Blog Entry

Diamondbacks 2009 Season Report Card

Posted on: September 25, 2009 4:24 pm
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I realize that there is still a week left in the regular season, but I wanted to post this while there is still a slim interest in the Diamondbacks.  I feel pretty confident that nothing much will change between now and the actual end of the season so I am giving my final grades for the 2009 Diamondbacks.  On the negative side, there are still some very bad areas, but on the positive side they have made some improvements since the All Star break.

 

Catcher
Mid Season Grade: C
As was the case for Wally Pipp, Chris Snyder too found himself on the bench as Miguel Montero, his former backup, seized the most of his playing time and has emerged as one of the better hitting catchers in the game.  Montero is finishing the season with a .298 batting average ranking first among NL catchers.  The emergence of Montero as a hard hitting everyday catcher has been a bright spot in this much maligned season.
Final Grade: A

First Base
Mid Season Grade: F
At the All Star break the Diamondbacks did not have a true first baseman.  A trade that sent Tony Pena to the White Sox for Brandon Allen has potentially solved that problem.  Allen is better defensively than anybody on the roster currently, but he has yet to prove that he can hit at the major league level.  While it looks like he could be the first baseman of the future, the team still needs to get a proven first baseman for the next season or two.  
Final Grade: D

Second Base
Mid Season Grade: C
Another mid season change for the Diamondbacks occurred when they sent loafing journeyman Felipe Lopez to the Brewers.  This gave an opportunity for career minor leaguer Ryan Roberts to start most games at 2B.  Roberts has not disappointed so far, hitting a very respectable .285, more than exceeding all expectations.  While he is still somewhat unproven having only played in a total of 18 games prior to this season, he will most likely be as good as any free agent the Diamondbacks would acquire.  Expect him to start at 2B next season as the team will look to invest money elsewhere. 
Final Grade: B

Third Base
Mid Season Grade: B+ 
Mark Reynolds has emerged as one of the premier sluggers in the game today, likely finishing second in homeruns in MLB.  He broke his own strikeout record, but he still managed to have a decent batting average of .266 and OBP of .357.  Along with the strikeouts the other main criticism of Reynolds is that he is a defensive liability.  Reyonlds has improved his fielding percentage from last season, although he still ranks among the bottom for NL 3B.  However anyone who actually watches the games rather than just the box score will tell you that Reynolds does make some great plays, and he seems to have at least one or two every night.Final Grade: A

Shortstop
Mid Season Grade: B
At the time of the All Star break Stephen Drew had been improving his batting average every month after a terrible start to the season and he continued to hit well through July.  Unfortunately he was unable to continue that trend and has had a very disappointing season with the exceptions of June and July.  He hit .229 in August and to this point is hitting .244 in September with a season batting average of .259, well short of expectations.  After Drew posted a .291 average in 2008 the Diamondbacks and their fans had hopes that the highly touted shortstop would rank among the best in his position, which unfortunately has not been the case.  Drew has been very average to this point in his career.  His fielding percentage remains respectable, finishing in the top half of NL SS.
Final Grade: C-

Left Field
Mid Season Grade: D-
Left field turned from a very dark spot at the All Star break to one of the stronger positions thanks to AA call up Gerardo Parra.  Parra ranks second among all MLB rookies and third among every day Diamondback positions players in batting average with a very solid .291. He is a quick player in the outfield that can cover a lot of ground.  He still has room to improve defensively, but as with Ryan Roberts he has earned a spot on the roster next season. 
Final Grade: B

Center Field
Mid Season Grade: F 
This position is an embarrassment to the Diamondbacks.  Chris Young, who has started almost three times as many games in CF as the next highest player, has the worst batting average among all MLB CF with a pathetic .206.  He was sent down to the minors in August and only recently raised his average above .200.  His fielding percentage remains in the top ten of all MLB centerfielders but there have been times during the season where he has looked as distracted in the field as he has at the plate.
Final Grade: F

Right Field
Mid Season Grade: A
The prodigal son of the Diamondbacks, Justin Upton, has had a good season with a .304 batting average, 25 home runs, and 82 RBI.  Although these numbers are very respectable the team will need Upton to do more if they are to compete.  Upton still has much room to grow and his 2009 production is probably all that you can ask of him at this point.  He has shown his age at times during the season, playing the game with an exhibited cockiness and openly responding to fans’ taunts.  His fielding also remains an area that has a lot of room to improve.  He is the only right fielder in all of baseball to have double digit errors and his fielding percentage is well below the RF average.  He has a strong arm, which to this point has been a detriment, as he often overthrows the cut off man trying to gun someone down at the plate.  It is not unreasonable to call him the worst right fielder in baseball at this point in his career. 
Final Grade: A

Starting Pitching
Mid Season Grade: B 
The Diamondbacks have used a total of nine different pitchers to start games this season, with Dan Haren being the only one having an ERA under 4.00.  Max Scherzer has shown growth this season and more often than not is going at least six innings.  His pitch count remains an issue but he usually gives the team a chance to win.   In his first full season he has an ERA of 4.08.  Doug Davis has been hit or miss this season but he usually gets the job done.  Like Scherzer he’s typically good through six innings and usually keeps the team in the game. 

With the loss of Brandon Webb the team has struggled to find a fifth starter.  Most of the starts have gone to Yusmeiro Petit, who can either be solid through five innings or give up the game by the third.  Similarly, Billy Buckner has also been used to fill the void after Jon Garland was traded and has also been very inconsistent.  To say that the season was done after Brandon Webb was injured opening day may be a stretch, but they did not get a win from the fifth starter until May 22, and only have a total of 5 wins from Webb’s replacements.  Brandon Webb had at least 15 wins in his past three seasons. 
Final Grade: C

Bullpen
Mid Season Grade: F
The bullpen of the Diamondbacks has been among the worst in baseball, with their specialty being blown leads in the eighth inning.  There have been a few pitchers that have faired well this season, Clay Zavada has a 3.06 ERA and Chad Qualls has an ERA of 3.63, but the positive notes end there.  The Diamondbacks relievers as a whole have an ERA of 4.67, fifth worst in all of baseball.  Only the Indians, Orioles, Royals, and Nationals have worse.  The Diamondbacks relievers also rank seventh worst in batting average against, fifth in total earned runs, and seventh in losses.
Final Grade: F

Overall Grades

Offense
Mid Season Grade: D
The offense has done much better the second half of the season, moving up from fifteenth among NL teams in batting average to ninth.  They are also right in the middle for runs scored on the season, ranking eighth in the NL.

Overall Grade: C 

Defense
Mid Season Grade: F
Second most errors in the majors.
Overall Grade: F

Pitching
Mid Season Grade: D

The team ERA is ranked 18 in MLB.  The Diamondbacks do have a bona fide ace pitcher, which is something many teams lack, and have two more reliable starters and a couple reliable pitchers in the bullpen.

Overall Grade: C-

Overall Team Grade

Mid Season Grade: F
This is a tale of two halves.  For the season as a whole the team deserves a F.  They will only finish with a few more wins than they did in their inaugural season of 1998.  However, for much of the second half the Diamondbacks have played around .500.  The last few weeks they haven’t faired very well and most of the games lately look like they don’t really want to be there.  But for a team that hasn’t really had any playoff hopes since early June it’s not completely unexpected.  The Diamondbacks have been very quiet in the last few off seasons, opting to utilize the players they have, this off season they will need to be much more active if they hope to compete in 2010.

Final Grade: D

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Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2009 12:18 pm
 

Diamondbacks 2009 Season Report Card

Thanks guys.  Hopefully next season will bring some more positive stuff to write about.



Since: Nov 4, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 4:55 pm
 

Diamondbacks 2009 Season Report Card

Very nice work here oldstyle. You are the best Dbacks blogger on this site.



Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 2:43 pm
 

Diamondbacks 2009 Season Report Card

Nice work Oldstyle.  I couldn't agree more with most of your comments.   Many many many questions will be addressed for the fans by end world series time as far as Brandon Webb goes and for the bullpen, while JB knows he really messed up this year and absolutely can't afford to mess up again. 
Looking forward to 2010.
Nice work


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