The Diamondbacks: Spring Review

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

It has been a long spring: almost seven weeks since pitchers and catchers report. But we now sit on MLB Opening Day, ready for the true marathon to begin. Let's look back at how the preseason went for the Diamondbacks.

Team numbers

The Diamondbacks finished with a 16-17 record: two games were tied and one rained out. That records excludes both the WBC warm-up contest against Mexico, and the two against the Reds at Chase Field. Overall, it's one game better than 2012. Attendance at Salt River Field was down 2.3%, but 12 of 16 home games sold out, and they remained the best-supported in either the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues, ahead of the Giants and Cubs [the biggest uptick this spring was an 18.7% increase by the Dodgers - that excludes the A's who, for some reason played seven more home games, and so saw attendance increase by 56%. Biggest losers were the Rockies, down 23.6%]

On offense, the team hit .280/.338/.419, for a .757 OPS That was better only than the Dodgers and Brewers, among Cactus League franchises, and was 12 points lower than last season. Pitching also saw the Diamondbacks in the lower echelon of the Arizona, with a collective ERA of 5.31. That was almost identical to last year's figure of 5.29, and put us ahead of the Angels, Athletics and Royals. It may not have seemed it sometimes, but we did make fewer errors than most: Arizona's 25 tied them for 21st and our overall F% was 8th. We struggled with the steal, a 63.6% rate putting us 23rd. Overall figures for TOOTBLANs were not available. :)

Position Players

Obviously, spring training figures are meaningless, for a whole raft of reasons. It has been said so often that it probably qualifies for deceased equine status. But it's still better to see your players do well, even in games where opposing players may be working on a pitch or simply not of major league caliber. So, how stood out, at either end of the spectrum?

Impressive (min. 25 PA)

It's a shame Eaton's spring was derailed by an injury which seemed to sneak up out of nowhere, and will likely keep him out of action for several more weeks yet. Goldschmidt certainly enjoyed spring. Two things to note there: firstly, a K:BB ratio of 11:10, which foreshadows some good plate discipline if it's maintained into the regular season. Secondly, while I should absolutely stress the small sample-size again, Goldie went 15-for-46 against right-hander pitching, a .326 clip. Finally, there's Gregorius, who on this evidence, certainly defied claims of him being a "no-hit" shortstop - even if we never got to see him play the position!

Unimpressive

I was quite surprised to see Marte's overall spring numbers so low, considering he made the Opening Day roster, despite being sent to minor-league camp in the middle of spring. He did pick things up somewhat when he was called back following Eaton's injury, but still only went 4-for-20 after his return - three of those hits were homers. Kubel seemed to have been hampered all pre-season by a leg issue: hope it doesn't continue to bother him, as of tomorrow, especially considering our severely limited lack of outfield options. Which are shown by the fact Snyder appeared in 19 Cactus League games, almost as many as Parra (21).

Starting Pitchers

There aren't really enough to split into good and bad categories, so let's just list them all, in increasing order of ERA.

Player ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG WHIP
Trevor Cahill 1.86 19.1 16 5 4 0 5 25 .216 1.09
Patrick Corbin 2.81 25.2 25 8 8 1 9 26 .260 1.32
Ian Kennedy 4.67 17.1 17 10 9 3 4 17 .258 1.21
Brandon McCarthy 5.00 18.0 24 10 10 3 3 19 .320 1.50
Wade Miley 7.43 13.1 18 11 11 3 6 8 .333 1.80
Randall Delgado 7.45 19.1 30 17 16 3 8 10 .370 1.97

Cahill looked particularly good this spring, and it was especially nice to see him throw almost 20 innings without allowing a home-run, suggesting his key sinker pitch was working well. His ground-out/air-out ratio was also solid, at 23:11. Corbin seemed to improve as the season went on, and easily held off the challenge of Delgado, helped by striking out more than a batter per inning. Kennedy and McCarthy were also there or thereabouts, though the latter will certainly have to bring down that opponents' batting average if he is to succeed in the regular season. I'm still concerned about Miley, largely because of that lack of work. 13.1 innings of game action hardly seems enough.

Relievers

Same for the relievers, though here, there was a severely marked gap in performance between those who had decent springs, and those who did not. But for the Nth tine this article, the sample sizes here make it almost impossible to say anything about anything.

Player ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG WHIP
Joe Paterson 1.69 10.2 9 4 2 2 1 10 .225 0.94
J.J. Putz 1.69 5.1 2 1 1 0 2 7 .118 0.75
Brad Ziegler 1.80 10.0 5 2 2 1 0 11 .139 0.50
Tony Sipp 2.25 12.0 11 3 3 0 2 13 .239 1.08
Josh Collmenter 2.40 15.0 14 4 4 0 1 11 .241 1.00
Heath Bell 8.10 6.2 11 6 6 2 3 6 .379 2.10
Matt Reynolds 8.74 11.1 19 11 11 2 5 12 .380 2.12
David Hernandez 9.00 8.0 9 8 8 2 2 10 .281 1.38

I included Paterson in the list, because he certainly forced his way on to the radar with an excellent series of performances. Whatever ailed him at the start of last season - and at the time, it seemed almost terminal, seems to have been cured. As usual, we hardly saw Putz, and Ziegler Ziegled his way through spring, only four of his 30 outs being recorded in the air. Sipp looked mostly solid, and Collmenter established his solid credentials as a long reliever. But Bell, Reynolds and Hernandez all struggled, and the first two in particular, didn't seem to be fooling anyone much this spring. Just keep telling yourself: it's only spring training... It's only spring training...

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