Less than a week to go now. I'm going to largely skip the detailed analysis of how our numbers have changed since last week, and instead do something a little different. What would the Arizona roster look like, if it were based solely on Cactus League playing time? The structure will remain the same as we expect the actual roster to be: five in the rotation, seven relievers, eight starting position players, a backup outfielder, backup catcher and three backup infielders. But would they be the same 25 as we expect? That list, some thoughts on the bullpen, and the heroes and villains on both pitching and hitting, are after the jump.
Starters: Josh Collmenter (5 starts); Trevor Cahill, Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy and Joe Saunders (4 each).
That actually surprised me. It feels like we've hardly seen these guys of late, but they have still got the bulk of the starts - 21 of the 29 to date. However, part of that is the odd partnership between Trevor Bauer and Patrick Corbin, where they both "started" in the same game. Bauer's three starts leaves him just off the list, but it's worth noting that, in terms of overall workload, he, Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Wade Miley have all thrown more innings than Joe Saunders so far, who ranks a mere ninth by IP this spring.
Bullpen: Brett Lorin + Brad Ziegler (9 IP); Mike Zagurski (8.1); Joe Paterson and Jensen Lewis (8); Craig Breslow and Takashi Saito (7.1)
This is a bit different, with some obvious omissions, though both David Hernandez and Bryan Shaw just missed the cut-off, having thrown seven innings apiece. It's clear that the team is giving as long a look as possible to the two players who would be risky to send to the minors: Lorin and Zagurski, who are a Rule 5 pick and out of options respectively. Nick Piecoro wrote a piece today about Zagurski, which included this telling comment from Kevin Towers: " If we decide we're better off with three left-handers, then we'll go with three left-handers." That suggests they are at least considering alternative scenarios.
Paterson and Shaw have options, but I was surprised to see Nick say that Brad Ziegler also has the ability to be sent to the minors, as this will be his fourth major-league season. It also appears that the team's contract with Takashi Saito has only one-quarter of it - about $440K - guaranteed, if the team cuts him before Opening Day. Certainly, neither has been that impressive in spring, both possessing ERAs in the sevens, but both do have good numbers, over rather more significant numbers of actual major-league innings. It likely depends on how much we want to keep people. Our colleagues at Bucs Dugout wouldn't mind getting Lorin back.
The obvious name not mentioned is tied for 24th in spring innings, with the likes of Evan Marshall & Kevin Munson. J.J. Putz has been seen just four times in the first 29 games of action. But he's still on pace for a better spring than 2011, when injuries restricted him to just 1.1 innings before the exhibition games at Chase. Hence Kirk Gibson deadpanning last week, "He must be exhausted." Putz has no concerns: "I just need to build my arm strength up pretty much... We're right on track for where we need to be." Also be interesting to see if his new cutter works out. "I feel like it's ready. I'm not going to be afraid to use it. But obviously I still have my plan of how I want to pitch guys."
Catchers: Miguel Montero (44 PAs), Henry Blanco (32)
Not exactly any surprises here, with Miggy getting the bulk of the action and Blanco acting as back-up, though the ratio of at-bats, at around 4:3, is a good deal more favorable to Blanco than I'd expect it to be in the regular season. Third-place catch Craig Tatum won't be helping us, since he's now a Yankee: Ryan Budde (13) and Konrad Schmidt (12) are the others to have seen action this spring.
Starting infield: Paul Goldschmidt (63 PAs), Aaron Hill (59), Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts (57)
Nothing to see here either, with the four expected to be starting, in the absence of Stephen Drew, getting the most playing time. I do note the apparent full faith being placed in Hill at second-base. The backups who have got into action there have been the likes of Cody Ransom (54 IP) and Rusty Ryal (32), who won't be on the Opening Day roster. You've got to go all the way down to just 14 innings to find John McDonald. He has seen a lot more time at shortstop (63) behind Bloomquist, and that's the same number of innings as Geoff Blum has had in his role as Roberts' stand-in.
Starting outfield: Gerardo Parra (69 PAs), Chris Young (62), Justin Upton (61)
Parra will have no shortage of regular-season playing time, if this is anything to go by. What's interesting is the split of where he has been spotted in the outfield. The bulk of innings (69) are still in left, where he trails Kubel, though not by much. That compares to 43 in center, behind both Young and A.J. Pollock - there were also 13 innings in RF, where we don't expect to see him much. The selection process there can be summed up as, "Does J-Up have a pulse? Okay, he's playing in right-field."
The bench: Adam Eaton (53 PAs), Lyle Overbay (46), Geoff Blum (40), Cody Ransom OR John McDonald (38)
There's your big shocker. Jason Kubel was not even the fourth outfielder, in terms of Cactus League playing time, being beaten out for that spot by Eaton. Kubel has had 49 PAs thus far, which is only one in front of the fifth most-used outfielder this spring, Pollock. Overbay and Blum make the roster as expected - though as with Blanco, I'm hoping Overbay doesn't take as many at-bats from the everyday starter, in this case, Goldzilla. But there was a tie for the 25th spot on the roster, with Ransom seeing as much action as McDonald.
Heroes and Villans
Hitting [min 30 PAs]
Chris Young: 20-for-51, 3 HR, 5 RBI, .392/.500/.686 = 1.186 OPS
Paul Goldschmidt: 14-for-51, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .275/.413 /.569 = .981 OPS
Miguel Montero: 13-for-37, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .351/.455/.432 = .887 OPS
Lyle Overbay: 10-for-40, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .250/.326/.300 = .626 OPS
John McDonald: 9-for-37, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .243/.263/.297 = .560 OPS
Willie Bloomquist: 11-for-55, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .200/.211/.218 = .429 OPS
Pitching [min 8 IP]
Patrick Corbin: 15.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 15 K, 0.57 ERA
Mike Zagurski: 8.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2.16 ERA
Daniel Hudson: 14.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, 2.57 ERA
Tyler Skaggs: 13.1 IP, 17 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 7 BB, 16 K, 7.43 ERA
Joe Saunders: 9.2 IP, 20 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 9.31 ERA
Josh Collmenter: 16.0 IP, 27 H, 21 R, 21 R, 5 BB, 5 K, 11.81 ERA