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An unofficial Arizona Diamondbacks community and blog

Updated: 2018-03-23T18:00:01-04:00


Out of the Park Baseball 19: The Snakepit Review


Having more or less nailed down the gameplay, OOTP turns to sparkling up its interface and on-field action. (NOTE: The copy of OOTP 19 for this review was provided to the reviewer from OOTP Studios) If you have played the Out of the Park series of PC Baseball Management Simulation(TM) before, OOTP 19, gameplay wise, will be nothing new. That’s a good thing, as this is probably the gold standard of all sports management simulations. You can choose to run an MLB team from every level (Full and current MLB and MiLB rosters are included in the standard game mode.) You can try to draft, sign, scout, play, manage, etc your way to a World Series title. If you’re feeling frisky, you can take the reins of an International team. Want to make the Nippon Ham Fighters a Japanese League Dynasty? You can do that. Want to create an expansion team in the KBO and build them from scratch? You can do that. If you want to have a single exhibition game between any two teams in history, you can also do that. Like Charlemagne meeting someone getting pulled off with a cane at an old Vaudeville act So what is new in OOTP 19? I’ll let their press release tell you, officially-like. Out of the Park Baseball 19 Now Available Worldwide OOTP 19 features dramatic 3D enhancements, a redesigned interface, new scouting systems, ultra-realistic artificial intelligence, 2018 Opening Day rosters, and more! Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and, announced today that Out of the Park Baseball 19 is available worldwide, ahead of the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season on March 29. OOTP 19 offers dozens of exciting new features and deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay including a dramatic 3D in-game engine that shows players pitching, hitting, fielding, and running the bases. Images of the new in-game engine can be found in the screenshot bundle and in the trailer. Out of the Park Baseball 19 includes: New 3D stadiums and 3D player models with improved on-field movements, including running, sliding, jumping, and throwing. New in-game screen design for an optimized virtual dugout. 2018 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues and the Arizona Fall League. All Major League (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters. Rewritten scouting reports that give a more detailed and realistic look at players. New tournament modes! Create a stand-alone tournament bracket and draw any teams in history into it. The possibilities are endless! Ultra-realistic AI roster management and in-game decisions. A reworked ratings module. User voting for end-of-season awards. Many more improvements, including: Redesigned interface, with the ability to choose between 6 different fonts 800 custom team logos for fictional leagues Improved Manager Home screen, with a more customizable layout and new widget options A new stat -- RA9-WAR (WAR based on runs allowed) -- for pitchers Delayed substitutions for injured players The TL;DR version: Most of the game upgrades comes in the form of a nicer looking interface, and improved 3D Modeling during games. In my opinion, they succeeded in both. Take a look at last year’s in-game interface... ... and here’s this year’s Just feels a lot livelier and less bland. The new animations aren’t going to replace the graphics engine in The Show anytime soon, but they’re a nice little addition to keep you more focused on the actions going on during a game, as seeing little players run around in mostly realistic fashion is fun. I say “mostly” because the animations and their timing aren’t perfect. Sometimes you’ll have a play where it’s hit into the outfield, the outfi[...]

There have been worse springs than Alex Avila’s


Our new catcher has not had a great pre-season. But all told, the D-backs have seen considerably worst. Alex Avila started his time as a Diamondback in the Cactus League in the best possible way, with a home-run in his first at-bat against the Reds on February 26. But after that, Avila’s bat went cold: as in, the deep-frozen head of Ted Williams cold. His second hit didn’t come until Tuesday night when he doubled in the fifth inning. That was 23 days after his last knock, breaking a streak of 0-for-22 by our new catcher, which had dropped his batting average down as low as .043. He didn’t seem worried, saying, “Results in spring training mean absolutely nothing,” and adding “My swing feels good. I’m hitting well in BP. I’m going through my routine. It’s just a matter of getting in a rhythm with the game. That’s really it.” He has a point. As the article linked also mentions, Avila batted barely better than a buck last season, hitting only .116 over in Florida, and that proved to be a precursor to his best season at the plate. But with his average still returning change from that dollar (.083 after the second hit), I wanted to look at the people who had really bad numbers in spring training. The chart below shows the batters with the lowest pre-season average for Arizona, going back as far as keeps records, to 2006. Although this is the very epitome of small sample sizes, I drew the line at a minimum of 20 at-bats. You can see Avila is not the only one to have batted below HALF the Uecker Line in the pre-season. And the odds are, with a week of games left, he may well end up getting a knock or two to lift him higher. While there are the expected backup catchers (hello, James Skelton) and middle infielders (Cliff Pennington), there are some surprisingly known names present. Avila wouldn’t even be the only front-line catcher to capture the spring batting anti-crown. Miguel Montero won it for his .180 in 2010, the year after he became our everyday man in the mask. And see who succeeded Miggy in 2011? Though CO’s .094 pre-season average is understable, since at the time he was a raw 19-year-old, who hadn’t played above A-ball. Of course, there’s more to hitting than average: OPS can give us a more nuanced picture of offensive production. And there, Avila isn’t even the lowest for the D-backs this season, with his two hits a home-run and a double. That “honor” belongs instead to infielder Jack Reinheimer, whose 3-for-27 includes no extra-base hits, leading to a slash of .111/.226/.185, and an OPS of .411 which is 24 points below Avila’s. We did look at the worst OPS’s last spring, when Yasmany Tomas was the man getting off to a slow start. But here’s the annual chart for the worst OPS’s, again with a minimum of 20 spring AB to qualify. While there is a fair amount of overlap, there have been other similar diverging examples over the years, where the worst average is not the worst OPS. There has been none more extreme than Tony Clark in 2007. His .229 ranked him at the bottom, but three home-runs and four doubles in his 12 hits, as well as a K:BB of 9:9, got his OPS up to a perfectly reasonable .851. At the other end, the worst spring training numbers of all-time belong to the teenage Chris Owings. He didn’t just go 3-for-32, he had a K:BB ratio of10:1, helping lead to an OPS of just .296 that year. For contrast, Paul Goldschmidt has a better career spring batting average at .314. That’s actually another point of interest, perhaps. While Avila is correct in terms of a single season, when he says that result in spring training are meaningless, Goldschmidt has now appeared in 167 pre-season games for Arizona, which is the equivalent of more than a full year’s worth of regular play. His overall slash line in these is .314/.387/.519 for an OPS of .906. This is really not far away at all from his career season line: .299/.399/.532, an OPS of .931. I’d have to dig into the other players with a meaningful sample size to see if the[...]

Snake Bytes 3/23: A Long Week Left



It’s time to put Spring Training out of its misery.

White Sox 3, Diamondbacks 1

Taijuan Walker pitched acceptably. I’m not going to pretend to care about anything else, other than being a game free of injury. Spring training is great if you’re a casual fan, particularly an out-of-town fan escaping cold weather, and you want to enjoy some cold beer with friends and just hang out and relax. Kids might even get an autograph. Might be good if you are baseball obsessed to the point of having no other life. Guys like me? Please, for the love of God, let’s get on with it.

Souza Sidelined Until May with Strained Pectoral

Turns out to not be devastating according to the doctors reading the MRI. After seeing him in so much agonizing pain, I will take it. Some reports claim that it might even be only two weeks, although he will start the season on the DL. Souza even apologized to Lovullo, which while unnecessary, does show some character. The Diamondbacks have enough depth to handle it for now. It just means we have to wait to see him play.

Related: Diamondbacks’ Souza Out a ‘Couple of Weeks’

Around MLB

The Remaining Path Forward for Minor League Players

The Omnibus passed by Congress contains an amendment that exempts minor league players of protection by federal labor laws. In short, they will continue to be underpaid (assuming Trump signs the bill, which is uncertain at this point). I’ve never worried about them being underpaid. The dream of a minor league player is to someday be grossly overpaid.

Bryce Harper Could Be Nats Leadoff Hitter

Even the Yankees are considering putting Judge in the leadoff spot. Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 home runs in the second spot. Did a supercomputer make new determinations about where to properly put our best hitters? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Diamondbacks 1, White Sox 3: Safety first



At least we left the game with the same count of functioning limbs with which we entered...

Record 12-14-1. Change on 2017: -4.

For the second night in a row, the D-backs were almost entirely unclutch - over these two games, they have gone 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position. It’s probably good they get it all out of their system now, and we can then enjoy the fruits of the regression once the meaningful games start. This IS how it works, isn’t it? Tonight, the only such hit came in the bottom of the sixth, when Daniel Descalso singled home A.J. Pollock, and we still had two men on with one out. But Nick Ahmed hit into a double-play, and that was the end of the Diamondbacks’ scoring for the night. Pollock had two of Arizona’s eight hits, while Yasmany Tomas got a hit and a walk.

On the mound, Taijuan Walker went 5.2 innings, scattering eight hits and three runs, but walking none and striking out seven. Most of those innings weren’t too bad, except for the third where he allowed three doubles, a single and a wild pitch, conceding two runs before getting a called strike three past former Diamondback Matt Davidson. A Yoan Moncada home-run in the fifth was the last score Walker allowed. The bullpen was solid, combining for 3.1 innings of scoreless ball, with just one hit given up, no walks and four K’s. Andrew Chafin tidied up the sixth, then there were scoreless frames from Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger and Jorge De La Rosa, Boxberger fanning two of the three batters her faced.

This was the Diamondbacks’ fifth consecutive spring loss, over which time they have been outscored by a total of 33 runs. While, obviously, these pre-season results don’t matter, and there were some cases where we clearly were not using anything like our best line-up, it’s safe to say I’m now officially fed-up of spring training, The good news is, there is now less than a week to go before we can put all this meaninglessness behind us, and get stuck in to the real thing. Can’t come quickly enough!

Spring Training Gameday Thread, #27: 3/22 vs. White Sox



Let’s just try and avoid any disasters, shall we?

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Chris Owings RF
  2. A.J. Pollock CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  4. Yasmany Tomas LF
  5. Daniel Descalso 3B
  6. Nick Ahmed SS
  7. Kris Negron 2B
  8. J.R. Murphy C
  9. Taijuan Walker P

Our first look at the post-Souza landscape... and it’s Owings and Tomas who could either be the beneficiaries. CO is starting in right-field, but there’s no David Peralta in the line-up this evening, so Tomas is in the other corner. Hopefully, we’ll be able to negotiate the last week of spring training games without any further unfortunate accidents: if that means the players lolly-gagging around the outfield, rather than breaking themselves on max effort in meaningless games... I, for one, will be perfectly fine with that!

Tonight, it’s Walker on the mound, and it has been a while since he was seen in the Cactus League, his previous start having been back on March 10. He has seen back-field action in the interim, but with only one start left before the regular season, will need to be going a good bit longer than the two innings he pitched against the Royals. This game is being webcast on, so you can tune in there.

Steven Souza’s strained pectoral: Who should replace him?


Now we have news about Souza’s arm, let’s look at the players who could step into the breach. We should start from the assumption that the “ideal” outfield would consist of David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza, with Jarrod Dyson providing a regular back-up, and perhaps a sprinkling of help from the likes of Chris Owings or Daniel Descalso. With Souza now perhaps out of action for some time, who would be the best replacement? It’s a tricky skill-set to replace, because Souza was an unusual combination of power and speed: there aren’t many outfielders who can give you both 30+ HR and 15+ steals, as he did in 2017. The list last season consisted of him, Mike Trout and Domingo Santana, so he will be missed. It may come down to which aspect the D-backs consider most important. Below are the six candidates perhaps most likely to take over any roster spot, including all the remaining outfielders on the 40-man roster and the non-roster invitees. [I haven’t included prospects outside both groups, such as Evan Marzilli, as they seem a long shot] There isn’t any one player who is an obvious replacement, but we can go over the strengths and weakness of each candidate. 40-man roster Socrates Brito Career: 58 games, .211/.229/.383 = .612 OPS (56 OPS+) Spring: 8 games, .214/.353/.429 = .782 OPS The first strike against Brito is, he’s a left-handed bat, like Peralta and Dyson, leaving Pollock the only right-handed outfield option. If you’re going to skew 3-1, going left would be the way to go, but 2-2 is a better balance. As we’ve previously discussed, Brito seems to have fallen out of favor with the new front-office. After seeming to be on the edge of being a regular fourth outfielder at the end of 2016, he wasn’t one of the eleven players to start for Arizona in the outfield last season, suggesting he’s pretty far down the depth chart. Nothing he has done this spring suggests that has changed. Jeremy Hazelbaker Career: 155 games, .258/.327/.500 = .827 OPS (115 OPS+) Spring: 20 games, .133/.395/.367 = .762 OPS Could history repeat itself? Hazelbaker made the Opening Day roster last year due to a spring injury to an outfielder ahead of him: in that case, it was Gregor Blanco who went down. He had a remarkable start, Jeremy not making an out until his seventh game, and was batting .308 when sent down in early May to make room for Blanco. Hazelbaker had two further spells with the team, and produced an overall slash of .346/.443/.577, good for an 1.020 OPS. He did start at all three outfield position, and might be the closest in skill-set to Souza, though with weaker defense. He is also left-handed though. Yasmany Tomas Career: 305 games, .268/.307/.462 = .769 OPS (98 OPS+) Spring: 14 games, .306/.375/.444 = .819 OPS The most experienced candidate, in terms of MLB games, Yasmany is likely the only one of the candidates who might have a credible shot at matching Souzna’s thirty home-runs, but his other talents mostly fall well short. He had a great start to spring, and through the Ides of March was batting .423/.500/.615, causing some to wonder if he’d turned the corner. But over the last three games, he is a worrying 0-for-10 with eight K’s. A bigger question is whether his defense is good enough to avoid negating entirely the offensive production, which has happened each of his three major-league seasons to date. Non-roster invitees Ramon Flores Career: 119 games, .204/.281/.256 = .537 OPS (45 OPS+) Spring: 16 games, .143/.286/.286 = .571 OPS I had a whole paragraph written out, only to realize I’d been looking at the wrong R. Flores - Rudy, not Ramon. It doesn’t matter much, when neither of them have much chance of making the roster in 2018. One thing is intriguing about Flores: his plate discipline, shown in a spring K:BB of 2:6. That’s not a misprint: two strikeouts, six walks. It has been his profile in the minors too, where the[...]