You would forgive Diamondback fans for twitching at the notion of the hard-nosed, utility guy who tries very very very hard. I'm not even saying the adjective you're thinking of, the one made famous by Kevin Towers as a sort-of team philosophy around 2013. The visions of the future were terrifying. An army of David Eckstein's, overrunning everything, doing things the right way to the entire Phoenix metro area! Making the valley awash in overly earnest old sportswriter praise! The horror!
That never really came to fruition (nor did it ever have a chance to, but it's fun to play.) However, the idea of a guy who goes all out whether he's full of talent or a fringe utility guy isn't the worst thing in the world on its own. You generally would rather prefer a player who tries hard than one who goes up to the batter's box in a pool chair and drinking some concoction from a coconut. (That is hyperbole, nobody would actually do that. They'd probably have a can of something)
A guy on the Diamondbacks I want to highlight that I think embodies this is David Peralta. He may not be the first choice in your mind, but follow my logic here.
Peralta's journey to the majors was not the traditional method, and is certainly befitting a player with this moniker. As you may or may not know, Peralta was originally a pitcher with the Cardinals organization. Due to shoulder badness, he was forced to not pitch anymore, because as Brandon Webb can tell you, you kinda need a healthy shoulder to pitch at all, let alone well.
Now, you wouldn't have blamed David or anyone for going "Welp, I tried at the Baseball thing, gonna become a business type now!" But no, he decided to go to Independent Ball to reshape himself as a hitter. Other than the occasional Rick Ankiel, this is not something that happens very often.
And let's talk about Independent Leagues. If you've never seen an Independent League game at some point in your life, you should. It's a fascinating thing. It has the atmosphere of a Minor League game, but with a hard to describe hint of something else. The players are an eclectic mix of guys who never cracked a Major League roster, has-beens, and guys with vague relationships to MLB players (I remember some relative of Robin Yount playing for the old Tucson Toros.) It's not a place one goes for a professional career to blossom, rather it's a place one goes for their last chance at a professional career. That's where David Peralta was. The Diamondbacks saw something down in those Independent doldrums, and signed him.
Last season, Peralta got the call-up. I recall there being a collective "Who?" around these parts when it happened. But hey, it was 2014, everything was on fire, so why not? Fast-forward to now, and Peralta is now currently third in bWAR on the D-Backs this season.
"But wait, shouldn't a player who gets 'down and dirty' be less skilled and have to make up for it with effort?"
That is silly, straw man who I have made up. There's no law that says that these things are mutually exclusive. Peralta has shown enough skill to stick as a regular, but he does play with a certain quiet intensity that may or may not be indicative of how he got to the majors (Taking nothing for granted, etc.) I don't know David personally, so I don't want to ascribe such things on him, but it would make sense.
He can make the occasional impressive defensive play that maybe a randomly selected outfielder wouldn't even attempt:
He also has twice as many triples as his next highest teammate (as of time of writing), despite clearly not being the fastest guy on the team.
Now, that particular triple was aided by some defensive, shall we say, mishaps, but nobody could have blamed anyone for jogging it out on a ball that looked to either be caught or possibly a home run with two outs in an already lopsided game, and Peralta made it into third easily.
So take a bow, David Peralta, you have both the distinction of being a pretty good ballplayer, and one who wasn't afraid of getting down and dirty in the Independent Leagues and on the field to keep your career going. You've earned everything you've gotten so far.
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