Series Preview – new look Diamondbacks, all rookie outfield come to town
When the Dodgers and Arizona faced off at the beginning of the year down under, it was expected that Arizona would be some competition for the Dodgers for 1st place instead of battling with everyone for last place. Nothing has gone right for the Diamondbacks since the trip to down under, and the team that will take the place Tuesday night is nothing like the team that opened the year with such high hopes.
The GM is outta here, he should have packed his bags with Marty Prado. Gibby is on thin ice. Their golden 1st baseman is out for the year. Their golden arm prospect missed parts of the year, and has yet to impress when he has toed the mound. The team is a mess, and unlike the Padres the changes this summer have not helped the team. In August the team ranks 29th out of 30 teams in wRC+. The ability to score runs. If you want to go old school their BA is .226 which also ranks 29th out of 30 teams in August.
Who are these guys?
1st Base – Goldy be gone for the year. At least the Diamondbacks know they have one of the great weapons in baseball when he’s healthy. With Goldy gone Mark Trumbo gets to play 1st base and try to provide some power. The Trumbo / Skaggs deal hasn’t yielded much for either team in 2014. Skaggs is out for the year and possibly next year. Trumbo missed most of this summer. On April 6th, after nine games, Trumbo had an OPS of 1.140 with a league leading five home runs. Since that point Mr. Trumbo has a TSL of .218 / .284 / .318 with three home runs in 201 plate appearances. Trumbo has started to hit in August with a .807 OPS so far. Hard to imagine a slugger like Trumbo going 200 odd plate appearances with a slug% of just .318 but he did.
2nd base – Aaron Hill had been one of the more underrated offensive second baseman in baseball ranking near the top of most offensive categories for NL second baseman since showing up from Toronto.
Player OPS+ G From To PA BA OBP SLG OPS Matt Carpenter 136 271 2012 2013 1057 .310 .383 .475 .858 Aaron Hill 130 243 2012 2013 1030 .298 .359 .501 .860 Chase Utley 121 214 2012 2013 893 .273 .355 .457 .812 Neil Walker 113 262 2012 2013 1081 .265 .340 .422 .763 Daniel Murphy 105 317 2012 2013 1309 .288 .325 .409 .734 Marco Scutaro 104 283 2012 2013 1230 .302 .352 .389 .741
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However 2014 has been a complete disaster for Hill, who only boasts a .651 OPS and has now lost time to one Cliff Pennington. Pennington is actually hitting with a robust .904 OPS so far in August. Given Cliff’s history, this might be the best offensive month of his career.
SS – When one talks about trade disasters and Arizona most of the focus has been on the explicable trade of Justin Upton. Yet Arizona can possibly boast of yet another disaster of a deal. They moved highly touted pitching prospect Trevor Bauer for good fielding no hit Gigi Gregorius . Gigi was the starting SS for all of 2013 and for a rookie acquitted himself well. Yet, Arizona wanted more offense and went with rookie Chris Owings for 2014. Owing did exactly what they wanted, giving them some offense at SS. Chris is now hurt so Gigi is back at SS and so far in August has an OPS of .464. Not a misprint. Bauer meanwhile has finally broken into the Indian rotation and while he’s not setting the world on fire, he’s not Trevor Cahill. Which begs the question, if you have Chris Owing in you minor league system, why trade a top pitching prospect for a player who is already redundant?
3rd Base – Last man standing. Prado is gone. Chavez is gone. Matt Davidson is gone. Andy Marte was Andy Marte. Which left AA prospect Jacob Lamb standing. Lamb has struggled so far but it was asking a lot for a AA prospect to step into the starting job at 3rd base. I’m not sure if Lamb is a legitimate prospect but if he does pan out, Dodgers fans might start expecting more of Scott Schebler than they have been led to believe he has to offer.
C – Miguel Montero – a nice bounce back year for Montero who had been a consistent offensive force until last year. He had a horrible July but seems to have found his stroke once again in August with an .878 OPS so far which is his best month of 2014.
The normal outfield configuration these days appears to be David Peralta / Ender Inciarte / Alfredo Marte. Not exactly the outfield configuration that Arizona expected to hit 2014 with. The opening day outfield was Parra / Pollock / Trumbo.
Parra be gone. Pollock be hurt. Trumbo be at 1st base. Cody Ross would have been next in line but he’s also hurt. Peralta is already 26 and this is his first taste of the major leagues. He’s doing very well for a 26-year-old rookie, putting up a solid 114 OPS+. Eleven walks in 281 plate appearances does not bode well for his future. Can’t imagine Peralta will be more than a utility outfielder as Arizona revamp’s the team for 2015. Ender is another rookie but he’s only 23. At this point he has little patience and little power. He must be a beast in CF. Based on his minor league numbers, I’m also having a hard time picturing this rookie as anything more than a utility outfielder going forward. Which leaves us with the 25-year-old rookie Alfredo Marte who also can’t hit. At all. Not yet anyway, he has had some minor league success in AA and AAA.
I don’t want to be snobbish but when you are playing an all rookie outfield it would be fun if one of them was a Joc Pederson type instead of a bunch of Trayvon Robinsons with a Scott Schebler thrown in.