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|TOP 10 PROSPECTS|
|1. Dansby Swanson, ss|
|2. Aaron Blair, rhp|
|3. Braden Shipley, rhp|
|4. Archie Bradley, rhp|
|5. Brandon Drury, 3b/2b|
|6. Yoan Lopez, rhp|
|7. Alex Young, lhp|
|8. Socrates Brito, of|
|9. Isan Diaz, ss/2b|
|10.Peter O’Brien, c/of|
The Diamondbacks had nowhere to go but up in 2015 after finishing with the worst record in baseball the year before. Arizona put a better product on the field in 2015 and was more competitive in the National League West, finishing the season at 79-83, 15 wins better than the 2014 club. Still, the Diamondbacks finished 13 games behind the first-place Dodgers and never did put together the push needed to make up ground.
The D-backs ranked second in the NL in runs scored in 2015 and did so with strong showings in on-base percentage (.324, third) and slugging (.414, second), so they should again have one of the top offenses in the league in 2016. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and center fielder A.J. Pollock form an all-star cornerstone for Arizona.
The D-backs operated under new management in 2015. General manager Dave Stewart, senior vice president De Jon Watson and manager Chip Hale all were in their first years on the job, while chief baseball officer Tony La Russa joined the organization midway through the 2014 season.
The new baseball operations department focused on paring down payroll by trading veterans Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Miguel Montero, Mark Trumbo and Bronson Arroyo. Trading Arroyo came with a catch, however. In order to shed the $10 million still owed to the 38-year-old veteran, who missed the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, the D-backs bundled 2014 first-round righthander Touki Toussaint in the deal, a move that was met with near-universal disdain throughout the industry.
The deals to reduce salary largely worked out, while also freeing up playing time for four of the system’s top 10 prospects entering 2015. Right fielder Yasmany Tomas, third baseman Jake Lamb and shortstop Nick Ahmed earned regular play and generally met expectations, but righthander Archie Bradley struggled after getting hit with a line drive in his fourth big league start.
Hale will return for his second season at the helm, but he’ll be backed by a revamped coaching staff. Pitching coach Mike Harkey will be replaced by former Angels coach Mike Butcher. Third base coach Andy Green left to take the managerial job with the Padres, while bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. departed to assume the pitching coach job in Seattle. The D-backs hired Athletics minor league pitching coordinator Garvin Alston to replace Stottlemyre.
Owning the No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 draft, Arizona selected Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson and signed him for $6.5 million. The D-backs signed 36 of 40 picks in what turned out for them to be a college-heavy draft. They were criticized in the industry for using just over $11 million of the available $12.9 million bonus pool, but the D-backs believe they got the players they wanted.
Both short-season Hillsboro (Northwest) and Rookie-level Missoula (Pioneer) won league crowns. Overall, their seven domestic affiliates combined for a 420-345 (.549) record that ranked second-best in baseball.