Yes, I’ll say it: the Diamondbacks have the worst record in the majors now, at 0-2. The D-backs looked overmatched for most of the two-game Dodgers series in Australia (not so hot against Team Australia, either), but cruise back into Arizona to finish up spring training with only a -4 run differential. Losing by just two runs in each, the score of both games makes them look a lot closer than they really were. The D-backs never had the lead at any point in the two games, and once Dodgers starters Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu got a lead, they kept it.
There were mainly lows, but some highs. Mark Trumbo showed us just what he can and can’t do in the field (as Nick Piecoro explained, that GIF doesn’t tell the whole story), but he also launched his first home run in a D-backs uniform. Wade Miley pitched to a 5.40 ERA, but looked good doing it. And as for the rest of the pitching staff, Trevor Cahill struggled to repeat his release point and to get Dodgers out, but the bullpen let up just one earned run in nine innings of work.
My one to watch in this series was Gerardo Parra, though. In some ways, he did poorly. I’m not sure if the D-backs held a kangaroo court after the series (if not in Australia, then where?), but if they did, Parra would be the one buying most of the beer; he recorded the final out of both Dodgers games.
In other ways, though… Parra did quite well, considering he was standing in against two very good left-handed pitchers. It seemed clear that Parra adopted his new batting stance because of struggles against lefties, and it seems to be working out. 2 for 8 doesn’t make for a great batting average, but consider that he got both hits against lefties (and added a walk, too). 7 of his 9 PA came against lefties, and while his second hit looked a little lucky, the first one was hit right on the screws, and it looked like the contact came exactly when and where Parra planned. I have huge hopes for Parra this season with that new stance. Still one to watch, for me.
Although the results left something to be desired, it was great to see the D-backs back in regular season action, and fun to see a wild couple of games at Sydney Cricket Ground. We’re all just happy to have baseball back here at Inside the ‘Zona. Rod and Jeff will be weighing in on aspects of the SCG games in the next couple of days.
- Nick Piecoro was all over the Sydney trip. He has good recitation of the middling Bradley performance against Team Australia (but oh man that curveball!), and here’s his follow up piece on the sweep by the Dodgers.
- Great stuff in this Piecoro notebook about the D-backs trying to get back into the swing of things in Arizona. Cody Ross will play rehab games in AAA, apparently, and, as Piecoro explained, either Tuffy Gosewisch or Mark Grace will be with the team — but not both. Yes, you read that correctly.
- It was Diamondbacks week at Beyond the Box Score, unofficially. Here’s a consensus top 36 prospects for the Diamondbacks from Chris St. John, which aggregates several prospect rankings (including Inside the ‘Zona rankings). As part of a series, Ryan Potter tackled a team preview for the Diamondbacks’ 2014. And Jeffrey Bellone pitched in with a deep examination of Didi Gregorius.
- As Jim McLennan wrote, Kirk Gibson named Addison Reed the D-backs closer. We’ve said this over and over and over again in this space, but I’ll say it one more time: making Reed the closer right now will cost the team a boatload of money, and J.J. Putz might be the better closer right now anyway. It’s not a big deal, and maybe the team knows something important about how Putz is feeling, but it seems like a small but clear mistake. Also at Snake Pit, TolkienBard did a preseason piece on Reed.
- At Venom Strikes, Joseph Jacquez has a good, detailed piece about whether there’s a fit for Gregorius with the Mets. Pretty much agree across the board. Not to toot my own horn, but after we did a thorough examination of MLB rosters for our Offseason Plan, I kept track of each team fit for each of the D-backs’ trade assets — and in my view, the shortstop/Mets matchup really came into focus a couple of months ago. I thought (and think) that Jenrry Mejia would be a great fit. Fairly high ceiling, injury issues that are something the D-backs can handle, and in a worst case that doesn’t see Mejia develop, he already has experience as a (very good) reliever. Exactly the lottery ticket Towers should probably target.
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FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).