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Preview #149: Arizona Diamondbacks @ San Franciso Giants

J.D.’s back! We can all relax...

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

David Peralta - LF Denard Span - CF
Chris Iannetta - C Joe Panik - 2B
A.J. Pollock - CF Jarrett Parker - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Buster Posey - C
J.D. Martinez - RF Brandon Crawford - SS
Brandon Drury - 2B Pablo Sandoval - 1B
Adam Rosales - 3B Ryder Jones - 3B
Kris Negron - SS Mac Williamson - RF
Zack Greinke - RHP Madison Bumgarner - LHP

J.D. Martinez is back in the line-up, his neck (which forced him to be a late scratch in yesterday’s game) apparently having recovered, which will be good news to all fans. But here’s a bit of an oddity. Over the course of this season the Diamondbacks actually averaged more runs without J.D. in the line-up. So far, he has appeared in 49 games for Arizona, all but one of them as a starter. In those, the team has scored 236 runs, an average of 4.82 per game. Across the other 99 games, Arizona has scored 498 runs, which works out at 5.03 per game. The JD-less D-backs also have a slightly higher winning percentage, at .586 (58-41) compared to .571 (28-21).

This is pretty much counter-intuitive. I certainly don’t blame Martinez: he has hit .291/.363/.736, for a 1.099 OPS, since coming to Arizona. My initial suspicion as to what has happened, is that the production he has provided has basically picked up the slack resulting from a drop-off in the second half by certain players. For the team’s overall OPS is basically identical (.771 vs. .772) To look at that, here are the changes in OPS between the first and second half, for all the D-backs who have at least 75 PA before and after the All-Star break. Positive means they have hit better of late, negative means they are worse in the second half. The list is in descending order.

  1. Iannetta: +116
  2. Descalso: +30
  3. Pollock: -3
  4. Goldschmidt: -14
  5. Blanco: -55
  6. Herrmann: -91
  7. Peralta: -112
  8. Drury: -122
  9. Lamb: -221

This seems to support my first impression. Only Chris Iannetta has shown a significant improvement, while David Peralta and Brandon Drury had slid bac, and Jake Lamb has fallen off a cliff. The last is particularly worrying, because exactly the same thing happened in 2016: by the end of the season, his second-half OPS was 320 points worse than the first-half. To see the same thing happen this year, Lamb going from All-Star to replacement level, is a bit concerning. He’s sitting today, with a tough left-handed pitcher, and you have to think there’s a chance, we’ll see that any time the D-backs face a southpaw in the post-season.