Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Arizona Diamondbacks preview

It’s a wide open division, and anyone can win it. Someone has to. The Diamondbacks are on the rise, but still have a long way to go. This won’t be the year. They have some power, but no hitting, and no pitching at all. It will be a long summer, but they could actually surprise and get close to .500 in the division, since none of the other teams are going to do anything overwhelming.


Miguel Montero. A decent young catcher, he’ll be good for the team, but he won’t be a star. He can hit for power, and hit doubles. He’ll walk at league average, and doesn’t strike out too much. His defense isn’t good, and could use some work. As a left handed hitter, he’ll sit out against a lot of lefties, and will probably be in platoon situation most of the time.

Upside:  could hit a lot of homeruns with more playing time

Downside:  will have to give a lot of time to the backup

Score:  - 1

First base:

Juan Miranda. A minor leaguer coming from the Yankees, the depth chart has him as the starter. Why not, because there is no one else there. He should have some power, and that will fit will in the park. He’ll strike out too much, but should walk some also. His defense is good, and that will help the team. He’ll help the team get respectable, but is a little old to be here for the long haul.

Upside:  Rookie of the Year

Downside:  Balboni was supposed to be a big hitter also

Score:  - 1

Second base:

Kelly Johnson. A break out season, or it was just the park? Career highs in almost everything. Hit a lot of homeruns and doubles, walked a lot and got on base. Struck out a lot, but did run a bit. His defense is good, and that’s one of the good traits of the team. Another year like last season’s will get him traded at mid-season, but that’s what this team needs to do.

Upside:  can bring some quality prospects

Downside:  can’t repeat the year

Score:  + 1

Third base:

Melvin Mora. An odd pick up for this team. They’re falling into the Royals way of doing things, and old guys aren’t the way to get better. He’s getting old and he’s on the downslide. He had a decent on base percentage, but has no more power, and doesn’t hit for average. His defense left him last season also, and he will probably end up in a platoon, or on the bench before long.

Upside:  can be replaced at any time

Downside:  won’t be

Score:  - 1

Short stop:

Stephen Drew. The star of the team, and he won’t be there for long. Free agency is looming. He had a good all around year, with double figures in doubles, triples, homeruns and steals. He had a career high in walks and on base percentage, and didn’t strike out too much. His defense is a drawback, but his hitting should overcome it. He’s been up and down and needs to break the trend.

Upside:  bucks the trend of up and down

Downside:  has a down year

Score:  + 1

Left field:

Xavier Nady. Starting to have a good career until he got hurt. He still has a way to go, but this is a good team for him to do it with. There are no expectations and he might be able to get on track in the ballpark. He’s also a much needed right handed bat on the team. His defense is nothing to get excited about, but if he can play a full season, he’ll be big help to the team until they rebuild.

Upside:  can use the park to have a comeback year

Downside:   hits like a typical Diamondback

Score:   - 1


Chris Young. His best year so far, and he’s looking to be a star. Still struck out a lot, but had a career high in walks and on base percentage. Hit for power and lots of doubles, and runs well. His defense is getting better every year and he’s headed for a break out year. He’s looking at a big payday when it happens. He’s headed for an Andruw Jones type career.

Upside:  30/30

Downside:  Andruw Jones with the Dodgers

Score:  + 1

Right field:

Justin Upton. Headed for stardom. He’s getting better each year. He’s doing a little of everything. He had a down year, but it wasn’t bad. He can still draw a walk and he has decent power. He runs well, his defense is excellent. He still misses too many gleams, and a full season will get him some good numbers. His strikeouts are a problem, but he’s young, and he’ll be okay.

Upside:  another 30/30 year

Downside:  this is as good as it gets

Score: + 1

Pinch hitter/general utility:

Russell Branyan. He’ll do what he does every year. Strike out a lot, not walk very much, hit for a low average and have a decent amount of homeruns. He’ll see a lot time, and could end up as a platoon with Mora, although you really don’t want that. If Miranda can’t go at first, he’ll end up there, and will Nady be in the outfield on occasion, but mostly pinch hit.

Upside:  finds a second career as a career pinch hitter

Downside:  has to start at some position

Score:   0

Backup catcher:

Henry Blanco. A typical journeyman back up, who doesn’t hit very much. He’s not really supposed to hit that much as a back up, but he needs to. No power, no walks, and no speed. He’ll end up playing a lot more time since Montero is a left handed hitter. His defense is good, and that will be a benefit to the team, but it comes back to hiding bats for gloves, and this team shouldn’t.

Upside:  Montero plays full time

Downside:  it becomes a platoon

Score:  - 1

Backup first baseman:

Geoff Blum. A long term veteran who never really made it as a starter anywhere. He doesn’t hit for power or average or walk. He doesn’t strike out at a crazy rate, but doesn’t have any speed. He can play a lot of positions, with third and short stop being his best, surprisingly. He’ll move around the field and get into a lot of games doing something. A useful guy for this team.

Upside: versatility helps the team

Downside:  injuries force him into too many games at one position

Score:  0

Back-up infielder:

Tony Abreu. A switchhitting utility infielder, he brings exactly what you expect of him. He’s good defensively at second and third, but not so much at short stop. He shouldn’t need to see much time there, so that’s a benefit. No power, no speed, and not much in the way of offense. He shouldn’t get too much time in the middle, barring injuries, and won’t be the first choice at third.

Upside:  versatility

Downside:  spends too much time playing the middle infield

Score:  - 1

Back-up outfielder:

Gerald Parra. The starter in a left handed platoon last year, he’ll be the fourth outfielder this year. He has really put it together offensively yet. All of his numbers were down from his rookie year, and he doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. The strikeouts are a problem, but that’s a team issue. He plays good defense, but might not get a lot of chances to use if Nady can hit.

Upside:  this might be his strength

Downside:  continues to slide

Score:  - 1

Rotation (front 3):

Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, and Daniel Hudson. Hudson had an excellent third of a season, and they have to hope it’s a sign of the future. Kennedy was their best starter last year, and both are young. If they can get it going, things will be good. Saunders had an off year, but he’s a good pitcher and will help eat a lot of innings. He doesn’t strike out enough batters, but is a lefty.

Upside:  Hudson is for the entire year

Downside:  Saunders doesn’t get better again

Score:  + 1

Rotation (back end):

Barry Enright and Aaron Heilmann. Enright had a good half year, but needs to do more. He has to pitch deeper into the game, and needs more strikeouts, or fewer walks. Heilmann will get a chance to start full time after being mostly a reliever. He doesn’t have to do much, just stay healthy and pitch as many innings as possible.

Upside: Enright is for real

Downside:  Heilmann can’t get it done

Score:  0


David Hernandez, Juan Gutierrez, Sam Demel, Kam Mickolio, and Esmerling Vasquez. A whole lot of nothing. There wasn’t a single quality reliever in this group last year, and a big homerun park isn’t going to help. Whatever the rotation can bring to the team, the bullpen will turn around and take it away. As bad as the offense, is the bullpen is the worst area of the team.

Upside: one of them pitches to league average

Downside:  this is as good as it gets

Score:  - 2


J.J. Putz. They have a closer, although I’m not sure why. A former very good closer, he’s three years away from the role. He did have a good year last year and he can still strike them out with the best of them. This is either about the money or a chance to close, as he was better with the White Sox. If they can get him a lead, he’ll get the save. But that’s a big if.

Upside:  is able to close effectively again

Downside:  no one wants to trade for a closer

Score:   + 1

Team speed (which includes base running):

Pretty good. Lots of doubles and triples. They don’t have as many stolen bases as they could, mostly because they sit back and wait on the homerun. How’s that working for you now, Earl Weaver? They have guys who can run, and will; and guys who can run and don’t. Good range in the outfield, but not the infield. If they use the speed, it will help. But they will probably try to hit homeruns.

Upside:  understands what a valuable asset it is

Downside:  play it four bases at a time

Score:  + 1

Team defense:

Good. Overall, but not on the left side, especially the infield. The outfield is very good, and the right side of the infield should help a lot. The pitching staff needs all the help they can get, and this is a good way to do it. They’ll score enough runs, but can they prevent enough? The bad defenders will eventually be pushed out because of their bats, except for Drew.

Upside:  best overall defense in the league

Downside:  bats are more important than gloves

Score:  + 2

Team batting:

Great if you like homeruns. Fantastic if you like strikeouts. The loss of Reynolds won’t really make a difference to either one, as they’ll still do both of them. The overall power is good, as they hit lots of doubles and triples. It’s the walks and the singles (the ones guys have the most) that are harder to come by. It’s a homerun derby until another mindset takes over.

Upside:  will top 200 homeruns

Downside:  lots of K’s in the strikeout column

Score:  0

Team pitching:

Bad. When you finish in the bottom three of almost every category, it’s hard to be optimistic about the future. They have a good closer, but not enough to get him the ball so it will make a difference. They have a front three that can’t pitch every day. They have a non-existent bullpen that could be replaced by the AA team. They are going to hit a lot of homeruns and strikeout a lot on offense. The pitchers can say the same.

Upside:  still some hope for the starters

Downside:  hope isn’t reality

Score:  - 1

Total score:    - 1

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