D-backs capable of winning NL West title

Rotation acquisitions, positive clubhouse attitude can boost Arizona

D-backs capable of winning NL West title

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- You can easily be fooled by Spring Training numbers, so when making predictions for the D-backs in 2016, throw out the raw data.

Look away from the monster numbers the offense has produced. Discount the win-loss record, which led the Cactus League.

Yet even if you do that, it's hard to come away from watching Arizona play this spring and not be impressed. So the prediction goes that in 2016, they will win their first National League West championship since '11.

The D-backs set out to improve their rotation in the offseason, and they certainly did that with the additions of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. They also have a full year of Patrick Corbin, who will be two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

With just days left in camp, the D-backs still have fierce position battles raging at second base and shortstop, as well as in the outfield.

There are four pitchers competing for what looks like one open spot in the bullpen.

That means that as the season goes along and the inevitable injuries or slumps occur, Arizona will have tremendous depth to draw from in the Minor Leagues when it comes to position players and pitchers.

Gilbert on new-look D-backs

"There's been a lot of guys playing pretty well," ace Greinke said. "It shows that there's more depth than maybe originally thought by me. There are a lot of guys playing good, so that's good to know in case there's some injuries along the way."

With the Dodgers and Giants sustaining some injuries this spring, it might open the door even more for the D-backs.

And while it's hard to quantify, there seems to be a really good vibe in the clubhouse. That certainly helps over the course of a long season, during which players spend more time with each other than they do with their families.

"It's not just what they do on the field," first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said of his teammates. "But the type of people they are, the hard work that I see them put in with early work or staying after, the communication, the selfless things that the guys do. That ... makes me very optimistic, because I know the type of guys we have that when things get rough -- because they're going to get rough -- guys won't give in. They're going to keep playing hard. We started to see it last year, and hopefully it will continue this year."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.