The adventures of Yasmany Tomás in the outfield aside, the Diamondbacks have two other concerns in their starting lineup. Both CF AJ Pollock and RF David Peralta missed a lot of games in 2016 due to injuries, a big reason why OF defense fell apart and also why the team struggled to win 69 games. For the team’s long term future, they need their 2nd and 4th best position players to be healthy in 2017 in order to figure out the course of action moving forward.
AJ Pollock: When healthy, Pollock is one of the best CF in baseball, but the issue has been health as he’s only played in 244 games the last 3 seasons. While he’s put up 10 fWAR/11.8 bWAR over that time period most of it has come from his 2015 All-Star campaign that makes up 65% of the total tally. He’s a Gold Glove caliber defender, covering the deep gaps at Chase Field with ease, making catches that off the bat looked impossible. Offensively, Pollock has put up a 130 or better wRC+ in 2014-15. His speed might take a drop with a groin injury plus entering his Age 29 season where outfielders start to decline. Pollock only has 2 years of control, so the team needs to figure out whether to trade or extend by the end of the season. A healthy Pollock makes either very viable. If Pollock is healthy enough to get 600 PA, he’s a 5 WAR player.
David Peralta: Peralta was one of the few hidden gems from the independent league signed in the Kevin Towers regime. Peralta is one of the game’s best pure hitters, with terrific bat speed and the ability to drive the ball 425 feet in any direction. When healthy, Peralta is an extra base hit machine and a 30 double, 10 triple, 20 homer threat. The last Diamondbacks player do that was Stephen Drew in 2008. Defensively, Peralta is grades out well in RF, saving 6 runs in 743 innings in his career and a positive UZR/150 for his career. However, the main value comes from the bat and his baserunning. With the extra base hit ability, Peralta is also very capable of batting .300 when healthy with a decent walk rate and a strikeout rate that’s near league average. His baserunning earned him the Freight Train nickname. While Peralta might not post the SB numbers a fast guy like Pollock or Chris Owings might give you or a cunning base-stealer like Paul Goldschmidt. When healthy and able to pick up 500 PA, Peralta is a 3 WAR player.
Conclusion: The Diamondbacks need both Pollock and Peralta to be healthy in 2017 for two purposes: either to extend or trade. Pollock has two seasons of control, 2017 already under cost certainty and then Arb 3 before hitting FA in 2018. Diamondbacks should try to consider a deal where Pollock gets 1 year + club option if Pollock is healthy in 2017, as the option would make Pollock an attractive trade candidate. Peralta is in the final pre-arb season of his career, narrowly missing the Super Two deadline by just a few days of service time. The Diamondbacks should attempt to buy him out of his arbitration years because Peralta will be an expensive player going Year to Year, although his age makes me consider to move him in a year or two. Peralta doesn’t have the same amount of innings in the OF as most 29 year old OF, so his body will take a bit longer to break down. Assuming a healthy Peralta and Pollock in the OF, the Diamondbacks are 8 wins better than they were in 2016.