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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-2, A.J. Pollock

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Here’s to a complete season.

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/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 2: A.J. Pollock

  • Date of birth: December 5, 1987
  • Ht/Wt: 6'1", 195lbs
  • Position: Outfielder
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 12 games, 46 PA, .244/.326/.390, 2 HR, 4 RBI
  • SnakePit Rating: 9.00 [breakdown of votes below]

I’m probably not the only one who’ll be holding their breath through the exhibition game at Chase Field tonight, because it was during the matching series, just before the 2016 season got under way, that A.J. Pollock’s season was rudely interrupted. A re-broken elbow and a groin strain meant there would be no repeat of 2015’s 7.4 bWAR season. Instead, he appeared in only a dozen games, setting the table for the disaster that was Arizona’s year. How good has Pollock been when healthy? Over his career, he has 15.3 bWAR in 412 games: that’s a rate of 6.02 per 162 games. Paul Goldschmidt has a career rate of 6.03 bWAR per 162 games.

So he’s basically Goldschmidt-when-healthy. The problem has been that Pollock has averaged only 82 appearances a year since his debut in April 2012. Goldie over the same time? 146. A steady stream of issues have kept AJ off the diamond. The good news is, most have been things that should [fingers crossed, touching wood, reaching for a black cat and picking four-leaf clovers] not recur. Don’t get hit by a pitch. Don’t break any other elbows. That’ll help. The groin strain which limited him this spring was a bit worrying, for that is the recurrence of a problem from 2016. At least we don’t go outside AZ/CA until the last series of April, though SF might be a bit chilly. #Caution

A healthy Pollock would represent a five-tool threat, and as a result would boost the D-backs across the board. In particular, he’s an ideal lead-off hitter, likely as good as Jean Segura last year (Pollock’s 2015 OBP was almost identical to Segura’s in 2016). He will alsoprovide top-notch defense in center, and after watching the series of gallant but inexperienced players we sent out there early last season, I am really looking forward to that. Here’s to him managing appearance numbers more in line with Goldschmidt for 2017, than his previous average.

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