Category:MLB
Posted on: July 7, 2009 10:03 am
 

The Case for Mark Reynolds

Mark Reynolds should be the last player added to the NL All Star team.  He clearly has better power numbers than any of the other four and has a respectable amount of stolen bases as well. While he is the only player hitting under .300, his power numbers are so much better than the other players it more than makes up for the lower average. 

He has 100% more homeruns than the next highest player, Sandoval, and 38% more RBI than the next two highest players, Kemp and Sandoval.  He is third in the NL in RBI, second in HR behind only Albert Pujols, and tied for ninth in SB.  He has a higher SLG than the other four, only behind Pablo Sandoval in OPS, and only behind Shan Victorino in runs scored.       

As far as contributing to his team Reynolds has 18% of his team’s RBI, the highest percentage of any of the five, 15% of his team’s runs, the highest percentage of the five, and 12% of his team’s total hits, which is about where the other four are as well.  


Below are the numbers for the player’s RBI, runs, and hits, followed by the percentage of that player’s teams total RBI, runs, and hits.   

Reynolds 61 RBI, 18%, 53 R, 15%, 81 H, 12% DBACKS 338 RBI 358 R 687 H

Sandoval 44 RBI, 14%, 37 R, 11%, 93 H, 13%
SF 316 RBI 337 R 721 H 35

Victorino 35 RBI, 9%, 55 R, 13.5%, 96 H, 13.7% PHI 393 RBI 407 R 698 H

Guzman 21 RBI, 6%, 41 R, 11.7%, 92 H, 13% WAS 337 RBI 350 R 712 H

Kemp 44 RBI, 11.7%, 43 R, 11%, 92 H, 12% LA 375 RBI 398 R 774 H

*Stats as of 7/6/09

Posted on: July 6, 2009 12:18 pm
 

Mark Reynolds Speaks Out

"It seems like we get down one or two runs and no one (cares) anymore."

The words Mark Reynolds spoke Friday came as a great relief to many Diamondbacks fans who have felt the same way for most of the season.  This team doesn’t try.  They play lackadaisically.  They just don’t seem to care.  Now, finally, we know that at least one of the players feels the same way.    

Reynolds continued, "This is the major leagues. You can't go out there and make three errors a night and expect to win a game. We look like the Bad News Bears out there and it's frustrating. It's to the point where stuff's got to change."

One of the major problems with this team is that there is a lack of leadership.  There are no veteran position players that play everyday that can guide this young team.  Except for Felipe Lopez, a journeyman, there is not one everyday position player has played more than three seasons in the Majors.  And the manager they just gave a three year contract to not only appears to be very non confrontational, but also had never managed one game of professional baseball, major league or minor, in his life.  Not really the person that most would have picked to lead a young team with no veteran presence. 

This season will actually end up helping the Diamondbacks in the years to come.  This is the season where a fairly inexperience group of players is learning to deal with constant injuries, critical media and fans, persistent trade rumors, and failed expectations.  This season many of the players on the Diamondbacks will learn what it means to be in Major League Baseball. 

I have maintained that at its core this team is a good team with good players.  With a few more pieces and a few less injuries they will be one of the better teams in baseball in the future.  The Diamondbacks could possibly have three All Stars this year; genuinely bad teams do not have three All Stars.  Right now the only NL teams with three or more players going are the Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers, and Mets, with the Mets being the only team not in first place in their division.

Now it is up the players on the Diamondbacks to figure out what kind of team they want to be for the rest of the season.  Since Reynolds spoke out the Diamondbacks won their next two games and won their first series since June 18.  I am not expecting them to go .500 the rest of the season, but I am hoping that the bumbling, lazy play is something that is behind them.  

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 1, 2009 12:17 pm
 

Diamondbacks Mid-Season Report Card

Catcher
Miguel Montero is currently hitting .255 and is getting better defensively.  Chris Snyder is currently injured but was having an average season as well.

Grade C


First Base

The biggest problem with this position is that they do not have a first baseman.  They have used four different players at this position this season, Chad Tracy, Mark Reynolds, Tony Clark, and Josh Whitesell.  Only Reynolds has been able to hit with any success and only Whitesell has been able to field with any proficiency.  In addition, neither Tracy nor Reynolds are true first basemen, they are stop gaps moved from third base when the need arises. 

 

Grade F

 

Second Base

Felipe Lopez is a decent hitter, hitting .303, but he is a terrible second baseman.  He is out of position a lot of the time and shows no hustle at all.  Once you see him play everyday it is very obvious why he is nothing more than a journeyman playing on his fifth team in 8 years.

 

Grade C

 

Third Base

 

Mark Reynolds has been having a great season and is among the league’s top hitters in power number categories.  His replacements, however, have not shared his success. Ryan Roberts is batting .257 and Augie Ojeda is batting .234.  Reynolds has trouble fielding some routine plays, but has also made some incredible plays at other times.  Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks he is the best fielding player at that position with a fielding percentage of .945.  In fairness to the other two, Roberts and Ojeda have both been used all over the infield this season, but Roberts has a 3B fielding percentage of .920 and Ojeda a dismal .880.

 

Grade B+

 

Shortstop

 

Because of the expectations going into the season this has been one of the more disappointing positions for the Diamondbacks.  Stephen Drew was thought to be in the top five to ten shortstops at the beginning of the year.  He was injured for some time and is currently is hitting .251 on the season with a respectable fielding percentage of .980.  He has improved his batting average every month, and hit .292 for June.  If he continues to play like he did in June shortstop will be one of the bright spots on this team.

 

Grade B

 

Left Field

 

This position is most likely the weakest spot on the team.  The projected starter at the beginning of the season, Conor Jackson, is not much for power but hits consistently around .300.  He has been out most of the season with Valley Fever and was hitting only .182 while he was playing.  The next player for this position is Eric Byrnes, batting .216, making bizarre errors and diving after unreachable balls, and fielding only .964.  He was recently put on the DL for a broken hand.  The final player at this position is Gerardo Parra, a AA call up.  He started out very hot when he was first called up, but has since cooled off, which was expected. 

 

Grade D-

 

Center Field

 

While there have been several players to play this position the large majority of starts have been made by Chris Young.  Young is batting an abysmal .194 with no pop in his swing this year.  He has looked completely lost at times and although an above average fielder there have been fly balls hit at the warning track where it appears that he is afraid of running into the wall to make a crucial out.

 

Grade F

 

Right Field

 

Justin Upton is coming into his own.  He’s the best hitter on the team with a .320 average and an OPS of .975, but still makes simple mistakes in the field and at times has shown his age. 

 

 

Grade A

 

 

Starting Pitching

 

Dan Haren is the best pitcher in the National League and fellow starters Doug Davis and Max Scherzer have both had good seasons as well with sub 4.00 ERAs.  Jon Garland and the fill in the blank fifth starter have both struggled.  Losing Brandon Webb on Opening Day definitely put an unexpected burden on this piece of the team and they have won only 2 of the starts in his place in the rotation.

 

 

Grade B

 

Bullpen

 

Every pitcher in the bullpen has struggled at times this season, possibly with the exception of Clay Zavada, a AA call up.  Every pitcher has been personally responsible for losing a game for the Diamondbacks this season regardless of whether or not they actually have a loss on their record.  They have been embarrassing and inconsistent and none of them have lived up to any expectations the team or the fans may have had at the beginning of the season.

 

Grade F

 

Overall Grades

 

Offense

Two players batting over .300, team average ranks 27 in MLB and OPS ranks 21. 

 

Overall Grade D

 

Defense

Most errors in the majors.

 

Overall grade F

 

Pitching

Team ERA is ranked 22 in MLB.

 

Grade D

 

Overall Team Grade

Third worst winning percentage in all of baseball.

 

F

Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:44 pm
 

The Worst Value in Baseball

The Diamondbacks management likes to claim that they are one of the best values for baseball based on the average price of a ticket and their new “value” items served at the concession stands.  So you can get a lower level ticket in the outfield for $15, get your $4 beer in a water cooler cup, and get your $1.50 kids sized hot dog and sit down to watch a baseball game.  But since only one out of two teams on the field is actually playing shouldn’t everything be half off?  $7.50 ticket, $2.00 water cooler cup of beer, and $.75 kids dog?  That would be the appropriate value. 

 

What is the actual value of seeing a team commit three errors in an inning?  What is the actual value of seeing an opposing player get an inside the park homerun off a bunt?  What is the value of watching a pitcher who gives up eight runs in the second inning?  What is the value of watching players play sloppy, lazy, comical baseball?

 

The Diamondbacks aren’t winning this season.  That is something that the players know, the fans know, the media knows, and the front office knows.  It has been acknowledged for about a month and this weekend should have converted any hold outs that still thought they might have a chance.  The notion of them being .500, winning the wild card, or even being competitive is laughable right now.

 

While the Diamondbacks aren’t winning what they can do is try and gain the confidence of the fans and maybe the respect of the rest of the league.  There are only three guys that hit with any consistency, and once Felipe Lopez gone they will only have one hitter over .300.  There are only three pitchers that have pitched with any consistency, and once Doug Davis is gone they will only have two starters with ERAs under 5.00. 

 

They have committed the most errors and are tied for the worst fielding percentage in all of baseball.  Right now they need to move the players with any value and they need to pick up a few free agents that will play above average defensively, regardless of how they perform at the plate.  They need to decide if they want to use Mark Reynolds at first or third and leave him there, and let him try and improve.  Then get a left fielder with a fielding percentage above .985, either a first baseman with a FP over .950 or a third baseman with a FP over .960, and a second baseman with a FP over .985

 

At least with some decent fielding they can try to gain back some of the respect they’ve lost with their ridiculous play.  Just a couple guys that are out there that may be able to help the Diamondbacks play defense at a professional level are Damion Easely who has a career 2B FP of .984.  He also hit .269 last season with the Mets, an average that would put him in the top five on the team. Jay Payton is available for LF and has a career FP of .990. Jim Edmonds is also available.  There are no third basemen or first basemen available in the search that I did, but Agustin Murillo has committed 0 errors in 31 games at 3B for the Reno Aces. 

 

 Right now the Diamondbacks are averaging about 26,000 fans per game.  I would expect that to drop below 20,000 by the end of July if the team does not at least take some action. 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 24, 2009 12:05 pm
 

The Worst Player in Baseball

Most people are of the consensus that Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball.  He hits for average, power, and is a good fielder.   We are all very fortunate to be able to watch him and will probably be telling our grandkids about him.  But who is the worst player in baseball? 

 

Out of 89 position players with qualifying at bats this player ranks 87<sup> </sup>in SLG with a .271%, 85 in OBP with a .277%, 88 in OPS with a .548%, and  89 in batting average with a .191%.  The strange thing is, is that this player was actually very good about 7-9 years ago.  From 1999 to 2002 he hit at least 35 home runs and batted .298. But he’s steadily declined since then and had some problems with injuries, very strange.

 

Currently he makes $9,000,000 for his contributions, actually making him a worse value that Eric Byrnes. So who is the worst player in baseball?  Congratulation Brian Giles!  You make all the fans in San Diego very proud. 

Posted on: June 23, 2009 10:50 am
 

NL Best

In April the rest of the league looked at the National League West and scoffed.  Of course the Dodgers were developing an enormous division lead, look who they play against.  The Rockies have no pitching, the Giants have no hitting, the Padres are a mess, and the Diamondbacks lost their ace opening day and couldn’t put up more than two runs a game during the month of April. 

 

So the Dodgers rolled, arguably the best team in baseball.  They could hit, they could pitch, and they could do no wrong.  Then the Giants slowly crept into the picture, steadily gaining ground and improving their record.  Their pitching has been among the best in baseball, ranking third in ERA.  Matt Cain is proving to be dominant with adequate run support for the first time in his career, and since his early season guffaws Tim Lincecum has returned to Cy Young status.  

 

Now it is the end of May, and the NL West had one great team and one good team with the other three in shambles.  The Diamondbacks had already fired Bob Melvin, and with an 18-28 record the Rockies followed suit and relieved Clint Hurdle of his duties May 30.  Typically firing a manager midseason will have marginal success.  It is largely an aesthetic move to appease the fans until the team can get more permanent repairs in place.  However, since firing Clint Hurdle the Rockies have gone 19-5.  They were hitting .239 in May, and are now hitting .294 in June. They have also lowered their ERA 1 run since the move, going form a 4.44 ERA in May to a 3.44 ERA in June.

 

Here we sit, 23 days into June, just a few weeks before the All Star break, and suddenly the hapless NL Worst is not so hapless.  The NL West is the only division in the National League to have at least three teams with a .520 win percentage or higher, and one of only two in all of baseball.  There are three teams that rank in the top eight in runs for the NL, Rockies, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers and Giants rank 1 and 2 in National League ERA.  They are also the only division to have three teams with winning interleague records.

 

Perhaps it is time for a new moniker.  Perhaps the NL Worst is now the NL Best.  And perhaps it is time for the rest of the nation to start giving the NL West its due.

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2009 6:22 pm
 

Worst Case Scenario

With the news that Brandon Webb will most likely require surgery the Diamondbacks now have the worst case scenario for their Cy Young pitcher.  Going into the season had they been unable to resign him and if he had pitched like he has the last five years it would have been easy for the team to trade him.  Now with the injury they are unable to trade him and unable to resign him as his market value is skewed.  If they couldn't get a deal for him when he was healthy there surely won't be one with him being out the entire season.

The only move the Diamondbacks have at this point is to pick up his 2010 option and hope that he's healthy next year.  Whether or not his injury is as serious as it appears on the surface remains to be seen.  Why would Webb try to rush back if he's not 100% for a team that will not be going to the post season and has put up marginal run support for fellow ace Dan Haren.  The smart move for him and his career is to be cautious and make sure he's completely healthy and injury free before taking the mound again.  We can't blame Webb for that,  just part of the game.  While I would love to see Webb stay a Diamondback I have little hope that they will be able to afford his kind of talent competing with the open market.  But stranger things have happened and the free agent market has dropped considerably, so who knows, maybe Webb will be wearing the Dbacks hat in 2011.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 18, 2009 4:24 pm
 

The Guts to Make a Suggestion

A challenge was issued yesterday here at the brewery, what would I do to fix the Diamondbacks.  So I have compiled a roster based on free agents.  I am not assuming any trades because I really have no idea if they would go through, so all the players on the new roster would be acquired by free agency.  I did a little assuming on the salary figures, generally allowing for at least a twenty percent increase, often times more.  The roster also includes Brandon Webb, because at this date it is unlikely he’ll be traded, should he come back and have a few good months it may be another story.  Again, disclaimer, I just guessed on the free agent salaries I could be way off.

 

First step is handling the current roster.  I would get on the phone and wheel and deal every potential Diamondback free agent that I could that has any value.  That is Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Felipe Lopez and Scott Shoenenweis.  I’m guessing that they will at least receive some prospects for this group of players, but it is a moot point, as no prospects are on the new roster.  These four players will save the team about 22 million in salary. Then the off season will come and the Diamondbacks will then lose their remaining free agents Tony Clark, Tom Gordon, and Chad Tracy.  This will save the team 6.3 million. 

 

So now the team has 28.3 million to acquire free agents.  The Diamondbacks will need a couple solid relievers, a good first or third baseman, a second baseman, and another starting pitcher.

 

So now I look into adding an arm to the rotation, preferably a left handed arm, so I would get Erik Bedard.  He is a left handed pitcher with a career ERA of 3.70 and a WHIP of 1.32.  Right now he is making 7.7 million; the Diamondbacks may be able to get him for 12 million, a 55% increase in his current salary.

 

Next they need to address the infield.  There are better first basemen on the market than third baseman so I would again go to Seattle and get Russell Branyan.  Branyan is only making 1.4 million this year and is hitting .307 with decent power.  He hasn’t had a great career so far but he’s never had over 400 at bats in a season.  It looks like now that he’s getting regular plate appearances he is producing.  I think the Diamondbacks may be able to get him for 3 million, an 87% increase in salary.

 

From first base I move down the base path to second base.  I turn to Mark DeRosa.  DeRosa is a solid everyday player that will hit .280 and give you a little bit of power.  He’s also able to play multiple positions so it gives AJ Hinch flexibility in the lineup if needed.  Right now he is making 5.5 million, I think he may be able to be signed for between 6-7 million.

 

Finally the bullpen.  The first reliever I would get would be Chad Bradford.  He has been great for the Rays this season and has a career ERA of 3.24.  Right now he’s making 3.6 million so I may put him at 5 million for next season, about a 40% increase.  The next player for the pen would be Ryan Franklin.  He has a career ERA of 4.12, and WHIP of 1.32.  He’s making 2.5 million so they may get him for 4 million, a 60% increase.

 

Players lost to free agency:

Doug Davis $8.75 million

Jon Garland $6.2 million

Chad Tracy $5 million

Felipe Lopez $3.5 million

Tony Clark $800k

Tom Gordon $500k

Scott Shoenenweis $3.6 million

 

Total savings $28.35 million

 

 

 

 

Players added and their assumed salary:

Erik Bedard $12 million

Russell Branyan $3 million

Mark DeRosa $6 million

Ryan Franklin $4 millon

Chad Bradford $5 million

 

Total amount added $30 million, about a 7% increase in salary.

 

So here is your new roster and new rotation Dbacks fans, get ready to buy your World Series tickets.

 

C Chris Young

1B Russell Branyan

2B Mark DeRosa  

3B Mark Reynolds

SS Stephen Drew

LF Gerardo Parra

CF Chris Young

RF Justin Upton

 

SP Brandon Webb

SP Dan Haren

SP Erik Bedard

SP Max Scherzer

SP Billy Buckner or other

This is not a crazy fantasy team of all stars, mostly just the same players that they have now with a few pieces filled in with reliable free agents who have a proven history.  I left Chris Young in there because he is a good defensive player most days and I don't really see any way to move him.  He'd be ok to have in the bottom of the lineup assuming the rest of the team hits.

So there it is some of these acquistions may be more realistic than others but it's just a suggestion.

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com