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Diamondbacks Defy Odds With Rise in NL West

Rookie Carroll Leading Charge for Surprising Arizona

When it came to the MLB predictions coming into the season, not much was expected from an Arizona Diamondbacks team that had missed the playoffs in each of the last five years and had three straight losing seasons.

Ten National League teams had better odds to win the World Series than the Diamondbacks. When looking at the MLB betting lines, only Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Washington had longer championship odds. That is certainly not the case any longer.

Diamondbacks Defy Odds With Rise in NL West
Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies/Norm Hall/Getty Images/AFP

Much of the MLB news when it comes to Arizona has focused on ace pitcher Zac Gallen and rookie phenom Corbin Carroll. However, it took more than two players to lead a team to the second-best record in the National League.

The Dodgers were priced at -120 to win the National League West, the San Diego Padres came in at +100 and were followed by the San Francisco Giants at +1000 coming into the 2023 season. Arizona was well back at +4000. The Dodgers (-275) are still favored to capture the division title. However, Arizona’s odds have moved to +350.

According to the MLB picks Arizona’s odds to win the World Series have moved from +12500 to +2800.

Better Than Advertised

There was plenty of excitement surrounding Carroll coming into the season. The MLB betting lines had Carroll at +450 in the odds to win the National League Rookie of the Year. Only Jordan Walker of the St. Louis Cardinals was viewed as a better candidate.

The 22-year-old Carroll was batting .309 heading into May. He was just getting warmed up.

With reigning American League Most Valuable Player Aaron Judge no longer among the list of qualified hitters due to the number of games that he has missed, Carroll has the best OPS (combined on-base percentage and slugging percentage).

He is sitting at .993 in the OPS to go with a .311 batting average, 51 runs, 14 home runs, 34 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases. At his current pace, he would top 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases. It is no wonder that he has moved to the top of the MLB odds when it comes to the Rookie of the Year race.

He is hitting over .300 against both lefties and righties. Carroll has a .344 average with runners on base and a .353 mark with two outs and runners in scoring position. Forget the Rookie of the Year race; it is time to start talking about Carroll’s Most Valuable Player odds.

Carroll is not doing it alone with Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Geraldo Perdomo and Lourdes Gurriel among the other hitters delivering for the Diamondbacks.

Backing Up Zac

There was a time when fans of the Diamondbacks had to hold their collective breath when somebody other than Gallen was pitching.

While there is still plenty on the shoulders of the 27-year-old ace, Gallen is getting some help.

Merrill Kelly actually has more wins (eight) than the seven recorded by Gallen. Tommy Henry, a 25-year-old lefty, is 3-1 in 10 games (nine starts).

Relievers Kyle Nelson, Kevin Ginkel and Andrew Chafin are a combined 9-2 as the Diamondbacks have overcome the disappointment of Madison Bumgarner posting an 0-3 mark with a 10.26 ERA before being let go.

Arizona is 16-10 with a 3.59 ERA following a loss this season and that has been a key to the surprising surge for a team given a regular-season expected win total of 75½ before the season began.

With seven players on the current active roster 25 or younger, the best could be yet to come for Arizona.

Taking Care of Business

There are plenty of numbers to consider with the Diamondbacks and that includes an 11-8 record in one-run games.

However, a 16-9 record against fellow National League West Division teams might be the game-changer.

The Diamondbacks are 5-3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team listed by the Las Vegas odds as the favorite to win the division before the season started. They are also 3-1 against the San Francisco Giants. That has helped the Diamondbacks build up a three-game lead on Los Angeles in the NL West.

More numbers to consider include Arizona’s 40-28 record against the run line, and only Texas, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Washington have better numbers.

Location Doesn’t Matter

When Arizona was tied with the Baltimore Orioles with 110 losses during the 2021 season, there were many factors behind the franchise’s worst record since 2004.

It didn’t help that the 61 road losses were the most in the majors. Arizona won just 20 games on the road and the Diamondbacks have already won 20 away contests. It took 50 fewer games to get to that mark than it did just two years ago.

While the hitting numbers are better at home than on the road, there isn’t that much of a drop-off with the batting average going from .272 to .256 and the slugging percentage moving from .443 to .436 on the road.

The fans have been slow to come around as the Diamondbacks were 21st in attendance during the 2022 season, averaging 19,817 fans. They are currently 20th with just under 900 more fans per game.

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