1. Chris Young
-We all know that Young has plus power and the ability to steal bases, but at the same time, Young has not yet scratched the surface of his vast potential. In 2008, Young struggled to get on base consistently (.315 OBP), hit for a high average (.248) and struck out far too many times (165 K), especially for a leadoff hitter. Young has so many tools and such a high ceiling that Diamondbacks should be optimistic that Young can improve and get better in 2009. While Young may never be a leadoff hitter, there is no reason why he cannot be a very effective major league player. The time is now.
2. How good is Justin Upton?
-Like Chris Young, I beleive that Justin Upton has just scratched the surface of his potential. Upton struggled badly at times in 2008, but still demonstrated a great ability to hit for power (15 HR in 356 AB) and get on base (.353 OBP). Like so many young players, Upton struggled to find consistency in his stroke in 2008, but that will hopefully come with experience. The former first overall pick is only 21 years old and has lots of great baseball ahead of him...beginning in 2009.
3. Who is the real Felipe Lopez?
-A funny thing happened to Felipe Lopez in 2008, once he left the last place Nationals and joined the Cardinals, he began to flourish. Lopez went from being a waste of space with the Nationals to a surprisingly productive and effective second baseman, who could hit for average (.385) and get on base (.426 OBP). Lopez finally demonstrated his great potential in the second half (60 games) of 2008 with the Cardinals, but can he perform for the entire season? If so, the Diamondbacks' offense will become more potent and dangerous, but beware of a down season from Lopez.
4. Max Scherzer
-Scherzer electrified the D-Backs last season by demonstrating his electric stuff mostly out of the bullpen. Right away, you could tell that Scherzer had electric stuff that could make hitters look foolish and something special about him that would push him into the starting rotation in the future. This season, Scherzer will be in the Diamondbacks rotation and he will be heavily counted on. The Diamondbacks are depending on Scherzer to give them 170 innings in 2009 and hopefully his tremendous potential will shine through. If he pitches well, the Diamondbacks will have a devastating rotation.
5. How many times will Mark Reynolds strike out in 2009?
-My guess is 207...anyone willing to take the over?