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Diamondbacks Report Card: Xavier Nady

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ReportcardNady_mediumName: Xavier Nady
Age on Opening Day: 33
Salary: $1,750,000
2011 Stats: 82 games, 223 PAs, .248/.287/.359, 4 HR, 35 RBI
2010 Stats (CHC): 119 games, 347 PAs, .256/.306/.353, 6 HR, 33 RBI

The biggest shock to me was the Xavier Nady appeared in more games for the 2011 Diamondbacks than Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill put together. That was 82 all told; in other words, more than two-third of Arizona contests, up until his season was ended on August 12, with a broken hand suffered after he was hit by a pitch from the Mets' Dillon Gee. It really didn't seem that way, but he only started 49 times, all but a handful of those at first-base. I think when we look back at the 2011 Diamondbacks in a few years, we'll think: "...wait, Xavier Nady was on the team?"

In the light of subsequent events, most obviously the blossoming of Gerardo Parra, it's odd to recall that when Nady was signed in December 2010, he was expected to be Arizona's everyday left-fielder. At the time, Steve Gilbert wrote: "Nady could wind up with the bulk of the playing time in left field and could serve as insurance in case the untested Juan Miranda is not able to handle the duties at first base." Kevin Towers deferred to Gibson in saying whether Nady would be the starting LF, but said "We see Nady getting a lot of plate-appearances, probably 400-500. Will that be in left? I think a lot depends on how all these guys we don't have history with. perform in spring training"

Reaction to the signing was somewhat mixed. Perhaps surprisingly, Dan was actually among the more optimistic, though with the benefit of Lasik-corrected hindsight, I don't think this bit of analysis will turn out to be something he'll put on his resume

I'm actually quite shocked at how well our bench has been pieced together. Abreu can play 2B, 3B, and the occasional game at SS, Blum can man 3B and apparently had time at short last year in which he looked capable (I doubt it, personally), Allen spells Nady in left and Miranda at first, Parra spells Upton and CY, and of course Blanco behind the plate... Nady is a significant improvement on having Parra or Allen face lefties.

OPS vs. LHP: Parra, .790; Nady, .702. Though in Dan's defense, he did spot the disaster which would have been Austin Kearns, a little lower down the thread - blue bulldog is bailed out of losing the bet agreed upon there, by Keanrs' failure to reach 200 PAs. Incidentally, Towers did mentioned it was Nady's ability to play first which made him the preferred choice for Arizona, and that's how it was, right from the get-go. There had been question-marks over Nady's arm being up to the task in right, and all his early playing time came at first or off the bench - he didn't appear in the outfield until game #36.

Nady's season was nondescript. He had two games where his Win Probability contribution was +20%. The first was a May 29th game against Houston, where his two-run double in the eighth turned a one-run deficit around. The other was on July 27th at Petco, where he had three hits, including the tiebreaking two-run homer below - which, to be honest, could conceivably have been called for fan interference. Though it would have been unfortunate for Nady to have lost 25% of his long-ball production for the year in that way.

Early on, Nady was part of a three-man platoon at first-base, with Russell Branyan and Miranda, as Gibson tried to maximize production from the troublesome spot. Said Cap'n Kirk in mid-May, "I've tried to keep everyone involved, and if someone would have gotten really going, certainly I would have stayed with them. That hasn't happened, and to their defense, maybe a three-man rotation makes it a little tougher for it, but not impossible."Under other circumstances, Nady's playing-time would likely have been reduced, but the D-backs didn't have much alternative. Nady did just well enough to keep playing, starting 13 games in May, 13 games in June and 13 more in July.

Then, on August 1st, Goldschmidt happened. And the ongoing happening of Gold-zilla seemed like it would reduce Nady's playing time considerably - with both men being right-handed, there wasn't even a chance for Nady to be platooned, as he had done with Branyan and Miranda. It turned out to be a decision Gibson didn't have to consider for long, as on the 12th, Nady's season to an unfortunate end, in the second inning of a game at Chase Field against the Mets.

And that was that. Nady stayed in the game for the rest of the inning, scoring on a Cody Ransom double, but we replaced by Goldschmidt before the third, and tests subsequently revealed he had fractured his left hand. "It's a big blow to us... He was playing great," said Gibson afterward. Well, Nady was actually 2-for-his-last-20 at the time of the injury, with no walks or extra-bases, but admittedly, it probably wasn't the time to bring that up. The next day, they signed Lyle Overbay - a left-handed bat - and if Nady received more than a passing mentioned the rest of the way, I guess I missed it.

And that last clause is a decent summary for Nady's entire season. I think expectations were never exactly high for him, and he seemed like a nice guy. However, given we were expecting him to be capable of playing left-field as well as first, I've got to mark him down, and his production at first-base was woefully short of what a team should expect from the position.

Grade: D

Other SnakePit grades

soco: A+++++
Since I want peace in the home, I suppose I should give him top marks.

Kishi: C
Since I have no real investment here (sorry, mrssoco, I'm not a part of your system) I'd say he was about average. I may not have expected much from him, and we probably saw him on the field more often than we thought we would, but he wasn't awful. Just... okay.