- 2018 rating: 4.45
- 2017 rating: N/A
- 2018 salary: $3.5 Million
- 2018 performance: 67 games, .189/.282/.257, OPS+ 43, 1 Justin Upton Grand Slam Denied
- 2019 status: Under contract through the end of 2019 for another $3.5 Million
Jarrod Dyson joined the Diamondbacks shortly after the news that JD Martinez would officially not returning to the desert broke. A quick look back at my KTAR text alerts tells me that the news about Martinez and the news about Dyson was separated by only nineteen minutes, so there was an obvious correlation that some immediately assumed to be causation as well. However, as reported at the time by Steve Gilbert, Dyson had been on the Diamondbacks’ wish list regardless as a fourth outfielder option.
The acquisition the next day of Steven Souza Jr. set up that possibility, but an injury to the same during spring training thrust Dyson into more of a role than he probably would have had otherwise. If you’re looking for the story of a player who was never great, but when he was given the opportunity rose to the occasion and slugged his way into the hearts of a fanbase, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. To say he struggled at the plate would be seriously underestimating just how lost he was with the bat. Trying to give it some context, a mark of 100 is league average for OPS+. That’s where Ketel Marte finished the season. Dyson was 57% worse than that.
And don’t misunderstand. This wasn’t a Wily Mo Pena situation where he didn’t hit the ball often, but when he did, it was memorable. In his 237 plate appearances, he had a whopping 39 hits, only eight of which went for extra base, which is rather impressive in a way, given that his speed gave him a good 16 stolen bases in his injury shortened season.
Given all that, what makes me say at the top of the article that his season somehow managed to occasionally reach spectacular? That would be his defense. His sweet, sweet defense. That speed that translated into stolen bases, but hardly any extra base hits, played incredibly well in the outfield. If I wanted to, I probably could find a lot more highlights to include, but I think I’ll limit it to three. Wouldn’t want to completely spoil the Play of the Year nomination thread, now would we?
This first highlight doesn’t come with much drama surrounding it. On May the Fourth the Diamondbacks were already losing to the then-reigning World Champions by seven runs, on their way to an eight run loss. However, despite not having a ton to play for, Dyson still did this:
Just a couple short weeks later, the Diamondbacks were continuing the slide that would later become one of the defining moments of the season. Not content to wallow in the mediocrity that had swallowed the team whole was Dyson, at least in the halves of the innings that didn’t involve him touching a baseball bat. This entry came early in a game at Milwaukee that would eventually end up a 1-0 loss. However, it would have been a 4-0 loss if it wasn’t for this:
The crown jewel of this collection, if for no other reason than #Narrative. This actually came in a game the Diamondbacks actually went on to win, unlike the other two highlights above. I have a feeling this one needs little introduction, so just enjoy Jarrod Dyson robbing Justin Upton of a grand slam again :-)
Sadly, it all came to an end a couple weeks later. On July 4th, Dyson suffered a lower core injury. He tried to rehab it back into playing shape, but after multiple setbacks in his recovery, he and the team decided in September that surgery was the way to go, officially ending his season.
Mr. Dyson should be ready to play come Spring Training, however. That should be a positive for the team, as long as he can live in the fourth outfielder/pinch runner realm he was originally supposed to inhabit. Hopefully, the health of the rest of our team allows that to happen.