[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Robbie Ray works quickly in his Cactus League debut - For the first time this Spring, the Arizona Diamondbacks were in two different places at once with half of the team playing at Salt River Fields and the other half in Goodyear. Robbie Ray had his first start in Cactus League play and threw 32 pitches over two innings striking out three of the six batters he faced. Paul Goldschmidt led the other half of the team on the opposite end of the Valley, and hit his first home run of the preseason.
[D’backs.com] D-backs’ Top 30 bolstered by recent Drafts - Rome was not built overnight, and neither will the Diamondbacks’ farm system be. The Diamondbacks have two players in MLB Pipeline’s Preseason Top 100 in Jon Duplantier and Pavin Smith. Duplantier continues a stretch which now spans eight years that a pitcher has topped that list for the Diamondbacks. The fact that the Diamondbacks have a young, successful core at the Major League level has allowed them to rebuild depth in the Minor Leagues and let those players to develop. They still have a long journey back towards the top of the league farm system rankings, and it will be longer wait still to determine if any of those players will be successful in the Majors. Recent addition Taylor Widener, acquired last week from the New York Yankees, slots into #4 on the rankings for the Diamondbacks.
[D’backs.com] Lovullo pledges more rest for Goldschmidt - Stop me if you have heard this before. A Diamondbacks’ manager, this time Torey Lovullo, will attempt to rest Paul Goldschmidt more this season than those before. Excluding an injury shortened 2014, when his hand was fractured after being hit by a pitch, he has averaged 155 games played per season since his first full campaign in 2012. Because Goldy is such an elite first baseman, it has been difficult for Kirk Gibson, Chip Hale, and now Lovullo to withhold him from the lineup. Possible options during the season to spell the All Star include Christian Walker, Daniel Descalso (inserted so you can slam your keyboard), Chris Herrmann (now your monitor), or Jake Lamb.
“I did talk to Paul for a short period of time during our one-on-one and we’re going to give him some time off,” current D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He’s not a machine. Sometimes we think he is because he’s so elite. We have to be careful with his playing time. He’ll fall right in the same category as everybody else when it comes to rest.”
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ Taijuan Walker wants chance at October redemption - Taijuan Walker was uncharacteristically over matched in his first career Postseason start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. During the 2017 regular season against them, he had a 3.24 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched over 3 starts. He was part of a group of starters who struggled mightily in their first taste of October action last season. Walker limped out of the first inning in Los Angeles before being replaced later by Zack Godley.
“I was the starter that day and I had a chance to set the tone and I didn’t do my job,” Walker said. “I’m pissed off about it, but I definitely learned from it. When we get back there, I’ll have a different mindset going in.”
[Business Wire] Come See the D-Backs Get New High Tech Turfgrass Installed at Chase - It would appear that the grounds crew at Chase Field has found their solution to the turf problem they were plagued with the past few seasons. There were times during the past few seasons, usually after the first couple of months, when the field was so bad that there were concerns over player safety. It is too hot in Phoenix to keep the roof and panels open long enough prior to game time to give the bermuda grass enough sunlight to stay alive. The Diamondbacks have selected West Coast Turf to install Platinum TE seashore paspalum at Chase Field. It was tested in the infield last season and requires less light, water, and nitrogen fertility than traditional bermuda grass. It is currently being used by the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, and Atlanta Braves.
Around the League
[D’backs.com] Towers revered as friend, mentor to many - A celebration of life was held for former Diamondbacks’ General Manager Kevin Towers at Petco Park on Sunday. The event lasted over two hours and was open to the public with former friends and colleagues sharing their experiences with “The Gunslinger”. Among those who commented on his life and impact were Theo Epstien, Brian Cashman, Kirk Gibson, Trevor Hoffman, Bruce Bochy, Bud Black, and Walt Jocketty. K.T. Passed away at the age of 56 on January 30th, 2018 after succumbing to a rare form of thyroid cancer.
[The Athletic] How useful are team projections? - Last season taught me a valuable lesson that projections are a useful tool, but that they should not be followed as scripture. We had the pleasure of watching one of the most surprising teams last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks. A historic pitching performance went a long way towards carrying them to a playoff appearance, their first since 2011, and it did not hurt that their offense performed better than anticipated as well. There are numerous reasons why a team can perform better or worse than its projections: injury, trades, minor league promotions, playing time, etc. However, we cannot lose sight of the players in between the lines and their individual ability to improve (Zack Godley, Robbie Ray, and Archie Bradley). That is why going forward I will appreciate the season for what it is as it unfolds, for better or for worse, as opposed to having any sort of expectation for performance.
[MLB Trade Rumors] J.D. Martinez Contract Includes Medical Protection For Red Sox, Third Opt-Out For Martinez - Just Dingers to the Boston Red Sox has been made official after some medical concerns arose during his physical. He now has a third opt out in his contract, as opposed to the two as originally reported, which he can exercise after the fourth season in the five year agreement. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will receive protection in return should he miss a set amount of time from a chronic foot issue, the same injury that caused him to miss time with the Detroit Tigers last season. Depending on the amount of time missed, when the time is missed, and provided that it is determined to be related to the prior injury, the Red Sox can make either the fourth or fifth season a mutual option. The contract length and amount remains the same. Both parties have agreed to utilize a panel of three doctors to determine if said injury is related to the prior injury from 2017.
[Baseball Prospectus] Flu-Like Symptoms: Following the Money - This article is for our accountant friends here at the Pit. Depending on your sources for MLB revenues and player salaries you may draw different conclusions when analyzing players’ income share relative to league revenues. League revenues have been growing at a rate stronger than the annualized return from the S&P 500 index over the same time frame, since 2003. So what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Did league league revenue growth have to surge beyond the players’ share of income because the previous split was unsustainable for the league and owners? Or have owners stopped funneling players their fair share of the cake? Chime in financial analysts.
[MLB.com] Check out how much these MLB vets have changed since their first Spring Training - Father Time is the only team capable of a 162-0 season. Some of these players have fared quite better over time than others.
[PR Newswire] MLB partners with Mitel to improve communications technology on and off the field - Despite Ariel Prieto and the Boston Red Sox best efforts last season, MLB will not be utilizing Apple’s services to standardize communication across the league. MLB has selected Mitel to install new communications systems in all thirty ballparks which will allow the league to monitor conversations and ensure compliance with league rules.