Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 3/2/12

On Thursday, Ben Lindbergh examined the roster flaws of baseball’s best teams. For the Diamondbacks, he identified trouble spots at first and third base, which are occupied by Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts, respectively.

We also learned on Thursday that shortstop Stephen Drew is still recovering from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered on July 20. Doctors initially told Drew that it would take a full year to regain flexibility and strength in the ankle, which means that playing on Opening Day would put the 28-year-old nearly four months ahead of schedule. Both Drew and manager Kirk Gibson were noncommittal when asked if he would be ready by April 6, but one thing is nearly certain—he will not be 100 percent.

If Drew needs to start the season on the disabled list, Gibson would likely turn to veteran John McDonald at short, preferring his steady glove to the small offensive edge Willie Bloomquist might offer.

Second base is also a question mark. Aaron Hill—acquired with McDonald late last season from the Blue Jays for Kelly Johnson—enjoyed a renaissance in the desert, batting .315/.386/.492 over 142 plate appearances. But Hill was worth -0.2 WARP overall in 2011, and his September surge was buoyed by a .359 BABIP that does not jibe with his career .285 mark.

Even with Drew at shortstop, the Diamondbacks’ infield appears to be an Achilles heel. Without his steady, productive presence, the group as a whole may be the team’s undoing. Fortunately for the Diamondbacks, the other components of their roster are strong.

In stark contrast to the infield, the outfield—comprised of Chris Young in center, flanked by Justin Upton and Jason Kubel, with Gerardo Parra serving as an elite fourth outfielder—is one of the best overall units in the league. Upton is a trendy MVP candidate, and both he and Young are Gold Glove-caliber defenders. That is particularly important for the D’backs, because their pitching staff relies heavily on fly-ball outs. 

The addition of Trevor Cahill strengthened the starting rotation, while the Takashi Saito signing deepened the bullpen. The Diamondbacks also have reinforcements on their way through the farm system, most notably top prospect Trevor Bauer, who should debut before the end of the summer.

The question marks in the infield are the only obstacles that currently stand between the Diamondbacks and a second consecutive division crown. But if Drew is not healthy and Hill fades back to his pre-September form, a repeat in the NL West is far from certain. 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady would be 'very jealous' if Manning wins Super Bowl

John Elway takes swipe at John Fox

Jets DT: I won't watch a Super Bowl 'until I play in one'

Hall of Fame coach: Stephen Curry is the best of all time

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

WATCH: Tom Brady booed during Super Bowl 50 MVP ceremony

Cam Newton's cleats have 'MVP' and stats written on them

Concession prices incredibly high at Super Bowl 50

Fan at Super Bowl 50 wears awesome dual-team jersey

Skip Bayless whiffed badly on Cam Newton prediction

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker