17 April 2012
Although several players have started off slowly for the Diamondbacks, the team still has a solid 7-3 record through the first ten games. The offense has scored 48 Runs through the 10 games, good for the third best rate in the NL, while the pitchers have allowed 37 Runs, which ranks 7th in the NL. Let's take a closer look at the individual performances so far this season.
The offense has been led by Chris Young, who is batting .405/.500/.892 with 5 HR and 13 RBI through the first ten games. Young ranks second in the NL in Home Runs, Slugging Percentage, OPS, and Total Bases, ranks third in On-Base Percentage, Hits, and RBI, and is 4th in Batting Average. The two other starters for the Diamondbacks who have hit well so far are Catcher Miguel Montero at .273/.385/.455 with 2 HR, and 2B Aaron Hill, who has hit 3 HR and driven in 7 runs already this season.
But it has been a rough start for the rest of the starting lineup, with the other five starters all posting an OPS below .680 at this point. RF Justin Upton is only hitting .212/.350/.273, and is still looking for his first Home Run and RBI of the year. EDIT to add: Upton is visiting a hand specialist about a possible thumb injury. 1B Paul Goldschmidt began the year with a HR off Tim Lincecum, but has an overall batting line of .207/.273/.379, with 10 strikeouts and only 3 walks. 3B Ryan Roberts has had a couple of big hits with runners on base, but is at .222/.317/.361 for the year. SS Willie Bloomquist is doing what he usually does, batting .258/.281/.355, with just one walk for the season.
LF Jason Kubel has also started slowly, at .200/.310/.240, and is also looking for his first home run of the year. Kubel's slow start has fans already calling for Gerardo Parra to play more, as Parra has started the year 6-19 (.316) with a HR and 2 SB. Parra has appeared in all ten games this year, but has only started four of them. I expect Manager Kirk Gibson to give Kubel a couple more weeks to find his batting stroke before thinking about making a lineup change.
Among the other bench players, 1B Lyle Overbay has started well, going 3-10 (.300) with a HR and 2 BBs. But Geoff Blum, John McDonald, and Henry Blanco have all started off slowly with the bat, going a combined 4-37 with just 2 extra-base hits.
Overall, the team's offensive totals look good, thanks to the hitting of Chris Young. But Upton and Kubel should start hitting soon when Young inevitably cools off. It is nice to see Aaron Hill showing some power already, with 3 HR already after hitting only 6 in 104 Games with Toronto last year. There are still some questions about Ryan Roberts (Can he come close to repeating last season's stats?) and Paul Goldschmidt (can he keep the AVG and OBP respectable while keeping the strikeouts at a manageable level?). But the Diamondbacks' offense should continue to be among the better ones in the National League.
As a group, the starting pitchers have a 5-0 record with a 4.24 ERA, with all of the starters having made two starts each. Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, and Joe Saunders have started out great, allowing a total of 7 ER over their combined 40 IP, for a 1.58 ERA. The other two starters, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter have allowed 10 ER each over their first two starts. But it's only been two starts, which is too few to make any kind of accurate assessment. Hudson has been hurt by both the Home Run ball (4 HR in 10.1 IP) and by walks (5 BB in 10.1 IP), but has shown good velocity and should be expected to regain his form. Collmenter is still a question mark, as he seems to have lost his outstanding control of 2010. He also struggled in Spring Training, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him lose his starting spot. Of course, we said the same thing last July, and Collmenter turned things around and became the #3 starter for the playoffs.
The bullpen actually has been charged with all three losses for the Diamondbacks this season, but does have a 2.23 ERA and a solid 30K/13BB ratio in 32.1 IP. Both J.J. Putz and David Hernandez have had one bad outing each, but Wade Miley, Bryan Shaw, and Craig Breslow have yet to allow an earned run over a combined 17 IP. Wade Miley is an option if the club decides to replace Collmenter, but Miley does have a poor 1K/3BB ratio through his first 7 IP, even though he has allowed only 2 Hits and 0 Earned Runs. Brad Ziegler has allowed 1 ER over 4 IP, while Joe Paterson has only faced four batters all season.