It’s been a more than a half-decade since the Arizona Diamondbacks last made the postseason, leading fans to wonder when the franchise will return to the sport’s biggest stage.
As Arizona fast approaches its season opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers on Thursday, it’s worth wondering whether 2023 is the year of the Diamondback, with a revamped roster and rejuvenated expectations.
With superstar rookie Corbin Carroll in the fold and last year’s WAR leaders, in first baseman Christian Walker (5.1 WAR in 160 games) and third baseman Josh Rojas (3.2 WAR in 125 games) anchoring the team’s infield, it seems now is the time for Arizona to make a playoff run in the ever-competitive NL West.
But Arizona sports betting oddsmakers aren’t buying into the D-backs’ hype just yet.
BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona lists the team at +12500 to win its second World Series, with a win total of 75.5.
Still, with a stacked infield and a solid starting rotation spearheaded by Merrill Kelly (3.5 WAR in 2022) and Zac Gallen (5.1 WAR in 2022), there’s reason for optimism.
BetArizona.com, your home to the best information on Arizona sports betting apps, broke down how the franchise’s best (and worst) seasons started to get a sense for how important the opening 20 games of the regular season are to a team’s chances.
Best Diamondbacks Seasons*
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Worst Diamondbacks Seasons
How Important Are Opening 20 Games to D-Backs?
It seems starting strong isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for success, at least based on the D-backs’ 26-year history. In the team’s three strongest seasons, including their World Series run in 2001, the D-backs have averaged 10.3 wins out of the gate, while their three worst teams (2004, 2014 and 2021) won an average of 8.7 games per year.
According to Power Rankings Guru, the D-backs have the 11th toughest strength of schedule in 2023, meaning the schedule should balance out a bit after a tough start.
In their opening 20 games, the D-backs face the Dodgers eight times (four at home, four away), with three games apiece against San Diego, Milwaukee, Miami and St. Louis.
Of those five teams, the Dodgers, Padres and Cardinals made the postseason, while the Brewers came close (at 86-76) and the Marlins struggled through a 69-93 season.
If the D-backs can make it through that opening gauntlet intact, they’ll have a shot of at least qualifying for a Wild Card spot in the National League.
Who Could Excel For Arizona This Year
Keep an eye on the aforementioned Rookie of the Year candidate, in Carroll, along with infielders like Walker, Rojas and shortstop Geraldo Perdomo (0.7 WAR in 148 games in 2022).
The D-backs also made waves during the offseason by acquiring 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis from Seattle for catcher Cooper Hummel, betting the 27-year-old can find his old form in the desert.
On the bump, Kelly, Gallen and Zach Davies will anchor the staff in 2023, with the trio coming off a year where they combined for 9.3 WAR and 27 wins between them.
One way or another, Arizona will need all of the above to find their best form if the D-backs are going to return to October baseball in 2023.