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2010 Archives http://www.dbacksvenom.com/table/2010-articles/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:33:10 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Diamondbacks Off-Season Recap: The Outfield http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/december/diamondbacks-off-season-recap-the-outfield.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/december/diamondbacks-off-season-recap-the-outfield.html Let's continue our recap of the Diamondbacks offseason with a look at the outfield. The RF and CF spots in the Diamondbacks' outfield are set for 2011 with Justin Upton and Chris Young, but LF is still open, with Xavier Nady, Brandon Allen, and Gerardo Parra battling for playing time.  Nady is the experienced veteran, Allen is the promising young player, and Parra is the defensive specialist - how will the playing time shake out?

amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) December Mon, 20 Dec 2010 00:34:55 +0000
Ranking the Diamondbacks for 2010 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/october/ranking-the-diamondbacks-for-2010.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/october/ranking-the-diamondbacks-for-2010.html rankings from the All Star Break, the top Diamondback player for the year is the same one who has been the team leader all year - 2B Kelly Johnson. Johnson led the Diamondbacks in AVG at .284, OBP at .370, and SLG at .496. Moving up to the #2 slot in the year-end rankings is SS Stephen Drew, who finished second on the team in OPS at .810 while playing solid defense at SS. Chris Young finished a solid #3 after leading the team in HR and SB, and Daniel Hudson, acquired in the Edwin Jackson, rocketed all the way up to #4 by throwing 11 straight Quality Starts for the Diamondbacks. Juan Gutierrez advanced to #15 after two excellent months to close the season. Moving down during the second half were 3B Mark Reynolds (#7 down to #12) after a .686 second-half OPS, and IF Tony Abreu (#20 to #31). Here are my final rankings for the 2010 season, as well as the standings at the one-quarter and one-half points of the season:
Yr ASB Jun Player Comment
1 1 1 Kelly Johnson, 2B Led team in AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
2 4 4 Stephen Drew, SS .810 OPS and solid defense
3 2 2 Chris Young, CF Led team in HR (27) and SB (28)
4 x x Daniel Hudson, SP 7-1, 1.69 ERA, 70K/16BB in 11 GS
5 3 8 Justin Upton, RF Dropped in every key stat except BBs
6 6 5 Ian Kennedy, SP 3.80 ERA, 168K/70BB in 194 IP
7 8 21 Miguel Montero, C .770 OPS with improved defense
8 13 3 Adam LaRoche, 1B 25 HR and team-leading 100 RBI
9 14 - Barry Enright, SP 2.45 ERA in first 12 G,  8.06 in last 5
10 5 7 Dan Haren, SP 4.60 ERA with D'backs; 2.87 with Angels
11 9 9 Chris Snyder, C Hit 10 HR with .778 OPS
12 7 6 Mark Reynolds, 3B OPS dropped from .892 to .753 in 2010
13 x x Joe Saunders, SP 4.25 ERA in 13 G with D'Backs
14 16 24 Gerardo Parra, OF Didn't hit, but played excellent defense
15 23 31 Juan Gutierrez, RP 1.45 ERA with 12 SV over last 2 months
16 x x Brandon Allen, LF .267/.393/.400 in 56 PA, with 10BB/20K
17 X X Ryan Church, OF .835 OPS after .552 with Pirates
18 10 11 Edwin Jackson, SP 5.16 ERA with D'backs; 3.24 with WSox
19 11 10 Aaron Heilman, RP held LHB to .647 OPS; 5.34 ERA in 2H
20 x x D.J. Carrasco, RP 3.18 ERA, but 12 BB in 22.2 IP
21 12 12 Rodrigo Lopez, SP Led team with 200 IP, but had 5.00 ERA
22 19 29 Blaine Boyer, RP 3.72 ERA in 2H, finished  w 29K/29BB
23 18 17 Esm. Vasquez, RP Led club with 9.2K/9 IP, but 6.4BB/9
24 28 23 Carlos Rosa, RP Finished year with 7 scoreless games
25 x x Mike Hampton, RP 4.1 scoreless IP in comeback
26 21 14 Conor Jackson, LF Never found power before trade
27 17 18 Rusty Ryal, OF .656 OPS with 67 K/8 BB
28 15 x Sam Demel, RP 5.35 ERA but had 33K/12BB in 37 IP
29 22 19 Kris Benson, SP 2 Quality Starts before injury
30 30 25 John Hester, C .780 OPS and 2 HR after August recall
31 20 13 Tony Abreu, MI .244 OBP and brutal 47K/4BB ratio
32 25 20 Cole Gillespie, OF .766 OPS against RHP, .515 vs LHP
33 x x Zach Kroenke, SP Earned Win with 5 IP, 1 ER on 10/1
34 27 30 Jor. Norberto, RP Walked 22 batters in 20 IP
35 24 16 Leo Rosales, RP Allowed runs in only 5 of 16 outings
36 31 x Ryan Roberts, LF .577 OPS; could never earn more PT
37 29 26 Augie Ojeda, MI .486 OPS may be end of D'Backs career
38 x x Konrad Schmidt, C Collected first ML hit
39 x x Bobby Crosby, SS Never had a role with D'Backs
40 32 - Dontrelle Willis, SP 6.85 ERA and 27 BB in 22.1 IP
41 33 27 Cesar Valdez, RP 7.65 ERA and 1.95 WHIP for year
42 26 15 Chad Qualls, CL Had 8.29 ERA, 2.00 WHIP for D'Backs
43 35 28 Kevin Mulvey, RP Allowed 7 baserunners in 3 IP
44 36 32 Bob Howry, RP 6 HR, 17 ER in 14.1 IP; now with Cubs
45 34 22 Billy Buckner, SP ERA up to 11.08 before trade
46 37 33 Daniel Stange, RP 6 ER and 6 BB in 4 IP
47 38 34 Saul Rivera, RP ERA of 22.09; 9 ER in 3.2 IP
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) October Tue, 05 Oct 2010 15:44:23 +0000
Diamondbacks Call Up Allen, Abreu, Rosa, and Rosales http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/september/diamondbacks-call-up-allen-abreu-rosa-and-rosales.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/september/diamondbacks-call-up-allen-abreu-rosa-and-rosales.html Brandon Allen, 2B/SS Tony Abreu, RHP Carlos Rosa, and RHP Leo Rosales.  Of the four, Allen is the only one likely to get a real chance to play.  He has been playing LF extensively for AAA Reno over the last month, and should get a chance to start some games in LF in the Majors. Allen could also see time at 1B down the stretch, especially if Adam LaRoche continues to have problems with a slight knee injury.  Here are the stats for these players in 2010: Brandon Allen: .261/.405/.528, 25 HR, 86 RBI, 72R, 83BB, 95K Tony Abreu (AAA): .351/.386/.511, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 17R, 4 BB, 21K Tony Abreu (Majors): .237/.255/.298, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 12R, 4 BB, 29K Carlos Rosa (AAA): 0-0, 1.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 14BB, 31K Carlos Rosa (Majors): 0-2, 6.75 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 9BB, 8K Leo Rosales (AAA): 0-0, 5.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.1 IP, 3 BB, 4K Leo Rosales (Majors): 2-0, 8.10 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 6BB, 9K It is a little surprising that the Diamondbacks did not call up any starting pitchers for the last month of the season. Rodrigo Lopez has pitched very poorly in August (7.71 ERA, 1.78 WHIP in 30.1 IP), and AAA starters like Zack Kroenke (3.51 ERA), Matt Torra (4.45 ERA) or Kevin Mulvey (4.75 ERA) might be worth a look.  Also, there had been some talk about limiting the innings thrown by young starters Daniel Hudson (152 IP), Barry Enright (160 IP), and Ian Kennedy (165 IP).  But Manager Kirk Gibson has said that he prefers to stick with his regular lineup and rotation down the stretch, since the Diamondbacks will be playing teams that are involved in the pennant chase. Unfortunately, the  rest of the AAA rotation has also been pitching poorly, so the team felt there was not much point in calling up Bryan Augenstein (6.51 ERA), Cesar Valdez (5.98 ERA), or Wes Roemer (7.03 ERA).  Pitcher Brandon Webb also was not added to the roster yet. Although Webb threw off a mound to batters earlier this week, the team feels he is still not ready to join the active roster.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) September Wed, 01 Sep 2010 18:45:47 +0000 Diamondbacks Prospect Paul Goldschmidt Tied for Minor League HR Lead with 31 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/august/diamondbacks-prospect-paul-goldschmidt-tied-for-minor-league-hr-lead-with-31.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/august/diamondbacks-prospect-paul-goldschmidt-tied-for-minor-league-hr-lead-with-31.html Paul Goldschmidt, who was drafted in the 8th Round of the 2009 draft, has already hit 31 Home Runs for Class A Visalia in the California League.  This ties Goldschmidt for the minor league home run league with AAA catcher J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays, who also has 31 HR for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Goldschmidt's 90 RBI also place him in the Top 5 in the minors for the season. A move up to AA Mobile may happen soon for Goldschmidt; the current Mobile first basemen are 26 year old Bryan Byrne, 25 year old Cyle Hankerd, and 25 year old Sean Coughlin, all of whom are slugging below .375 for the year.  The main thing preventing Goldschmidt from moving up is his strikeout-to-walk ratio - he already has 118 strikeouts and only 38 walks.  After Goldschmidt, the leading power hitters in the Diamondbacks' farm system are Marc Krauss (.320, 20 HR, 73 RBI for Visalia)  and Brandon Allen (.261, 18 HR, 61 RBI for AAA Reno). Here is a look at the minor league HR leaders through Monday, August 2nd.
Team Player Pos Age Level HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
ARI Goldschmidt, P. 1B 22 H-A 31 90 .312 .369 .614
TOR Arencibia, J.P. C 24 AAA 31 79 .306 .359 .644
TAM Johnson, Dan 3B 30 AAA 30 95 .303 .430 .624
LAD Sands, Jerry 1B 22 L-A,AA 29 72 .311 .414 .625
SEA Chavez, Joher. RF 21 H-A 27 76 .314 .383 .586
LAA Trumbo, Mark 1B 24 AAA 26 89 .292 .348 .563
KCR Moustakas, Mk. 3B 21 AA,AAA 26 87 .323 .376 .634
NYY Laird, Brandon 3B 22 AA,AAA 25 92 .298 .360 .542
KCR Ka'aihue, Kila 1B 26 AAA,MAJ 24 78 .319 .463 .598
OAK Carter, Chris 1B 23 AAA 24 76 .251 .357 .510
BAL Guzman, Joel DH 25 AA 24 74 .274 .333 .501
CLE Goedert, Jared 3B 25 AAA,AA 24 69 .306 .375 .587
COL Eldred, Brad 1B 29 AAA,MAJ 24 67 .278 .334 .598
SEA Halman, Greg CF 22 AAA 24 60 .253 .331 .571
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) August Tue, 03 Aug 2010 17:00:54 +0000
Barry Enright wins debut despite small strike zone by home plate umpire Angel Campos http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/july/barry-enright-wins-debut-despite-small-strike-zone-by-home-plate-umpire-angel-campos.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/july/barry-enright-wins-debut-despite-small-strike-zone-by-home-plate-umpire-angel-campos.html Barry Enright won has major league debut on Wednesday against the Cardinals, allowing 1 ER in 5 innings, with 4 Hits, 4 Walks, and 5 Strikeouts. To get through 5 IP, Enright threw 101 pitches, 55 of which were strikes, and 46 were balls. Although Enright did pitch effectively, it was a little surprising to see Enright walk so many batters, and throw so many pitches in just 5 innings, after showing excellent command in the minors. Was Enright already struggling with his command like so many other pitchers on the Diamondbacks ? It turns out that the problem may have been the small strike zone of umpire Angel Campos. The plot below (from the excellent web site BrooksBaseball.net) shows the normalized strike zone map for Enright against the Cardinals. The width is based on the average umpire's strike zone, while the height is normalized based on the batting stance of each batter. The view is that of the home plate umpire (not the pitcher). The green squares represent pitches that were called "Balls," the red squares are the called "Strikes," and the blue squares are the balls in play. Normalized Strike Zone - 06/30/10 - Enright It is clear that Enright had several pitches within the strike zone that were still called "Balls" - I count at least 10. At least two of Enright's pitches were a good three inches within the zone, and were still not called strikes. Enright did get the benefit of two high called strikes, and also received four other borderline strike calls on each edge of the plate. The plot below shows the pitch location for the final pitch of each at bat.  Of the four batters that were walked by Enright, three of them were awarded Ball Four on a pitch that was actually within the strike zone. So maybe the problem on Wednesday was not Enright's command, but Angel Campos' strike zone.  He'll get another start next week, as he'll stay in the rotation while Dontrelle Willis moves to the bullpen. Strike Zone by Outcome]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) July Thu, 01 Jul 2010 23:25:54 +0000 Diamondbacks Still Have a Winning Record - If the Games Lasted Only 5 Innings http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/june/diamondbacks-still-have-a-winning-record-if-the-games-lasted-only-5-innings.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/june/diamondbacks-still-have-a-winning-record-if-the-games-lasted-only-5-innings.html After an amazing balk-off loss to the Dodgers on Monday, the Diamondbacks have now lost 8 straight and are 11.5 games out of first place, with a 20-32 record. Obviously, the bullpen has been terrible, with an ERA of 7.70, but the starters haven't been that great either with a 5.11 ERA.  As a result, the Diamondbacks have found themselves behind early quite a bit, but the offense has managed to keep the games close. Here is a breakdown of the team's record after each inning of play. Inning Breakdown

Even after one inning, the Diamondbacks usually find themselves behind, with a 14-18 record (20 ties). Things get worse after three innings, when the team finds itself 10 games below .500 at 17-27 (8 ties). But then the offense seems to kick in, and the Diamondbacks actually have a winning record after 5 innings at 25-22 (5 ties). Even after 8 innings, the team's record is still a respectable 22-24 (6 ties), but thing really fall apart in the 9th inning as the record plummets to 18-30 (4 ties). In the 9th inning, the Diamondbacks have only scored 18 runs, while allowing 40 (in only 38 games). The plot below shows the runs scored and allowed per inning for the Diamondbacks. The offense peaks in the 4th and 5th innings, and is worst in the 6th. The pitching is by far the worst in the 9th inning. Runs Per Inning]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) June Tue, 01 Jun 2010 19:19:21 +0000 Notes on Cesar Valdez and the Carlos Rosa-Reynaldo Navarro Trade http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/may/notes-on-cesar-valdez-and-the-carlos-rosa-reynaldo-navarro-trade.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/may/notes-on-cesar-valdez-and-the-carlos-rosa-reynaldo-navarro-trade.html Cesar Valdez On Monday, the Diamondbacks called up SP Cesar Valdez to make his major league debut against the Houston Astros. Kevin Mulvey was sent back to AAA to open a roster spot. Valdez had made 4 starts for AAA Reno, going 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA, with a nice 25K/5BB ratio over 23.2 IP. Here is a closer look at his four minor league starts:
Date Opponent IP H ER HR BB SO GO/FO
4/9/2010 Fresno 4.2 3 0 0 3 7 6.0
4/14/2010 Salt Lake 6.0 10 5 2 0 6 0.8
4/19/2010 Sacramento 6.0 6 2 0 1 8 2.0
4/25/2010 Col. Springs 7.0 4 3 1 1 4 1.8
It is clear that to be successful, Valdez must keep the ball on the ground. In his only poor start, on April 14 against Salt Lake City, he had more fly ball outs than ground ball outs, and also allowed 2 Home Runs. Although Valdez has struck out over one batter per inning this year, his career rate is only 7.1K/9, and in 2009 his strikeout rate had slipped down to only 5.6K/9 for AAA Reno. Valdez has also reduced his walk rate significantly in 2010, walking only 1.9BB/9 this year after allowing almost 3 BB/9 over the last two seasons. Despite the good strikeout numbers this year, Valdez doesn't have great stuff, and needs to control the walks and get ground balls to be successful. Another point to note is that left-handed batters are hitting 10-29 (.345) against Valdez this year, while he has held right-handers to 13-69 (.217). Reynaldo Navarro - Carlos Rosa Trade Last Friday, the Diamondbacks sent Visalia SS Reynaldo Navarro (20) to the Royals for AAA pitcher Carlos Rosa (25). Not only is the Diamondbacks major league bullpen a disaster so far this year, but the injuries to Kris Benson and Leo Rosales have left the organization without much depth at the AAA level. Rosa has made 9 appearances in the majors over the last two years, compiling a 3.21 ERA over 14 IP. Rosa had been a starter in the Royals system through the 2008 season, but the Royals decided to switch him to relief in 2009. The switch occurred because Rosa was having trouble with his secondary pitches. He has a solid fastball around 93 mph with good movement, but his only other pitch is a slider in the low-to-mid 80s. He's had little success with his changeup or curveball. The switch to the bullpen helped his strikeout rate, as he struck out 80 in 71 IP last year, but he also struggled with walks, allowing 32 (4.1 BB/9 IP). There are reports that Rosa still has not adapted well to the bullpen - that he struggles to get ready on short notice and is not able to pitch on consecutive days. For now, Rosa will add depth to the AAA bullpen. He doesn't have the repertoire to be a closer or set-up man yet, but he could eventually see some middle relief work in Arizona. Reynaldo Navarro signed with the Diamondbacks in 2007 at the age of 17, and was in his 4th season in the Minors. Defensively, Navarro has good range and a solid arm, but his offense is still a question. He has a career OPS of only .645 in the minors, including a .636 OPS in the hitter friendly California League this season. The Diamondbacks have a similar good-field, no-hit shortstop in Pedro Ciriaco, and 2009 draft pick Chris Owings may be ready to move up to Visalia from Low-A South Bend, where he has an .831 OPS after 22 games. ]]>
amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Mon, 03 May 2010 17:21:12 +0000
Diamondbacks Spring Training Wrapup and Season Preview http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/april/diamondbacks-spring-training-wrapup-and-season-preview.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/april/diamondbacks-spring-training-wrapup-and-season-preview.html Offense Catchers: Miguel Montero, Chris Snyder. Montero has not hit well in spring training (.180/.317/.240), but will go into the season as the starter. However, Manager A.J. Hinch says that Snyder will see significant playing time. "They're both starting catchers in my eyes, and it's important that they stay fresh. Montero is going to start early on and play a tick more than [Snyder], but that doesn't mean that Snyder is going to be buried or be an afterthought, he's a big part of that catching tandem." Snyder also did not hit that well in Spring Training (.232/.267/.304), but did show that he is fully recovered from last year's back surgery. Snyder defense is still regarded as superior to Montero's. This may end up being a straight platoon, with Montero starting against RHP, and Snyder starting against LHP. Between the two, expect around 25 HR and 90 RBI. First Base: Adam LaRoche LaRoche will be the everyday starter for the Diamondbacks at 1B, and should bat cleanup. He should hit well in Chase Field, and 25 HR and 100 RBI are reasonable expectations for him. Brandon Allen was impressive during ST (.344/.436/.656), but will spend most of the year at AAA. There has been talk of Allen playing a little LF in addition to 1B while in the minors. Second Base: Kelly Johnson, Tony Abreu Kelly Johnson will be the starter at 2B, although Tony Abreu (.351/.367/.544) did outplay him in ST. Johnson has a better batting eye and should provide more power than Abreu, while Abreu is better defensively. Expect around a .275-15 HR-65 RBI season from Johnson. Shortstop: Stephen Drew, Augie Ojeda Drew had a nice ST (.371/.414/.600) and will bat either 1st or 2nd for the Diamondbacks. 2009 was a disappointing offensive season for Drew, but the team expects him to bounce back in 2010. Expect a batting average around .270 with double-digit HR and around 90 runs scored. Third Base: Mark Reynolds Reynolds will play everyday at 3B, and should be good for 35 HR, 100 RBI, and 15-20 SB, but with a .250 batting average and lots of strikeouts. He's coming off a good spring that saw him hit .364/.446/.709 with 3 SB. Outfield: Conor Jackson, Chris Young, Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Ryan Roberts Conor Jackson hit .340 in ST with 3 HR, and had 10 walks with only 3 strikeouts. Manager A.J. Hinch experimented with Jackson in the leadoff spot quite a bit in ST, since Jackson will probably have the best OBP on the team. If he doesn't bat 1st, he'll be in the #2 slot. Either way, he should score a lot of runs batting in front of Upton, LaRoche, and Reynolds. Expect a .290/.350/.430 line from Jackson, with around 15 HR and 10 SB. Chris Young cemented his place as the starting CF with a nice spring (.317/.414/.600) that followed up a strong Spetmber last year. Most encouraging for Young was his plate discipline in ST, with 10 walks and only 9 strikeouts in 57 AB. Young probably will not hit for a high average, but he should provide at least 15-20 in the HR and SB columns. Justin Upton should be the best player on the D'backs in 2010. In ST, he led the team in HR with 6, RBI with 20, and Batting Average at .385. For the 2010 season, expect around .290 with 30 HR and 100 RBI, plus 20+ SB. Gerardo Parra should be the 4th OF, despite a poor ST. He really struggled against LHP in 2009, but may steal some ABs from Chris Young against RHP. Ryan Roberts also had a poor spring (.185/.279/.352) with 15 K/5 BB in 54 AB. Roberts has shown good hitting against LHP in the past, but isn't expected to get significant playing time unless injuries strike. Rusty Ryal is still an option in place of Roberts; Ryal should provide more power, but a lower OBP. This last roster spot will be decided on Saturday. Lineup The leadoff hitter will be either Jackson or Drew, but the rest of the lineup appears set. LF Conor Jackson SS Stephen Drew RF Justin Upton 1B Adam LaRoche 3B Mark Reynolds C Miguel Montero 2B Kelly Johnson CF Chris B. Young The Diamondbacks should be a very good offensive team. The only question marks are Chris Young and Kelly Johnson, but everyone else should be above average. The bench should also be valuable offensively, with Abreu, Parra, Snyder, and Roberts all providing some useful offensive skills. Defense Defense was a problem for the Diamondbacks last year, and could be again this year. In the infield, only Stephen Drew is likely to be a positive defensively, while Adam LaRoche should be average and Kelly Johnson and Mark Reynolds slightly below. The outfield should be better, as all three of Jackson, Young, and Upton have good range. Consistency has been an issue for Young and Upton. The bench should be quite good defensively, as Ojeda, Abreu, and Snyder are all better defenders than the people starting ahead of them. Starting Pitching: Dan Haren, Brandon Webb (DL), Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez, Billy Buckner, Kris Benson, Kevin Mulvey Dan Haren will be the Opening Day starter and the ace of the staff. He had a solid 22K/5BB ratio in 24 spring IP, and should be one of the Top 5 starters in the NL in 2010. In 2009, Haren finished second in the NL in Innings Pitched, and was first in WHIP and K/BB. Unfortunately, Haren's ERA in the 2nd Half jumped from 2.01 to 4.62, as it has for the last four seasons. But Haren's FIP numbers stayed solid throughout the year, and he should be fine in 2010. Brandon Webb had a cortisone injection last Thursday, and will try pitching again again next week. His recovery from a shoulder injury has been very frustrating for both him and the team, since he has days where he feels great followed by days where his arm feels "stagnant". Webb hasn't been feeling any pain in his shoulder, but hasn't really cut loose from the mound. Webb is still hoping to be ready by May, but his return is definitely a question mark. Edwin Jackson is counted on to provide around 200 IP for the D'backs, something that the team thought Max Scherzer would be unable to provide. Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 2009, but his FIP was quite a bit higher at 4.28, and there are some concerns about how well he will do in Chase Field. This spring, Jackson has been shaky, with a 5.32 ERA and 6K/13BB in 23.2 IP. He appears healthy, and the team has to hope he turns things around once the real seasons starts. Along with Jackson, Ian Kennedy was acquired in last December's Max Scherzer trade. Kennedy has had outstanding numbers in AAA (7-4, 2.14 ERA, 131K/35BB in 126 IP), but is still looking for some success at the Major League level. He pitched very well in Spring Training, going 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 17K/5BB in 25 IP. I expect an ERA around 4.00 from Kennedy, with double-digit wins and around 150 strikeouts. Rodrigo Lopez was a non-roster invitee to camp, and ended up winning the #4 starter job. Lopez was outstanding in spring training, compiling a 1.64 ERA and 16K/4BB in 22 IP. Lopez only pitched 30 IP in 2009, and missed all of 2008 with injuries, so it's not clear how durable or effective he will be. But the D'backs are going to give him a chance. Billy Buckner was expected to be the #4 starter after pitching well in AAA and in September for the D'backs (3-3, 3.93 ERA, 31K, 2 HR in 36.2 IP). This spring, however, Buckner was rocked for 21 ER in 18.2 IP, and was optioned to AAA. The only good news about his spring was that he did strike out 18 during those 18.2 IP, but he did walk 8 and allow 4 HRs. Buckner will get a couple of starts in Reno to earn the #5 spot that will be needed in mid-April. Kris Benson was a late signee for the D'backs, and allowed 3 ER in 4.2 IP in his only spring training appearance, with 2K/4BB. He will also go to AAA and battle for the #5 slot, along with Kevin Mulvey. Mulvey also was rocked in ST, allowing 15 runs (6 ER) in 9.1 IP, with 5K/7BB. Relief Pitchers Chad Qualls will be the closer for the Diamondbacks. He appears to be healthy, and had 5K/1BB in 9.1 innings in ST, although he did allow 8 ER. If Qualls falters, Juan Gutierrez may be ready to step into the closer's role. Gutierrez has been the team's best reliever all spring, throwing 8.2 scoreless innings while allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 7. Manager A.J. Hinch says that Gutierrez will pitch "important innings" for the team. "On days that Chad Qualls isn't available, he's our ninth-inning guy. On days when the eighth inning matches up well for him, he's our eighth-inning guy, and there may be an out or two in the seventh inning I ask him to get." The surprise of the bullpen has been lefthander Jordan Norberto, who only allowed 1 hit and 1 ER in 8.2 IP. Norberto spent most of 2009 in High-A ball, and struggled when he was advanced to AA. Control has always been an issue for Norberto, and in ST, he did have 6 BBs and 1 HBP in his 8.2 IP. But with lefthanders Clay Zavada (8.00 ERA) and Zach Kroenke (7.71) struggling in ST, the D'backs are going with Norberto as the lefthander in the pen. The rest of the bullpen had a very shaky spring training. Bob Howry, who I discussed in this article, had a 6.35 ERA, allowing 17 H, 8 ER, and 3 HR in 11.1 IP. The other right-handers in the pen, Aaron Heilman (7.36), Blaine Boyer (6.30), Leo Rosales (6.75), and Esmerling Vasquez (5.59) also were unimpressive, although Vasquez did rack up 11 strikeouts in 9.2 IP. Summary The fate of the 2010 season depends on the return of Brandon Webb. If Webb is able to return in May and pitch like the 2006-2008 version, the team's rotation should be among the best in the league. If not, the D'backs must hope that Rodrigo Lopez and Billy Buckner will provide some quality innings at the back end of the rotation. In the bullpen, only closer Chad Qualls and setup man Juan Gutierrez can be counted on. The strength of this team should be the offense. With Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, and Adam LaRoche, the D'backs have three 30 HR threats. Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew have solid on-base skills at the top of the order, and Kelly Johnson and Chris Young provide some pop at the bottom. The catching tandem of Miguel Montero and Chris Snyder should provide 25 HRs, and the bench has a good mix of skills. If Webb is able to contribute in 2010, the Diamondbacks should win 85-88 games, and be in the hunt for the Division title and the Wild Card. Hopefully the team can add one more starter and a quality bullpen arm or two to before the trade deadline. Without Webb, a .500 season is more likely. ]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) April Sat, 03 Apr 2010 16:57:35 +0000 Diamondbacks sign Justin Upton to a 6 Year, $51M Deal http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-sign-justin-upton-to-a-6-year-51m-deal.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/march/diamondbacks-sign-justin-upton-to-a-6-year-51m-deal.html Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of SI.com. As a 22 year old in 2009, Upton batted .300/.366/.532, with 26 HR, 86 RBI, and 20 SB. This deal will pay Upton through three arbitration-eligible seasons as well as his first two years of potential free agency. The $51M contract will be the second largest in Diamondbacks' history, just below the $53M signed by Randy Johnson in 1999. This looks like a great deal for the Diamondbacks, averaging out to around $8.5M per season. Although Upton is inexpensive right now, his salary would have been expected to rise significantly in 2011-2013 during his arbitration years. And as a free agent in 2014-2015, he may well have become one of the league's highest paid players. For Upton, he now has great financial security, and he can also look forward to a nice free agent contract for the 2016 season when he will only be 28 years old. A good comparison contract is that of Nick Markakis, who signed a 6 yr, $66M deal with the Orioles in 2009. Markakis had already completed three seasons when he signed, unlike Upton's two, so his contract was for 3 arb-eligible years plus three free agent years. If we replace Markakis' third FA-eligible year at $15M with that of a 3rd year player, and take out his 7th year option year buyout of $2M, his contract would be around $50M for the same service period.]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) March Wed, 03 Mar 2010 00:27:46 +0000 Diamondbacks Invite 17 Non-Roster Players to 2010 Spring Training http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/february/diamondbacks-invite-17-non-roster-players-to-2010-spring-training.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2010-articles/february/diamondbacks-invite-17-non-roster-players-to-2010-spring-training.html invited 17 non-roster players to Spring Training. Here is a look at the list and each player's chance of making the roster. Catchers Carlos Corporan (26) - Corporan is tied for the highest career batting average in Major League history (1-1, 1.000), but is not much of an offensive prospect. His career stats in AAA are .211/.248/.327, with 67Ks and only 10 BBs. He was signed as a minor league free agent from the Brewers organization. Sean Coughlin (24) - Coughlin had a fine season between High A and AA last year, batting .287/.396/.468, with 11 HR, 47 BBs, and only 39Ks. The former University of Kentucky All-American's season ended early when he broke his hand in the Southern League All-Star game. Coughlin will likely be the starter in AAA this year. Konrad Schmidt (25) - Schmidt hit well in the California League, going .304/.359/.443 in 106 games. Schmidt will likely be the starter in AA Mobile in 2010. First Basemen Jeff Bailey (31)Bailey was the AAA International League MVP in 2008 after hitting .301/.405/.562 with 25 HR and 75 RBI. The former catcher now plays 1B and OF, and has had brief stints with the Red Sox in 2008 and 2009, with a career line of .228/.340/.434. At age 31, Bailey's best hope for a major league career may be a lefty-basher - he has a lifetime .316/.391/.649 line against LHP in 57 AB. Shortstop Mark Hallberg (24) - Once a considered a top middle infield prospect, Hallberg has seen his OPS fall for three consecutive years as he has moved through the system (LowA - .848, HighA - .725, AA - .648). Outfielders Drew Macias (26)Signed from the Padres system, Macias has struggled to break the Mendoza line as a major leaguer, batting exactly .200 in 2008 (20 ABs) and .197 in 2009 (76 ABs). Although he had an OBP of .393 with 83 BBs to 81Ks in 2008, he slipped to a .232/.329/.343 line in 2009. Macias' first major league hit was a HR off Matt Cain in 2008. Collin Cowgill (23) - Cowgill had a solid season in High A Visalia (.277/..373/.445) before missing the second half with a hamstring injury. Cowgill should start 2010 in AA, and needs to show he can play an injury-free season. Evan Frey (23) - Frey can run and play CF, but his OPS dropped from .800 to .686 with the move from Visalia to Mobile. Pitchers T.J. Beam (29) - Beam has pitched as both a reliever and a starter in the Yankees, Pirates, and Blue Jays organizations. He has a career 3.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and averages 9.0 K/9 with only 2.6 BB/9. He struggled in AAA Las Vegas in 2009, but should be battling for one of the last spots on the major league roster. Josh Ellis (25)- Ellis had nice stats in AA (4-2, 1.94 ERA) but struggled in AAA (3-1, 7.91 ERA). However, his peripherals and Fielding Independent stats were good at both levels. In his minor league career, Ellis has only allowed 6 HR in 163.2 IP, while striking out 177 and only walking 68. Barry Enright (23) - Enright pitched in AA Mobile in 2009, going 10-9 with a 3.98 ERA. The strikeout rate of 5.9K/9 is a little low, but Enright should advance to AAA in 2010. Tommy Layne (25) - Layne, a left-handed reliever, had a 4-2 record for Visalia with a 2.86 ERA in 2009. But the 25 BBs in 66 IP, along with only 43 strikeouts, led to a 3.78 FIP ERA Rodrigo Lopez (34) - Lopez has won at least 14 games three times in the Majors, but the last time was in 2005. Even in his successful years, he gave up a lot of HRs and BBs, and is unlikely to be very useful now. Kyler Newby (24) - Newby had pitched well in Visalia in 2007 and 2008, but struggled in Mobile in 2009, giving up 1.4HR/9 and 3.3BB/9. Wes Roemer (23) - Roemer pitched between Visalia and Mobile last year, but also struggled with the walks, 3.0BB/9. Bryan Shaw (22) - Shaw had a 4.70 ERA for Visalia last year, but did strike out 8.0 per 9 innings. He should pitch for AA Mobile in 2010. Matt Torra (25) - The 2005 1st Round pick went 10-13 with a 3.85 ERA for AA Mobile, but only struck out 5.8 per 9 innings. Torra did show good control with only 28 BB in 180 IP, but also gave up 24 HR. ]]> amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) February Tue, 02 Feb 2010 04:44:12 +0000