Random Thoughts 6-11-13

Dustin Bradford

Ladies and gentlemen it's time for your favorite flaming thread. I am your host Xipooo (pronounced like the lighter Zippo). Today we begin with my usual apologies for previous transgressions against everyone's good nature. It was not my intent to create solidarity behind a Mr. A.J. Pollock but it seems I did so anyway. My continuous calls for his trade have gone left un-heard by the Diamondbacks organization and the fans of this great team thank them. Such is the reason I am not a CEO of a Major League Baseball team (although I'll happily submit my resume... does attending my annual office barbecue qualify as team building?).

Mr. Pollock has done remarkably well with this team and although his number have remained steady around the .250-.260 BA mark, his defense in the outfield seems just a tick over CY's.

CY's Fielding Percentage - .981

AJ Fileding Percentage - 1.000 - Yup, perfect

His bat is much more lively too.

CY - .174 BA, .257 OBP, .342 SLG

AJ - .260 BA, .287 OBP, .420 SLG

Clearly AJ is an upgrade in the outfield from what we had with CY. AJ also fits the grittiousness of the team very well. Not that CY wouldn't have.

AJ has done very well in the lead off. In 17 games he's .279/.324/.456 when in the #1 spot, usually against a left handed starter. So for those of you who pounded me for even suggesting AJ gets traded, I congratulate you on your foresight. I would have rather kept Kubel because of his RBI totals which this team desperately needs. But I'm now leaning toward AJ's defense being one of the biggest reasons to keep him around over Kubel.

With the prospect of Huddy coming back I was never a proponent of getting rid of IPK. Ian may not be the starter he was in 2011, but he's more than serviceable. In 12 games he's had 26 BB, and 61 SO's. But Ian's not a strikeout pitcher, he pitches to contact which explains the 12 home runs and remarkably low .300 BAbip. He's giving up the long ball but not with many runners on.

Now that we know Daniel Hudson will be out for at least another year Ian isn't going anywhere. He's still a good 2nd or 3rd starter in the rotation. Since we have Patrick Corbin being a clear Ace on the staff, we need solid starters in our 2 and 3. So lets go through everyone.

Patrick Corbin is OBVIOUSLY not going anywhere as he may well be the cornerstone of our rotation for the next several years. If Wade Miley can start producing like his has his last two games, we have our 1 and 2 guys both with A+ stuff from the left side. I haven't been that worried about Wade despite some bad outings this year.... although my reasons for optimism seem unfounded.

His ERA in June may be better after 2 games, but looking closer at his numbers he gave up 41 hits in 34.1 IP in May, but he's on track to do worse in June with 20 hits over 12.2. The hits just haven't been as timely allowing 6 ER in those 12.2 innings compared to 28 in June. That's why his ERA is lower for June at 4.26 compared to 7.34 for May.

Cahill has also been quite shaky in his starts only going 8.2 innings total in his last two games. He also gave up 18 hits and 13 runs over those last two starts with an ERA of 13.50. Quite a turn around from his 2.91 ERA in May. Usually when I see such a dramatic change in numbers for the worse, I think of one of two things. #1, he's hurt. Or #2 he's tipping his pitches. I'm thinking #2 is quite possible since we haven't heard even a whisper of him being injured. This also seems more likely because of the very noticeable way in which Montero is calling for pitches. Even at home he's throwing down multiple signs with no one on. If the club is starting to think opponents may be guessing pitches, perhaps they're tipping pitches. Just a thought (see thread title).

Brandon McCarthy reportedly had a seizure last week while having dinner with his wife. <PSA>One of my best friends had issues with seizures so I know first hand how scary they can be to witness. The person having a seizure rarely ever remembers the occurrence. One minute everything can be normal, and the next minute they're on the ground convulsing.

If you ever see someone having a seizure, call 911 and step away. The best thing you can do is make sure they have space around them so they can't bang their head or other body parts on something. Hence why his wife pushed the table out of Brandon's way.

I was once told to put something like a stick in their mouth to prevent them swallowing their tongue. That is incorrect. NEVER put anything in their mouth. Just step away and give them room. </PSA>

We're told Brandon is fine now and is on medication. However I'm quite sure this is messing with his routine right now. Usually you have your license taken away and the mental stress is quite something since you never know when another one will hit. It's like a time bomb in your brain, but with not even a ticking noise to let you know when it's going to go off. I hope Brandon is ok and that the medication works for him. But on the baseball side of things he may not be the same pitcher again. It depends on how much he lets his condition affect his rehab and play.

Tyler Skaggs has fared pretty well in Brandon's spot in my opinion. It's too bad they don't keep stats on bad calls. That call over at 3rd by Mr. Jordan Baker was one of the worst I've ever seen and is probably going to be replayed multiple times in the off-season by proponents of instant replay. I believe in a 5th umpire in the booth who has between plays to make an over-rule. Anything that takes longer than the next pitch to determine is too close for there to be an over-rule. But I don't want to make this about umpiring, lets talk about Skaggs.

Tyler's first outing against the Rangers was excellent. All three pitches were being thrown for strikes and he could throw them at any time. Tyler's biggest improvement has been with his change-up. Despite his curve-ball being his hallmark pitch, the change-up is a swinging strike out pitch for him. It's also the one pitch that can keep him out longer.

Strikeouts are sexy, but they take at minimum 3 pitches. Change-ups can cause 1 pitch outs, just ask Ziegler. However, when it comes to strikes, Tyler throws a LOT of 1st pitch strikes at 64.9%. Another good stat to look at to see the effectiveness of a pitcher, is how much do batters swing at a ball that is outside the strike zone. Skaggs is very good there too with a whopping 28.6%. Corbin sits at 33.3% while Skagg's contact rate in the zone is only 85.4% with Corbin at 80.5%.

This should give you a good reference point as to just how good Skagg's stuff is. Which is why he won't be sent down to AAA for long. You may have noticed he was optioned back down to Reno but I predict this is only for 1 start which is an off day for the Diamondbacks. By sending Skaggs down for that off day it allows him to keep pitching and working on his stuff, while at the same time bringing up another pitcher to help shore up the bullpen until his next start. We have most certainly not seen the last of Mr. Skaggs this year. Heck, we haven't even seen the last of him this month.

The team is batting .264 this year which puts them 8th overall. The bad news is they've grounded into 61 double plays. That's 4th overall and 3rd in the NL behind the Marlins and Cardinals. Good BA's and OBP's don't always turn into RBI's. Grounding into 61 double plays is not going to get you a lot of runs. We're still not really seeing the improvement we were hoping for in some of our guys either.

Cody Ross had a nice night last night going 3 for 5 bringing his BA to .264. Before that he went 1 for 3 against the Giants on the 8th. May was a decent month for him starting out .250 and ending with a .263 while at one point having a .290. Cody has shown to be a streaky hitter and right now he seems to be back on the way up but it's difficult to know which Cody is at the plate.

Montero started off last night with an RBI single but then it was Miggy time the rest of the day. He grounded into a double play and struck out twice. His defense wasn't exactly stellar this weekend costing the Diamondbacks a run on his throw over to third on Saturday against the Giants. We've seen Miggy make a few throwing errors this year and his DRS is -4. Yikes! He's only caught 2 stealing while giving up 16.

Martin Prado, although not having the most timely of hits did start off last nights 9th inning rally with a single to left. He's still hitting .248 though and that's down from the .262 to start June. So he's still in a slump of epic proportions for him. His career average is .281 over 8 years and I don't need to remind you he was hitting .301 last year with the Braves.

We are starting to see some positive signs from Jason Kubel who is now hitting .261/.315/.395. Compared to then end of May when he was .231/.290/.385. He's had some key hits lately and I look to see him starting in left field a bit more often. He's really an RBI machine with 19 in just 37 games. Granted he's no Paul Goldschmidt in the RBI category but one RBI every other game is pretty good. AJ has 22 RBI's in 56 games. I'm not say'n, I'm just say'n.

Speaking of Goldie.. he's in a slump. Heh. If you call 2 grand slams in one week, a game winning 3 run jack to start the Giants series, and a 2 out single for a much needed insurance run last night a slump. However, he's lost 14 points in his batting average in the month of June, and we're only 11 days in. His strike-outs have gone up again as he's been waving at a few sliders down low which has always been the book on him. He has 11 already in the month of June in 42 at bats. He had 16 in all of May. Lets hope he can right the ship because frankly, we don't win a lot of games without his bat.

The other bat we wouldn't be winning games without is Parra. He's only batting .311 in the lead off with a .500 SLG in that spot. I don't see how Eaton takes over lead off when he comes back. Maybe Gibby will stick with the platoon thing and bat Parra down lower against left handers, but even against lefties Parra is batting .276. That's still good enough to be lead off on any team (well except maybe the Cardinals). For the month of June he's batting .366/.438/.561.

Lastly lets talk bullpen. The Health Bell experience has been just that. An experience. Only one blown save since taking over the closing roll for JJ. But I don't know if I've ever seen a closer give up so many hits while still holding. He's given up 5 hits in as many games for the month of June. 2 of them were doubles and one was a home run (last night to Uribe). But some how, some way, the worm wiggles off the hook and in all honesty, that's better than JJ was doing. Will we see this as the permanent position for Heath when JJ comes back? Not likely. Even Heath doesn't think so according to a radio interview last week.

On the bright side, David Hernandez has looked like the David of 2011 again. 4 games pitched and only 1 hit allowed. An 0.00 ERA for the month of June with 6 strikeouts. He looks like the closer of this ballclub despite being used sparingly in the 8th.

Ziegler is terrific in a bind, but I don't think I've seen him go past 3 batters much without giving up a hit. He'll always be 1 pitch Brad to me, but I don't like him in full relief. He has been terrific though as that safety net. 3 on with no out? No problem. Put Brad in there.

Collmenter is the definition of "long relief". In 16 games he's pitched 32.2 innings. So he's averaging 2 innings per appearance. In fact, if he weren't so good at being the long relief guy, he might have a starting roll somewhere. 7.4 Hits per 9, 1.163 WHIP, and an ERA of 3.03. If he held those numbers in a starting roll he'd probably be 3rd in the rotation anywhere. He's a highly valuable asset that we may see come in as a spot starter sometime this year still. Especially with the injuries and poor starting pitching we've had lately.

I hope I've offended some of you, and if I haven't here's food for thought.

Josh Wilson should be optioned down to Reno so we can bring up either Davidson or Owings, and Kila should be Goldie's backup.. not Hinske Miggy should be bench warming right now while Wil Wheaton Nieves is still hot.

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