25 April 2011
After a disappointing three game sweep in Shea Stadium, the Diamondbacks stand at 8-12 after their first twenty games. The team ranks 4th in Runs Scored per game with 4.8 RS/G, but is last in ERA at 5.16 (and has allowed 5.75 RA/G). Unlike last season, the bullpen (3.97 ERA) has been better than the starters (5.85 ERA), but neither has been particularly good overall. In this article, we'll take a look at the team's performance position-by-position through the first twenty games.
Miguel Montero - 74 PA, .308/.392/.538, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 11R, 9 BB, 9K
Henry Blanco - 8 PA, .000/.125/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R, 1 BB, 3K
Miguel Montero has hit very well so far, and has received the vast majority of the playing time, starting 18 of the first 20 games. Surprisingly, Manager Kirk Gibson has kept Montero in the lower half of the batting order all season, giving him seven starts in the #6 slot, five at #7, and even two in the #8 slot (against two right-handed pitchers!). Defensively, Montero has been a little shaky, committing five errors already, and catching 3 out of 12 base stealers. Blanco has played very little, since off-days and rainouts have allowed Montero to stay fairly well rested, and has done very little when he has played.
Juan Miranda - 42 PA, .229/.341/.343, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 5 BB, 10K
Russell Branyan - 39 PA, .265/.359/.441, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 5 BB, 12K
Xavier Nady - 25 PA, 238/.360/.333, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 4K
In Spring Training, both Miranda and Branyan showed good power, combining for 9 HR in 116 AB. But that power has not appeared yet in the Regular Season, as each has only managed 1 HR so far. Nady has been starting against LHP, and has greatly improved on his 0 BB/14K ratio from Spring Training, but also has shown little power. All three have been getting on base at a respectable rate. Miranda was expected to be the best defensively, but made a few critical errors in the early going. No clear-cut favorite has been established for playing time going forward - a hot streak by either Branyan or Miranda could easily result in that player getting a larger share of the first base duties. The team really needs someone to provide some power from the 1B position. Looking down at the minors, Brandon Allen is at .305/.408/.458 in AAA, while Paul Goldschmidt is at .345/.473/.845 with a Minor League leading 9 HRs in AA.
Kelly Johnson, 90 PA, .185/.258/.358, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 10 R, 6 BB, 27K
Johnson has been the everyday starter at 2B, usually batting in the #2 slot (14 times), along with four games in the leadoff slot and one game batting 3rd. He has gotten off to a very slow start with the bat, and leads the NL in strikeouts with 27 through the first 20 games. He has struggled against LHP in the early going, hitting only 3 for 21, which could give players like Ryan Roberts or Willie Bloomquist an opportunity to occasionally start against left-handers. Still, Johnson should get the majority of starts at 2B.
Stephen Drew - 66 PA, .344/.394/.574, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R, 5 BB, 9K
Willie Bloomquist - 65 PA, .306/.323/.419, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R, 2 BB, 6K, 7 SB
Stephen Drew missed the first week of the season with an abdominal injury, but has played well both offensively and defensively since then. Gibson has been batting Drew in the cleanup spot, and he is already tied for the team lead in RBI with 14. As long as he stays healthy, Drew will get the bulk of the playing time at SS, and will bat in the middle of the lineup. Willie Bloomquist started at SS while Drew was injured, and was probably the league MVP for the first week of the season, hitting .394/.429/.545 with 6 SB. In the 29 AB since then, he has hit .207/.200/.276 and has also been bothered by a sore hamstring. While some fans were clamoring for Bloomquist to stay in the starting lineup after Drew's return, he will likely just be a bench player and spot starter for the rest of the season. Edit: Bloomquist has been placed on the DL on April 25th, and Josh Wilson has been called up to replace him.
Ryan Roberts - 60 PA, .320/.433/.620, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 9 R, 10 BB, 9K
Melvin Mora - 36 PA, .273/.278/.303, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 R, 0 BB, 3K
Mora's foot injury has given Ryan Roberts a chance to play, and Roberts has made the most of it. His 4 HR and 10 BBs are tied for the team lead, and his 13 RBI are just one behind Drew and Young. As long as he keeps hitting, Kirk Gibson will try to find ways to get Roberts in the lineup, either at 3B, LF, or 2B. Defensively, Roberts made costly errors in two games in the Mets' series, so he really needs to hit to maintain a starting position. Mora has not shown anything to warrant more playing time, with only one extra-base hit and zero walks so far. But he will still probably get a few starts per week to try to prove himself. As a team, the Diamondbacks have received a very solid .296/.386/.521 line from the 3B position in the 2011 season.
Justin Upton - 89 PA, .282/.360/.526, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 16R, 10 BB, 17K, 3 SB
Chris Young - 90 PA, .212/.233/.447, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 13R, 3 BB, 21K
Gerardo Parra - 51 PA, .306/.333/.347, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 9K
Justin Upton has started off well for the Diamondbacks, leading the team in Runs Scored and tied for the team lead in HR and BB. Chris Young has played well on defense and has had some big moments offensively, but overall, has been a disappointment with the bat. He is hitting only .212 for the season, and has struck out 21 times with only 3 walks. Gerardo Parra has played the majority of time in LF, starting in 12 of the first 20 games, and usually batting 8th. He is by far the team's best defensive option in LF, but his offensive upside is limited by the lack of walks and power. Once everyone is healthy, he will probably sit against many LHP, with Roberts, Nady, or Bloomquist getting occasional starts in LF. It is also worth noting that after 50 ABs in AAA, Wily Mo Pena is batting .420 with 6 HR.
The numbers for all of the Starters look pretty ugly after 20 games:
Ian Kennedy - 2-1, 5.64 ERA, 22.1 IP, 8 BB, 16K, 2 HR, 4.12 FIP, 4.52 xFIP
Daniel Hudson - 0-4, 5.92 ERA, 24.1 IP, 12 BB, 26K, 2 HR, 3.58 FIP, 3.71 xFIP
Joe Saunders - 0-2, 4.98 ERA, 21.2 IP, 13 BB, 10K, 2 HR, 5.13 FIP, 5.32 xFIP
Barry Enright - 0-2, 6.65 ERA, 23.0 IP, 7 BB, 14K, 5 HR, 5.70 FIP, 4.75 xFIP
Arm. Galarraga - 3-1, 6.00 ERA, 21.0 IP, 10 BB, 19 K, 8 HR, 7.76 FIP, 4.48 xFIP
The best K/BB ratio among the starters is Hudson at 2.17, but he has been walking too many batters, with 12 BBs in 24.1 IP. Enright and Galarraga have been allowing too many HR, while Saunders actually has more walks than strikeouts. Kennedy, Hudson, and Saunders are probably safe in the rotation, but either Enright or Galarraga will be displaced from the rotation when Zach Duke returns in a few weeks.
J.J. Putz - 1.13 ERA, 8.0 IP, 0 BB, 10K, 0 HR, 0.92 FIP, 1.80 xFIP
David Hernandez - 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 5 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 3.15 FIP, 4.66 xFIP
Sam Demel - 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 3 BB, 6K, 1 HR, 3.52 FIP, 2.81 xFIP
Juan Gutierrez - 5.23 ERA, 10.1 IP, 6 BB, 15K, 2 HR, 4.40 FIP, 2.90 xFIP
Joe Paterson - 0.00 ERA, 4.2 IP, 2 BB, 5K, 0 HR, 2.19 FIP, 2.19 xFIP
Esmerling Vasquez - 2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 6.05 FIP, 4.34 xFIP
Aaron Heilman - 12.15 ERA, 6.2 IP, 2 BB, 7 K, 3 HR, 7.70 FIP, 3.25 xFIP
Kameron Mickolio - 9.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 1.25 FIP, 2.41 xFIP
Joshua Collmenter - 2.57 ERA, 7.0 IP, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 3.91 FIP, 2.72 xFIP
The bullpen has been greatly improved since last year, and actually had a string where they allowed only 1 ER over 25.2 IP. Closer J.J. Putz has been excellent, while set-up man David Hernandez has had good results despite walking 5 batters in 10 IP. Sam Demel continues to get ground balls (80.8%), and Joe Paterson and Josh Collmenter have been fine. Vasquez was brought up to replace Mickolio, and has given up a couple of key HRs. The biggest question mark continues to be Juan Gutierrez, who has a 5.23 ERA despite decent peripheral stats.