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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-30, Zack Godley

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Is Zack Godley the new Josh Collmenter?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 30: Zack Godley

  • Date of birth: April 21, 1990
  • Ht/Wt: 6’3”, 240 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 27 games, 74.2 IP, 6.39 ERA, 60:25 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.60 [pattern of votes below]

By “the new Collmenter”, I mean being able to start or relieve as necessary. Josh Collmenter was the master: he had four seasons where he did both, and twice got both a complete-game shutout AND a save. Since his debut, Godley has made 15 starts and 21 relief appearances for the Diamondbacks, at the same age when Collmenter got his career going in Arizona. Both men had impressive first seasons - Josh was fifth in the 2011 Rookie of the Year voting, and Zack went 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA. And both struggled in their sophomore campaign: Collmenter was yanked from the rotation before April 2012 was over, after posting a 9.82 ERA, while Godley’s 2016 ERA doubled.

But can Zack bounce-back in the way Josh did, reinventing himself as a rubber-armed swingman? For Collmenter had a 2.58 ERA in relief for the D-backs, behind only Brad Ziegler in team history (min. 60 relief IP), despite striking out only 6.3 per nine IP in his time with us. Obviously, Godley throws harder, averaging 91 mph last year, and does K at a higher rate (7.6) But he walks more hitters too (3.4 vs. 2.1) and last year, struggled with the long-ball, allowing 13 in 74.2 innings. Reining in both of those will be key if he wants to take over the long relief slot for Arizona. His major rival is likely Jorge De La Rosa, also transitioning from starting, and who has the benefit of being a left-hander.

But Beyond the Box Score took a look at Godley last month, and made the case for him having the potential to be a very good reliever. The full piece is worth a read, but it concluded that, as a reliever, “Godley had the highest chase rate in the majors, along with the 15th-lowest swing rate in the zone. What made Godley so deceptive once he moved to the bullpen? He leaned on his breaking ball a lot more often, and for good reason — nobody could catch up to it.” As a reliever, you don’t need to have the same range of options as when you start: if you have two good pitches (or even one great one, like Mariano Rivera’s cutter), and use them smartly. that can be enough.

Let’s finish with a nostalgic flashback to Godley’s major-league debut, in front of his amazing, proud parents.

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