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Diamondbacks' Strengths and Weaknesses: 65 games in

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Somewhat following up on James' post yesterday, I thought it might be interesting to take an objective look at how the team has performed so far.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The chart below is from Baseball Reference,and shows the value each team in the National League has received from each position on the diamond. The figures for pitchers are divided up into starters and relievers, and there's also a column for the outfield as a whole, as well as one for pinch-hitters. I didn't bother including a DH column, since for some NL teams (such as us), there have been a trivial number of PA from there. The D-backs entries have been highlighted in red, to make them stand out. Also, note: the figures given are for Wins Above Average, not Wins Above Replacement, so a zero is not such a disaster as it would be for WAR. All stats exclude today's games.

Rk Total P
SP RP Non-P C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF OF PH
1
STL
10.7
STL
8.2
STL
4.5
STL
3.7
SFG
5.3
PIT
1.1
ARI
4.0
MIA
2.1
CIN
2.8
SFG
1.9
SDP
1.2
ARI
2.2
WSN
4.0
LAD
3.0
LAD
0.4
2
LAD
8.1
PIT
5.1
PIT
4.2
NYM
1.8
ARI
4.8
SFG
0.8
CHC
2.1
SFG
1.5
COL
2.0
ATL
1.2
SFG
0.8
LAD
2.0
MIA
2.2
ARI
2.9
SFG
-0.1
3
PIT
5.6
LAD
3.6
LAD
2.6
PIT
0.9
LAD
4.5
COL
0.8
CIN
1.8
STL
1.0
CHC
1.0
CIN
1.2
ARI
0.4
PIT
1.3
LAD
1.0
WSN
1.6
ARI
-0.2
4
SFG
4.1
NYM
2.7
CHC
1.4
LAD
0.5
CHC
2.7
SDP
0.7
LAD
1.6
CHC
0.7
STL
0.8
STL
1.1
PIT
0.4
CHC
0.1
MIL
0.4
MIA
1.2
CHC
-0.2
5
CHC
4.0
CHC
1.3
WSN
1.2
MIL
0.5
STL
2.5
CHC
0.5
SFG
1.5
ATL
0.5
PIT
0.6
MIA
0.5
STL
0.3
MIL
0.0
STL
0.3
PIT
1.1
STL
-0.2
6
ARI
3.9
WSN
1.0
ATL
0.4
COL
0.3
CIN
2.1
LAD
0.4
ATL
1.0
WSN
0.4
LAD
0.5
ARI
0.4
CHC
0.1
NYM
-0.2
ARI
0.3
STL
0.3
SDP
-0.4
7
CIN
0.0
PHI
-0.3
NYM
0.3
CHC
0.3
MIA
0.6
WSN
0.2
NYM
0.7
COL
0.3
WSN
-0.2
PIT
-0.2
LAD
0.0
MIA
-0.2
ATL
0.3
SFG
-0.1
ATL
-0.5
8
NYM
-0.2
COL
-0.5
COL
-0.2
MIA
0.2
PIT
0.5
STL
-0.2
MIL
0.1
CIN
0.2
SFG
-0.2
SDP
-0.2
NYM
-0.1
WSN
-0.3
SFG
0.0
MIL
-0.2
PIT
-0.5
9
MIA
-0.4
ARI
-0.9
ARI
-0.5
SFG
0.1
ATL
0.2
CIN
-0.4
SDP
-0.2
SDP
-0.4
MIA
-0.3
NYM
-0.2
COL
-0.2
STL
-0.3
NYM
-0.1
CHC
-0.3
WSN
-0.7
10
WSN
-0.5
MIA
-1.0
PHI
-0.8
PHI
0.0
COL
-0.4
ARI
-0.4
STL
-0.3
PIT
-0.4
ATL
-0.4
COL
-0.3
MIL
-0.6
SDP
-0.3
CIN
-0.4
SDP
-0.3
NYM
-0.8
11
COL
-0.9
SFG
-1.2
SDP
-1.0
ARI
-0.2
SDP
-1.5
NYM
-0.6
PIT
-1.2
NYM
-0.5
ARI
-0.6
PHI
-0.4
PHI
-0.7
ATL
-0.3
CHC
-0.5
NYM
-0.4
COL
-0.8
12
ATL
-1.6
MIL
-1.6
CIN
-1.2
SDP
-0.6
WSN
-1.5
PHI
-0.7
COL
-1.2
LAD
-0.5
SDP
-0.7
MIL
-0.8
MIA
-0.8
COL
-0.4
COL
-0.6
ATL
-0.8
CIN
-0.8
13
SDP
-3.3
SDP
-1.8
MIA
-1.3
WSN
-0.6
NYM
-2.9
MIA
-0.8
MIA
-1.3
ARI
-1.4
PHI
-0.9
LAD
-0.9
ATL
-0.8
CIN
-0.7
PIT
-0.6
COL
-1.2
MIL
-0.9
14
MIL
-8.8
ATL
-1.8
SFG
-1.6
CIN
-1.3
MIL
-7.2
ATL
-0.8
PHI
-1.4
PHI
-1.5
NYM
-1.0
WSN
-1.0
CIN
-1.4
PHI
-0.8
SDP
-1.2
CIN
-2.5
MIA
-0.9
15
PHI
-9.2
CIN
-2.1
MIL
-1.7
ATL
-2.1
PHI
-8.9
MIL
-1.7
WSN
-1.8
MIL
-1.9
MIL
-1.8
CHC
-1.2
WSN
-2.1
SFG
-0.9
PHI
-1.5
PHI
-3.0
PHI
-1.0
AVG
0.8
0.7
0.4
0.2
0.1
-0.1
0.4
0.0
0.1
0.1
-0.2
0.1
0.2
0.1
-0.5

There's no doubt, it's the pitching which has been Arizona's main problem this year, both from the rotation and out of the bullpen: we are below average in both categories, ranking 9th and 11th in the league respectively. But that has been countered by strong production from the position players: second overall, in fact, trailing only the Giants. Sitting four games out of the second wild-card coming into play today, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that, if our pitching had kept up with our hitting and defense, we could well be in a playoff spot to this point.

But among our position players, there are clearly very big differences in production. Leading the way - and, you will appreciate, this is as unsurprised a face as I have ever had - is first-base. Paul Goldschmidt has been worth four wins more than the average major-league first baseman this season. That's insane. The only other comparable position for any team in the NL - indeed, the only one to be even three above average - is RF for the Nationals. Dunno what that's all about. The team is also getting the best production in the league from center field, where A.J. Pollock has been rolling, though he has stumbled a little bit over the past few days.

All told, the outfield has been keeping its end of the bargain reasonably well, and Nick Ahmed's defense at shortstop has, thus far, outweighed a bat that has been slowly coming up towards "adequate", after a dismal start. The rest of the infield, however, has been underwhelming to various degrees. We knew, coming in, that catcher was a weakness, and it has certainly proved to be just that. And it's hard to say how much of the shortcomings at third-base are due to Jake Lamb's injury, with Yasmany Tomas giving it the old college try there instead. But second-base? Ouch. Aaron Hill has not rebounded, and there are increasing questions as to whether Chris Owings is indeed the long-term future there.

Overall, the performance has probably been better than expected, with the team (even after this afternoon's damp squib) still scoring more runs than they've conceded, albeit narrowly. Considering that after 65 games last season, our run differential was at -51, this has to be regarded as an improvement. However, it's clear that there are still obvious areas for improvement: pitching, both starting and relief, being the most apparent, despite the improvement from the rotation over the past week. The return of David Hernandez and, soon, Patrick Corbin may help, as potentially could our young prospects. But I think it's as much an indicator as to where our efforts (and cash!) may end up going this winter.