Last season was Jake Lamb's coming out party, though it wasn't a consistent one. He came into the year with 10 career home runs in his first 476 MLB at-bats, then proceeded to slug 29 home runs. It could have been an even bigger season, but he cooled after a great start. In his first 76 games, Lamb had 16 home runs, 52 RBI and a .286/.366/.584 line. In his next 75 games, those numbers dropped to 13 home runs, 39 RBI and a .213/.299/.437 line. If he plays near the level of his 2016 first half, he's an elite fantasy contributor. He hasn't shown the ability to hit lefties at all (63 wRC+ against LHP in 2016, 50 wRC+ against LHP for his career), but the new regime has said they plan on treating him as an everyday player, so southpaws may continue to drain his batting average. His second half slump will lower the price considerably, and he still has room for growth entering his age-26 season.
Lamb went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in Wednesday's 15-6 Cactus League victory over the Mariners. Though a second-half collapse took some luster off what was still a breakout season for Lamb in 2016, he seems to be dialed in during spring training. He's now popped four homers in Cactus League play and lifted his average to .340 with the two-hit day. That being said, Lamb has still fanned 15 times in 47 at-bats, so he could be exposed a bit more in the regular season when he faces higher-quality pitching, particularly from the left-hand side.
Lamb (illness) will start at third base and bat in the cleanup spot in Wednesday's Cactus League game against the White Sox, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports. Lamb came down with a stomach virus earlier this week, but his return to the lineup Wednesday suggests he's made a full recovery. Though Lamb had something of a breakout season in 2016, he faded in the second half, and he'll also need to perform better against same-handed pitching in order to make a leap into the upper tier of fantasy third basemen.
Lamb is sitting out Monday due to a stomach virus, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports reports. This issue seems to be fairly minor, so owners can expect Lamb to be back in the next day or two. The slugger broke out at the plate last season and is off to a hot start this spring, going 2-for-2 with a home run in his spring debut Saturday.
Manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday that he sees Lamb as an everyday player in 2017, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Lamb struggled against left-handed pitching in 2016, posting a .164/.279/.345 batting line (compared to .271/.346/.552 against right-handed pitching), but it sounds like he will be allowed to work through his issues against southpaws. Brandon Drury bats right-handed and could spell Lamb occasionally, but the skipper said the team is not looking to deploy a strict platoon at third base at this point in time.
Lamb is out of the lineup Saturday against the Orioles. The Diamondbacks will sit Lamb with southpaw Wade Miley on the hill for the O's. Brandon Drury will get the start at the keystone and hit sixth Saturday.