What role does Phil Gosselin have?
Preston: Only one thing can be said definitively, and that is the Gosselin is not in the mix for shortstop. He does have five career starts there, but last year Hale started Brandon Drury there over him, so he's not thought of as being capable of fielding the position. But here is my bold prediction: Phil Gosselin will be the opening day starter at second base. Why? For starters, there was his 148 OPS+ in 24 games with the team last year. There's also his .338 career OBP in the major leagues, which is slightly better than his .331 figure in the minor leagues, but not so much as to think he can't maintain it. Finally, he looks like exactly the type of player the team would want in the #2 spot in the batting order. That's where he did his damage last year, with an insane .389/.452/.750 slash in that spot in the order. He would likely bat between Pollock and Goldy, which is probably the best possible spot.
Makakilo: Phil Gosselin is a high effort guy and he bounced back from a broken thumb. I see his role as a utility middle infielder, who can pinch hit as well. If neither Chris Owings or Jean Segura reach their potential, then he would move into the starter role at second base.
Xipooo: He's a potential spoiler for anyone's job in the infield, but mostly I think he's a backup to Lamb over at 3rd. Perhaps he's a platoon guy against lefties who can be put anywhere in the infield.
Jim: He'll be kinda like Cliff Pennington. Filling in occasionally as required around the infield, we'll be pleasantly surprised when he does something good, particularly in a late-inning clutch situation, but my expectations are fairly muted. Best way to avoid disappointment, and that way, anything more will be a pleasant surprise!
When will we see Brandon Drury?
Preston: I expect to see him the first time we see a LHP starting for the other team. That could be opening day. I really think we'll see a platoon between Lamb and Drury at 3B, with Lamb playing 1B from time to time and Drury playing 2B fairly often, and possibly SS on occasion. Either Drury or Gosselin will likely be the fifth infielder, at least at the start of the year.
Makakilo: Brandon Drury is the number three prospect in 2016, behind Braden Shipley and Archie Bradley. However, because of Lamb, Ahmed, Segura, Owings, and Gosselin there will a competition for playing time. By remaining in the minors, Dury can continue to develop. We will see Brandon Drury sometime in 2016, maybe after the All-Star break.
Xipooo: Whenever it's obvious the Segura, Owings, or Ahmed experiment is losing traction. I suspect they all have short leashes as this team is in win now mode.
Jim: Not sure if he'll make the Opening Day roster, just because we seem to have so many other infielders rattling around in spring training. But I imagine, the first time anyone of those stumbles, due to injury or ineffectiveness, he'll be on the bus up (or is it down?) from Reno. Beyond that, how long he stays will be entirely up to him. I'm with Xipooo on that: we'll be operating entirely in performance-based mode this year. You want to "develop"? That's why we have a farm system.
Is the lack of left-handed batters an issue?
Preston: In the era of defensive shifts, I'm not sure having left handed batters is as big of an advantage as it used to be. But this could still be an issue, particularly late in games. But with the quality of the right handed batters we have, I think we'll be fine.
Makakilo: Preston is correct. The Diamondback offense will be awesome. And, potentially Chris Herrmann and Socrates Brito could be brought in as left-handed pinch-hitters.
Xipooo: I think the lefty/righty matchups are becoming less important in today's game. The cut fastball has given pitchers another pitch which matches up well against opposite side bats.
Jim: It may vary from person to person. Owings actually hit RHP significantly better last season (his OPS vs lefties was an insipid .495!), so it may not be too much of a problem. Let's see if they can hit generally, I think - I'm probably more concerned about that than specific match-ups!
How do you see playing time being divided up?
Preston: I think Ahmed starts the bulk of the time at SS, 130-140 games or so. The remaining time will likely go to Segura or Owings, with a few to Drury. (I only anticipate one out of Segura and Owings to be on the team.) At second base, I think Gosselin gets about half of the starts, with occasional outfield starts mixed in, and whoever wins between Segura and Owings for utility infielder gets about 30-40 starts. The rest go to Drury, as the team will try to get both he and Lamb plenty of at bats.
Xipooo: I think most of the time is given to Segura/Ahmed with Owings making up for most of the other time. Lamb and Gosselin probably break down as 80/20 at 3rd with a few starts for Gosselin at 2nd and Lamb over at 1st.
Jim: That's going to be very interesting. I just can't see anything to be gained from moving Ahmed off shortstop, or replacing him with Segura there - it's an obvious defensive downgrade, and I would need to be convinced Segura's bat more than makes up the difference. It wouldn't surprise me if we end up with Ahmed manning short everyday, and whoever hits better among Segura and Owings playing second.
By the end of the year, who will have made most starts at SS and 2B?
Preston: See above. Ahmed and Gosselin.
Makakilo: Ahmed and Segura.
Xipooo: SS - Ahmed / 2B Segura
Jim: Yeah, I think it'll be Ahmed and Segura. Owings may end up entirely on the outside.
Random question: favorite TV show of all time.
Preston: Black Books. As a librarian who has worked in a bookstore, there's just so much to appreciate about this show. Also, it helps that since it is a British show, it didn't get all the good content beaten out of it in the first season, leaving only an empty husk, as is the case with so many American shows.
Makakilo: The Amazing Race. I experienced cultures from around the world from the comfort of my home. I cheered for my favorite team each season.
Xipooo: As it stands, I really like The Americans. But House Of Cards is a VERY VERY close 2nd.
Jim: Fawlty Towers. Forty years old, and it still pushes me into hysterical laughter every time. Brilliantly written, immaculately performed. They only ever made 12 episodes, but each one is an instant classic.