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AZ SnakePit Round-Table: Arizona Diamondbacks at the break, Part 2

In the second half, we look at non-Miller concerns, strikeouts, reasons for hope, and the upcoming trade deadline.

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Other than Miller, what's your biggest concern?

Jim: Probably Patrick Corbin. I was expecting him to get better this season, being a full two years removed from Tommy John, and his arm strength should have been back. But the gap in velocity between his fastball and change-up has dropped by about 25%, and his K-rate has imploded, from 8.3 to 6.4 per nine innings. We were expecting him to be a top of the rotation guy, but his performance this year has been barely back of the rotation.

James: The team has had so many issues this season it is hard to pick just one. Mostly, I think the team needs to address two things, the outfield, and the pitching of starters expected to produce. That means, getting Pollock, Peralta, and Brito healthy and moving Tomas to a 4th OF platoon, if not back to Reno for a bit, in favor of possibly Owings or Born in the OF as a 4th OF. This team needs capable defenders that can also hit. One-dimensional players (especially hitters) do not translate well to Chase Field. Then there is the Corbin/Ray issue. I'm still willing to give Ray some time. He has shown some strides towards becoming more consistent, even if that consistency is only 5-6 innings every start. If he can be a quality starter for those 5-6 every time out, that is not a bad #4/5 guy to have.

Patrick Corbin, on the other hand, is starting to create some worry. If he is unable to figure it out again by the end of the season, it might be time to move on from Corbin, with hopes to pin him off into organizational development. It may just be a matter of him finding a pitch other than the change to rely on as his primary "soft" weapon. We know he has the skills, for some reason this staff is not getting the performance out of him it should.

Pirate: Team chemistry and mental health. Failing this badly can leave a mark and can start leading to additional bad habits. I'd like them to refocus on fundamentals, maybe we don't have the talent to compete but at least play competent solid baseball and reduce the groan worthy incidents... (catch those fly balls, field your position, hit the cut off man).

Turambar: Kinda going to follow Pirate on this one. I really do worry that a team that was supposed to be set up to compete will start looking to each other for blame and implode. There's lots of good pieces on this squad and even if they don't succeed this year, they should at least be working toward the future.

Preston: I also agree with Pirate and Turambar. There's just been a lot of bad baseball, and everyone is at fault to some extent. Jake Lamb, while he should be in the All Star game, really needs to learn how to throw. Nick Ahmed's defense is still excellent, but has clearly dropped off from last year. And the outfield defense? Michael Bourn has been the best defender out there, and it was his mis-play in the first inning Sunday that led to the only two runs Archie Bradley gave up.

Nate: Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray are the most concerning to me. Corbin hasn't looked good since the season began, and Ray is still going just 5.1 innings per game. Both of these guys needed to step up for the team to have success this season, and both have fallen flat on their faces. I still believe there's a chance for a bounce back in the 2nd half or next season.

Makakilo: Pirate Dan was on-target in his answer of team chemistry! Stress caused by such a large disappointment can take effort to overcome. In addition, team continuity takes a hit because the Diamondbacks are giving many different players a chance to play at most positions. Team continuity is when each player learns the on-the-field capabilities of his teammates and develops relationships with his teammates. The result of strong team continuity is better performance in clutch situations and greater joy in playing baseball.

Steven: I'm so worried that this regime is going to overreact and do something stupid again in the name of contending for next year. Sacrificing what little prospects we have in order to marginally upgrade is just an awful reaction to a poor season.

Xipooo: That this front office won't get the right coaches in here to turn it around. I really believe the talent is there.

Are you worried about the offensive strikeouts?

Jim: It's getting up there, isn't it? Third in the NL. Generally, I don't think K's make too much of a difference compared to other outs. However, I'd be cool with the strikeouts, if the team was also third in walks, rather than 10th.

James: I am a bit worried about the strikeouts. The reason I am worried is because of the guys that are really contributing to the problem, guys like O'Brien, Tomás, Drury, Castillo, et al. I am okay with the rates for Lamb and Goldschmidt. When you hit for that much power and average, and also draw enough walks to inflate the OBP, the strikeouts nearing 25% are tolerable. The high strikeouts as a team are indicative of plenty of other players getting a bit wiff-happy. The plate discipline this team is demonstrating leaves a great deal to be desired. High strikeouts and low walks tends to be a losing combination. If this team is going to start striking fear in the opposition, they need to not roll over and play dead quite so easily.

Pirate: Think it's indicative of the team pressing, guys trying to do too much.

Preston: I'm not overly concerned about the strikeouts, and the rate should drop with Peter O'Brien and his 41.7% K rate off the team. The fact is, there has been tremendous progress on this front this season. Jean Segura has lowered his strikeout rate while posting a career high walk rate. Chris Owings, before going on the DL, was striking out below league average, and walking at above league average marks. Goldy has been striking out right at his career rate.

Turambar: Not pleased with it, but considering the other myriad of issues this team has the K's are a small potato issue.

Makakilo: No, I am not worried about the strikeout rate. Instead, what I care about is RBIs with RISP. The strikeout rate with RISP is not significantly different than that for all plate appearances, except possibly when bases are loaded. Through 1 June, with bases loaded, the Diamondbacks had 12 strikeouts when 8 would be average.

Despite leading the National league in hits, the Diamondbacks are underperforming RE-24 with RISP. That is a big issue. On the positive side, Paul Goldschmidt had the most RBIs with RISP. And Chris Herrmann had the highest RBIs per RISP opportunity.

Steven: I'm fine with the high strikeouts as long as the hits/walks keep coming, once those start falling things will need to change.

Xipooo: No, I think it's just another symptom of the overall problem. A lack of focus because guys aren't excited to be playing on this team and for this coaching staff.

What good things have come out of the first half?

Jim: There have actually been a fair number of good stories, considering how awfully disappointing the first half was. The blossoming of Jake Lamb would be the first thing: being that good, this quickly. The unexpected relevance of Chris Herrmann. Jean Segura hitting far better than anyone would have expected. Those would be the main ones. A little further back? Rubby De La Rosa looking good until he was injured. Jake Barrett looking not bad in the bullpen. And damn, our pitchers haven't been automatic outs!

James: With the poor overall performance of the team as a whole, the good things stand out even more. Obviously, the breakout season that Jake Lamb has been having probably ranks as number one. I am also impressed with Segura having a strong rebound. I'm hoping he can keep it up. Also pleasantly surprising, Chris Owings seems to be transitioning to playing in the outfield well and has had success at the plate despite his questionable approach.

Pirate: Jim touched on most of it, I would add it looks like Chris Owings could be a good player, if he's healthy. Big If there because currently he isn't.

Turambar: Segura and Lamb. We all worried where this team's offense would be at without AJ and the combined efforts of Segura & Lamb have put that to rest for the most part. No one saw Segura mashing the ball as he has, especially coming off of two very sub-par seasons prior to this year, and Lamb we all knew had the talent yet none of us thought he'd be the slugger he is today.

Preston: Jake Lamb's bat. Segura has been good, and the catcher position continues to be among the tops in baseball. Plus, the offense still managing to score runs without Pollock and Peralta has been nice.

Nate: Everyone else pretty much summed it up, but I'll add in Goldy's recovery. He has done a wonderful job of proving that his performance the first month and a half of the season was just a fluke.

Makakilo: Although they have been mentioned, the positives include the following three players.

Jean Segura. In 2015, the Diamondbacks' WAR at second base was a negative 2.3. Diamondbacks badly needed to fill that hole, and took a chance on Jean Segura. He was a huge success! At the All-Star break, the WAR at second was a positive 0.8! His BA, OBP, and SLG are all as good as 2013, his all-star year. He plays with joy and renewed confidence.

Jake Lamb: If I could pick one player who will continue to surprise to the upside, it would be Jake Lamb.

Chris Herrmann. He is the best in RBIs per RISP opportunity. He filled the huge hole of backup catcher.
Steven: Jake Lamb is the obvious answer. I really liked what I've seen from Brandon Drury and some of the young relievers at times, but they need to learn consistency.

Xipooo: We've had some nice surprises in Segura, Bourne, and Lamb. To an extent I'd also say a resurgence of Chris Owings when he was healthy, and now we know he can play outfield quite sufficiently. And despite the early season problems, it sure does feel good to have an ace on the staff again.

Who do you expect to be dealt by the deadline?

Pirate: Castillo, Hudson, Clippard seem likely candidates. I also wouldn't be shocked to see Ahmed traded and Segura moved to SS and Drury or Owings given another shot at 2nd. I also wouldn't be shocked to see Robbie Ray or Randall Delgado dealt if anyone expressed an interest.

Turambar: Gotta agree with Pirate again. With the season pretty much toast they might as well make moves to get Drury and/or Owings more ABs. Besides that I'm sure we'll jettison some pitching to give those younger arms more time as well.

Preston: I feel confident that Hudson gets dealt. Clippard might get dealt as well, as he would fetch more, but if they are still planning to win next year, holding on to him makes more sense. One of the catchers should probably be dealt. Segura could also be a piece that would get back something. Unfortunately, I don't see guys like Ahmed or Delgado fetching much, and Robbie Ray needs to be held if the team is to compete next year.

Jim: Hudson's the obvious name, though his recent performances seem intent on making that as hard for the team as possible! Beyond that, the problem is, anyone we would get a decent return for, is someone who would likely also be useful next year. The market just isn't going to give us much for Rickie Weeks and Michael Bourn. If the team wants to contend in 2017 - and every indication is they do - then we may end up trading less than expected.

James: The lists of who I expect to be traded and who I actually would trade are very different. I think if the Diamondbacks can convince someone else that Hudson's recent struggles are behind him, they will probably move him. If they were going to extend him, I think it would have been done by now. Hudson has made it clear he wants to be here, but the team seems to want to wait things out and wait to see what his market is going to be in the offseason. I think if Hudson actually reaches free agency, he is gone. In order to make sure they don't watch him leave with no return, I think the Diamondbacks protect themselves and trade him. I don't think they move anyone else, not unless someone comes calling for a specific player (such as Ray or Corbin) with a very compelling offer that would have Diamondbacks fandom celebrating an instant "win" at the trade deadline.

Makakilo: This season, 11 Diamondbacks have played in the outfield. And that does not include Pollock. Of the 11, I expect one of the following 6 to be traded: Bourn, Drury, Gosselin, O'Brien, Owings, Weeks.

Steven: I think the FO is done trading. TLR has reiterated this is a 2-3 year window and they are fine with the pieces they have. I'd really like to see just about everyone traded, but it'll never happen.

Xipooo: There doesn't seem to be a lot of panic in this front office, and I don't think they want to lose too many pieces. I think they feel they have the talent, so I don't expect many more moves. That being said, I would not be surprised if we see Hudson, Castillo, Corbin, Gosselin, Ahmed, or Clippard traded. I think teams could get a steal with Gosselin. A utility infielder who can hit to all parts of the field. He'd be a good 2 hole for any team that needs one.

What should we be looking for in return? What short or long term pieces?

Pirate: I would expect to see a mix of guys from Rookie to AA be included and the team to think that they're close just that this is not their year. Next year, we can expect to see Pollack, Peralta, DeLeRosa back, Owings healed, Greinke healed and potentially Miller and Corbin fixed. I still believe that they could be a winning team, but naturally, lots of problems still to be solved.

Preston: I'd rather see long term pieces. I don't see any of our trade chips (unless they decided to trade Goldy or Lamb) bringing back anyone who would be able to make a big difference in 2017 or 2018. Meanwhile, our farm system is woefully understocked.

Jim: Yeah, our farm is very weak at the top level. I was looking at Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospects, and Baseball Prospectus's top 100, and Braden Shipley is the only name there, at #63 on the latter list. Admittedly, we're fairly well set for the next few years at most positions, but our front office needs to be building for 2020 on too.

James: I think obtaining an intriguing but not terribly heralded AA prospect is about the most to the team might get in return for Hudson by himself. Ideally, the team would be looking for a player that might make some sort of contribution as soon as next season, but I think that unlikely, at least not one likely to make a statement. Given that, I would rather see the team take a similar approach as they did with Ziegler, and find some strong players in the lower levels and build for the 2019 and beyond window.

Makakilo: Except for the possibility of trading Drury, the Diamondbacks should look for long-term pieces in return. Drury is a high ranked prospect who has hit well in 263 plate appearances in the majors this season. If Drury is traded, the Diamondbacks should look for a majors ready player who fills a critical need.

Steven: We really need some help in the pitching department, especially the minors. Boom or bust starters that can fail into relievers would be a welcome addition.

Xipooo: As I said earlier, I think this team has plenty of talent to go far. I would hope they could trade for some AAA level pitching that is just blocked by the guys at the top.