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2011 Archives http://www.dbacksvenom.com/table/2011-articles/may/ Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:30:49 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Diamondbacks 2011 Draft Preview http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-2011-draft-preview.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-2011-draft-preview.html One month ago, many Diamondbacks' fans had almost given up on this season, and were really excited about the 2011 MLB June Draft. But a 19-10 record in the month of May catapulted the team all the way into 1st Place in the NL West, and suddenly the draft faded a little in significance.  But the team does have two of the first seven picks, and this draft will be critical in the long-term success of the franchise.  The second choice at #7 is a compensation pick for Barret Loux in 2010, who was not signed due to injury concerns. This pick will be an unprotected pick, meaning that if that player is not signed, the Diamondbacks will not get a compensation choice in 2012. This may lead the team to go for a "safe" player here who is likely to sign, rather than a high school player who may need a big contract to keep him from college. Here is a look at some of the prospects who the Diamondbacks are considering at Picks #3 and #7. The draft will be held on Monday, June 6th.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Wed, 01 Jun 2011 16:20:34 +0000
The 3rd to 1st Roadtrip http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/the-3rd-to-1st-roadtrip.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/the-3rd-to-1st-roadtrip.html (Recap from guest contributor Justin Emerson)
Two Sundays ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks were 16-22, and not being in last place felt like an accomplishment.  Last Sunday, the Diamondbacks were 23-23, and being at .500 felt like an accomplishment.  They were in 3rd place, about to start a 7 game roadtrip.  Now, here we are after an incredible 13-2 run, the D'Backs now sit in first place for the first time (excluding opening days) since September 2008.  First place! Lets run down this past week, a roadtrip to Colorado and Houston, a big roadtrip.  The D'Backs have proven they can win at home, and shown that they can keep rolling on the road. Let’s recap a magical roadtrip.

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aztigers2436@yahoo.com (Justin Emerson) May Mon, 30 May 2011 00:38:17 +0000
GM Kevin Towers Deserves Plenty of Credit for the Diamondbacks' Record http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/gm-kevin-towers-deserves-plenty-of-credit-for-the-diamondbacks-record.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/gm-kevin-towers-deserves-plenty-of-credit-for-the-diamondbacks-record.html Many people were skeptical when the Diamondbacks' hired General Manager Kevin Towers during the offseason, and almost no one took Towers seriously when he said "Why not us?" when asked about the team's chances this year. Most experts were picking the Diamondbacks to finish last in the division, and some were even projecting over 100 losses for this team.  But the team now sits at 28-24, just one-half game out of first place in the NL West, and Towers deserves plenty of credit for bringing in several new players who have made significant contributions.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Sun, 29 May 2011 05:54:55 +0000
Surprisingly, the Diamondbacks Rank 2nd in MLB in Fewest Stolen Bases Allowed http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/surprisingly-the-diamondbacks-rank-2nd-in-mlb-in-fewest-stolen-bases-allowed.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/surprisingly-the-diamondbacks-rank-2nd-in-mlb-in-fewest-stolen-bases-allowed.html Expectations for the Arizona Diamondbacks were quite low heading into the 2011 season, and the first 49 games have been a pleasant surprise for most fans, as the team is now above .500 at 25-24 and has moved into second place in the NL West.  But even fans who follow the Diamondbacks closely are probably a little surprised that the team is ranked second in all of Major League Baseball in fewest stolen bases allowed.

Fewest Stolen Bases Allowed (through games of May 25, 2011)

Rank Team SB CS CS%
1 Washington Nationals 15 12 44.4%
2 Arizona Diamondbacks 19 9 32.1%
3 St. Louis Cardinals 20 10 33.3%
3 Baltimore Orioles 20 14 41.2%
5 Texas Rangers 23 17 42.5%
6 Oakland Athletics 25 21 45.7%

Much has been said about Miguel Montero's throwing problems this year, as he already has 8 errors.  But teams are still not running on the Diamondbacks very much - 16/22 against Montero, and 3/6 against backup Henry Blanco. The 19 SB in 49 games (0.39/Game) is a huge improvement from 2010, when the team allowed ranked #22 in MLB with 115 SB allowed (0.71/Game).  

Rank Team SB CS CS%
1 New York Mets 51 26 33.8%
2 St. Louis Cardinals 53 38 41.8%
3 Toronto Blue Jays 69 35 33.7%
4 Cincinnati Reds 71 34 32.4%
5 Seattle Mariners 73 29 28.4%
6 Washington Nationals 79 35 30.7%
22 Arizona Diamondbacks 115 36 23.8%

One reason for the improvement has been Henry Blanco, who is one of the best catchers in baseball at slowing down the running game, with a career CS% of 43%. But the coaching staff also deserves a lot of credit. During Spring Training, manager Kirk Gibson and former Diamondbacks' pitchers Mike Fetters and Ed Vosberg worked extensively with the pitching staff on holding runners close.  It looks like this work has really paid off.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Thu, 26 May 2011 17:04:34 +0000
Diamondbacks Minor League Update - May 24, 2011 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-minor-league-update-may-24-2011.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-minor-league-update-may-24-2011.html Just as the Major League Diamondbacks have climbed back to .500, the organization's four active minor league clubs have now pushed their overall record up to 92-86.  Leading the way is AAA Reno, with a 27-18 record and a remarkable average of 7.1 Runs/Game. In AA, Mobile is also above .500 at 23-20, led by the hot bat of 1B Paul Goldschmidt. The two clubs in A Ball, Visalia of the Caifornia League and South Bend of the Midwest League, are both at 21-24.  Individually, the Diamondbacks have three players leading their leagues in Home Runs - Wily Mo Pena (PCL), Paul Goldschmidt (Southern), and Yazy Arbelo (Midwest), while LHP Tyler Skaggs leads the California League in strikeouts. Here is an update on the key performers at each level.
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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Tue, 24 May 2011 07:15:22 +0000
Diamondbacks Update - Branyan and Galarraga Out, Owings and Burroughs In, Duke and Pena Next? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-update-branyan-and-galarraga-out-owings-and-burroughs-in-duke-and-pena-next.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-update-branyan-and-galarraga-out-owings-and-burroughs-in-duke-and-pena-next.html The shuffling of the Diamondbacks' roster continued this week with the release of 1B Russell Branyan and the waiving of SP Armando Galarraga. Branyan was brought in for his power bat, but he had dropped all the way down to .210/.290/.339, with only 1 HR and 2 RBI in 62 AB. Expected to drive in some runs, Branyan had come to bat with 46 Runners on Base, and had driven in only 1. And as a pinch hitter, Branyan had gone 0 for 15. Meanwhile, Galarraga's ERA had climbed to 5.91, and he had given up 13 HR in only 42.2 IP (2.7 HR/9 IP).  He cleared waivers, and will report to AAA Reno. To replace him, the Diamondbacks have called up Micah Owings from AAA. As discussed last week, Owings has not had much previous success in the Majors as a starter, but has shown an improved K/BB ratio of 27/9 in the Minors this year.

The other aspect of the roster shuffling was related to the placement of 3B Melvin Mora on the bereavement list, along with the call-up of Sean Burroughs from AAA. Burroughs had been hitting .386/.434/.571 in Reno, and is probably battling with Josh Wilson to hold onto a roster spot when Mora returns.  The Diamondbacks roster currently stands like this:

C:  Miguel Montero, Henry Blanco
1B: Juan Miranda, Xavier Nady
2B: Kelly Johnson
SS: Stephen Drew, Josh Wilson
3B: Ryan Roberts, Sean Burroughs (Melvin Mora)
OF: Justin Upton, Chris Young, Gerardo ParraWillie Bloomquist

This team has some positional flexibility, as Bloomquist, Roberts, and Nady can all play the infield and the outfield, but not a lot of power on the bench. The current bench players (Bloomquist, Nady, Burroughs, Mora, Wilson) have combined for a total of 2 HR in over 200 AB, and only Nady has ever shown significant power. Somehow, Henry Blanco does have 4 HR in 23 AB, but that's likely a fluke, and the backup catcher is really used as a pinch hitter anyway. 

But the organization does have Wily Mo Pena in AAA, and Pena has been red-hot so far this year - .384/.449/.775, with 14 HR in 138 AB. Defensively, Pena is not very good at either LF or 1B, but he could be useful as a pinch hitter. Unfortunately, his track record as a pinch hitter is not very good either - a career .194/.250/.333 mark. But, he still could bring a power threat to the team, something that Mora, Burroughs, Wilson, and Bloomquist do not. Wilson was useful as a backup SS and pinch-runner, but a healthy Bloomquist can also fill that role.

The other possible addition in the next few weeks is LHP Zach Duke. After injuring his hand during Spring Training, Duke made his first minor league rehab start for Class A Visalia last week, throwing 68 pitches - 5 IP, 5H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4K. He will make a start for AAA Reno next, but could return to the Majors within a week or two.  Most likely, he would replace Owings in the rotation.

 

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Sat, 21 May 2011 19:31:14 +0000
Armando Galarraga DFA'd; Will Wes Roemer get the 5th Starter Spot? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/armando-galarraga-dfad-will-wes-roemer-get-the-5th-starter-spot.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/armando-galarraga-dfad-will-wes-roemer-get-the-5th-starter-spot.html It was not a big surprise that Armando Galarraga was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. His ERA had risen to 5.91, he had allowed 13 HR in 42.2 IP (2.74 per 9 IP), and he had walked 22 while striking out only 28. But who are the choices to replace him when the team needs a 5th starter on Saturday? The candidates are Barry Enright, Zach Duke, Aaron Heilman, the AAA Reno starters (Micah Owings, Zach Kroenke, Matt Torra, Kevin Mulvey) and the AA Mobile starters (Wes Roemer, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Charles Brewer).  With Galarraga designated for assignment, there will be an opening on the 40-Man roster to call up a player that is not currently there, plus the team could always put Geoff Blum on the 60-Day DL to free up another spot. So the 40-Man roster spot should not be a critical factor in the decision. Let's look over the candidates quickly:
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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Wed, 18 May 2011 06:43:10 +0000
Diamondbacks Team ERA in May is 2.66 - 3rd Best in the Majors http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-team-era-in-may-is-266-3rd-best-in-the-majors.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-team-era-in-may-is-266-3rd-best-in-the-majors.html The Diamondbacks' bullpen has had a great month of May, but the staff as a whole is pitching very well right now. For the month of May, the team ERA is down to 2.66, good for 3rd in the Majors, and only 0.03 behind the Braves and 0.02 behind the Athletics.

Team ERAs in May (through games of May 16)

Rank TEAM ERA
1 Atlanta Braves 2.63
2 Oakland Athletics 2.64
3 Arizona Diamondbacks 2.66
4 Detroit Tigers 2.83
5 San Francisco Giants 2.87
6 Chicago White Sox 3.01
7 Philadelphia Phillies 3.05
8 New York Mets 3.14
9 Cleveland Indians 3.27
10 Los Angeles Dodgers 3.29

Looking at the individual pitchers, almost all of the damage to the team ERA has been done by the back end of the starting rotation.

Pitcher May ERA IP ER
Daniel Hudson 2.61 20.7 6
Ian Kennedy 1.35 20.0 3
Joe Saunders 4.82 18.7 10
Armando Galarraga 6.75 14.7 11
Josh Collmenter 0.00 9.7 0
Barry Enright 10.80 5.0 6
Juan Gutierrez 0.00 6.7 0
Esmerling Vasquez 0.00 6.0 0
J.J. Putz 0.00 5.0 0
Sam Demel 0.00 4.3 0
Joe Paterson 0.00 4.0 0
Aaron Heilman 0.00 4.0 0
David Hernandez 1.42 6.3 1
Team 2.66 125.0 37

The top 10 pitchers for the month of May (excluding Saunders, Galarraga, and Enright) have an amazing 1.04 ERA so far this month. Unfortunately, the team still only has a 6-8 record for May, because the offense has slumped to a .209 batting average (lowest in the Majors in May) and has scored only 3.1 Runs/Game.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Tue, 17 May 2011 22:50:26 +0000
First Base Problems for the Diamondbacks http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/first-base-problems-for-the-diamondbacks.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/first-base-problems-for-the-diamondbacks.html Coming out of Spring Training, the Diamondbacks thought they had three decent options at first base, Russell Branyan, Xavier Nady, and Juan Miranda.  During the spring, both Branyan (.429/.492/.768) and Miranda (.267/.397/.517) hit well, and the question was how both players would get enough at bats. But after 36 games, the Diamondbacks have received very little production from the First Base position, and all three players are struggling with their limited playing time.

AB R H HR RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG OPS
Juan Miranda 61 8 13 2 5 11 16 .213 .342 .377 .719
Russell Branyan 55 4 12 1 2 7 18 .218 .306 .364 .670
Xavier Nady 49 5 13 0 7 4 9 .265 .315 .327 .642

 

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Fri, 13 May 2011 03:02:28 +0000
Diamondbacks Update - May 9, 2011 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-update-may-9-2011.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2011-articles/may/diamondbacks-update-may-9-2011.html Here is a recap of Diamondbacks' notes from the past week.

5th Starter
The Diamondbacks sent SP Barry Enright back down to AAA Reno last Friday. Enright had made six starts this year, and had allowed four runs or more in five of them. In his last start, he allowed 6 ER in 5 IP, and walked four while only striking out one. Enright is still walking too many batters (15 in 34.2 IP), and has also allowed 7 HR in his six starts. Last year, Enright had been promoted directly from AA Mobile, so he has never pitched at the AAA level. He will make his first AAA start on Tuesday.

The Diamondbacks will need a #5 starter on Saturday the 14th.  The likely choice will be Josh Collmenter, who has pitched very well in long relief so far - 14 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11K, 1.29 ERA. Before he was called up, he had made one start in AAA, and had been effective there too - 6 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7K.

It is expected that Zach Duke will be joining the rotation within a few weeks. He threw batting practice last week, and threw a 30 pitch outing in extended spring training today. The plan is for Duke to throw 45 pitches on Saturday the 14th, and then make at least three minor league starts.   

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Tue, 10 May 2011 04:06:39 +0000