Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.
Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito
Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay
Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.
Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Aaron Hill, Archie Bradley, BRad Ziegler, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Gerrardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Kevin Towers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, spring training, Stephen Drew, Takashi Saito, Takashi Saito, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:02 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
If you're exhausted by the constant rumors we're circulating at the Winter Meetings, here's your fun little break. Today's installment of Homegrown brings the most powerful team in the bigs. Everyday in Chase Field would be like this past All-Star break's Home Run Derby. And the fans wouldn't even have to boo the entire time.
1. Stephen Drew, SS
2. Miguel Montero, C
3. Justin Upton, RF
4. Carlos Gonzalez, CF
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Carlos Quentin, LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
8. Mark Reynolds, 3B
1. Jorge De La Rosa
2. Brett Anderson
3. Max Scherzer
4. Josh Collmenter
5. Chris Capuano
Both De La Rosa and Anderson had season-ending surgeries in the real 2011 season, so if they did, we'd have to turn to Brad Penny and Ross Ohlendorf. We also have first-rounders Jarrod Parker and Trevor Bauer waiting in the wings. And good ol' Brandon Webb, too.
Closer - Jose Valverde
Set up - Javier Lopez, Sergio Santos, Daniel Schlereth, Vicente Padilla, Esmerling Vasquez
Long - Penny, Ohlendorf, Micah Owings
Notable Bench Players
Rod Barajas, Chris Snyder, Lyle Overbay, Conor Jackson, Scott Hairston, Emilio Bonifacio, Gerardo Parra
Wow, that's some serious power in the lineup. If everyone stayed healthy for a full season, there's every reason to believe all eight hitters would have at least 20 home runs, with Montero and Drew really being the only questions there. A handul of them would hit more than 30. So, yes, the power of the offense immediately jumps out, but really everything is pretty good here. There is depth, a solid rotation -- albeit injury-riddled -- and a good closer with quality setup men.
Reynolds is a butcher at third base. If Anderson and De La Rosa both fell injured before Bauer and Parker were ready, the rotation would become awfully thin. Even if they stayed healthy, there isn't a bona fide ace. The outfield defense isn't great, with Gonzalez and Quentin, but it isn't awful either.
Comparison to real 2011
The real Diamondbacks went 94-68 and won the NL West before bowing out in Game 5 of the NLDS to the Brewers. This team would be every bit that good, if not better -- and again, being that this is a hypothetical exercise, we're hypothetically assuming health to the top two starting pitchers. If this team played like it was capable, it could very well be a World Series champion.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Brett Anderson, Brett Cecil, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Quentin, Chris Capuano, Chris Snyder, Conor Jackson, Dan Uggla, Daniel Schlereth, Diamondbacks, Emilio Bonifacio, Esmerling Vasquez, Gerardo Parra, Homegrown, Jarrod Parker, Javier Lopez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Valverde, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Lyle Overbay, Mark Reynolds, Matt Snyder, Max Scherzer, Micah Owings, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Rod Barajas, Ross Ohlendorf, Scott Hairston, Sergio Santo, Stephen Drew, Trevor Bauer, Vicente Padilla
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:01 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
In the National League divisional series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, home is where the offense is, as the home team has outscored the visitors 31-12 in the first four games of the series, winning each game.
Forget the starting pitchers, geography could be the biggest factor in the deciding Friday's Game 5 and which team moves on to the NLDS. Not only have the two teams held serve at home through the first four games, but their offenses have responded to home cooking.
The sample sizes are small, but the difference in offense between the home and road teams in this series is glaring, and also in line with the teams' regular-season performances.
So far in the NLDS, Arizona is hitting .343/.410/.586 at home and .212/.278/.424 on the road. During the season, Arizona's splits were .262/.337/.444 at Chase Field and and .239/.308/.383 away from home. The Diamondbacks scored 400 runs at Chase FIeld and 331 away from it during the season.
Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero was hitless in the first two games in Milwaukee, but then went 5 for 8 in Games 3 and 4. During the season, Montero was actually better away from home, hitting .291/.363/.482 with 10 of his homers away from Chase Field and .273/.339/.455 at home.
The Brewers are also continuing their trend of struggles away from Miller Park. Milwaukee hit .313/.356/.522 in the first two games at Miller Park and .215/.278/.369 at Chase Field. During the regular season, the Brewers -- owners of baseball's best home record -- scored 389 runs at home with a .277/.344/.461 slash line and scored 332 runs while hitting .246/.307/.391 away from home.
The Brewers' three All-Star starters -- Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks -- have gone a combined 10-22 at home and 3-23 at Chase Field. For the season, the trio has hit .326/.421/.612 at Miller Park and .281/.362/.494 on the road.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 1:26 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Hero: In such a jam-packed game, it's easy to overlook something that happened in the first inning, but from the moment the ball left Ryan Roberts' bat with two outs in the first inning, the Brewers were playing catchup. It was Roberts' only hit of the night, but when you can drive in four runs with one hit -- especially in the first -- you've had a pretty good night.
Goat: Brewers starter Randy Wolf not only gave up Reynolds' grand slam in the first, he also gave up a homer to Chris Young right after Reynolds' blast. Wolf's offense kept him in the game, scoring runs in the second and third to make it 5-3, but then the Brewers left-hander gave up a two-out single to pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill in the third to return Arizona's lead to four. Wolf's final line: three innings, eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and two homers.
Turning point: In the first inning of Game 1, Arizona third base coach Matt Williams sent Willie Bloomquist on a single to the outfield and the Diamondback shortstop was thrown out at the plate, killing the Diamondbacks' momentum and their only real shot at Yovani Gallardo. On Wednesday, Williams threw up the stop sign for Bloomquist on a single to right by Miguel Montero. Two batters later, the conservative call paid off as Roberts blasted the grand slam.
It was over when … It seems odd for a scoring play for the losing team to occupy this spot, but when Corey Hart's drive in the sixth inning stayed in the park, it seemed like some air was let out of the Brewers' balloon. Hart's drive to left-center was corralled by Gerardo Parra, allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to score, making it 7-4. But a single run was a disappointment after Hart crushed Bryan Shaw's pitch. Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a fielder's choice to end the inning with two on and Ryan Braun in the on-deck circle.
Next: Just like the other NLDS matchup, this one's going the distance, and Arizona's Cy Young candidate, Ian Kennedy, will get another shot at the Brewers and Gallardo. Gallardo was dominant in a 4-1 Game 1 victory in Milwaukee. Gallardo allowed just four hits and struck out nine Diamondback batters in the win, while Kennedy gave up four runs on eight hits.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:28 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
For the fourth straight game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks hit a grand slam, and for the second time in those four games it was Roberts, giving the Arizona a 4-1 lead in the first-inning. Chris Young followed with a solo homer to give Arizona a 5-1 lead after one.
That's a pretty good sign for the Diamondbacks, who were 83-8 this season when leading by two or more runs.
The Diamondbacks became just the fifth team in Major League history to hit two grand slams in one playoff series and the first since the 1977 Dodgers to do it in back-to-back games.
On Wednesday, Arizona's Willie Bloomquist singled to start the inning before Aaron Hill popped up, Justin Upton walked and Miguel Montero singled. However, unlike Game 1 when the Diamondbacks were aggressive in sending Bloomquist to the plate, third base coach Matt Williams held him up to leave the bases loaded with one out and Goldschmidt, the hero of Game 3, came to the plate.
Goldschmidt was starting at first in the place of Lyle Overbay despite hitting just .162/.279/.378 against lefties. But he was coming off a good game and manager Kirk Gibson put him in the lineup against Randy Wolf. It was the perfect setup to the perfect story, except he looked at a 1-2 pitch low and inside that home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called for the third strike.
Wolf got no such help from Dreckman or anyone else when he tried to throw a 2-1 changeup past Reynolds, who hit it just to the fair side of the left-field foul pole for the Diamondbacks' fourth grand slam in as many home games. Roberts also hit the walk-off grand slam on the penultimate day of the season.
The Diamondbacks had six grand slams during the season, including one in each of the last two games of the season. But it's not just home runs when the Diamondbacks have the bases loaded, as a team Arizona hit .387/.421/.649 with bases loaded during the regular season.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 5:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You'd think Tuesday's thrilling victory over the Brewers in Game 3 of the National League division series would be all the advertising the Diamondbacks would need to sell tickets to Wednesday's Game 4. You'd be wrong.
As late as Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks official Twitter feed said there were "good seats still available" for Game 4.
Despite the team's surprising run to the National League West title, Arizona was still 18th in overall attendance on the season, averaging 25,992 per game -- up from 25,394 in 2010. Among playoff teams, only the Rays had a lower attendance. The Rays drew 18,878 per game, more than only the A's.
The Diamondbacks played before an average capacity of 53.4 percent, the seventh lowest in baseball. No playoff team had a worse percentage. Tampa Bay played in front of an average of 55.4 percent full crowds at Tropicana Field.
Game 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TBS
Wolf vs. Diamondbacks: The left-hander has had trouble against Arizona this season, losing both his starts and putting up a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. On July 5 he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a Brewers loss at Miller Park, while he was better on July 18, allowing just two earned runs (three total) on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Justin Upton is just 5 for 20 (.250) against Wolf, but two of those five hits are homers. Lyle Overbay, Parra, Roberts and Young also have homers against Wolf.
Saunders vs. Brewers: Saunders earned a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Brewers on July 20, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee. Braun is 2 for 6 in his career against Saunders with two homers. Prince Fielder is hitless in six plate appearances against Saunders, striking out three times and walking once.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos GOmez, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Diamondbacks, George Kottaras, Gerardo Parra, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joe Saunders, Justin Upton, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Willie Bloomquist, Yniesky BEtancourt
Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:40 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn't like the intentional walk. He may like it even less after Tuesday.
Roenicke decided to walk Miguel Montero to load the bases in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the National League division series. It made sense at the time, there were runners on second and third and two outs. Montero had already driven in a pair of runs with a first-inning double and a third-inning single.
Montero was locked in and on deck was Paul Goldschmidt, a rookie that had singled in the first and flew out in the third. Roenicke's pitcher, Shaun Marcum, was much more successful against right-handed batters this season, holding right-handers to just a .195/.243/.323 line. It made total sense.
"Montero scares me," Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "I thought it was the right move. I still do. But do I like doing it? No."
Marcum? "Not my call," he told reporters.
When Paul Goldschmidt swings, there's little doubt as to what he's trying to do.
The Diamondbacks rookie first baseman has succeeded throughout most of his pro career. In the short-season Pioneer League after being drafted, Goldschmidt hit 18 homers in 74 games, last year in the hitter-friendly California League he hit 35 in 138 games and then this year he had 30 in 103 games at Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. In his second game, he took Tim Lincecum deep for his first big-league homer. He added another homer off of Cliff Lee and got Lincecum again for good measure. In all, he hit eight homers in 156 at-bats during the regular season. After sitting in Game 1 of the NLDS, Goldschmidt was in the lineup in Game 2 and repaid his manager by taking Zack Greinke deep.
Still, Montero was the man Roenicke feared. Montero was held hitless in the first two games, but responded in Game 3 with two hits early. Montero hit .282/.351/.469 this season and hit 17 of his 18 homers off of right-handers.
So Roenicke issued the free pass to Montero, loading the bases. Kirk Gibson said he regretted pitching to Prince Fielder earlier in the series, but Gibson likes the intentional walk no more than Roenicke. The Brewers and the Diamondbacks tied for the least amount of intentional passes on the season, both only walking 16 batters on purpose in the regular season.
That's why actually pulling the trigger on the four wide pitches has to hurt -- and having the gun backfire hurts even more.
Marcum's 1-2 fastball stayed over the heart of the plate and Goldschmidt took it the other way for the grand slam.
"He threw a fastball; I'm sure he missed his spot," Goldschmidt told TBS after the game. "I don't now if he was trying to go in or out, but it ended up pretty much down the middle. And I was lucky I was able to get enough of it and hit a homer."
That was more or less the game, decided by a rookie -- and the decision of the manager to face the rookie.
"That's the dilemma a manager has, and you guys that have been with me know that I don't like walking people," Roenicke said after the game. "And there we go again."For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:38 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Sean Marcum tossed his glove in the air as soon as Paul Goldschmidt made contact for his grand slam in the fifth inning, but possibly as much as the 1-2 fastball he served up to the Diamondbacks rookie, Marcum was upset at himself for being in that situation.
The right-hander has a reputation as one of the best fielding pitchers in the game, and had he been able to field Justin Upton's one-out comebacker cleanly, Goldschmidt would have never had the chance to give Arizona a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, Marcum got Upton to ground the ball back to him, but the ball bounced off Marcum's glove and between his legs. He managed to recover in time to get one out, but he missed his chance at an inning-ending double play.
Ron Roenicke then elected to intentionally walk Miguel Montero, who already had two hits on the night, to get to the rookie first baseman. Marcum made a mistake to Goldschmidt -- but it never would have happened had he made the previous play. Instead of Marcum heading to the dugout trying to keep his team close, he was lifted from the game as the Diamondbacks added another run in the inning, and probably another game to the series.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.