in one spot: one of the best young cores of players and prospects in baseball.

Expectations for 2023

Arizona does have some solid players. Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Corbin Carroll could all put up 3+ WAR seasons in 2023 and no one would bat an eye. Zac Gallen has gotten some down-ballot Cy Young love this offseason and is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. They added Evan Longoria, they added Andrew Chafin to the bullpen, and they have some interesting players around their top guys. Most projection models have them in the high 70s in terms of wins (though ZiPS has them at 81-81), and that’s probably fair given the questions in the rotation and around their offense as a whole.

Their bullpen was one of the worst in the sport last year, which explains why they signed three different major league relievers this winter, in hopes of turning that around in 2023. Anything above 80 wins would be a success this season and dropping back into the 60s would be a huge disappointment, so 75-plus wins seems to fit the bill.

Projected Roster

Per Roster Resource:


  1. LF Corbin Carroll
  2. 2B Ketel Marte
  3. RF Jake McCarthy
  4. 1B Christian Walker
  5. 3B Josh Rojas
  6. DH Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  7. CF Alek Thomas
  8. C Carson Kelly
  9. SS Nick Ahmed


  1. 3B/1B Evan Longoria
  2. OF Kyle Lewis
  3. C Gabriel Moreno
  4. INF Geraldo Perdomo


  1. RHP Zac Gallen
  2. RHP Merrill Kelly
  3. LHP Madison Bumgarner
  4. RHP Zach Davies
  5. RHP Ryne Nelson


  1. LHP Andrew Chafin
  2. RHP Kevin Ginkel
  3. RHP Mark Melancon
  4. LHP Joe Mantiply
  5. RHP Miguel Castro
  6. RHP Scott McGough
  7. LHP Kyle Nelson
  8. RHP Corbin Martin

Biggest Strength

The strength of the 2023 Diamondbacks should come on the right arm of Zac Gallen and the growth of these young everyday players. OF Corbin Carroll and C Gabriel Moreno are going to play and play a lot. The same goes for OFs Jake McCarthy and Alek Thomas. Christian Walker, Ketel Marte and Evan Longoria will provide veteran consistency, but how quickly all this young talent can start to play plus baseball and how well Gallen pitches is what the 2023 Diamondbacks are built on.

Overall, don’t sleep on Walker at first — his projections give Arizona one of the better forecasts at the position in MLB, on the heels of a 4.1 fWAR year last year where he played amazing defense and knocked 36 homers while underhitting his xwOBA. The catcher tandem of Moreno and Carson Kelly, along with Marte, are the biggest individual strengths of the roster.

Biggest Weakness

The biggest weakness can most easily be summed up with everything on the pitching side after Zac Gallen. Merrill Kelly has had some moments and him solidifying himself as legitimate contributor to the rotation that does more than eat innings, would go along way, but after that, it’s all questions. Ryne Nelson could be good, but there are a lot of innings devoted to really weak projections in Zach Davies and Bumgarner, and it’s not clear how much those guys really have left. Who fills out the rest of the rotation? Do the patchwork jobs on the bullpen hold long enough for some reinforcements? I can reasonably predict a scenario where Arizona has some plus position players in 2023. It’s much harder to do that on the pitching side and is mostly likely the weakest part of this team.

Another big weakness: Nick Ahmed, whose last good season was in 2019. He’s coming off a shoulder injury and had abominably bad xwOBAs in both 2021 and 2022. In a league with shortstops that contribute on both sides of the ball, Ahmed is miscast as a starter, but it’s unclear whether the Diamondbacks have any better options, anyway. Lastly, the Diamondbacks, like many teams, don’t have a dedicated DH. That’s not a problem relative to many other teams, but it represents another place where the roster could use an upgrade and is pretty limited right now.

Reinforcements from the Farm

As you’ve probably already noted above, the hope for the Diamondbacks is the development of all this young position player talent. Carroll and Moreno are already up along with Thomas and McCarthy. Next up on the list will be Jordan Lawlar, considered one of the very best prospects in all of baseball at shortstop, and whom many predict will make his debut in 2023, provided he can figure out Double-A, where he struggled after promotion last year. If Nick Ahmed can't provide at least average production at short, don't be surprised if Arizona turns to Lawlar.

The other big possible contributors are starting pitchers Brandon Pfaadt, Drey Jameson, and Ryne Nelson, both considered Top 100 prospects, all of whom could end up in Arizona’s rotation if the veterans in front of them stumble. There’s a good argument that Pfaadt and Jameson are already better-suited to pitch effectively against major-league batters than every non-Gallen member of the rotation, and Nelson has way better projections than Davies or Bumgarner as well.

Braves and Diamondbacks Matchup History

Atlanta played Arizona six times in 2022, going 4-2 in the six games, but it was actually one of the losses that may have been the most important game of the season. On May 30th, the Braves blew a 6-2 lead and lost in walk-off 8-7 at Arizona. It was a game full of blunders and mistakes and led to a team meeting where reportedly, some things were stated very clearly. The Braves reeled off 14 straight wins after that, and took their record from 23-27 to 37-27. They never looked back. Atlanta finished the season by chasing down the Mets and winning the division with 101-61 record. So, thanks, Arizona.

The Braves will see the Snakes for the first time in 2023 on June 2-4 for a three-game series in Arizona. The return series to Atlanta happens July 18-20.

The Braves last lost a season series to the Diamondbacks in 2019, and have lost a season series to them just twice going back to 2008.

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