Sample Team Page from the 2004 Baseball Examiner.
Impact rookie: Edgar Gonzalez. If they really expect to keep him out of the rotation, they're going to have to get somebody better than Shane Reynolds or Steve Sparks. Gonzalez had a 3.69 ERA between two tough minor league parks - 5.25 at home and 2.03 on the road… Chad Tracy can hit .300 in the majors right now. He's blocked at third, but might make the team as a reserve if he shows he can catch a fly ball… Brian Bruney could do OK if a spot ever opens up in the bullpen.
Youngster on the rise: Alex Cintron. Bob Brenly reportedly wants to bat him fifth; with 600 at-bats out of the five-hole, he'll drive in 100 runs and get the props he should have gotten last year.
Positional battle: Right field, eventually. The current choice seems to be Danny Bautista, who isn't awful, but is injury-prone and doesn't have the skills to lock up the job indefinitely. Chad Tracy could get a chance; so could Scott Hairston, if they throw in the towel on him as a second baseman. Luis Terrero won't help and probably never will… Robby Hammock and Brent Mayne will split time behind the plate as dictated by the whims of Bob Brenly.
Slowing veteran: Steve Finley, the oldest starting center field in baseball, will be 39 this year. Last year there was no sign that his offensive game was slipping, but his putouts per nine innings dropped by 19%.
Developing pitcher: Brandon Webb. His win-loss record flat-out lies. Webb notched quality starts in 75% of his outings, the fifth-highest percentage in baseball; the four pitchers ahead of him had an average record of 17-8, and in a just world, Webb would have had a similar ledger… Casey Fossum could take a big step forward, especially with this bullpen behind him. Stamina always has been his problem… John Patterson could help in a relief role.
Alternate closer: Jose Valverde. It's just common sense: When Matt Mantei is the closer, there are going to be chances for other pitchers to close out games, sooner or later. Last year, Valverde got some chances and was brilliant. After Mantei returned, Valverde moved into a setup role and was brilliant there too.
Burnout candidate: Oscar Villarreal. The 21-year-old rookie made the second-most appearances in the majors, had the third-most relief innings, and threw more pitches than all other relievers but two. It also was his first professional season pitching out of the bullpen… Edgar Gonzalez might be at risk too. He threw 184 innings at age 20, following 174.1 the year before. If the Mexican native really is that young, that's a lot of innings. The impact may not be as great as it would appear, though, since he likely is efficient with his pitches.
Overhyped: Luis Terrero, still. A righthanded hitter with no home-run power, no strike-zone judgment, and basestealing technique so poor that his contract ought to contain an incentive clause for not trying to steal.
Funny you should ask: Now that the Diamondbacks have Richie Sexson and Roberto Alomar, will they have a championship-caliber offense? No. There's another potential point of improvement: They'll have Shea Hillenbrand for the entire season. Even with all that, though, they won't be that much better. Last year they got less production out of their first basemen than any team in baseball; Sexson will be an enormous improvement. At second and third, however, they weren't all that bad. Junior Spivey, Matt Kata and the rest of their second basemen hit .257 with 22 homers; Alomar, by comparison, hit for a similar average without the power. Hillenbrand and a cast of thousands at third combined to hit .263 and slug .440, only slightly below Hillenbrand's overall numbers. And, of course, Hillenbrand got on base less often. If everyone performs up to last year's levels, the net gain will be on the order of 30-40 runs. Arizona's offense was 30 runs below the NL average last year - in a hitters' park.