Let’s face it: The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a tough decade, especially in recent years. The team has only one postseason appearance in 10 years, and that ended in a decisive defeat to the eventual league champion Dodgers. The last time they won a playoff game was in 2007, before they were swept by Colorado in the NLCS.
However, hope may be on the horizon.
The Diamondbacks organization has one of the best groups of young players making their way to the major leagues and is currently ranked as the fifth best farm system in the majors. In fact, Arizona ranked in the top 10 farm systems in each of the last five polls, including during the preseason and midseason.
The Diamondbacks need to achieve several goals, the biggest of which should be ending the current postseason drought. High hopes are building to start the 2022 season, as Alec Thomas makes his major league debut in early May.
Thomas said, “You don’t know how good you are until you play here, you know.”
The rookie got off to a solid start, impressing the crowd with his outstanding defense and showing off his aggressive putter. A Chicago product from Mount Carmel High School, Thomas is one of several young Diamondbacks to play high school baseball in the country. Texas Christian committed to playing baseball and football before choosing to go straight to professional ball and quickly working his way up to the majors.
Another piece of potential big field heartthrob is Jake McCarthy. Debuting late last season, he averaged rookie numbers, quietly improving his batting average from . 220 to . 283 at the end of his first full season of the year. With more competition this year, McCarthy has taken full advantage of the opportunity to become a powerful strongman. He touched on his success late in the season.
“More experience, more hitting under my belt – I wouldn’t say there’s a stark change in my game, just understanding I’m capable of playing at that level,” McCarthy said.
There is a lot of excitement around the current young Diamondback linebackers, but perhaps no one attracts more attention than outfielder phenomenon Druw Jones. Jones was recently selected second overall in the 2022 MLB June Amateur Draft and ranks 12th overall on MLB’s 2022 best prospect list.
He’s expected to have a smooth and swift sweep through the minors before joining the seniors and following in the footsteps of his father (Andrew Jones), who won 10 Gold Gloves and had five All-Star appearances during his 17-year career.
In high school, Jones led Wesleyan to a Georgia state title while earning Georgia Player of the Year honors. He committed to Vanderbilt as a sophomore, but blossomed quickly the next two seasons and earned an $8,189,400 signing bonus. The third-highest bonus in MLB draft history, the decision was an easy one.
The Diamondbacks see in Jones an amazing combination of strength and speed with his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. They see him as the final puzzle piece to complete this highly skilled young outside field.
The field appears to be covered from a scout’s point of view, but reinforcements are required for the rest of the field and staff. It’s hard — and easy — to have a playoff-caliber ball club without a good pitch. So as new players gain experience in their first few seasons, it’s time to let them develop and get a better offer.
The Diamondbacks finished the season with the eighth-worst ERA in the majors—improving from finishing the 2021 season with the second-worst mark. If it weren’t for Zac Gallen’s stellar 2.54 ERA, they would certainly be closer to the bottom of that list.
So, how long will it take the Diamondbacks to get back into the postseason?
Well, it looks more realistic with the new 12-team format, but the organization is going to have to make some serious moves and acquisitions to end the drought.
Behind a large number of young talents, there may be big things on the horizon.
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