With the end of MLB's regular season coming next week, Bally Sports will review the performance of each club with an eye looking at what happened in 2021 and another at what could happen next season. Our first Exit Interview is with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
What went right
• Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first major league start Aug. 14, a 7-0 victory against the Padres at Chase Field.
• Shortstop Nick Ahmed leads the majors in outs above average.
• Madison Bumgarner has posted a 3.64 ERA over 12 starts in the second half.
• Right-hander Luke Weaver returned to the mound in the second half.
• They don't steal bases, but they are a top 10 team in baserunning, per Fangraphs.
• The D-backs were 15-13 on May 2.
• They went 5-1 against the Reds, 4-3 against the Phillies and 4-2 against the Pirates.
What went wrong
• After a solid start in April, they went a combined 8-48 in May and June, including a 17-game losing streak.
• A Cy Young candidate in the preseason, right-hander Zac Gallen endured one setback after another. He has made three trips to the injured list and the D-backs are 4-17 in his starts.
• Outfielder Kole Calhoun didn't have much of a chance to sustain the success he had in 2019-20, needing surgery to repair a torn hamstring in late April. He is back on the active roster.
• This is the seventh time in club history, including the fifth time since 2009, the D-backs have lost 90-plus games. They have to win four more times this week and next to avoid equaling their single-season, franchise-worst record of 51-111, set in 2004.
• Their top two prospects, infielder Jordan Lawlar and outfielder Corbin Carroll, sustained season-ending shoulder injuries. Lawlar, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 draft, had surgery on his left shoulder. It's possible his renab might delay the start of his 2022 season. Carroll is expected to be ready for the start of next season, but missing most of 2021 will delay his ascension to the majors.
Ketel Marte (at least on offense). Despite missing about half of the season because of injuries, Marte brought a lot of production, batting .327/.387/.542 with 12 homers in 79 games heading into action Tuesday.
Gilbert was a Rule 5 pick from the Dodgers in December, posted a 3.15 ERA in six starts before going on the injured list with a sore elbow.
Reasons for optimism
• Daulton Varsho and Carson Kelly — who is back after sustaining a broken hand — give the D-backs much better depth at catcher than most franchises.
• Despite the injuries, the farm system was ranked No. 9 overall by MLB Pipeline at midseason.
• Given a fresh start in 2022, the D-backs starting rotation can be a strength, if Gallen and Weaver can return to form, if Gilbert is healthy, and if Bumgarner continues his second-half trajectory.
• Manager Torey Lovullo didn't seem to be a problem when the team finished above .500 in his first three seasons. He's got a good reputation and the organization made a good non-move in keeping him despite the dismal state of things in 2021.
What needs work
• The bullpen needs a complete overhaul. Not only is it last in the NL in ERA, but it's also last in K%. There are no particularly encouraging metrics, actually.
• The D-backs aren't last in runs scored, wOBA or isolated power, but not many teams are worse. They're also 12th in BABIP, so it's hard to build a case that their hitters have been unlucky.
• It is unlikely that they're going to overcome the stiff competition in the NL West in one offseason, but they could use at least three big additions in the lineup just to raise hope and expectations.