Even before the first pitch of the regular season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were already ruled out of the National League West race by most analysts.
Coming off an 81-81 season and an offseason that saw the dealing of Justin Upton to Atlanta and Trevor Bauer to Cleveland, the D-backs start the 2013 season in the shadow of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
But ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Tim Kurkjian told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo that he liked what he saw from Arizona in spring training and thinks the season could play out differently than most think.
"I think they can contend," Kurkjian said. "I did not pick them to win a playoff spot, but I think they have a chance."
Kurkjian says he saw a renewed sense of focus and the "chemistry" people are talking about in Arizona is real.
"I sense from being around them a little bit this spring that the attitude is different," Kurkjian said. "In other words, everyone who's there really wants to be there, and I think there is something to be said for that."
But Kurkjian still circled back to the Dodgers and defending World Series Champion Giants as the divisional favorites.
"I think we've learned again never, ever, ever underestimate the Giants and I'm not going to do that again," Kurkjian said. "And the Dodgers, I think I'm one of the few guys that thinks they're going to be a good team."