SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today:Arizona Diamondbacks (2009: 70-92, last in NL West)
STARTING PITCHING Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy could give the Diamondbacks a dominant rotation. It will all come down to whether Webb can return successfully from shoulder surgery. Unfortunately, Webb is not progressing as Arizona would like and may start the season on the disabled list. If there are any further setbacks, the Diamondbacks may have to drive him out into the Arizona desert and shoot him.
LINEUP Arizona has a lot of young players with significant upside, but the the entire lineup needs to cut down on strikeouts. Management wisely locked up 22-year-old outfielder Justin Upton with a 6-year, $51.5 million deal, a far better contract than the one that apparently pays third baseman Mark Reynoldsby the strikeout.
BULLPEN Chad Qualls, Bob Howry, and Clay Zavada form the nucleus of a very solid bullpen. Zavada, of course, is known for his Rollie Fingers-style mustache. Is it a desperate try for attention? Maybe. Or maybe he is just trying to distract us from the fact that his middle name is "Pflibson". (Really. It is.)
BENCH Arizona will look for depth from Ryan Roberts, Rusty Ryal, Augie Ojeda and also several other players who aren't possibly fictional characters from a baseball novella targeted to pre-teens.
OUTLOOK The Diamondbacks have a legitimate shot to go from worst-to-first in the NL West. And that's obviously preferable to worst-to-second, worst-to-third, or worst-to-fourth because those don't rhyme. After worst-to-first, worst-to-worst is probably the second-best outcome.