The Arizona Diamondbacks clinched a playoff berth on Saturday thanks to a loss by the Cincinnati Reds. The Diamondbacks are making their first trip to the postseason since 2017. They are the sixth and final National League team to clinch a berth in the 2023 playoffs, and the D-backs secured their spot just minutes after the Marlins grabbed theirs.
Arizona will either be the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the National League. The Diamondbacks are currently hosting the Astros on Saturday night, but do not need a win to clinch their playoff spot.
The Diamondbacks have been through some tough times since their last playoff appearance. Over the last two seasons, for instance, they amassed 198 losses. The Diamondbacks can credit their impressive turnaround to a few factors, including the emergence of expected Rookie of the Year Award recipient Corbin Carroll, a notable offseason trade that has borne fruit, and a ferocious one-two punch at the top of their rotation.
Carroll, 23, required little ramp-up time in the majors. He entered Saturday batting .287/.363/.510 (136 OPS+) with 25 home runs, 76 RBI, and 54 stolen bases (on 59 attempts). His contributions have been worth an estimated 5.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference's calculations. Were it not for some other outstanding seasons by opponents in the National League, he would likely have generated more buzz about winning both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Awards. Alas, that does not seem likely to come to pass.
The Diamondbacks made a gutsy move last winter when they dealt outfielder Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. It's fair to say, nearly a year later, that the deal was an important one for the Diamondbacks. Moreno and Gurriel have notched seven Wins Above Replacement this season. Varsho, meanwhile, had a disappointing showing offensively with Toronto.
The Diamondbacks will wrap up their regular season with one more game against the Astros. That could, in theory, serve as a World Series preview.