The results of the outfielder rankings indicate there are really two groups of players in spring training for the Diamondbacks.
- 1.3 - David Peralta
- 2.5 - Steven Souza Jr.
- 3.0 - Ketel Marte
- 4.6 - Jarrod Dyson
- 4.9 - Socrates Brito
These are the five players who are clearly seen as most likely to be on the D-backs roster come Opening Day next month. Not really any surprises here, either in the names, or the ordering. Peralta was easily the most reliable player among the outfielders in 2018, and there’s no reason to think 2019 will be any different. Souza needs to have a good bounce-back year, but he’s still preferred over Marte. I think the latter’s lack of experience is definitely seen as a problem: while there’s no doubt about the Pike’s athleticism, how well this will translate into, say, reads on fly-balls, remains to be seen. That’s probably something only experience will bring.
Likely enhancing Brito’s chances of making the roster is that he’s out of minor-league options according to Roster Resource. However, both he and Dyson are left-handed hitters, as is Peralta, leaving Souza the only “pure” right-handed outfielder on the roster (Marte’s a switch hitter). We don’t have much data for Brito at the major-league level (only 30 career PA vs. left-handed pitching), but last season across all levels, he had a very large platoon split (OPS’s of .954 vs. .687). Dyson’s career numbers are closer (.682 vs. .570 in the majors), but it still looks likely to be a lefty-heavy line-up. We’ll also have to see whether Dyson’s balky ‘blique is sorted in time for Opening Day. Which brings us to...
- 7.1 - Tim Locastro
- 7.5 - Abraham Almonte
- 8.2 - Matt Szczur
- 8.6 - Yasmany Tomás
- 8.9 - Rob Refsnyder
- 9.3 - Andrew Aplin
The gap between Brito and the rest of the pack is the same as the gap between the highest-ranked there, and the lowest. If Dyson proves not to be ready, Locastro is seen as the most likely to take his spot - being already on the 40-man roster probably helps. He also has two minor-league options, so could potentially end up being the Silvino Bracho of the outfield this year. [He’s right-handed too, which would address the left-handed bias mentioned above] For some reason, I keep thinking Almonte is a prospect, but this would be his 7th major-league season - still appears to have an option left. He’s consistently seen between 50-82 games each of the last five years, so it’d be no shock to see him.
The rest? We’ll see. But Arizona used 11 different starting outfielders in both 2017 and 2018, and a startling fourteen in 2016 [including Mike Freeman, Phil Gosselin and Kyle Jensen, but not Shelby Miller...] On that basis, we should expect to see everyone on this list at some point in the outfield over the next seven months. Yes, even Tomas - though his future is perhaps more potentially to be at first-base, though the outlook is generally cloudy. However, as with most positions, the talent in our minor-league system is mostly at the lower levels. That’s especially so with the loss of 2018 Reno guys Evan Marzilli (now a Cub) and Rey Fuentes (a free-agent). Not sure who’d be our OF prospect closest to the majors.
Predicting the outfield
Here are the same 11 players. Now you get to predict whether you think each of the men in question will be on the Opening Day roster or not. If you have an issue with the embedded form, click on the link.
Results to follow... later in the week, he said vaguely. :)