Diamondbacks Looking to Evaluate Increased Depth

With a team such as the Arizona Diamondbacks who have a young core of players, there is very few roster spots up for grabs this spring. On a veteran team where the front office may be looking to get younger, there are more opportunities to make the team but not so with the 2010 Diamondbacks.

Arizona went into Spring Training with their starting line-up already identified. With the departure of Eric Byrnes the left fielder job will go to Conor Jackson who is coming off “valley fever” and looks fully recovered.

Center field will be manned by Chris Young who is showing this spring that 2009 was an anomaly and not the rule. So far in Spring Training Young is hitting well and is playing tremendous defense.

Right field is of course manned by Justin Upton who has matured into an all-star in just his third season in the major leagues. He continues to show why he was the number one overall pick in 2005.

The infield is also well defined with Mark Reynolds at third base with his 44 home runs and 102 RBIs. Stephen Drew will be back at shortstop hoping to rebound from a subpar year last season.

The right side of the infield will be made up of newcomers. Kelly Johnson was signed as a free agent from the Atlanta Braves to play second and Adam LaRoche will take over the duties at first base.

Both of these players look to bring additional offense to the desert and give the Diamondbacks a well balanced batting order from one to eight.

Catcher Miguel Montero made the most of his playing time when starter Chris Snyder went down with an injury. He comes in as the starter with Snyder being the back-up. Both are capable of starting and give the team a good duo behind the plate.

The reserves will include Augie Ojeda and Ryan Roberts as utility players. Both look to see a lot of playing time as they each play multiple positions. Ojeda played games at third, short and second last season.

Roberts played each of those positions as well as left field allowing manager AJ Hinch a lot of opportunities. Outfielder Gerardo Parra burst onto the scene last year playing for the injured Jackson. He hopes to build on his rookie season by playing each of the three outfield spots.

With all of these players, there remains one roster spot remaining. The candidates for that spot include outfielder Cole Gillespie and infielders Tony Abreu and Rusty Ryal. Going into spring the odds on favorite was Ryal with his experience last year.

Gillespie and Abreu have both played extremely well this spring making the choice even more difficult. It had been assumed the Diamondbacks would not carry five outfielders forcing Gillespie back to the minor leagues. He has shown versatility at the plate and in the field outplaying Parra at almost every turn.

Likewise Abreu has shown why he was such an important part of the trade with the Dodgers that sent pitcher Jon Garland to Los Angeles. He has played well at second, third and short leading many in the organization to question why they would send him back to Triple-A.

Ryal has also added to his repertoire playing all of the infield positions as well as taking drills in the outfield. Hinch is going to have his work cut out for him making the decision. With the way these young players are producing don’t be surprised if General Manager Josh Byrnes makes a move before Spring Training is over.

Likely candidates for a trade include Ojeda and Snyder. If that happens the Diamondbacks will break camp with both Ryal and Abreu and add catcher John Hester as Montero’s back-up. It is going to be an interesting lead up to Opening Day on April 5.



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