Rebuilding season or not, falling short of the playoffs and finishing with a losing record probably means that more things went wrong than went right for a team. This series, however, will focus on those silver linings that each team can take away from an otherwise disappointing season.
[Related: “Top Bright Spots” archive]
Here are the biggest bright spots for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
1. Jean Segura, 2B
The offseason trade that sent Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair to the Braves for Shelby Miller was heavily criticized at the time and looks even worse now. It’s a deal that has cast a dark cloud over Dave Stewart’s tenure as the Diamondbacks’ general manager. Unfortunately, it will also overshadow any good moves that he has made, especially the acquisition of Segura—Chase Anderson, Aaron Hill and Isan Diaz were traded to the Brewers in the deal—less than two months later.
While Anderson has had a solid season in the Brewers’ rotation and the 20-year-old Diaz put up huge numbers in Low-A ball, Segura bounced back from back-to-back poor seasons with one that is worthy of at least a handful of MVP votes. An impressive .320 batting average with 201 hits, 40 doubles, 20 homers and 32 stolen bases has the 26-year-old, who is under contract for two more seasons, heading into 2017 as one of the top middle infielders in baseball.
2. Yasmany Tomas, RF
As recently as late July, it was easy to lump Tomas’ six-year, $68.5MM deal in with other recent moves that hadn’t quite panned out. Tomas had a subpar rookie season in 2015 and, after a strong start to the 2016 season, was in the midst of a two-month long slump (.641 OPS, 5 BB, 52 K from May 26th thru July 23rd) when something finally clicked.
Since July 24th, the 25-year-old has been one of the elite sluggers in the game with a .934 OPS, 17 homers and 12 doubles in 225 plate appearances. It’s great timing, too. With an abundance of hitting talent on the D’backs, not enough at-bats to go around and Tomas’ trade value on the rise, American League teams with a need at DH—Tomas is a bad defensive outfielder—should have plenty of interest.