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SnakePit Round Table: Under way... Sorta

The Diamondbacks' 2022 season is under way. Some things have been as expected. Others... Not so much.

ST/CHICAGO Scenes from the musical “Chicago” playing at the Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

To what extent are the 2022 D-backs who we thought they’d be?

Spencer: I mean… I pegged them for 82 wins. So for me, they are far worse than anticipated. Although the last week has been MUCH better than week one. But if we’re using the “royal we,” I’d say the team is about on par with the overall pit’s sentiments on average.

Dano: I had no idea what they would be. That said, no, not thus far. I expected the pitching, and especially the starting pitching, to be far suckier than they’ve been. They’ve actually been good, if not brilliant, and I certainly didn’t expect that. I figured Brent Strom would have an impact, but not this much of one. I may well be jinxing us by saying so, but we’re actually seeming to me to be way better, which is very nice.

Makakilo: We expected the pitching to improve, and it did. No doubt we are pleasantly surprised by how well the Diamondbacks have played against worthy competition, especially in the latest four games.

Ignoring the batting slump to start the season, the Diamondbacks are better than I thought they would be. Details follow:

  • Pitching/Defense: My prediction was 4.55 runs allowed per game. After 15 games, pitching/defense was better than predicted at 4.07 runs allowed per game.
  • Offense: Something interesting happened. In the first 11 games, the Diamondbacks scored 2 runs per game. Then they turned a page. In the next 4 games they scored 6.25 runs per game, which was better than my predicted 4.72 runs scored per game.

Jack: Hitting is coming around, and might even approach league average someday. Pitching run prevention has been better than expected, by a lot. But the FIP, xFIP still rank near the bottom of the league. Either those peripherals improve or the ERA will regress. It’s unavoidable.

Predict when they will win their first series.

Spencer: Next weekend in St Louis. It’s a four game set, and STL is having a strong start, but I don’t buy them as a team. The pitching is questionable under the arch, and I believe in our pitching staff to hold their bats quiet(ish). Barring some major injury, I think this series will be a good one for us!

Dano: Lessee….Marlins, right after Spencer’s STL series, which I suspect we will split at best.

Makakilo: It’s Saturday so I predict the Diamondbacks will win the current series against the Mets! The Diamondbacks are playing so well that it’s easy to be an optimist. UPDATE: The Diamondbacks lost the series but it was a well fought series.

“It was a really good baseball game up until the sixth inning”….There is a very fine line between execution that wins games and execution that loses games. – Torey Lovullo

Jack: It won’t be before Wednesday. Dodgers are playing really well and mostly healthy. I’ll guess the homestand May 6-11, against either the Rockies or the Marlins.

Who gets cut when rosters shrink from 28 to 26 next weekend?

Spencer: This is going to depend on several things: how serious the team was about Perdomo seeing 3B reps, Luplow’s health, and Perez’s next couple outings. I think Davidson is almost guaranteed to be gone. The final cut is way harder. I’m going to say Luplow comes back before the deadline, forcing McCarthy back down to Reno, but the 27th man out will be Perez. Alcantara is superfluous on this roster but serves more utility until Rojas is ready, and Davidson was an emergency addition anyway. Assuming Perdomo truly has the faith of the Front Office, he serves the same purpose as both right now with all the 1B we have standing in front of Davidson. Perez… I think he’s pitched his way off the roster; he just doesn’t have it anymore and his spot can be easily taken away. His 40-man spot could be useful too, although I think it’s a tad early to start projecting debuts of consequence.

Dano: Oooh. Hadn’t even thought about that. Lemme go check….

Yeah, okay. I’m with Spencer, I suspect Perez is toast. And probably Davidson as well, because he’s the only infielder on the 28-man roster that I think we’re not committed to and who is old enough that we know what we’ve got.

Sunday postgame update: Yep. Definitely Perez.

Makakilo: My choices would be Oliver Perez (5 ERs in the latest 1.1 innings) and Sergio Alcantara. Albeit that Saturday Alcantara made an impressive defensive play from third base, reasons for Alcantara follow:

  • Need to reduce my shortstops from 3 to 2.
  • Perdomo has 6 hits in 42 PAs while Alcantara has 4 hits in 32 PAs.
  • Perdomo has more potential to improve because he is younger than Alcantara.

Jack: I thought it would be Jake McCarthy but Torey said something about rotating McCarthy and Luplow. But I’m not sure how it fits. I guess that Davidson gets cut, and Perdomo gets the lions share of PT at 3b. Oliver Perez and Edwin Uceta are probably on the bubble from pitching staff.

What’s your biggest concern?

Poll

What's your biggest concern?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Starting pitching regressing
    (4 votes)
  • 52%
    Weak offense
    (25 votes)
  • 8%
    Bullpen struggles
    (4 votes)
  • 31%
    Poor fundamental defense and baserunning
    (15 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now

Spencer: The offense. The erratic swings from Perdomo, Kelly, Walker, etc worry me a lot. They have gotten better lately, but better doesn’t mean good. This being written during the first few innings of Saturday’s game is making me question my decision here, but I maintain the offense worries me the most.

Dano: That’s an interesting question, because while we’ve had a small sample size so far, I’ve been concerned about all of those things, to different degrees, on any given night. I would actually say, though, that it’s probably starting pitching regression. Brent Strom has already proven his worth, I think, and our offense has been kinda urine poor early, and the fielding has been iffy, as has the baserunning. But. What broke our back last year, really, was the rash of injuries and subsequent revelation of our absolute lack of starting pitching depth. We are doing astonishingly and pleasingly well now in the starting pitching category, but I suspect we are still a lasting injury or two from a tailspin like the one we experienced in May and June of last year.

Sunday postgame update: Yeah, the fielding, too. Each of those three errors this afternoon contributed materially to runs crossing the plate for New York. It doesn’t surprise me that the offense wasn’t able to rally in the eighth or ninth facing a four-run deficit; however, if it had only been 3-2, I could pretty easily believe that we could have found the wherewithal to at least tie it up.

Makakilo. Although offense bounced back in the last 4 games, it remains my biggest concern because the 11-game slump to start the season was so unimaginably bad.

Jack: Since my focus is on player development I’m learning to live with all the growing pains, even if I kvetch in the game threads, that’s just venting. Since all the youth is in the lineup I want to see the young hitters get their numbers up and show they can be part of the next good D-backs team.

Which player most concerns you on the current roster?

Spencer: Carson Kelly. No contest. Catcher is an important position, and he’s shown quite a bit of talent at times, but it has yet to come together. I still believe he can be the long term solution behind the plate, but that faith is going away, and there is no one else within the organization already I trust to take the position without severe drawbacks.

Dano: Ian Kennedy. My abiding suspicion of elderly bullpen additions that we’ve spent actual money on is burnt in at this point, and I have seen nothing from IPK to make me feel good about him being used in high-leverage situations for us.

Makakilo: Carson Kelly broke his hitless streak and is hitting OK - he is now meeting my expectations.

A player with high expectations is Ketel Marte. Two reasons for concern: he has not yet hit a homer (his 2.4% barrels is lower and his 109.3 Max EV is lower compared to last season) and his defense at second base is less than gold glove caliber (so far this season OAA is negative 1, DRS is negative 2).

Jack: Ketel looks absolutely terrible, both at the plate and in the field. Even the way he moves, it’s not styling. I said earlier today, he moves like a guy who’s back is messed up. They just invested a lot in him, and they have a very very big problem if he’s not right physically.

You have a gun to your head and are told to recite one song perfectly to survive. What song are you singing?

Spencer: Love Story by Taylor Swift. The words and tune and timing will never leave my brain. I love me some T-swizzle.

Dano: I’ve been running through songs I have most if not all of the lyrics for in my head, and seeing which ones I could bring to fruition. First one I got through in its entirety turned out to be John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness,” so that’s the one for me. And eff whoever has the gun to my head. The other 90% of my brain is filled not with penguins but with song lyrics. You’ll never kill me that way.

Makakilo: I’m stuck on Band Aid, ‘cause a Band Aid’s stuck on me. This song is very short and I’m confident these words are the original lyrics. Another advantage of this song is that if I fail, my tombstone will say a Band Aid was not enough to save him.

Jack: Bohemian Rhapsody. Just kidding. I’d go with 10 bottles of beer on the wall. Just count down and cruise through it.