The last week started with difficulty for Arizona, as they dropped two ugly games to Los Angeles before winning three of their next four. The offense over the weekend was particularly inspiring; as I noted in the ESPN Power Rankings this week, Goldy finally killed that 22-game HR drought (the third-longest of his career) on Sunday. In consecutive wins against Colorado on Saturday and Sunday, Arizona put up 17 runs on 28 hits. While the success probably had little to do with the lineup, I personally really liked starting the top of the order with Adam Eaton, Aaron Hill, and Paul Goldschmidt. I hope that continues.
Plenty to recommend this week:
- At FanGraphs, Eno Sarris wrote about Brandon McCarthy, McCarthy’s use of information, and his search for a changeup. Required reading for all D-backs fans. Seriously.
- In a blog post on Saturday, ESPN’s Buster Olney listed the “total pitches seen” by each team. The D-backs came in 6th with 22,013, which was 1,684 less than the Red Sox in the top spot (who were themselves over 1k more than the second spot), and 1,621 more than the Brewers in the bottom spot. As the D-backs close in on the record for extra innings in a season, you wonder if the 30-40 more innings than the average team has something to do with that — but at one point, Paul Goldschmidt was leading the NL in pitches seen per plate appearance, and the D-backs have a few other guys who are selective at the plate, especially Martin Prado.
- At AZ Snakepit, Jim McLennan did a tremendous job framing what figures to be the most pressing question to the D-backs’ offseason: does the team need a slugger? If so, who gets replaced? I think the latter question is extremely difficult. Jim also reminded all of us taking potshots at the team that the game is a lot more difficult than it may seem to observers sometimes. Great work as always.
- Thomas Lynch at Venom Strikes asked the other question that is likely to dominate the offseason: Gregorius or Owings? That’s a question Jeff and I will try to address after the season has concluded.
- Don’t miss Nick Piecoro’s most recent notebooks, covering Eaton’s arm and Hudson’s future role; a Patrick Corbin update; and a look at Matt Davidson’s recent adjustments and Goldy’s MVP chances. A month ago, I looked at the NL MVP race and guessed what would have to happen over the remainder of the season for Goldy to win the MVP. Basically, he needed the D-backs to stay in it through the end of September, for McCutchen to fade, and for other pitchers to make Clayton Kershaw a less obvious candidate. Since then, the D-backs have faded, Goldy’s own performance has declined a bit (Sunday notwithstanding), McCutchen has come on strong and Harvey got hurt (and Wainwright’s stats fell off). This is a long way of saying that I don’t think Goldy’s a likely MVP anymore. If his chances in mid-August were in the 30% range, they’re in the 3% range now. But I do think Goldy has a great shot at finishing ahead of guys like Yadier Molina and Joey Votto, maybe third overall.
- Arbitration Strategy: D-backs Should Settle with Trumbo, Must Take Reed to Trial
- Projection Peek: D-backs Pitchers in 2015
- Payroll Puzzle Complicated by Yoan Lopez Signing: Are the D-backs Done?
- Projection Peek: D-backs Position Players in 2015
- The Pool Shot, Episode 12: Podcasting the Yoan Lopez Signing and the D-backs’ Status as a True Baseball Team
- An Early Look at the Fifth Starter Competition
- A Guide to Minimizing the Opportunity Cost of the Yoan Lopez Signing
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