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MLB Women’s Baseball Day

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Who would I pick to play for the Diamondbacks?

Dejah Mulipola runs the bases after hitting a homer.
Dejah Mulipola runs the bases after hitting a homer.
Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What if there was an MLB Women’s Baseball Day? On that day, what if the baseball commissioner directed each MLB team to include a woman on the starting roster? Fans like me would love it!

Women athletes in any sport could participate. Many women would be great choices. For various reasons, I narrowed my choices. One example was Serena Williams. Her upper body strength was impressive, but she was not a finalist because she is 39 years old and she retired from tennis. Nevertheless, perhaps she could make a cameo at-bat appearance.

Who would I pick to play for the Diamondbacks? My two finalists were Dejah Mulipola and Bianca Andreescu.

Dejah Mulipola

Her emotions and energy were sky-high in game highlight videos. Her energy was a big reason to select her over other excellent women athletes. Also, she has an attitude of gratitude.

Dejah Mulipola plays for the University of Arizona softball team. She is a power hitter, with homers per plate appearance exceeding my criteria for an All-Star.

  • On 25 February, Mulipola hit her 50th career home run, a grand slam off Reggie Kanagawa of the BYU Cougars.
  • On 22 May, Mulipola reached 200 RBIs.

Dejah Mulipola’s defense at catcher is excellent. She currently ranks as the second best fielding catcher and overall player for the University of Arizona Wildcats in school history with a .996 fielding percentage.

It’s great that Dejah Mulipola plays catcher because the Diamondbacks are down two catchers. Carson Kelly is on the IL with a broken wrist. Stephen Vogt was traded to the Braves.

Highlights from Dejah Mulipola’s accomplishments follow:

  • In 2019 and 2021, she was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Catcher of the Year (there was no pick in 2020).
  • She was twice chosen a NFCA First Team All-American.
  • She was selected No. 4 in the Athletes Unlimited pro softball draft.
  • She is catcher on the USA softball team in the Tokyo Olympics.

Her statistics are at an All-Star level. Recent statistics for the University of Arizona and for Team USA are shown in the following table.

Dejah Mulipola. Data from Wikipedia.

Bianca Andreescu.

She is strong physically and mentally. She builds her mental strength with meditation, yoga, and creative visualization. Mental strength was a big reason to select her over other excellent women athletes.

“I don’t only work on my physical aspect. I also work on the mental, because that’s also very, very important. It’s definitely showing through my matches where I’m staying in the present moment a lot of the time. I don’t like to focus on what just happened or in the future.” —Bianca Andreescu

“Visualization is the process of putting together visual mental imagery of what you are wanting to manifest. Consequently, you can start to gain emotions associated with the desired image. In simpler terms, creative visualization is where you visualize what you want and experience the emotions or feelings you would have if it were true.” — Katherine Hurst in her article on creative visualization

She has done creative visualization since she was 12 years old. One benefit is creating emotions associated with your goal. Why is creating emotions powerful? The emotions you feel impact who you are and support your performance at the highest level possible.

Almost certainly Vince Lombardy was wrong when he said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Closer to the truth is your emotions are almost everything because before winners became winners, they learned how to create the required emotions.

In the last couple years Bianca Andreescu started playing chess. She said it is, “…definitely bringing my [improved] competitive aspect out of me.”

Bianca Andreescu’s tennis style combines power and variety. My view is that her style indicates she is an athlete who is mentally flexible enough to play baseball.

In 2019, she won the Indian Wells Tennis tournament. With that win she became the youngest player to win a WTA event since Serena Williams did it in 1999. In 2019 US Open, Bianca Andreescu beat Serena Williams. Perhaps she is a young version of Serena Williams!

To estimate batting power for a tennis player, my view is that service aces divided by first serves is an appropriate measure. In 2021, her aces per first serve were .024 (data from TennisLive.net). Her power at the plate would be at least average for a MLB player.

To estimate on-base-percent for a tennis player, my view is that when the opponent serves, the percentage of points won is an appropriate measure. In 2021, her percentage points won on return service was 44% (data from TennisLive.net). Her potential to hit the baseball would be above-average.

Although her physical strength was a reason she was a candidate, her on-base percent (OBP) would be valuable to the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks .305 OBP ranked 24th in the Majors.

My view is she would play at second base. Tennis players have quick reaction times and know the value of the first step. I’m looking forward to Bianca Andreescu showing what she can do at second base. This season, if her defense is near average, it will improve the Diamondbacks. This season in games through the All-Star break their negative 13 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second base ranked last in the Majors.

Who did I pick?

On the MLB Women’s Baseball Day, the Diamondbacks have two excellent choices in Dejah Mulipola at catcher and Bianca Andreescu at second base. I love Dejah Mulipola’s emotion and energy. I love Bianca Andreescu’s mental strength. My decision will reflect who I am. Therefore, I pick…wait, the commissioner did not limit the Diamondbacks to one! I pick both!