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D'Backs Venom http://www.dbacksvenom.com/ Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:22:52 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Can Wade Miley hold off Bryce Harper for the NL Rookie of the Year Award? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/can-wade-miley-hold-off-bryce-harper-for-nl-rookie-of-the-year.html One month ago, LHP Wade Miley looked to be the clear frontrunner for the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year Award. But a slump for Miley in September, combined with a great month for Bryce Harper, have made the race much closer. Let's start with a look at the overall stats for each player.

W L IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 bWAR fWAR
Wade Miley 16 11 187 3.32 3.21 1.20 6.4 1.8 0.6 3.3 4.5
PA R HR RBI SB/CS AVG OBP SLG wRC+ bWAR fWAR
Bryce Harper 578 94 21 58 17/6 .264 .334 .465 116 4.3 4.5

Harper has now caught Miley in FanGraphs's WAR calculation, and has passed him in Baseball-Reference's version. The difference in the month of September has been pretty dramatic. Miley has allowed 19 ER in 29 IP in September, for a 5.90 ERA and a 1.724 WHIP. Meanwhile, Harper has hit .305/.377/.611 with 4 SB during this month. And Harper has two more things going for him. His team has the best record in the National League, and Harper has been a big part of that, while Miley's Diamondbacks have been stuck around the .500 mark. And secondly, Harper has had a historic season for a 19 year old, posting the best-ever WAR by a teenager - http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/eh33M

Player Age Year bWAR
Bryce Harper 19 2012 4.3
Mel Ott 18 1928 3.7
Edgar Renteria 19 1996 3.1
Ken Griffey, Jr. 19 1989 2.9
Ty Cobb 19 1906 2.3

Miley has had an outstanding season, and has been the Diamondbacks' best pitcher for the year, but his late slump combined with Harper's hot streak means that Miley will probably end up second in the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year balloting.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Fri, 28 Sep 2012 17:44:12 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/can-wade-miley-hold-off-bryce-harper-for-nl-rookie-of-the-year.html
Thursday's 6-5 Loss to the Padres Probably Ends the Diamondbacks' 2012 Playoff Hopes http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/thursdays-6-5-loss-to-the-padres-probably-ends-the-diamondbacks-2012-playoff-hopes.html Thursday afternoon's 6-5 loss to the Padres leaves the Diamondbacks 5.5 Games behind the Cardinals for the 2nd Wild Card slot, with just 13 games left to play. That means that making the playoffs in 2012 is just about an impossibility - if the Cardinals go 6-6 the rest of the way, the Diamondbacks will need to go 12-1 just to tie them. While there is always the hope that the Cards could collapse over the final two weeks, Arizona's situation is worsened because there are still three teams between the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals in the standings - the Brewers, Dodgers, and the Phillies. One week ago there was still hope, but seven more games have gone by and the D-Backs actually dropped one game further behind.

In many ways, Thursday's loss exemplified the problems the team has had throughout the season. Arizona had pulled to within one run heading into the 9th inning, and then loaded the bases with no outs. But Mike Jacobs, Adam Eaton, and Aaron Hill were all unable to bring in the tying run, and the season was probably lost. This highlights the biggest problem with the Diamondbacks this year - their clutch hitting was unusually bad. The team is now batting just .190/.259/.315 (.573 OPS) in "Late and Close" situations, compared to .257/.325/.417 (.742 OPS) overall. This .169 drop in OPS in L&C situations is the worst in the National League, and is probably the biggest factor in the team's 14-26 record in One-Run games.  

The game also highlighted a second problem for the team all season - poor performance by the team's pinch hitters. Arizona pinch hitters are now batting .235/.277/.330 (.607 OPS) for the year, again much worse than the team's overall batting line. Unfortunately, that was to probably be expected, since the team never really planned to have any good hitters on the bench. The planned Opening Day bench was Willie Bloomquist (career .662 OPS), John McDonald (.606), Gerardo Parra (.729), Henry Blanco (.658), and Lyle Overbay (.792), with only the 35-year-old Overbay an above-average hitter for his career. Although the bench personnel changed frequently throughout the year, the team never really put together a good hitting group. 

Thursday's game also continued what has been a disappointing performance by the team's young players.  Many observers felt that young pitchers like Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs would be ready to make significant contributions this year, but it didn't happen. Bauer made 4 starts in the Majors with a 6.06 ERA, and Skaggs made 6 starts with a 5.83 ERA. Both are still just 21 years old, so it's not really any cause for concern about their futures, but neither performed as well in the Majors as the team had hoped, especially when the Diamondbacks had traded away Joe Saunders

The good news for the Diamondbacks is that they should enter the 2013 season with a solid starting rotation from the group of Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Bauer, and Tyler Skaggs, with others like Daniel Hudson and Chase Anderson possibly able to help out later in the year. The bullpen should also be good, especially if J.J. Putz is brought back with David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Matt Albers, and Matt Lindstrom. The area that needs help is probably the offense, and the continued rumors about a Justin Upton trade certainly don't help in that regard. But the poor clutch hitting in 2012 was probably just bad luck, and if that returns to normal levels, the Diamondbacks' main focus in the offseason should be finding an everyday shortstop and strengthing the bench. The Diamondbacks should definitely be back in the playoff hunt again in 2013.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Fri, 21 Sep 2012 16:03:59 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/thursdays-6-5-loss-to-the-padres-probably-ends-the-diamondbacks-2012-playoff-hopes.html
Can the Diamondbacks Still Win the 2nd Wild Card Slot? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/can-the-diamondbacks-still-win-the-2nd-wild-card-slot.html The first four playoff spots in the National League appear to be settled, with the Nationals (89-54), Reds (87-57), Giants (81-62), and Braves (81-63) all in great shape. The Diamondbacks are 4.5 Games Behind the Cardinals for the second NL wild card slot, with 19 games left to play. Adding to that challenge are that there are four other teams between the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals.  So do the D-Backs still have a chance? Surprisingly, yes, although the Diamondbacks need to play very well down the stretch and they will need some help from teams like the Cubs, Astros, and Rockies.  

Looking at the remaining schedule, the wild card contenders have very few games against each other. In fact, with six teams battling for one spot, there are only two series remaining in which two Wild Card contenders will go head-to-head: the Cardinals-Dodgers series this weekend, and the Pirates-Brewers series next week. The rest of the time, these teams will either be facing one of the four locked-in playoff teams, or one of the 6 teams that are essentially eliminated. So there will be a lot of scoreboard watching over the final three weeks.  Let's take a look at the remaining schedules for the contenders for the second Wild Card spot.

Team Record Opponents Remaining Games with WC2 Contenders
Cardinals 76-68 LAD(3), HOU(6), CHC (3), WAS (3), CIN (3) 3
Dodgers 74-70 STL(3), WAS (3), CIN (3), SDP (3),COL (3),SFG (3) 3
Pirates 72-70 CHC(4), MIL(3), HOU(3), NYM(4), CIN(3), ATL(3) 3
Phillies 72-72 HOU(3), NYM(3), ATL(3), WAS(6), MIA(3) 0
Brewers 72-71 NYM(3), PIT(3), WAS(3), CIN(3), HOU(3), SDP(3) 3
D-Backs 71-72 SFG(6), SDP(3), COL(7), CHC(3) 0

The Diamondbacks have a pretty nice schedule for the rest of the season. They have six games with the Giants, who are basically locked into the NL West lead and the #3 seed in the NL. But the schedule also includes 7 games with the Rockies and 3 each with the Cubs and the Padres.  To have a chance, the Diamondbacks probably have to go at least 13-6 the rest of the way, and more likely 14-5 or 15-4. It's a long shot, but there is still a chance. For example, here is an optimistic scenario of how the remaining schedule could go for the six teams, resulting in a Diamondbacks-Cardinals tie at 85-77. The same possibility basically applies to all six of the contenders - a stretch of .700 ball over the final three weeks could propel any of the six teams to the second Wild Card spot.

ARIZONA CARDS DODGERS PIRATES BREWERS PHILLIES
71-72 76-68 74-70 72-70 72-71 72-72
SFG W LAD L STL W CHC L NYM W HOU W
SFG W LAD L STL W CHC W NYM L HOU L
SFG L LAD W STL L CHC L NYM W HOU W
SDP W HOU L WAS L CHC W PIT W NYM W
SDP W HOU W WAS L MIL L PIT W NYM L
SDP L HOU L WAS W MIL W PIT L NYM W
COL W CHC W CIN L MIL L WAS W ATL L
COL W CHC L CIN L HOU W WAS L ATL L
COL W CHC W CIN W HOU L WAS W ATL W
COL L HOU L SDP W HOU W WAS W WAS L
SFG W HOU W SDP L NYM W CIN L WAS L
SFG W HOU W SDP W NYM L CIN L WAS W
SFG L WAS L COL L NYM W CIN W MIA W
CHC W WAS W COL W NYM L HOU L MIA L
CHC W WAS L COL W CIN L HOU W MIA W
CHC L CIN W SFG W CIN L HOU L WAS W
COL W CIN L SFG L CIN W SDP L WAS L
COL W CIN W SFG W ATL L SDP W WAS W
COL W ATL L SDP W
ATL W
14-5 9-9 10-8 9-11 11-8 10-8
85-77 85-77 84-78 81-81 83-79 82-80
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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Fri, 14 Sep 2012 15:21:37 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/can-the-diamondbacks-still-win-the-2nd-wild-card-slot.html
Looking Back at the Diamondbacks' Summer Trades http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/looking-back-at-the-diamondbacks-summer-trades.html On July 25, the Diamondbacks had a record of 49-49, and were six games behind the Giants in the NL West and five games behind the Braves for the second wild card spot. Over the next few weeks, the Diamondbacks made five trades. While the organization insisted that the trades did not signify that the team had given up on the season, the trades definitely saved the team some money, and also opened up some roster spots for younger players. Since then, the Diamondbacks have gone 20-23, and slipped to ten games behind the Giants and six out of the wild card. Let's take a look back at the five trades made by the Diamondbacks this summer.

1) Traded 3B Ryan Roberts to the Rays for 2B Tyler Bortnick (July 25, 2012)
Roberts had been the team's Opening Day starter at 3B, but had hit just .250/.306/.357 (.663 OPS) over 280 Plate Appearances. Since the trade, Roberts has hit about the same with the Rays, going .215/.294/.333 (.627 OPS), so the Diamondbacks probably didn't lose much here, and they avoided paying half of Roberts' $2M salary.

Unfortunately, the player acquired for Roberts, 24 year-old Tyler Bortnick, has not hit well for AAA Reno - .212/.293/.311 (.603 OPS). Bortnick is still displaying decent speed and plate discipline, but he needs to hit for much higher average if he wants to become a utility player at the Major League level.

2) Traded OF Marc Krauss and 1B/LF Bobby Borchering to the Astros for 3B Chris Johnson (July 29, 2012)
The trading of Roberts left the team with some question marks at Third Base. Four days later, the Diamondbacks sent two minor league prospects to Houston for 27-year-old Chris Johnson. Johnson has hit fairly well for the Diamondbacks, batting .264/.304/.519 (.823 OPS), with 26 RBI in 33 Games, but his defense has been below average. He is only earning $495K this year, and he is expected to hold the starting job at 3B next year over Ryan Wheeler.

Marc Krauss (24) had an excellent comeback season for AA Mobile, batting .283/.416/.509 (.924 OPS), and followed that up with a great week for the Astros' AA affiliate in Corpus Christi, where he went 12 for 29 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in just 7 Games. Krauss did struggle during a brief promotion to AAA Oklahoma City at the end of the year, where he went just 7 for 57, but he could be a factor in the Astros' plans in 2013. 

Borchering (21) hit well for Class A Visalia (.874 OPS), but struggled at both AA Mobile (.130/.183/.208 in 82 PA) and AA Corpus Christi (.189/.275/.389 in 109 PA). Between the two AA Teams, he struck out 63 times while drawing only 13 walks. He did hit 24 Home Runs for the year, but he is still pretty far from the Majors.

3) Traded LHP Craig Breslow to the Red Sox for RHP Matt Albers and OF Scott Podsednik (July 31, 2012)
This was probably the strangest trade that the Diamondbacks made this summer. Breslow had a 2.70 ERA for the Diamondbacks with 42K/13BB in 43.1 IP, and had been the team's only reliable left-hander in the bullpen. Since the trade, Breslow has not pitched very well for the Red Sox (4.38 ERA, 13K/5BB in 12.1 IP), while Albers has been a little better with the Diamondbacks (3.29 ERA, 16K/5BB in 13.2 IP, but 3 HR), so maybe it didn't really hurt the team. Breslow did have a higher salary than Albers ($1.795M compared to $1.025M).

Podsednik never reported to the Diamondbacks, since he had the right to refuse his assignment to AAA Reno. Since the Diamondbacks did not end up trading any of their outfielders, Podsednik probably realized that his chances of returning to the Majors were better with the Sox, and he was probably correct, as he has made about 100 plate appearances for them since the trade.

4) Traded SS Stephen Drew to the Athletics for SS Sean Jamieson (August 21, 2012)
The trade of Drew has probably ended up hurting the Diamondbacks the most this year. While Drew only had a .601 OPS with the Diamondbacks, and he hasn't hit significantly better with the A's (.644 OPS), Drew's replacements in Arizona have really struggled. The player expected to replace Drew, Willie Bloomquist, has been injured and has only played in one game since the trade. Since the trade, Jake Elmore has made 8 starts, and has hit just .176/.200/.206 (.406 OPS). Veteran John McDonald has made 13 starts and has not hit much better at .180/.255/.240 (.495 OPS). The team also brough back Cody Ransom to help at shortstop. Overall, shortstop has been a disaster since the Drew trade. But the team did save a little over $2M on Drew's salary for this year and also will not have to pay the $1.35M buyout on Drew's $10M option for 2013.

Sean Jamieson was impressive in his two weeks for Class A South Bend, batting .327/.431/.473 (.903 OPS) with 5 SB in 14 games. He's already 23, so he's a little old for a prospect, but his speed and defense give him a chance to be useful at the Major League level.

5) Traded LHP Joe Saunders and cash to the Orioles for RHP Matt Lindstrom 
Saunders did exactly what was expected of him with the Diamondbacks, providing the team with plenty of innings at a slightly better-than-average ERA. But the team thought that top prospects like Tyler Skaggs were ready for a shot in the Majors, so Saunders was expendable. Since the trade, Saunders has pitched about the same with the Orioles (4.24 ERA in 3 starts) as he had with the Diamondbacks, while Skaggs has been promising in Arizona (4.43 ERA, 17K/9BB in 20.1 IP).

Lindstrom gives the Diamondbacks another hard thrower in the bullpen. He has struck out 8 batters in 5 IP wthout walking anyone, and has a 3.60 ERA. Lindstrom has a $4M club option for next year, so the team will have to decide if he is worth that much money next year.

Summary
Overall, the trades that the Diamondbacks made in July and August probably did not have a major impact on this season. The team has been hovering around .500 all season, and the Drew trade is the only one that may have hurt the club for 2012. But the exchange of Ryan Roberts at 3B for Chris Johnson probably balanced out the loss of Drew. The Diamondbacks did save around $4M, and they have some potentially useful pieces for next year in Chris Johnson, Matt Albers, and Matt Lindstrom, and maybe Sean Jamieson down the road. Finding a shortstop during the offseason has to be the highest priority, especially if Willie Bloomquist has any lingering injury issues, but it unlikely that Drew would have been re-signed for $10M anyway. Next on the shopping list will be a left-handed reliever to replace Breslow, but the Diamondbacks could turn to Patrick Corbin for that role if Trevor Bauer is ready to join Kennedy, Cahill, Miley, and Skaggs in next year's rotation.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Tue, 11 Sep 2012 15:16:05 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/looking-back-at-the-diamondbacks-summer-trades.html
The Diamondbacks' Record in One-Run Games Ranks Last in the NL http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/the-diamondbacks-record-in-one-run-games-ranks-last-in-the-nl.html With just 24 games left in the Regular Season, the Diamondbacks sit 6.5 Games Behind in the Wild Card race and 9.5 Games Back in the NL West. One of the biggest factors in the disappointing season has been the team's performance in One Run games. Amazingly, the Diamondbacks are only 11-23 in One Run games, which is the worst record in the NL, even worse than the hapless Cubs and Astros.

Record in One-Run Games

Team W L Pct
ATL 19 11 .633
SFG 26 17 .605
WAS 26 18 .591
CIN 24 19 .558
LAD 25 22 .532
PIT 25 23 .521
COL 16 15 .516
MIA 22 21 .512
SDP 19 19 .500
NYM 17 18 .486
PHI 22 24 .478
MIL 22 28 .440
STL 16 22 .421
HOU 14 25 .359
CHC 12 23 .343
ARI 11 23 .324

The Diamondbacks also have the largest disparity between their overall winning percentage and their one-run game winning percentage.

Team Overall Pct One-Run Pct Difference
ARI .493 .324 .169
STL .540 .421 .119
COL .415 .516 -.101
MIA .438 .512 -.074
ATL .562 .633 -.071
MIL .493 .440 .053
HOU .307 .359 -.052
CIN .601 .558 .043
SFG .562 .605 -.043
SDP .464 .500 -.036
CHC .375 .343 .032
WAS .618 .591 .027
NYM .474 .486 -.011
PIT .529 .521 .009
PHI .482 .478 .003
LAD .529 .532 -.003

If the Diamondbacks' were winning One-Run games at the same rate as their overall winning percentage, they would be around 74-64, right in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. The two questions that immediately come to mind are:
1) Why are the Diamondbacks doing so poorly in one run games?, and 
2) Is that likely to be a problem again next year?

Why are the Diamondbacks Doing So Poorly in One Run Games?
The biggest factor in these situations has been the offense, and not the pitching staff. The team is batting just .188/.256/.312 (.567 OPS) in "Late and Close" situations, compared to .258/.324/.418 (.724 OPS) overall. The National League as a whole is batting .239/.317/.369 (.685 OPS) in these cases. Only Jason Kubel and Chris Young have hit near or above their normal levels in Late & Close situations, while the rest of the team has been really, really bad.

Player Late & Close OPS
Jason Kubel .882
Chris Young .753
Miguel Montero .661
Paul Goldschmidt .524
Willie Bloomquist .511
Aaron Hill .509
Justin Upton .505
Chris Johnson .436
Gerardo Parra .414
Ryan Roberts .410

The pitching has been much better in close games, allowing just a .675 OPS in Late & Close situations, compared to .732 overall.

Is This Likely to be a Problem Again Next Year?
Hopefully not. Team performance in these situations is pretty fluky. In 2011, the Diamondbacks had a 28-16 record in One-Run games, and the offense had an excellent .810 OPS in those situations. They probably overachieved in 2011, and have certainly underachieved in 2012, but if they hit close to their normal levels in clutch situations in 2013, that should be good enough for playoff contention. 

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Thu, 06 Sep 2012 18:10:25 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/september/the-diamondbacks-record-in-one-run-games-ranks-last-in-the-nl.html
Possible September Callups for the Diamondbacks http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/possible-september-callups-for-the-diamondbacks.html After losing their sixth consecutive game on Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks chances of making the postseason have just about disappeared - Coolstandings.com has the Diamondbacks with a 3% chance of making the playoffs, and Baseball Prospectus has the probability at just 1%. If this had been a six game winning streak instead of a six game losing streak, the Diamondbacks would have been tied with the Dodgers and right in the thick of the playoff hunt. But six straight losses means that the playoffs are almost certainly out, and maybe it's time to look ahead to the 2013 season.  On Saturday, September 1, rosters can expand, and any player on the 40-Man roster can be added to the Major League club.  Who are some potential callups for the Diamondbacks? One complication is that both the AAA Reno team and the AA Mobile team should make the playoffs in their leagues, so that will delay some callups for a week or so.

Players Who Will Be Added to the Major League Roster on September 1:
SS Willie Bloomquist, RHP Josh Collmenter, RHP Takashi Saito
All three players are on the Major League Disabled List right now, but will be activated once rosters expand, assuming they are healthy. Collmenter threw 4 IP in a Rookie League game on Tuesday, and says he will be ready to go on Saturday. Bloomquist also played in a Rookie League game on Tuesday, and will be activated if his back continues to feels OK. Saito has been on the DL since August 14 with a hamstring injury, but is expected to pitch in a minor league game this week.

Players Who Should Be Added to the Major League Roster after their Minor League Season Ends:
RHP Trevor Bauer, OF A.J. Pollock
Bauer has pitched much better in his last three starts in AAA, striking out 26 batters in 22 IP while walking only 4. This is exactly what the Diamondbacks wanted to see from Bauer, and Kevin Towers has stated that he expects Bauer to get another "start or two" in the Majors this year. But Manager Kirk Gibson also stated that if Reno makes the playoffs (to clinch a spot, their Magic Number is 3 with 6 games left), he is sure that Bauer will stay with them.  

Pollock has been up with the team a few times, and after a slow start when he began 1 for 18, he batted 13 for 38 (.342/.395/.474). He should get some opportunites to show his abilities in CF after the Reno season is over.

Players Who Could Be Added to the Major League Roster after their Minor League Season Ends:
OF Adam Eaton, C Konrad Schmidt, LHP Joe Paterson, RHP Sam Demel, RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, 3B Matt Davidson
Eaton has had a terrific year for AAA Reno, hitting .379/.452/.536, and leading the PCL in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Stolen Bases, Hits, Runs Scored, and Total Bases. There are two things that could prevent Eaton from being added to the roster - he is not on the 40-Man roster, and he is currently on the 7-Day DL for Reno for a concussion. But the Diamondbacks have space on the 40-Man roster (39 players right now), and could always create more space by transferring Daniel Hudson to the 60-Day DL. So if Eaton is healthy (he is eligible to be removed from Reno's DL this weekend), the Diamondbacks could choose to reward him for his fantastic season. 

Catcher Konrad Schmidt has had a mediocre season for AAA Reno, batting .280/.340/.418, but he is the only other healthy catcher on the 40-Man roster. Managers love having a third catcher on the roster, so Schmidt might get called up, even if he won't see much playing time. Paterson, Demel, and Albaladejo all struggled during their brief time in the Majors this year, but all three are on the 40-Man roster, so they might be called up as extra pitching depth. Several of the Diamondbacks' young pitchers, such as Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin, have already thrown over 150 IP this year, so the team could decide to ease up on their workload over the final few weeks. Paterson would also give the team an extra LHP in the bullpen.

Earlier in the season, Matt Davidson seemed like a very likely September callup. He had a .912 OPS with 15 HR over the first half of the year, but slipped to just .735 and 7 HR during the second half. Davidson has been named to the Diamondbacks' Arizona Fall League team, which begins its season on October 9, so the organization may choose to let Davidson rest for a couple of weeks between the Mobile and the AFL seasons.

Other Players Currently on the 40-Man Roster
3B Josh Bell, RHP Joe Martinez, C Henry Blanco (Injured), OF Cole Gillespie (Injured), RHP Daniel Hudson (Injured)

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Thu, 30 Aug 2012 00:35:37 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/possible-september-callups-for-the-diamondbacks.html
DIamondbacks Acquire RHP Matt Lindstrom for Joe Saunders http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/diamondbacks-acquire-rhp-matt-lindstrom-for-joe-saunders.html On Sunday, the Diamondbacks traded 31-year-old LHP Joe Saunders for hard-throwing right hander Matt Lindstrom. Saunders had pitched 3 years for the Diamondbacks since being acquired in the Dan Haren trade, and had basically done his job - throwing a lot of innings with an ERA slightly better than league average. More importantly, his presence in the rotation allowed the team to give prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs a much-needed season in AAA instead of rushing them to the Majors. The Diamondbacks will go with a rotation of Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs to finish the 2012 season.

The 32 year-old Lindstrom becomes another hard-thrower in the Diamondbacks' bullpen. He has experience as a closer, with 45 career saves, but has actually pitched better as a set-up man over the last two seasons.

Year Age Tm W L SV IP ERA WHIP HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2007 27 FLA 3 4 0 67.0 3.09 1.30 0.3 2.8 8.3
2008 28 FLA 3 3 5 57.1 3.14 1.45 0.2 4.1 6.8
2009 29 FLA 2 1 15 47.1 5.89 1.65 1.0 4.6 7.4
2010 30 HOU 2 5 23 53.1 4.39 1.65 0.8 3.4 7.3
2011 31 COL 2 2 2 54.0 3.00 1.22 0.5 2.3 6.0
2012 32 BAL 1 0 0 36.1 2.72 1.29 0.5 3.0 7.4
6 Yrs TOT 13 15 45 315.1 3.68 1.42 0.5 3.3 7.2

Over the last two years, Lindstrom has significantly lowered his ERA and WHIP, due primarily to better control. His fastball velocity has dropped a little, from an average of 97.6 mph in his rookie year of 2007 to around 95.0 this year, but that would still make his fastball the fastest on the team, just ahead of David Hernandez (94.7) and newcomer Matt Albers (93.4).  Lindstrom gets a good percentage of ground balls (career 47.4 GB%), and does not allow many home runs (career 0.51 HR/9). His career Swinging Strike percentage is a solid 10.3%, which is similar to that of J.J. Putz (11.8%) and David Hernandez (10.0%).

Although Lindstrom is 32 years old, his arm has fewer pitches on it than most pitchers his age, because he took a two-year sabbatical from 1999-2001 as a missionary in Sweden. He started his minor league career at the age of 22, but had hardly touched a baseball in the preceding two years.

Lindstrom makes $3.6M this year, and has a $4M club option for 2013, which is a lot to pay for a set-up man, (with a $0.2M buyout). The Diamondbacks will probably decline the option, but may try to negotiate a new deal for the next year or two.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:19:32 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/diamondbacks-acquire-rhp-matt-lindstrom-for-joe-saunders.html
A Closer Look at New Class A SS Sean Jamieson http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/a-closer-look-at-new-class-a-ss-sean-jamieson.html The Diamondbacks traded veteran shortstop Stephen Drew to the Oakland A's for Class A shortstop Sean Jamieson. Since returning from last year's ankle injury, Drew has hit .193/.290/.311 in 155 PA, with 2 HR and 12 RBI. Drew has a salary of $7.75M for this year (about $2M remaining for 2012), plus a team option of $10M with a $1.35M buyout. So by trading Drew, the Diamondbacks will save around $3.26M.  Ken Rosenthal has posted that the A's are on the hook for all of this money. The Diamondbacks will now go with a combination of Willie Bloomquist (.720 OPS), Jake Elmore (.742 OPS), and John McDonald (.726 OPS) for the rest of the season.

The player that the Diamondbacks received, 23 year old Sean Jamieson, is not considered much of a prospect. Jamieson was drafted in the 17th Round of the 2011 draft out of Canisius College, and was currently playing for Burlington in the Midwest League. 

Year Age Tm Lev PA R H HR RBI SB/CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 22 Vermont A- 316 39 61 3 21 27/5 37 53 .235 .350 .312 0.661
2012 23 Burlington A 540 71 105 10 49 25/5 64 92 .234 .343 .379 0.721

He's shown good speed, with 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts this year, and a little bit of power, with 10 home runs and 25 doubles. The strikeouts are a little high for someone with his limited power, but he has drawn a good number of walks, ranking 4th in the Midwest League with 64. A right-handed batter, he has hit equally well against right-handed (.700 OPS) and left-handed (.698 OPS) pitchers. Defensively, he has been solid at SS, and should be able to stick at the position. 

Jamieson is probably too old to be considered a serious prospect, but he does do some things well - speed, defense, and some power and walks. He's a long shot, but at least he has some skills. As for trading Drew, this doesn't necessarily mean that the Diamondbacks are throwing in the towel for the year. Drew hasn't been playing well anyway, so there won't be a big drop-off going to the Bloomquist/Elmore/McDonald combination. Of course, as Drew gets more playing time, he may start returning to the career .773 OPS hitter with good defense that he was before this season.  

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Tue, 21 Aug 2012 04:51:23 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/a-closer-look-at-new-class-a-ss-sean-jamieson.html
How are the Diamondbacks' 2012 Draft Picks Doing? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/how-are-the-diamondbacks-2012-draft-picks-doing.html Most of the Diamondbacks' 2012 draft picks now have around 30-40 games under their belts. Unlike 2011, when the Diamondbacks had 2 of the first 7 picks (Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley), there are no players from the 2012 draft who are on a fast track to the Majors, but there are several that are off to good starts in the Minors. Let's take a look at how the 2012 draftees are doing so far.

1. Stryker Trahan (18), C (AZL) - 40 G, .289/.440/.481, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 36BB/37K
The Diamondbacks' first round pick has hit well, and most importantly, has stuck at Catcher in the Arizona Rookie League. He has shown great plate discipline, with 36 walks in 39 games, and ranks 7th in the League in OBP. He has hit very well against RHP (.954 OPS), and has held his own against LHP (.882 OPS, despite a .237 AVG). Defensively, he has 10 errors in 32 games, and has thrown out only 12 of 56 basestealers (21%), but the organization still thinks he has a future as a Catcher. 

2. Jose Munoz (18), SS (AZL) - 39 G, .245/.317/.338, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 15BB/47K 
Munoz got off to slow start, with just a .575 OPS through June and July, but has hit much better in August - .340/.407/.396. Scouts are still unsure if he can stick at SS, and making 21 errors in 37 games is not helping his case.

3. Jake Barrett (20), P (MWL) -  20 IP, 0-2. 4.95 ERA, 19 K/9 BB, 2 HRA
After being drafted in the 3rd Round from Arizona State, Barrett began his pro career in South Bend of the Midwest League. He started off very well, with 0 ER in his first 6 IP, but has allowed 18 Hits and 8 BB in the 14 IP since then. He's getting a lot of ground balls (54%), but needs to cut down on the walks. Barrett has been the closer for the Silver Hawks, and has picked up 6 Saves.

4. Chuck Taylor (18), OF (AZL) - 42 G, .247/.323/.307, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 16BB/44K 
The switch-hitting outfielder has shown good speed, with 15 SB in 21 Attempts, good for 6th in the AZL. But Taylor hasn't shown much power yet, with just 8 extra-base hits in 41 Games. He's also averaging over one strikeout per game.

5. Ronnie Freeman (21), C (NWL) - 39 G, .286/.355/.350, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 8BB/20K
Freeman has begun his pro career with Yakima in the Northwest League. He has hit for a good average, and has drawn some walks, but has not hit for power yet. It's a small sample, but Freeman has hit very well against LHP (.346/.414/.385). Defensively, he has thrown out 15 out of 56 basestealers (27%). 

6. Jake Lamb (21), 3B (PION) - 52 G, .308/.379/.481, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 20BB/41K
Lamb has hit very well for Missoula, ranking 2nd in the Pioneer League in Doubles and 8th in RBI. He has hit well against both right-handed (.859 OPS) and left-handed pitchers (.837 OPS), and set a team record with 7 RBI in a game against Great Falls.

7. Andrew Velazquez (17), SS (AZL) - 28 G, .318/.409/.500, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 18BB/32K
At age 17, Velazquez is one of the youngest players in the Arizona Rookie League, and has also been one of the league's better hitters. In just 27 games, he has hit 7 Doubles, 5 Triples, and and an inside-the-park homer. Velazquez has been very successful on the bases, stealing 19 bases in 22 tries. Defensively, he's primarily been playing 2B while Munoz plays SS, but he has made 3 starts at SS.

8. Evan Marzilli (21), OF (PIO) - 37 G, .338/.412/.397, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 16BB/27K
After being drafted in the 8th Round from the University of South Carolina, Marzilli has played well for Missoula in the Pioneer League. He has hit for average, drawn walks, and played well defensively in CF. A left-handed batter, he has hit extremely well against LHP so far, getting 21 Hits in his first 38 At Bats (.553 AVG). The only drawback has been his lack of power.

9. Jeff Gibbs (21), SP (NWL/AZL) - 17 IP, 0-3, 13.24 ERA, 2.88 WHIP, 27BB/15K
As in his final year at the University of Maine, Gibbs's control has been a disaster. After walking 5 batters in 1.1 IP for Yakima, Gibbs was sent down to the Arizona Rookie League, where he has walked 22 in 15.2 IP. The only positives are his 15 strikeouts and just 2 HR allowed in 17 IP.

10. Daniel Poma (23), OF (NWL) - 50 G, .232/.327/.294, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 15BB/19K
The 10th Round pick from Hofstra has struggled with Yakima in the Northwest League. He's shown good plate discipline, but hasn't shown any power at all, with just 6 extra base hits in 177 AB. 

11. Ben Eckels (18), SP (AZL) - 52.1 IP, 4-3, 4.13 ERA, 1.395 WHIP, 56K/23BB, 1 HRA
Eckels has done some good things in the Rookie League - he's striking out over a batter per inning, he's getting ground balls at a 49% rate, and he's only allowed 1 HR in 9 Starts. But he has walked a few too many batters, and he's given up 50 Hits in 52.1 IP.

12. Alex Glenn (21), OF (AZL/PIO) - 38 G, .244/.352/.444, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 18BB/43K
Glenn was recently promoted from the Rookie League to Missoula in the Pioneer League. He's played all three outfield positions, and has shown some speed (8 SB) and some extra base power (13 XBH in 135 AB).

13. Phildrick Llewellyn (18) C/1B (AZL) - 29 G, .267/.356/.356, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 13BB/31K
Llewellyn has been the backup catcher for the Rookie League team, and has also received 21 starts at 1B. He's done a good job of getting on base, and the switch-hitter has been 11-for-25 (.440) against LHP.

14. Derrick Stultz (23) SP (NWL) - 22.1 IP, 1-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 8BB/9K
The 14th Round pick from the University of South Florida has a good ERA and WHIP, but has only struck out 9 batters in 22.1 IP.

15. Blake Forslund (22) RP (NWL) - 26.1 IP, 1-2, 1 Save, 6.49 ERA, 1.823 WHIP, 18BB/21K
Forslund has been used in short relief, and has been giving up too many runs and baserunners.

Others of Note:
18. Kevin Medrano (22) 2B/SS (NWL) - 52 G, .346/.379/.407, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 11BB/25K
The 18th Round pick from Missouri State University leads the Northwest League in Hits and is 3rd in Batting Average.

19. RJ Hively (23) RP (NWL) - 24 IP, 1-0, 8 Svs, 1.12 ERA, 0.917 WHIP, 8BB/22K
The 19th Round pick has 8 Saves for Yakima with a 1.12 ERA.

20. Jacob House (23) 1B/DH (NWL) - 24 G, .309/.346/.423, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 4BB/27K
Good batting average, but hasn't shown any plate discipline yet.

21. Rudy Flores (21) 1B (AZL/PIO) - 34 G, .314/.420/.430, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 19BB/33K
One of eight players on the Missoula roster with a batting average over .300.

30. Chase Stevens (21) RP (PIO) - 27 IP, 3-2, 2.67 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, 13BB/46K
The 30th Round pick from Oklahoma State University leads the Pioneer League with a strikeout rate of 15.3 K/9.

32. Daniel Watts (21) SP (NWL) - 65.2 IP, 4-4, 2.06 ERA, 1.127 WHIP, 14BB/41K
The 32nd Round pick from Jacksonville State University has only allowed 1 HR in 65.2 IP.

34. Jared Ray (23) SP (PIO) - 59.2 IP, 3-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.123 WHIP, 20BB/54K
The 34th Round pick from the University of Houston has an impressive 52.4% GB rate.

36. Andrew Barbosa (24) SP (PIO/MWL) -  62 IP, 3-3, 3.05 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 29BB/71K
The 36th Round pick from the University of South Florida was promoted from Yakima to South Bend after four excellent starts in the Northwest League - 0.41 ERA, 28K in 22 IP.

37. Breland Almadova (21) OF (PIO) - 50 G,  .307/.374/.417, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 19BB/30K
The 37th Round pick from the University of Hawaii has 9 SB in 11 attempts.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Sat, 18 Aug 2012 21:36:32 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/how-are-the-diamondbacks-2012-draft-picks-doing.html
Diamondbacks Sign Former UCLA-Commit Felipe Perez http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/diamondbacks-sign-former-ucla-commit-felipe-perez.html The Los Angeles Times has reported today that the Diamondbacks have signed right-handed pitcher Felipe Perez, who was about to begin his freshman season at UCLA. Perez was rated as the #129 Draft Prospect by Baseball America heading into the June draft, and was projected to have the talent to go in the first five rounds.  But signability concerns caused him to go undrafted - in fact, he was BA's highest rated player to go undrafted. The collective bargaining agreement classified Perez as a free agent since he was not drafted, and the Diamondbacks signed him for $400,000.

Perez pitched for a small high school, Fairmont Prep, in Anaheim, CA, and did not face very strong competition. In just 48.1 IP, he struck out 89 batters while walking only 7.  Scouts say he has excellent character, and is very bright. His fastball is in the 88-91 mph range, with good projection for increased velocity. Perez already has good command with his fastball, and he has a promising curveball and changeup.

The Diamondbacks were $113,500 under budget for their 2012 Bonus Pool Spending, prior to the Perez signing. Any amount over $100K counts against the pool, so by signing Perez for $400K, $300K counts towards the bonus pool. The Diamondbacks are now $187K over the pool, but that is OK. Teams that exceed the bonus pool by 5% would lose their 1st round pick in 2013, but the team stayed below that amount by $4415.  The Diamondbacks will just have to pay a 75% fine for the amount they exceeded their cap, which comes out to a penalty of around $140K. Not a bad price to pay to get another top talent into the farm system.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) Fri, 10 Aug 2012 17:09:27 GMT http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/august/diamondbacks-sign-former-ucla-commit-felipe-perez.html