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Power-ranking the Arizona Diamondbacks: May

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Just short of a .500 record for the team in May, but there were some good individual performances to look at. How rose up the chart, and who fell from grace?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This is based primarily on performance in the month of May, but I take playing time and "trending" into account. A simple example: if two players both hit .250 in May, but Player A hit .200 in April, and Player B hit .300 in April, Player A's improvement is the better trend and will be ranked higher. There were 14 position players and 16 pitchers used by the Diamondbacks in May, one up on the previous month. Lost from the April rankings, due to their non-appearance, are #9 Jake Lamb, #27 Gerald Laird and #28, A.J. Schugel. We add to the list instead. the names of Robbie Ray, Vidal Nuno, J.C. Ramirez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Where about will they stand in the rankings?

  1. Paul Goldschmidt (last: #1),.365/.476/.750. That 1.226 is the highest OPS ever by a Diamondbacks for May (min 70 PA). He was intentionally walked nine times in May. For contrast, Mark Trumbo has been IBB'd three times since coming to Arizona. It's insane: I don't think I've seen a player so utterly locked-in at the plate in the ten-plus years the SnakePit has been in existence.
  2. A.J. Pollock (#3), .309/.361/.509. Chip Hale didn't start Pollock in four May contests, which seems to me about four too many. The only question is not whether he should play, but where in the order. To me, he's a better lead-off guy than Inciarte, showing far more plate-discipline (season OBP 365 to ..323) and seeing more pitches (3.53 to 3.39).
  3. Nick Ahmed (#25), .286/.321/.468. The biggest turnaround of the month is Ahmed no longer swinging a toothpick up there, his OPS more than doubling in May, from .392 to .789. Part of that is certainly BABIP-related, though the May figure of .345 isn't as high as I expected. Add in Ahmed's excellent defense, and this is the player we want. But will he stick around in June?
  4. Chase Anderson (#10), 2.65 ERA, 1.125 WHIP. Undefeated in six May appearances, and certainly deserved better than a single win. The D-backs scoring only three per game in the other outings has a lot to do with that. In a month when just about everyone in the rotation has had their issues, Anderson has easily been the closest to a reliable starter.
  5. Vidal Nuno (New). 1.88 ERA, 1.047 WHIP. With 19 strikeouts in 14.1 innings of work, I wouldn't be averse to the team giving Nuno a shot in the rotation again [Note: I'm leaving this in; subsequent events lend it a certain poignancy]. Fun fact. Nuno recorded as many 16+ out appearances in May as Josh Collmenter and Archie Bradley combined. Oh, and Nuno didn't start a single game. If not for Vidal, our bullpen would be the army of the dead.
  6. Mark Trumbo (#12), .237/.297/.527. Those numbers suggest May was virtually the definition of a Trumbonian month: weak average, sub-.300 OBP, but plenty of power. He had seven homers, the most since his first month with the organization in April last year. But he seemed to be expanding the strike zone too, and we've seen some ugly swings lately, which concerns me.
  7. Daniel Hudson (#24), 1.93 ERA, 1.143 WHIP. I think what we're seeing is that players take time to recover from TJ, even when they're healthy enough to play: bear this in mind as Hernandez, Corbin and Arroyo. Hudson in April seemed tentative, with nothing but raw stuff, but May was a clear improvement, with movement, control and a K:BB ratio of 19:5.
  8. Aaron Hill (#29), .292/.338/.477. Good to see Hill rebound after a wretched April, even it perhaps means no more than there's hope we might be able to shift him at the trade deadline. The average is nice, and not a BABIP mirage (.302 there). However, I imagine other teams would like to see this continue through June and July, before they start calling up Dave Stewart.
  9. J.C. Ramirez (New). 2.61 ERA, 1.064 WHIP. Considering Ramirez's previous major-league spell was a 7.50 ERA over 18 appearances for the Phillies in 2013, can't complain about his outings for us in May. If particular note: one walk in 10.1 innings of work, which is always good to see from a reliever. Kinda crapped the bed last night, but we'll get to that in a month!
  10. Andrew Chafin (#17), 2.70 ERA, 1.125 WHIP. Settled down nicely in May, after a shaky transition to the bullpen in his first month there. Good to have another left-handed option out of the pen, especially given the struggles of Perez. and with a dozen appearances in the month, Chip Hale hasn't been shy about using Chafin.
  11. David Peralta (#5), .263/.329/.447. That's a drop off of about 100 points in OPS for the month from Peralta, and there was a spell when there was chatter about whether he might be the odd man out when Jake Lamb returned. He has been saved from that, albeit less by his own efforts than the bigger implosion of another outfielder, but we'll get to that in a bit.
  12. Brad Ziegler (#5), 2.70 ERA, 1.500 WHIP. After a stellar April, Ziegler suffered some regression, but perhaps more worryingly, his K:BB ratio over 13.1 innings of work was a mere 9:7. He did a good job at keeping the opposition off the board in total, but it wasn't exactly as easy as it seemed for Brad the previous month.
  13. Tuffy Gosewisch (#16), .242/.292/.379. That's the kind of triple-slash we could handle from a defensive first catcher, but Tuffy gets himself docked marks for being unable to run to first base without tearing an ACL, and writing himself out of this series of articles for the rest of the season. Hands up, all those who thought we'd be feeling nostalgic for the Tuffmeister by the end of May?
  14. Yasmany Tomas (#11), .316/.337/.408. Truly a month of two halves for Yasmany. Through the 15th, he had a .548 OPS, then became the first D-back with a double-digit hitting streak, on his way to an .859 OPS the rest of the way. But with a May BABIP over .411, he's going to need to keep up those offerings to Jobu if he's to retain that pleasant batting average. Defense still an issue.
  15. Robbie Ray (New), 1.50 ERA, 0.833 WHIP. Ray's work in Reno has been a bit up and down: a 3.67 ERA in his nine starts is fine, but a WHIP of 1.704 is not. However, can't argue with his debut as a Diamondback, one earned run over six innings of work, and no walks. I would like to see more of what he has to offer.
  16. Rubby De La Rosa (#13). 4.38 ERA, 1.051 WHIP. Led the team both in strikeouts and walks for May, which illustrates the dichotomy (look it up!) of De La Rosa. Almost one-third of all his PAs in May (51 of 156) resulted in one of the three "true outcomes": a walk, a K or a home-run. He can be utterly unhittable at times, and utterly awful at others. More consistency is obviously the key.
  17. Jeremy Hellickson (#19), 4.98 ERA, 1.194 WHIP. That's actually a small improvement on last month for Hellickson in terms of ERA (it was 5.24). And a very large one in WHIP, which was 1.746 in April, and largely is why he gets to move up a couple of slots. Still very much back of the rotation in terms of overall results, yet I feel a slight degree of hope for better.
  18. Ender Inciarte (#7), .273/.291/.364. Not what you want from your lead-off man, and nor is being caught in half your stolen-base attempts (three of six). A K:BB ratio of 19:3 for the month is also problematic, and Inciarte is still looking for his first extra-base hit of the entire season against a left-handed pitcher, in what is now 52 AB. Time to drop him down the order?
  19. Chris Owings (#15), .250/.266/.348. At time of writing, Ahmed has a batter OPS+ than Owings (67 vs. 63), and that is not a good thing. Just two walks in 96 May PA for Owings is a stark illustration of the gaping hole in his approach at the plate, and there were 20 strikeouts to go with it. Keep telling yourself, "He's only 23... He's only 23..." and cross your fingers.
  20. Addison Reed (#14), 4.85 ERA, 1.231 WHIP. Like Tomas, a month of both good and bad. Early on, he was so bad, Reed lost the closer's role, quite rightfully so, and was on his way to the very bottom of this list. But mechanical adjustments have been made, and to steal a line from Twitter, "I for one welcome the new, competent Addison Reed". Hopefully, it will continue.
  21. Randall Delgado (#8), 4.91 ERA, 1.705 WHIP. Not a good month for Randall, who fell from being someone worth contemplating for a move back to the rotation. He has been burned by the long-ball this month, with three HR in 14.2 innings, though with 14 strikeouts in that tine, has still had his moments.
  22. Enrique Burgos (#21), 4.97 ERA, 1.579 WHIP. Ended up going on the DL, but posted some gaudy strikeout numbers in May, fanning 45% off batters faced (25 of 56). Unfortunately, He also walked eight in 12.2 innings, setting up too much trouble for himself. Undeniably great raw stuff, needs to know how to harness it and learn to pitch.
  23. Jordan Pacheco (#18), .200/.292/.275. I think Jordan must have a set of voodoo dolls somewhere, and has disposed of Oscar Hernandez, Gerald Laird and now Gosewisch in order to retain his roster spot. Just about doing what you'd expect from a back-up catcher, which isn't much beyond standing at the plate and putting down signs.
  24. Danny Dorn (#26), 500/.500/.667. Last month, I hoped to congratulate Dorn on his first hit, but he did better, giving us one of the moments of the season so far - his two-run double off Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the ninth tying the game against San Diego. It was his last AB for the team to date, as he was sent back to Reno immediately after. Where he has continued to hit.
  25. Cliff Pennington (#20), .179/.250/.205. Just seven starts in May for Penny, the team understandably opting to ride the hot hand of Ahmed while it lasted. However, it's not as if Cliff was doing much, when he did start, to warrant additional playing-tine, with one extra-base hit for the month.
  26. Evan Marshall (#23), 6.23 ERA, 1.385 WHIP. A quick hook for Marshall, who demonstrated what we mean by "reliever volatility" going from one of our best bullpen arms in 2014, to being sent back down to Reno in early May. The month had gone little if any better for him than April, Marshall striking out only one of 18 batters faced. We'll see where he goes from here.
  27. Oliver Perez (#22), 6.75 ERA, 1.688 WHIP. Five free passes (three walks, two HBP) in just 5.1 innings of work for Perez. though did have eight strikeouts. Still, didn't seem 'right' for some reason, and I can't say I was filled with confidence at the sight of him entering the game, even against lefties.
  28. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (New), .125/.364/.125. Had been entirely as expected when signed, and illustrated nicely why he was dumped by his previous owners. Can't hit, poor defense, can't call a game worth a damn. Pitching staff ERA with Tuffy = 3.90. SSS, but ERA with Salty = 5.92. If he does get the majority of starts for the rest of the year, it'll be a long season.
  29. Josh Collmenter (#4), 8.14 ERA, 1.726 WHIP. Just an awful month for poor Josh, giving up 36 hits in 24.1 innings, It's a complete contrast to April, where he threw the first complete-shutout in the major leagues this year. Is it velocity? Lack of command? Could be a bit of both. With replacements approaching, the future is murky.
  30. Archie Bradley (#2), 11.81 ERA, 2.531 WHIP. No further comment needed.