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Arizona Diamondbacks: 2023’s Cinderella

Merrill Kelly pitches on the road for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

One of the most surprising teams from the 2023 postseason who could be a Cinderella story is the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Despite only finishing with an 84-78 regular season, the Arizona Diamondbacks just about gave the baseball world a major shock representing the National League in the World Series.

With a bright future ahead of them, Arizona looks to be a dynamite team in the desert. Not only that, they also have one of the youngest rosters in the sport.

The young guys are proving to be some exciting players to watch in future seasons. It also goes to show that, sometimes, regular season mediocrity can play spoiler and make some serious noise in the playoffs.

For more on Back Sports Page’s end-of-season recaps, check out new writer Joshua Ambroise‘s first BSP article on the New York Yankees.

So, what is on deck in the offseason for the Arizona Diamondbacks? Let’s go slithering through the desert to discuss the details…

Embracing the Chaos

Throughout the season, the Diamondbacks adopted the motto “Embrace the Chaos.” And they certainly made some chaos as they went on their Cinderella-esque run.

While the offense wasn’t the best facet of the team, the Snakes saw some key players step up to lead them to surprise success.

Overall, Arizona finished tenth in the National League with 1359 hits and tenth with 166 home runs. However, they were more toward the middle of the pack for team batting average (seventh in NL with .250), on-base percentage (eighth at .322), slugging (eighth, .408), and walks (ninth with 540).

However, one thing that is prevalent for the Diamondbacks: speed. They hit the most triples in the Senior Circuit with 44, and they stole the second-most bases with 166.

Offense: Young Gun and a Power Veteran Strike Gold

One name immediately grabbing the headlines: Rookie of the Year OF Corbin Carroll. In his first full season, the 23-year-old outfielder showed out and immediately became a spark plug. Carroll completed 2023 with a team-leading 161 hits, .285 average, 25 home runs, 76 RBIs, and stole a whopping 54 bases. He also hit 10 triples in 2023, most amongst rookies, and second overall in the Majors.

Carroll looks to be one of the rare five-tool players who can do it all for a team. And if his first full season is any indication, he looks to be well on his way to a very illustrious career.

Walker Emerging as Major Power Threat

In the power category, one guy who is turning into a dominant force is 1B Christian Walker. After posting a career-best 36 home runs last season, Walker kept his swing intact and built some positive momentum in other categories. Walker finished 2023 with a .258/.333/.497 slash line, 33 home runs, a career-high 103 RBIs, and a career-high 36 doubles.

Walker is finding his career to be a bit of a late bloomer, but the Diamondbacks are finding the key to his success.

Pitching: Rotation Has Two Studs, Mid-Season Acquisition Proves Fruitful

While the pitching statistics may be misleading, the Diamondbacks look to have some serious value.

Sure, the stats put Arizona toward the bottom half of the Senior Circuit. But overall, they have some key pieces that make this a good group.

Gallen Turning Into an Ace

One pitcher in particular who has settled into the desert is right-hander SP Zac Gallen. Gallen finished third in the NL Cy Young voting, and he has ace written all over him. In 2023, Gallen touts a 17-9 record, a 3.47 ERA, and 220 strikeouts in 210 innings. Gallen also had a 4.68 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which makes him one of the better K-rating pitchers in the game.

He also logged a career-high 34 starts this season, so he knows he can be a workhorse. Gallen is a future star pitcher who has plenty of ace potential.

But every Batman needs his Robin. And for Gallen, his compadre is SP Merrill Kelly. Kelly compiled a 12-8 mark in 30 starts with a solid 3.29 ERA, 187 strikeouts in 177.2 innings, and, looks to be a good pitcher to partner with Gallen in the rotation.

Gallen and Kelly to look to be anchors of the staff in Arizona.

Sewald Makes Instant Impact

The Diamondbacks were active at the trade deadline this season. One of their acquisitions was reliever CP Paul Sewald, who stepped up as their closer. After coming to the desert, Sewald continued to prove to be lights out. In 20 appearances, the 33-year-old right hander tallied 13 saves and a 3.57 ERA. Sewald looks to be a dynamic back-end reliever who can be trusted with slamming the door shut at the end of games. Just don’t bring up Game 1 of the World Series.

What Does Arizona Need to Do in the Offseason?

For a Cinderella team, one thing that seemed to lack for the Arizona Diamondbacks was power. Therefore, the team will need to go out and find themselves someone who can bring some spark to the plate. Now, Arizona already went out and acquired 3B Eugenio Suarez via trade. He will certainly help, but there are a couple more options that they should consider. Overall, the Diamondbacks are quite the surprise for 2023. It should be exciting to see if they can carry momentum into 2024.


Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate also works as a cashier and can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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