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Know Your Enemy: Arizona Diamondbacks

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This team could surprise.

A view of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Diamondbacks' spring home in Scottsdale, Arizona
A view of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Diamondbacks' spring home in Scottsdale, Arizona
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Cubs are facing the D'backs today, it seemed appropriate to have a look at their 2016 squad.

This is likely going to be a minority opinion around here, but I think the Arizona Diamondbacks are well-positioned to, at the very least, be in the wild-card conversation in 2016.

The biggest reason is the acquisition of Zack Greinke, one of the best pitchers on the planet. Patrick Corbin, who missed all of 2014 and half of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, returned late last year and was very good. And though the D'backs gave up a lot in the deal to get Shelby Miller, Miller actually pitched quite well in 2015 despite a horrid won/lost record. Miller was dead last among 124 qualified starters in run support and posted 3.6 bWAR.

Adding Greinke and Miller to a team that surprised a lot of people by winning 79 games last year ought to put them into at least the mid-80s in victories, in my opinion, and that gets them into the wild-card race (well, it wouldn't have last year, but often, that does).

Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best hitters in baseball and A.J. Pollock had an excellent year. David Peralta, expected to start in left field, is somewhat underrated in my view, and Welington Castillo had a surprisingly good season with the bat. Whether that can be repeated is anyone's guess.

It's true that Arizona has some less-than-good players starting at several positions. The left side of their infield (Jake Lamb, Jean Segura) are guys who just won't hit much, and it's anyone's guess as to how Yasmany Tomas will do in his second big-league season. The D'backs scored a lot of runs in 2015, though, finishing second in the National League, and the pitching this season is significantly improved. This team is my sleeper pick for outperforming in 2016.

The Cubs and Diamondbacks meet during the first week of the season, a four-game series at Chase Field from April 7-10. They'll play a three-game set at Wrigley Field June 3-4-5.