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Series Preview # 3: Diamondbacks @ Mets

Assuming their bats improve, D-backs have chances to win a game or two against the Mets.

Geraldo Perdomo.
Geraldo Perdomo.
Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

Watch a top-100 prospect in this series.

Geraldo Perdomo plays for the Diamondbacks. He is likely ready to be the Diamondbacks’ primary shortstop.

  • Despite a throwing error on Sunday, his defense at shortstop is outstanding. In his first 45 innings, he earned 1 Out Above Average (OAA) and 1 Defensive Run Saved (DRS).
  • In Wednesday’s game, when the team was playing good baseball, his tenth inning walk was a vital part of the walk-off win.

“Geraldo Perdomo delivered a huge walk by being patient and understanding his job in that situation.” — Torey Lovullo

  • His wOBA was .258 through Wednesday. His 6 walks in his first 21 PAs was spectacular. When he gets more pitches in the zone, perhaps his hitting will break out to new highs!
  • He showed consistent value added, even when the team did not play good baseball.

“Gerardo Perdomo was the top D-back [in win probability added on 10 April], our Krakatoa at a whopping +3.4% of win probability.” — Jim McLennan

Watch four former Diamondbacks play for the Mets.

  • Eduardo Escobar, 3B, Diamondback from 2018 to 2021. This season through 10 April, his OPS+ was 193.
  • Starling Marte, outfielder, Diamondback in 2020. His 2021 OPS+ was 132. His 2021 defense in center field was 3 OAA and negative 4 DRS. He is a two time Gold Glove winner.
  • Taijuan Walker SP, Diamondback from 2017 to 2019. His ERA+ was 162 in 2020 and 90 in 2021.
  • Max Scherzer SP, Diamondback from 2008 to 2009. From 2013 to 2021, his ERA+ ranged from 114 to 208. He is a three time Cy Young winner.

Will Diamondbacks’ batting improve?

This season through 12 April, Diamondbacks averaged 2.4 runs-per-game. In this series, I predict the Diamondbacks runs scored will exceed their average runs per game for the following reasons:

  • In games through 12 April, Mets’ pitchers have allowed 2.17 runs per game, which is clearly unsustainable through the entire season.
  • In games through 12 April, the League average is 4.23 RS/G. If continued at that rate for the entire season, it would be the lowest League average since 2014.
  • If the Diamondbacks continued at this pace for the entire season, their 2.4 RS/G would be the lowest team average, by a large margin, in the last 5 seasons. The following shows the lowest team average by season.

2017 Padres 3.73 RS/G.

2018 Marlins 3.66 RS/G.

2019 Tigers 3.61 RS/G.

2020 Pirates 3.65 RS/G.

2021 Pirates 3.76 RS/G.

How much are the Mets effectively spending on salary?

Let’s define effective salary to exclude injured players (albeit some will soon return from their injury) and exclude two bench players who are redundant on the bench. After subtracting the salary of 8 excluded players, the answer is $160 Million. That’s less than double the $93.6 Million Diamondbacks salary (unadjusted and before player benefits per Spotrac). The Diamondbacks have chances to win against the Mets. The injured or bench players excluded follow:

  • Max Scherzer, hamstring injury.
  • Jacob deGrom, stress reaction.
  • Taijuan Walker, knee and shoulder discomfort.
  • Joey Lucchesi, Tommy John surgery in June of 2021, has not returned.
  • John Curtis, Tommy John surgery in September of 2021, has not returned.
  • Jake Reed, strained oblique.
  • Robinson Cano, bench.
  • JD Davis, bench.

The Pitching Matchups.

Back Ends of the Bullpens, Closers or Blowsers?

  • There is reason for optimism. Through their first six games the Mets’ relievers blew two save opportunities.
  • Mark Melancon allowed one earned run (ER) in each of the first two games, then zero ERs in the third. So far this season he had no save opportunities, which is when he is strongest.
  • Ian Kennedy allowed 2 ERs runs in his first game, and zero in his next two games. He may have found his stride.

“The bullpen was fantastic [in the walk-off win].” — Torey Lovullo

Friday, Chris Bassitt (0 ER in 6 IP) vs Zach Davies (2 ER in 5 IP)

Chris Bassitt allowed 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 8 batters. This game could be challenging for Diamondback batters.

In Zach Davies’ first start, batters very rarely made strong contact. Baseball Savant shows zero barrels, and 6.3% strong contact. If continued through the season, his 12.5% weak contact and 42.8% topped contact would be career highs. His 62.5% ground ball is great and it would be a career high for the season.

“Love how he [Zach Davies] works off the mound, he has a great tempo and pace. I think he’s a very instinctual guy.” — Jeff Banister

Saturday, Carlos Carrasco (1 ER in 5.2 IP) vs Zac Gallen (0 ER in 0 IP)

In Carlos Carrasco’s first start, batters made strong contact. Baseball Savant shows 21.4% barrels and 14.3% hard hits. If continued through the season, his 35.7% ground balls would be a career low.

Against Carlos Carrasco, in only one inning did batters get hits. It was the first inning. Perhaps the Diamondbacks will start the game swinging for the fences.

This game will be Zac Gallen’s first start of the season. Expectations are that Zac Gallen will demonstrate his pitching excellence after last season’s drop to near average.

Sunday, TBA vs TBA. See the game preview.

Short takes about four pitchers.

In his first starts of the season Taijuan Walker struck out 4 batters and walked none. Taijuan Walker left the game after 2 innings because of shoulder irritation. He was placed on the 10-day injury list and will not pitch this series.

Caleb Smith only allowed 2 hits with 9 batters faced in his season debut. He said after walking a batter in the second inning, he wrongly focused on avoiding walks instead of getting outs. Didn’t the catcher call the pitches? Regardless of who called the pitches, walks and homers ended his start. As I write this preview, whether he will start the last game of the series is unknown.

Corbin Martin. In the game thread Michael McDermott said with another bad start he would swap Caleb Smith and Corbin Martin (long reliever). Two reasons that might not work out as expected:

  • On 25 June of 2021, as a starter Corbin Martin allowed 4 earned runs in a third of an inning, with a game score lower than Caleb Smith’s (17.3 vs 20.0 average of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and methods).
  • Last season Corbin Martin had a lower season-average game-score (28.7 vs 42.5 average of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and methods.

“Corbin Martin was effective in long relief, but long relief isn’t the same as starting. A lot of times, hitters tend to relax after they get to the starter, so the long reliever is pitching against guys who were tuned into a starter. Maybe the starter had a tell? But for whatever reason, long relievers tend to do better than the chased starter.” — Oldenschoole

Merrill Kelly. This series will NOT see Merrill Kelly because his start was moved up due to Zac Gallen’s finger injury. This season Merrill Kelly’s changeup is spectacular.

In his first start, Merrill Kelly’s changeup got 4 strikeouts while allowing zero hits. Baseball Savant shows its’ run value per 100 pitches (RV/100) was an awesome negative 10.

“If that change-up is a thing for Kelly, it’s going to be fun to watch him pitch the next few seasons.” — Michael McDermott

Merrill Kelly allowed zero earned runs in each of his first two starts. Impressive!