While working on the next part of the viewer's guide to non-roster spring guys, I came across an odd update on the Diamondbacks' transaction page for Tuesday, stating that no less than six Diamondbacks have changed their numbers for the upcoming season. Don't recall seeing something like that before, particularly not with that volume of changes. Probably unsurprisingly, it's the younger players who have made a change: five of the six were rookies last season, the sole exception being sophomore starting pitcher Anderson. Here are details of the changes, along with a bit of history on the new numbers chosen:
Chase Anderson changed number from 57 to 34
First worn by: Brian Anderson in our inaugural season of 1998. Last #34: Chas Roe (2013). Last #34 you might remember: Joe Saunders (2010-2012). Best #34: Probably Tony Clark, who wore it from 2005-2007, though I still have a soft spot for Conor Jackson.
Socrates Brito changed number from 68 to 19
First worn by: Willie Blair in 1998. Last #19: Jake Lamb in 2015, but as we'll see, he has also changed his number, opening up this one for Brito. Best #19: Chris Snyder, who wore it from 2004-10. Let's just hope Lamb doesn't suffer anything like the infamous injury that took Snyder out.
Brandon Drury changed number from 62 to 27
First worn by: Armando Reynoso in 1999. Last #27: Allen Webster, so I guess he won't be wearing it. Or if he is, it'll be in Korea, so it shouldn't be an issue. Best #27: Mark Reynolds, from 2007-10, and it's a sharp drop-off after Special K, to the likes of Geoff Blum and Wil Nieves.
Oscar Hernandez changed number from 23 to 28
While most of the players changing have opted to pick lower numbers, Hernandez was fortunate enough to already have one in the twenties, though he was the first Diamondback to have #23 on his back since fellow catcher Johnny Estrada, back in 2006. Maybe that's why he changed... #28 was first worn by Greg Colbrunn in 1999, and most recently by Andy Marte (2014). Colbrunn is likely its best owner too.
Jake Lamb changed number from 19 to 22
Also going up a couple of notches is Lamb whose new number has a history dating back to Willie Blair in 1998. Its most recent occupant was another third-baseman, Eric Hinske, in 2013, so I wonder if that had anything to do with Lamb's choice? Devon White wore if first in 1998, and it was also Eric Byrnes's during his time here.
Peter O'Brien changed number from 72 to 14.
Finally, O'Brien makes the biggest change - he had the highest number last season, and only two larger ones had ever been worn by a Diamondback in the regular season (the highest ever being #77, most recently by Charles Brewer). He drops all the way down to a number first worn by Brent Brede, with Xavier Paul doing so in 2014. Ryan Roberts is likely the best-loved name to have had it, from 2009 through 2012.