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Preview #53: 9/19 @ Astros

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Batting lead-off: the fastest catcher in the majors...

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS ASTROS
Daulton Varsho - C George Springer - CF
Josh VanMeter - 2B Jose Altuve - 2B
Josh Rojas - SS Michael Brantley - LF
Kole Calhoun - RF Alex Bregman - 3B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Kyle Tucker - RF
David Peralta - LF Carlos Correa - SS
Pavin Smith - 1B Aledmys Diaz - 1B
Wyatt Mathisen - DH Josh Reddick - DH
Jon Jay - CF Martin Maldonado - C
Luke Weaver - RHP Cristian Javier - RHP

Games before the blessed end of the season: 8.

As GuruB mentioned in Snake Bytes earlier, it’s worth noting that Daulton Varsho is batting lead-off for the Diamondbacks this afternoon. It will be the first time in franchise history that a catcher had started there. For obvious reasons - catchers’ general lack of speed being the main one - this is quite a rarity. Indeed, it has only happened once in the National League this year, when the Brewers’ Omar Narvaez hit there on August 15th. You can see this if you look at the Statcast metrics for sprint speed by position. The chart below shows that it’s probably a close thing between catchers and first-basemen, as to which of them are the least fleet of foot.

However, there are some who are quite quick, and Varsho definitely seems to be among them. He doesn’t have enough data to qualify as a catcher yet, but overall, his sprint speed of 28.2 ft/sec puts him second on the Diamondbacks this year, behind (obvs) Tim Locastro’s 30.1 ft/sec. That would make him the fastest catcher in the majors this year, just edging out J.T. Realmuto at 28.1 ft/sec. At the other end, probably unsurprisingly, is Yadier Molina at 22.3 ft/sec, though that’s still quicker than Albert Pujols - the orange dot at the left of the chart above - who appears to be the slowest runner in the major leagues. Locastro is a full 37% faster than Fat Albert...

Pre-game audio from Torey Lovullo

  • Tim Locastro hasn’t started since September 12th and not played since the 13th. No health issues. Just playing “hot hands, matchups”.
  • Christian Walker and Nick Ahmed out of the lineup: He spoke about their health and getting them some days off, but there are two days off next week (Monday and Thursday) They do play a double header against Colorado next Friday, but the season is over in 8 more games. It’s clearly about mostly about getting reps for the “understudies” as he called them. I think most of us are fine with that.
  • Jake Lamb’s recent success in Oakland: “It’s something that a lot of people inside of our organization are following, myself included……………..the bat has come around, I can’t quite explain the reasons why, you’ll have to get that answer from him…………I’m real happy for him, I became very close to Jake”