17 March 2011
The Diamondbacks dropped a 10-8 game to the Angels on Wednesday, giving them eight straight losses and bringing their overall record to 5-17. Last week, we showed that spring training records have very little correlation to regular season performance. But with the team playing so poorly, is it time for the organization to be concerned? I still don't think so. Even though the losses keep mounting, many of the team's key players are performing well, and surprisingly, several players that were expected to go to the minors are trying to force their way onto the team with their strong play. Let's take a closer look at what's been good and bad so far in Spring Training.
Power: Despite losing Mark Reynolds and Andy LaRoche, the Diamondbacks lead the Majors with 30 HR.
1B: All three candidates for the first base position have been hitting well - Russell Branyan (.471/.500/.794), Juan Miranda (.294/.429/.618), Brandon Allen (.343/.351/.543)
25th Spot: The players battling for the last few spots on the roster are all doing well on offense - Ryan Roberts (.484/.610/.548), Gerardo Parra (.378/.410/.568), Tony Abreu (.316/.325/.447), Willie Bloomquist (.417/.447/.500), Wily Mo Pena (.379/.400/.690).
Team Offense: Sure, Spring Training stats are not very meaningful, and Cactus League stats are always inflated, but at least the overall team marks of .292/.343/.468 are solid, as is the 5.1 Runs Scored/Game.
Upton and Young: The two batters expected to lead the offense, Chris Young and Justin Upton, are both hitting the ball hard, with slugging percentages of .524 and .634 respectively.
Team Pitching: The team is last in the Majors in ERA at 5.82
Team Fielding: Only the Cubs (29) and the Padres (30) have committed more errors than the Diamondbacks (26).
Team Strikeouts and Walks: Despite some talk about trying to cut down on strikeouts, the Diamondbacks are second in the majors with 157Ks (7.1 per game), and have only 59 BBs to go with all those strikeouts. The 2.66 K/BB ratio is the third worst in the majors.
Expensive Veterans Not Panning Out: So far, expensive veterans like Xavier Nady (.194/.216/.333), Geoff Blum (.269/.269/.321), and Melvin Mora (.222/.333/.222) have not shown much, and have been outplayed by their younger competition.
Even though the overall numbers for the pitching and defense have not been good, it's still not time to panic. Sam Demel and David Hernandez should improve the bullpen, and J.J. Putz has shown good velocity despite some poor results today. Among the starters, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson should be fine, and Barry Enright has had a good spring. On defense, the team has made too many errors in the Spring, but among the key players, Upton, Young, Drew, Parra,and Miranda should be above average, and Mora and Johnson should be OK. The combo of Montero and Blanco should be better than last year. Offensively, the team is still hitting for power, and has several good options offensively for 1B, LF, and the bench. This team still has a good chance to be significantly improved from 2010.