03 March 2011
Although the Diamondbacks have started out 2-6 in Spring Training, a few players have impressed in the first week of games. On the pitching side, Aaron Heilman has thrown 5 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and zero walks, with two strikeouts. In addition to the excellent control, Heilman has been getting ground balls, with a 2:1 Ground Ball/Fly Ball ratio. Said manager Kirk Gibson, "He was awesome. He was pounding the zone. He's certainly going for it." Heilman is battling for the 5th starter spot, and it will be interesting to see how he performs as he gets stretched out to five or six innings, and has to go through a lineup more than once. Also looking good on the pitching side are David Hernandez (3 IP, 0 ER), Joshua Collmenter (3 IP, 0 ER) and Sam Demel (2 IP, 0 ER).
Hitting wise, the star has been Paul Goldschmidt. In just 12 ABs, Goldschmidt has 6 hits, including a HR and 3 doubles, and leads the club in RBI and Total Bases. Almost all of his plate appearances have been in the late innings, so his hits have been crucial in getting leads or tying games for the Diamondbacks. Of course, since he has only played in the late innings, most of the pitchers he has faced (Scott Munter, Jose Casilla, Adam Jorgensen, Justin Miller) are nowhere near major-league quality. But Goldschmidt has done all he can with his opportunities.
Also playing well so far has been utility player Ryan Roberts, who is 8 for 12 with 7 BBs in the first week. GM Kevin Towers said that "he's played real well and he's been focused and he's done everything that we've asked. If I had to pick one guy out that I've been most impressed with, it's been him." Roberts has already played 2B, 3B, LF, and RF, and is expected to get some time at SS also this spring. He is battling for a utility spot along with Willie Bloomquist and Tony Abreu.
Another hitter hwho has impressed has been CF A.J. Pollock, who missed the entire 2010 season after elbow surgery. After hitting .313 with a .398 OBP in the Arizona Fall League, Pollock has continued his good work in spring training, starting off 7 for 14 with a stolen base. Pollock will probably start the season in AA, but could move up quickly and has been praised by Towers for his "great baseball instincts."