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Arizona Diamondbacks 2016 Preview: Right-Field

David Peralta will take over in right-field for the Diamondbacks this year, following in the footsteps of Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
How will David Peralta handle the transition to right-field?

Preston: Right field is where he saw most of his playing time in 2014, handling the position very well (his defense there was rated above-average by both systems.) He did struggle there in limited time last year, but it was very limited (only 53 innings and only 5 starts.) RF was also his main position for the Wichita Wingnuts in 2012, so I think he'll be fine.

Makakilo: Peralta will transition well. Combining 2014 and 2015, his Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 defensive games (UZR/150) was +12.2 based on 410 innings in right, and -5.9 based on 1243 innings in left.

Jim: Better than Yasmany Tomas. Next question, please.

Nate: He should be fine. Changing corner outfield positions shouldn't be a big deal.

Can he sustain his unexpected late-blossoming career?

Preston: He's 28. He's not exactly old, and although regression can set in at about this time, he has only been showing signs of improvement. He's only been an outfielder in affiliated ball since the middle of 2013; nothing against the coaching in the American Association, but I'd hazard it's not quite the same instructional level. I think he might even be able to get a bit better.

Makakilo: Yes. More often than most hitters, Peralta hit the ball hard (37% over 100 mph). At 28 years old, that skill will not go away. Because hard hit balls, His BABIP will not regress. I expect continued success. I agree with Shoewizard's fanpost projection (9 January 2016) of 550 plate appearances and zWAR of 2.5 with upside possible.

Jim: I want to write a click-bait article entitled ‘David Peralta! Projections hate him because of this one weird trick..." That one weird trick being, of course, starting your career off as a pitcher and not making the majors until almost your 27th birthday. Those kind of players don't typically do well. But Peralta is, obviously, not your typical player. I'm optimistic he'll be at or near his 2015 value, and his defense may well actually improve, since in many ways he's still "learning" to play the outfield.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Preston: I can't see any offensively. He seems to be fixing things and working to get better. Defensively, he has struggled with footwork and routes to the ball in the past. His throws are strong, but often inaccurate. These are all things that can be fixed, though.

Makakilo: Peralta's offense is great (Baseball Reference shows oWAR was 3.9 in 2015). He improved his hitting in the second half of the season. He hits better against righties vs lefties(.325 AVG vs .250 AVG), so hitting against lefties is one possible area of further improvement.

Defense is the main area where Peralta can improve (Baseball reference shows his dWAR of -0.8). Moving to right field may improve his defense, based on the following numbers.

  • His range is good at both left and right field. Out-Of-Zone (OOZ) plays made was 6 in 53 innings in right field, and 70 in 982.2 innings in left field in 2015.

  • He threw much better from right field than left field. His rARM (Arm runs saved above average) for 2014 and 2015 was -7 for left field and +4 for right field.

  • His fielding in the zone was better at right than left field. His Revised-Zone-Rating (RZR) was .879 in left and .924 in right, which matches Pollock's .924 in center.

Jim: Batting against left-handed pitchers. He did improve there in 2015, but he got better against right-handed pitchers too, leading to a split which was more of a Grand Canyon, Peralta hitting 250 OPS points better vs. RHP. In particular, Peralta's power all but evaporated, with only one home-run and just six extra-base hits off a left-handed pitcher all last year. In part that was because he was being protected from them (105 starts with an opposing RHSP, vs. just 11 against an LHSP), but it's part of becoming a complete player.

If we end losing Tomas and/or Pollock on Opening Day, how do you see the outfield depth chart?

Preston: I'm starting to think Tomas goes to Reno, anyway, so if Pollock is out, I think we see Weeks-Brito-Peralta with Herrmann and Marzilli backing things up. Actually, if Pollock is out that could be how Tomas makes the team, as I'm not sure they want to keep Weeks. Keep an eye on Gabriel Guerrero, though. The team is very high on him, and he has the best arm of anyone in the outfield, and can play all three positions. If Tomas is out and Brito doesn't continue to stake a claim to the job, Guerrero could be the surprise opening day roster member.

Makakilo: The following table looks at the choices, with players in the green zone having shown the most readiness to play now. Peralta will be ready, though he is knocking off the off-season dust. Four other players are ready to step in, at least temporarily - Brito, Gosselin, Weeks, and Herrmann. Socrates Brito has clearly showed he is ready, and has the most experience in the outfield, so he is my first choice. [In the last two days, the quality of pitchers slipped to 7.4 for Brito, and his batting average slipped below .500, taking him marginally outside the green zone.] My second choice is Gosselin, who could play as an infielder, too. After considering Herrmann (more experience in outfield, and backup catcher) and Weeks (slightly better hitter), I chose Weeks as my third choice.

Quality of Pitchers

Spring Training Batting Average

14 March 2016







Tomas & Pollock

Peralta 2015 BA .312



Herrmann 2015 BA .146

Weeks 2015 BA .167

Gosselin 2015 BA .311



Marzilli &




Brito 2015 BA .303



Jim: Brito would be the best replacement if we need to replace Pollock, but Peter O'Brien would perhaps be the most appropriate stand-in if we have to find a Tomas substitute. That's going as much on type of player as anything: you could argue that Brito might be the "best" player, but I think in terms of overall line-up balance, O'Brien's power would be a better fit, even if his strikeouts this spring remain a cause for some concern.

Nate: Brito is the clear backup plan, and has by far the best name. If they needed to go any deeper, they could throw Gosselin out there. I remember him being out in left a couple times last year, and I don't think he was too much of a liability. If he has to be started out there though, things are going very poorly for the D-Backs

Random question: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Preston: Pizza. There are pretty much an infinite number of options, so there's still a lot of variety.

Makakilo: Homemade grilled pizza!! That ambrosia is uplifting to the soul.

Jim: Bacon. On the plus side, if all I could eat was bacon, my life-expectancy would be measured in months before complete circulatory failure kicked in, so I probably wouldn't survive long enough to get bored with it!

Nate: Enchiladas.