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SnakePit Round Table, Week 9: Somewhat unhappy homecoming

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The team returns to Chase Field, after dropping the last three games, including being no-hit - and with it the road-trip.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Do we move Patrick Corbin out of the rotation?

Xipooo: Yes. Progressively he’s getting worse. His ERA over the last 28 days is 7.67/ Then for the last 14 days it’s 9. And for his last two starts it’s 12.00. I think some time in the pen could do him good. I still want that slider coming out to face some batters, and potentially long relief.

Makakilo: Yes.

  • May was significantly worse than any month in Patrick Corbin’s career. First, slugging against his slider was .618, the worst month ever for him except March 2012. Second, slugging against his changeup was 1.364, the worst month ever for him except October 2012.
  • The most telling statistic is homers per 9 innings. In April it was 0.8, in May it was 2.8, in June’s first game it was 5.5.
  • This season compared to the last two seasons, batters seem to be getting a better read on pitch location. They swing at in-zone pitches 67.2% compared to 63.3% and 63.6%. They make contact with out-of-the-zone pitches 64.1% compared to 60.3% and 62.2%.
  • Compared to Zack Greinke, the vertical release points are not bunched closely enough. For example, in June his fastball was released at 6.27 feet, his sinker was released at 6.14 feet, and his slider was released at 6.07 feet. Maybe the release point is tipping his pitches.
  • Because Corbin has two options I would option him to the minors. In the minors he can give 100% focus to reinvent his pitching and quickly return with full effectiveness. I am not convinced that he could reinvent himself in the bullpen. The D-backs need him as a starter.

Keegan: I’m in agreement for moving him out of the rotation for the time being. He is currently costing the team wins, and once Tai Walker is back there are options available to replace Corbin. Patrick had success in the bullpen last season. Archie Bradley’s results there this season could serve as a trail marker for Corbin. The main question is can he handle it with his attitude. He has been vocal in the past voicing his displeasure coming out of the bullpen which somewhat irks me. I’d like to see him put the well being of the team before his own aspirations.

Steven: Either option him to AAA or send him into the bullpen. We’re going on 1.5 seasons of poor pitching from Corbin without any inkling of him showing the form from 2013. I still believe he’s best suited for an Andrew Miller type of role, with the potential to go 2+ innings.

James: I think Corbin get one more start at least, and given Lovullo’s remarks, he probably get more than just that. However, with only one more start, they could then leave him out of the rotation for the better part of two weeks. By that point, they may no longer need his services in the rotation. Personally, I would prefer to see him in the bullpen or used in a trade to upgrade the 25-man roster. I doubt though that the team is going to upgrade much from any trade more than it would simply by moving him to the bullpen. There were already questions about whether or not Corbin could provide a full 180+ quality inning. Now it seems fair to ask if he can even make it to July.

Jim: Based on performances over the past six weeks, you have to say that both Delgado and Godley are both better options than Corbin. In terms of overall performance, his recent spell is not dissimilar to the nine starts he had before being moved to the bullpen in 2016 - then, it was 41 IP and a 7.68 ERA, compared to 31 IP and a 9.00 ERA here. We are talking about a little smaller sample, and the problem here has been homers, rather than the walks which killed him more in 2016. But once Walker comes back and has (presumably and hopefully) proven himself healthy, I really would not be surprised to see some shufflage.

How do you rank the seven available starters?

Xipooo: Greinke, Godley, Walker, Ray, Delgado, Shipley, Corbin. If those are the 7 you mean.

Makakilo:

  • Zack Greinke. All-Star level performance. ERA+ of 150.
  • Robbie Ray. All-Star level performance. ERA+ of 153.
  • Zack Godley. All-Star level performance. ERA+ of 193.
  • Taijuan Walker. Star. ERA+ of 133.
  • Randall Delgado. Excellent spot starter. ERA+ of 142.
  • Patrick Corbin. Definitely belongs in rotation, yet May was his worst month ever. He needs to reinvent himself. ERA+ of 85.
  • Braden Shipley. Not yet ready. One game ERA+ of 73.

Keegan: Better than I could have hoped for to begin the season. It is really depressing to think what may have been with the upward trajectory Shelby Miller was on. Zack Greinke currently leads the charge followed closely by the red hot Robbie Ray. Zack Godley is currently pitching like a solid #3 in this rotation as is Tai Walker. Patrick Corbin’s consistent inconsistency makes me believe that Randall Delgado has earned his rotation spot once the team is back at full strength. As I noted in Snake Bytes, the off days in June and July offer Lovullo flexibility should he choose to shakeup the rotation or throw in some extra rest. I’d be inclined to guess that he would opt for extra rest if he handles the rotation as he has the lineup thus far.

Steven: Greinke, Ray, Walker, Godley, Delgado, Corbin and Shipley.

James: That’s a painful question because of the options. In short though

  • Greinke
  • Ray
  • Walker
  • Godley
  • Corbin
  • Delgado
  • Shipley

The problem is, Delgado hasn’t been a full-time starter for years now. How much longer can he go this season? If he can pitch 130 innings as a starter I would have to consider that a win. As a bullpen arm, he’s good for a pile of innings. That’s one of the reasons I advocated for keeping him. I just don’t think he has enough in the tank to finish the season as a starter. Shipley is a bullpen arm in the making, but he isn’t transitioning there this season. Despite his current streak of success, I still fear Godley’s ultimate role is in the bullpen.

That brings me to Corbin. Corbin needs to head to the bullpen too. That only leaves three actual starters I have faith in, and the team isn’t contending with only three starters. Banda is going to get the call soon (one would expect), but it remains to be seen if he will be an improvement or not. It really is too bad Bradley is not going to be given the opportunity to show what he can do as a starter this season.

Jim: In terms of who’d want to start a one-game playoff tonight, I’d put Ray ahead of Greinke. Robbie’s performances of late have just been THAT good. I’d want a little more of a sample size before I’d make Ray the Opening Day starter (though of course, that’s likely never going to happen while Greinke wears an Arizona uniform). Behind those two, Walker ahead of Godley; the same sample-size issue for the latter is too much to ignore in that case.

Delgado in preference to Corbin, and Shipley… Well, you wonder at this point if he is ever going to be able to live up to our hopes. He has a 3.77 ERA over two AAA seasons, which is very good for Reno, and was a former Baseball Prospectus top 30 player, so what’s the issue? He is still only 25, but that’s now one quality start in seven starts, going back to August last year.

The offense is still struggling on the road. Are you concerned?

Xipooo: Resoundingly yes. They were almost no-no’d in Miller park, and now they actually were at the fish tank. I’m sorry, but a guy with a 1-7 record doesn’t throw a no-no without a little help from our offense. At home they’re batting .295. Away it’s .225. No amount of hitter friendly park makes up 70 points. They’re also striking out more on the road. 28 more strike outs in 58 fewer plate appearances.

Makakilo: No and maybe it’s worth some thought.

Of the 30 teams, the D-backs rank 7th in runs scored. Run support combined with excellent pitching means that I am confident that the D-backs will play post-season games.

On the other hand, perhaps adjustments could increase my confidence. A key to winning away games is to increase the on-base percentage. The on-base percentage in home games is .358 and away games is .287. I would look at each venue’s unique features and opportunities to determine if the D-backs could improve their on-base percentage.

Keegan: Not quite as these things have a way of balancing out as the season advances, and the team is playing so well at home that even marginal improvement on the road makes them a contending team. .500 play on the road paired with .600 at home equates to roughly an 89 win team. Of course, the Diamondbacks are currently significantly better than .600 at home, and those wins cannot be withdrawn from the bank. I am not worried yet because the team has not shown a complete lack of ability to win on the road despite the struggles. The games they have lost have been winnable as well not being complete blowouts. R-E-L-A-X.

Steven: I’m definitely concerned, but at the same time most of baseball struggles on the road. Keep your record as close to .500 as possible and take care of business at home will lead you to the playoffs.

James: Yes and no. Yes, I am concerned that the team is not scoring enough away from Chase Field to win the games they should be winning. On the other hand, I am not too concerned because I think both the home scoring will come down some and the road scoring will eventually trend upward some. I am more worried about this team not piling on the wins during this road trip, either by scoring a pile of runs or shutting down the competition. This is the part of the schedule this team needs to be getting fat on.

Jim: It’s clearly A Thing. Today was just the 9th delivery of free tacos at the road, compared to 20 at Chase Field. But is is a significant thing? Last year’s inexplicably bad home record has become close to the best in the majors. Sometimes these things just happen, and it’s a waste of time to looking for their causes. Why might the team have such a sharp home/road split? This is something we see a lot with the Rockies: perhaps the humidor might help in this aspect simply by muting the difference in environments. This is just a theory, but If the team are hitting in a way that succeeds at Chase, perhaps it might carry over to the road - only for those balls which would be banged off the walls in Phoenix, to become harmless outs elsewhere.

The longest road-trip of the year is in the books. How did it go?

Makakilo: I am surprised that the D-backs did not sweep the Marlins. Although the trip went OK, it may have been a missed opportunity to pad the win-loss record.

Keegan: A mild disappointment. Patrick Corbin accounts for much of that disappointment. If he pitches on par with the rest of the rotation in his two starts, the debate of a winning vs. losing road trip on the last game doesn’t exist. The no hitter is somewhat unacceptable, and Delgado did not deserve to take that loss. 3 of 4 should have been taken from the Brewers. The Pirates should have been swept as should the Marlins. File it under the possible improvement folder and move on.

Steven: Definitely a disappointment. What should have been an easy 3 wins is turning into growing concern about their lack of quality play on the road. Oh and don’t forget the no-hitter.

James: This is a disappointing road trip. The team should have at least garnered a split in Miami. Instead they went 1-3 and were the victims of a no-no in the process. This trip comes as the meat of the soft underbelly of this season’s schedule. This is the time for the Diamondbacks to give themselves some cushion going into August and September. Now the team is up against it and must play even better against the likes of Los Angeles and Colorado, two teams that don’t look like they are going away.

Jim: Could have gone better, especially after we were 5-3 through the opener in Miami. But it must be said, the Marlins have the best record in the National League over the past ten games. It helps the NL Central are slitting each other’s throats, and save the Nationals, the NL East sucks as hard. We can cross off some potential contenders: the Mets and Giants arne’t going anywhere. Right now, there are only five teams in the NL above .500, so we do have a nice cushion - Arizona is 7.5 games above the next-place team. However, that’s the Cubs, and I do fear they aren’t going to be a .500 club the rest of the season. This has to go down as a bit of a missed opportunity, albeit not a fatal one.

Rey Fuentes. Why?

Xipooo: Cause speed? I dunno, but I’d love to see Hazelbaker get his hacks.

Makakilo: Rey Fuentes is a “real” center fielder. He was drafted in the first round in 2009 - maybe he has high upside potential. So far, he is a defense first player. His OPS+ is negative 13, the worst position player for the D-backs. Jeff Mathis has OPS+ of 27 with 2 homers. Chris Herrmann has OPS+ of 73 with 5 homers.

Keegan: I’m not buying the argument that there are no other healthy, serviceable CF options in the organization. I’d like to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker made mad to not get brought back up to the parent club. Chris Owings could have spent time out there and Ketel Marte could have been brought up for infield help. Oswaldo Arcia is currently tearing the cover off of the baseball. I truly wish I had an answer for you. It’d be nice if Pollock wouldn’t continue to have limbs fall off.

Steven: Before Blanco hurt his thumb I had no idea why he was on the team. Now? He might be your starting CFer. I do think Hazen and the FO believe in his abilities, giving him some leeway. Kind of like Dave Stewart and Co.’s infatuation with Rubby de la Rosa.

James: His glove, that’s why. I’m not saying I agree with that. I don’t at all. Rey Fuentes is a bust. Yes, he had great potential when he was drafted. So did Bobby Borchering and Stryker Trahan. Fuentes glove plays at the MLB level, but his bat is too inconsistent and his plate discipline is a mess. With Blanco getting hurt, it will be harder to send Fuentes back to Reno, but it seems to me it is time to shake things up a bit. If Pollock really does come back in about 10 days, this team can weather things a bit longer, but not much. Even when Pollock does return, I have to wonder why other options aren’t getting stronger consideration.

Jim: As a poster child for why Reno stats are basically irrelevant. Of course, he gets three hits today… but his OPS is still only .454. That’s such a black hole in center, I’d rather see Hazelbaker or Chris Owings there. Still, I would like to thank Fuentes for introducing me to a new sensation: eagerly anticipating the return of Socrates Brito.

Home this week, against the Padres and Brewers. Will it cure whatever ails the offense?

Xipooo: I hope so, but I’m not going to count on it. There is no doubt they are better at home, and I’m sure facing the Padres could be a boost. But the Brewers series scares me a bit.

Makakilo: Yes.

  • After a rest day Monday, the home games will likely liven up the Leviathan offense of the D-backs.
  • Neither of the teams can pitch as well as the D-backs. D-back ERA+ is 128 compared to 107 for the Brewers and 88 for the Padres.

Keegan: I’d have to say that it will because Chase Field. A repeat of the previous series against the Padres would be welcomed by fans at home. Facing the Padres first is a perfect recovery bounceback series for the team. San Diego is 10-19 on the road although they have won 7 of their previous 10 games. Milwaukee has been better at 15-10 and have won 4 of their last 10.

Steven: The struggles are real right now, so facing some weaker teams in the confines of Chase Field will do wonders for their confidence. We’ll see though, the Padres are 8-4 in their last 12 games (not counting today) and the Brewers are a surprise in the Central.

James: It better. The Diamondbacks need to make up for some games they should have won on the road trip. I think the rest and the home cooking will do the team some good. I also do believe that success at the plate can become contagious, and these are two pitching staffs ripe for giving up a ton of hits.

Jim: At least 4-2, and ideally there’ll be a sweep in there. Particularly on Friday, since I’ll be at that game. Though if that games proves a bust, I’ll be drinking an entire suite’s worth of beer, and storming Mike Butcher.

What would your at-bat walk-up music be?

Xipooo: Any song by Weird Al would work for me.

Makakilo: Orinoco Flow because it captures an inner calm and a sense of adventure.

Keegan: Unrest by Parkway Drive. Perfect hyped up intro. Really anything off the album Deep Blue would be sufficient for me to want to mash a baseball 450+ feet. It was suggested in today’s GDT thread that no team plays better when they are mad but I’d tend to disagree. Different strokes for different folks. Some athletes prefer to be a Zen master before performing. I always played better when I channeled anger. The responses to this question will likely demonstrate that people need to do what works for their particular situation.

Steven: Ignition Remix by R.Kelly is always a classic.

James: I’m partial to The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back.

Jim: Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. Quintessentially British and annoyed.

Player of the Week

Robbie Ray took home the honors in the poll at the end of Week 8, getting an overall majority, on 53% of the vote. And I certainly would not be betting against him repeating that success this week. Will it be enough to challenge the leaders at the top of the overall charts? Here are the accumulated percentages through Week 8.

As the NL Player of the Week award went, so did the SnakePit title, Jake Lamb pulling in a season-best 79% of the votes, which put him in a tie with Zack Greinke, on top of the season leaderboard. Here are the standings after Week 7’s results are all included.

  1. Zack Greinke: 121%
  2. Jake Lamb: 121%
  3. Paul Goldschmidt: 108%
  4. Robbie Ray: 61%
  5. Patrick Corbin: 55%
  6. Archie Bradley: 55%
  7. David Peralta: 44%
  8. Brandon Drury: 32%
  9. A.J. Pollock: 30%
  10. Taijuan Walker, 26%
  11. Nick Ahmed: 25%
  12. Jeremy Hazelbaker: 25%
  13. Chris Iannetta, 23%
  14. Chris Herrmann, 16%
  15. Fernando Rodney: 10%
  16. Zack Godley, 9%
  17. T.J. McFarland, 9%
  18. Chris Owings, 9%
  19. J.J. Hoover: 7%
  20. Yasmany Tomas: 7%
  21. Randall Delgado: 4%

Ray gave the D-backs a complete game shutout - but Randall Delgado had a pair of excellent starts, and T.J. McFarland hasn’t allowed an earned run in almost a month. Nick Ahmed and, probably inevitably, Paul Goldschmidt led the hitters, just edging out Daniel Descalso. So, who’ve you got?

Poll

Who was the Player of the Week, May 29-June 4

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Nick Ahmed, 5-for-17, HR, 3 RBI, .922 OPS
    (3 votes)
  • 12%
    Randall Delgado: 11 IP, 11 H, 12:1 K:BB, 1.64 ERA
    (8 votes)
  • 3%
    Paul Goldschmidt: 7-for-28, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .858 OPS
    (2 votes)
  • 9%
    T.J. McFarland: 4.2 IP, 0 H, 3:2 K:BB, 0.00 ERA
    (6 votes)
  • 69%
    Robbie Ray: 9 IP, 4 H, 10:0 K:BB, 0.00 ERA
    (43 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now