During his first season in Arizona, Daniel Descalso was thrust into a sizable role due to the team's injury woes, and he proved useful, posting career highs in home runs (10), RBI (51), runs (47), walk rate (12.1 percent), flyballs (43.2 percent) and hard contact (37.0 percent, per Fangraphs). He leaned heavily on hitter-friendly Chase Field (.357 wOBA, .274 elsewhere) and matchups with righties (.332, .267 lefties), especially since he tilted toward more power with a career-high 22.4 strikeout rate. The useful .264 average he notched in 2016 dipped 31 points with his new approach. Descalso must have done just enough, however, as Arizona picked up his 2018 option, seemingly confident they could use him if similar circumstances arise. Most of his value figures to come from his versatility and his presence as a veteran in the clubhouse.
Descalso is expected to reprise a utility infield role for the Diamondbacks in 2018, with most of his action likely to come at second and third base, Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports. Thanks to extended absences last season from core contributors in Yasmany Tomas, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed, the versatile Descalso picked up 398 plate appearances, his most in any season since 2012. The 31-year-old also made 15-plus appearances at first base, second base, third base and left field, but with Owings ticketed for the top utility role in 2018, it will take a rash of injuries for Descalso to see a substantial workload again. Even when he was receiving steady at-bats last season, Descalso wasn't an interesting fantasy commodity outside of NL-only formats, finishing with a .233 average, 10 home runs, 51 RBI, 47 runs and four steals.
Descalso will remain in Arizona after the Diamondbacks exercised his team option Thursday. Descalso hit just .233 for the Diamondbacks in 2017, but the veteran utility player walked at a career-best 12.1 percent clip and will be owed just $2 million on the final year of his contract. The 31-year-old is a better real life player than fantasy asset, so he can likely be left off your fantasy radar heading into 2018 drafts.
Descalso is not in the lineup for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Friday. Descalso gives way to Brandon Drury with left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the hill for Los Angeles. During Wednesday's wild-card victory over Colorado, Descalso went 1-for-3 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored, and will likely return to the starting nine for Saturday's game with Rich Hill on the mound.
Descalso went 1-for-3 with a home run, two walks, two runs and two RBI in the Diamondbacks' 11-8 win over the Rockies on Wednesday in the National League wild-card game. Descalso had previously homered twice during his former team in the regular season and didn't wait long to torment the Rockies in a playoff elimination game, with his two-run blast in the third inning giving Arizona a six-run lead. Though Descalso slashed just .194/.296/.387 in September, he still looks bound to retain primary duties at second base on the strong side of a platoon with Brandon Drury during the Diamondbacks' divisional series with the Dodgers.
Descalso is not in the lineup Sunday against the Royals. Following three consecutive starts, Descalso will make his way to the bench for the final game of the regular season. Brandon Drury will take over at second base and bat sixth in his stead.