The reigning Gold Glove 1B and P are back on the list of finalists for the best defensive player at their position. Paul Goldschmidt is looking for his 3rd and Zack Greinke his 2nd.
For teams not in the World Series, the end of October is also the time where baseball hands out their individual awards. One of the most talked about awards is the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Last season, the Diamondbacks had two winners with 1B Paul Goldschmidt and CF AJ Pollock, in addition to signing the Gold Glove winner on the mound in Zack Greinke. Two of the three aforementioned players are listed as finalists for the Gold Glove award in the National League, with Goldschmidt at 1B and Greinke on the mound.
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Goldschmidt has already won two awards in Arizona, but statistically is showing signs of decline. He's still an above average defender in terms of range and is still very good at saving errors from his teammates. In 1389 2/3 innings, Goldschmidt totaled 4 defensive runs saved and a UZR/150 of 1.1. According to Fangraphs, he's made the fewest out of zone plays (21) for a single season since his first full season in the majors in 2012 after gettng 34 last season. Goldschmidt's competition for the award are the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and the Padres' Wil Myers. I have a feeling that Rizzo will win the award this year.
Even though the results from the mound were still disappointing, Greinke was a very capable defender off the mound. There were some plays I saw him make that I've seen a Dbacks pitcher make before. Greinke's glove by itself saved him 7 runs defensively. That's pretty good considering he only made 26 starts and pitched only 158 2/3 innings. Greinke's main competition for the award are the Cubs Jake Arrieta and the Cardinals Adam Wainright, a 2013 Gold Glove winner. Greinke leads the group in defensive runs saved and runs saved from good fielding plays, although Arrieta has more DRS in terms of plays made in terms of +/- runs on the mound. I expect Greinke to win the award for a 2nd consecutive season.
2016-10-27T13:00:03-04:00It didn’t just SEEM like the longest regular season ever. There were 824 actual minutes more than 2015. If you watched every pitch of every Arizona game this year, it would take 524 hours, 16 minutes - just shy of 22 days you will never get back. For the second year in a row, Diamondbacks’ games were longest in the majors; the average time of three hours, fourteen minutes was two mins longer than Boston, with Colorado and Pittsburgh tied for third, one further back. It was 4.5 minutes longer than our average last season, and wasn’t just the result of a high number of long games (we had eight that clocked in at 4½ hours or longer, compared to three in 2015). The majority of D-backs games were 3:11 or more; in 2015, the same line sat at 3:02. This has been an ongoing trend. If you go back to our franchise’s debut in 1998, those games averaged under 163 minutes. Only nineteen of this season’s entire schedule for Arizona were completed faster than that. After that, things settled down, sitting between 2:45 and 3:00 through 2012, but things have turned into molasses since. Just five years ago, the average Diamondbacks game lasted only 173 minutes, twenty-one minutes less than this season. The chart below shows how things have gradually slowed over the years: While I’m not generally averse to spending more time watching baseball (even if many of this season’s affairs were more of a chore than a pleasure!), I’m curious about the causes of this slow-down. There appear to be several possible factors involved, which this year combined into a near “perfect storm” of sloth. Let’s drill down a bit further into these, and see which may have been responsible. 1. Pace per pitch At 24.2 seconds per pitch, the Diamondbacks were the slowest team in the major leagues this year. That’s 1.5 seconds per pitch more than average. Which may not sound much, but given the 24,789 pitches thrown by the D-backs, it adds up. That’s an extra three minutes, fifty seconds per game or ten hours, fifty minutes of additional time over the course of the entire year. It would have been enough time to get through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition, if you skipped the end credits). Instead, you were watching Shelby Miller adjust himself. I hope you enjoyed this. Continuing the movie theme, this is certainly an area where things have gone Matrix-style of late. The pace per pitch has slowed every season since 2011, when our hurlers positively whizzed through things at a 20.9 second rate. Over an average game, that would shave eight minutes, twenty-five seconds off the current rate. We only have data for this going back to 2007, but the correlation between the D-backs’ time per pitch and overall game length is a solid 0.742, which suggests it’s responsible for about 55% of the increase in duration. However, there is not one particular culprit on the team, with both rotation (23.4 seconds) and relievers (25.6) posting times a second plus beyond the previous longest. But I mentioned Miller above for a reason, since among the starters, the agony of watching him work this year was enhanced by a glacial pace of 25.0 seconds per pitch. It isn’t quite worst in franchise history - you won’t be surprised to learn that belongs to Jeremy Hellickson’s 25.7 from last year. After him, the #2, #3 and #4 slowest starters with 30+ IP were all this year: Miller, Zack Greinke (24.0) and Zack Godley (23.5). In the bullpen, we had three of the slowest eight in 2016 (min 20 IP), led by Tyler Clippard’s 28.5 seconds, though still a full second below Jose Valverde from 2007. 2. Number of pitches per plate-appearance Or the Robbie Ray problem, if you like. While Ray had his issues there, tying with Kenta Maeda at 4.08 for the NL lead among qualifying pitchers, I was surprised to see this was somewhere Arizona actually proved quite economical in 2016. Their overall average of 3.84 ranked 11th in the National League, below the average of 3.87. Godley made up for his pace with[...]
Cleveland rode great pitching and hitting (as a baseball team does when it wins, crazy right?) to a Game 1 win. What will Game 2 have in store?
Jake Arrieta (18-8 3.10 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA)
Cleveland leads 1-0
Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller threw much and in the way of effective to shutout the Cubs in Game 1. The Cubs still haven't scored a run in the World Series since the bottom of the 8th in Game 7 of the 1945 World Series, a game where most if not all of the participants and spectators are dead.
Trevor Bauer hopes to get through an inning without bleeding on everything, and Jake Arrieta is the reigning Cy Young winner, so that's fun.
This game is starting an hour earlier than normally because of the threat of rain. East Coast people will complain it will go on too late anyway.
Talk about the game as it happens here!
2016-10-26T16:00:03-04:00More random factoids from the season just completed! As in the previous edition, many of these nuggets come from the D-backs end of season summary sent out by the team. Though sadly, it seems the team forgot entirely about the man who set a franchise-record consecutive saves streak this season... Needless to say, finding positive things to say about the 2016 Arizona pitching staff was sometimes akin to, “Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Jake Barrett Fourth player in D-backs history to play high school, college (4-year university) and the Majors all in Arizona (also: Ed Vosberg, Cody Ransom and Tuffy Gosewisch). Silvino Bracho Posted a 28.7 ground ball pct. (25 GB/40 FB), the sixth-lowest mark by a NL reliever (min. 20.0 IP). Archie Bradley His 9.08 strikeouts per 9.0 IP were most by a rookie in team history (min. 20 starts). His is the second Arizona rookie with multiple 10+ strikeout games (also: 4x by Brandon Webb in 2003). Archie matched the D-backs rookie record with 11 strikeouts on Oct. 1 vs. Padres (Also: Brandon Webb on Aug. 19, 2003 vs. Reds and Max Scherzer on Sept. 7, 2008 @ Dodgers). Enrique Burgos Limited left-handed hitters to a .236 average (17-for-72)…struck out 34.3 pct. (24 of 70) of the lefties he faced in the second half, the fourth-best mark in the NL behind Kenley Jansen (45.5 pct.), Jim Johnson (34.8) and Hector Neris (34.5) (min 50 BF). Andrew Chafin His .178 opponents slugging pct. @ Chase Field was the lowest in ballpark history by a D-back with more than five IP there. He ended his season with 9 consecutive hitless outings, matching the franchise record (also: Joe Paterson, April 16-May 11, 2011; and Mike Myers, May 10-25, 2003). Patrick Corbin Became the second Diamondback pitcher with a start and a save during the same season in two separate years, having previously done it in 2012 (also: Josh Collmenter, 2014 + 2015). Corbin led the Majors with 20 unearned runs, second-most in franchise history, trailing Brandon Webb’s 28 in 2003. Led all pitchers with a .313 average (15-for-48) and .327 on-base pct. and ranked second with a .417 slugging pct. His 15 hits were a career high and tied for second in the Majors, trailing only Jake Arrieta’s 17. Rubby De La Rosa His .156 opponents average @ Chase Field is the second-lowest in ballpark history (min. 100 BF), trailing only David Hernandez (.152 in 2011). Allowed 1 run on 1 hit in 6.2 innings on May 15 vs. Giants, making him the 12th pitcher in team history (18th time) to throw 6.2+ innings and allow 1 or fewer hits, and first since Chase Anderson on June 12, 2015 @ SF. Randall Delgado His 79 appearances were the second most in franchise history, trailing only Oscar Villarreal in 2003 (86). Delgado did not make a start for the first time in his career. One of four NL relievers to record 68+ strikeouts in each of the last 3 seasons, joining A.J. Ramos, Jeurys Familia and Kenley Jansen. Edwin Escobar Went 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA (6 ER in 16.1 IP) in 22 games after his final recall on Aug. 15. He twice posted career-long 7-game scoreless streaks during that time: Aug. 26-Sept. 7 and Sept. 14-Sept. 26. Zack Godley Was the first pitcher in franchise history to win 7+ games in his first 10 career starts. Zack Greinke Was the fifth pitcher in team history to amass 10+ wins before the All-Star Break and the first since Patrick Corbin’s 11 in 2013. Recorded his 2,000th strikeout on Aug. 24 vs. Braves (Freddie Freeman), the sixth-fastest pitcher (385 games) to do so, behind Felix Hernandez (310), Cole Hamels (320), Justin Verlander (327), Jake Peavy (333) and CC Sabathia (353). On June 23 @ Rockies, became the first pitcher with two runs scored and a stolen-base in a game since Greg Maddux on May 3, 2004 @ Cardinals. Steve Hathaway Held the opposition scoreless in 20 of his 24 outings, including a 9-game scoreless streak from Aug. 17-Sept. 16. Did not allow a home run in his final 23 games, tied for the third-longest homerless streak by a D-backs [...]
2016-10-26T12:30:03-04:00Recently appointed Assistant GM and GM, Sawdaye and Hazen, chatted with the media this morning. What went into the decision to take this job, and what made it appealing?Obviously, the relationship with Mike made it the most appealing. There’s a lot of good, young talent here - a lot of really good people. really good players, up and down the roster. I think the new challenge for me, is something that I’m really excited about, and I’m excited to be out here in the desert. Mike, what led you to the hiring and what makes you excited about it?Amiel and I have worked together for a long time. I’ve had the opportunity to watch first-hand how he has grown as a front-office executive, an evaluator and a scouring director. He has done so many things in the office in Boston, contributed to so many good players being there, the process around drafting players, signing players, contributing to major-league decisions. He’s very smart, he’s passionate about baseball, he’s one of those people I’ve worked side-by-side with. I think he’s going to add a lot to what we’re doing here. He’s a huge piece of what we’re going to be doing moving forward. What will some of his responsibilities be?Obviously, he’s going to be working very closely with us on the major-league side, a step-up in responsibility from where he was in Boston, given his more primary focus on signing players, draft, international-type stuff. So he’ll be working directly with us on the major-league club, with the major-league coaching staff. He’ll also oversee a lot of the process that goes into our evaluation and scouting. We want to fine-tune what we do there. They’ve done a really good job in the draft here recently, with Deric [Ladnier, scouting director] and we want to just continue that. I think Amiel will be a valuable resource for these guys. as we continue to focus on that area of the operation. As every club does, it’s such a vital piece to what you want to have, operating at peak efficiency for productive sustainability moving forwarded. Have you decided what style of baseball you will employ?Not really - we don’t have a manager yet, and that’s a big piece to the equation. They’re going to bring their philosophies. They’re the ones working with the players on a day-to-day basis. We will contribute, certainly, from a philosophical standpoint, and there’s going to be a lot of discussions around that. I think there’s probably some core beliefs that everyone holds, in regard to playing smart and intelligent baseball. But as fae as specifics, no, we haven’t really got into that yet. What was your interview with Dave Dombrowski like and how close did you come to taking the position in Boston?The interview went great, it was a great chance to spend some time with Dave. Enjoyed working with him and the Red Sox, Both the opportunities were out there. I chose to come here for the new challenge. Have you begun the managerial interviews at this point?No, we’re going to start doing that shortly. Do you expect Bryan Minniti and Mike Bell to stay on? It sounds like Deric is staying on.I don’t really want to get into any other specific people in the office. I look at this as an addition to the good people that are here. There are going to be opportunities for a lot of people here. Any additions are just going to contribute further to what we’re trying to do. As we go through this process, it’s a challenging process any time anyone new comes in. I think what we want more than anything else is for everybody to feel valued and have a really good place for what we’re going to do moving forward. You sound like you’re pretty close to getting started on the managerial search. How many names do you think you’re going to have and when do you expect to begin?We’re going to get started shortly. I don’t really want to get into too many specifics, but I think somewhere between five and seven guys is wh[...]
2016-10-25T19:30:03-04:00We look at Game 1 of the Fall Classic, and some Pit writers give their thoughts on the possible outcome of this World Series. Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians 5:00 PM (AZ Time) FOX Jon Lester (19-5 2.44 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) Tied 0-0 This is one of the more exciting World Series matchups we've had in awhile from a history perspective. The city of Chicago hasn't been to or won a World Series in 11 years, and the city of Cleveland hasn't won a major pro sports championship of any kind since June of 2016! Pedantic trolling aside, one of these teams will end a very long World Series drought. Hell, it's been so long for the Cubs that this is the first World Series they'll play with an integrated team, which seems nuts! (Not as nuts as the idea of segregation, but that's another thing) The Cubs, by the way, have to play up to four games in Cleveland this World Series because of a game wherein a San Francisco Giant gave up a few homers to members of the Kansas City Royals. It makes total sense. But enough out of me, here is some of the Snakepit Illuminati with their predictions for this Fall classic: piratedan7 For some reason.... I really like the Tribe. I think they'll take it in six. The pressure that the Cubs face being the anointed ones, the media hoopla all figure into it, but also some baseball stuff too for me. I felt that the AL was the strongest league this year and the Indians essentially beat all comers. Taking down the BoSox and the Jays, both extremely potent offenses, makes me think that a similar game plan may well work on the Cubs as well. Plus, its not as if Francona doesn't know how to manage either. so the edge I might have allowed to Maddon gets nullified here. I'll let others do the breakdown of what ever numbers and stats move them and if I end up being wrong, well congrats to the team in Illinois, but something says The Tribe, so I'll just follow that hunch. Indians in Undefined preston.salisbury At first glance, the Cubs appear to have the advantage over the Indians. Certainly they have the starting pitching advantage. The Indians only have the advantage in two areas: the bullpen (apart from the closer) and home field advantage. But I think the Cubs have the advantage in Game 1, and road teams almost always have to win Game 1 to win the series (no team in 24 years has recovered from a Game 1 loss on the road to win the World Series.) So my first thought was that the Cubs would win in six. However, for the Cubs to win in six, they would have to clinch the series in Cleveland. Since 1980, only four teams (1981 Dodgers, 1992 Blue Jays, 2003 Marlins, and 2014 Giants) have clinched a World Series on the road in either Game 6 or Game 7. 13 times during that stretch, a team has gone on the road up 3-2. The home team has managed to force a Game 7 in 10 of those instances, and has won it in 9 of 10. Also, seven teams since 1980 (and three in the last 24 years) have recovered from losing Game 1 at home to win the series. For the Cubs to win the series, they likely need to finish off the Indians in five. I don't see that happening. Indians in seven. Jim McLennan You couldn't have scripted this better: the two sides with the longest World Series droughts face off. I'd like to thank the Cubs for having knocked off both the Giants AND the Dodgers, on their way there. But it's now time for them to maintain their spot as the ultimate lovable losers and roll over to the Indians. Just remember what happened to the Red Sox, after they ended their streak: their fans went from long-standing objects of sympathy to unbearably smug massholes. Don't make the same mistake, Northsiders! That said, this is a very good Cubs team, with close to no weaknesses. The Indians are going to have their work cut out, and be at their very best if they are going to prevail. I've a feeling they are going to come up just short, with the longest drought in the history of US profes[...]
The Diamondbacks imported a top executive from the Red Sox organization. Former Red Sox VP Int’l and Amateur Scouting Amiel Sawdaye will be joining GM Mike Hazen in Arizona and will be his lieutenant.
Last week, the Diamondbacks hired former Red Sox “GM” Mike Hazen from the Red Sox organization to be their lead baseball personnel man. This week, he will be joined by one of his co-workers there with former Red Sox Vice President of International and Amateur Scouting Amiel Sawdaye. Sawdaye has accepted the offer to become the Senior Vice President and Assistant GM in Arizona, which was De Jon Watson’s job for the last two seasons. He was weighing whether to stay in Boston as the GM in title only or take a similar role out in Arizona.
Sawdaye joined the Red Sox front office in 2002 as an intern. He worked his way up to Director of Amateur Scouting, a position he held from 2010-2015. Notable players that he drafted in his tenure that have become part of the Red Sox core include Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi. With that strong drafting, the Red Sox have built one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, anchored by a future superstar in Yoan Moncada who hit a HR off of Dbacks prospect Anthony Banda in the Future’s Game in July. In 2016, he got promoted to the aforementioned position.
Sawdaye came up from the same background as Hazen did, scouting and player development. It’s not too surprising that for the Assistant GM job that the Diamondbacks chose someone that Hazen is clearly comfortable working with. With the Diamondbacks potentially looking at changes in the scouting and player development department. Farm director Mike Bell might not be sticking around, since most GM candidates that don’t get the job tend to not stick around for too long.
It appears that the front office changes will be more sweeping than I previously anticipated. Long time executive Bob Gebhard, who has been with the team since 2005, is out along with Director of Analytics Dr. Ed Lewis. If it’s a case where the club realized that a fresh and different perspective might be the way to go, then I welcome that type of change. I’m curious to see if the team hires any replacements in those departments and who.
The raid on Boston’s organization is probably not over yet either. The Diamondbacks haven’t reached out to Red Sox Bench Coach Torey Lovullo for the managerial job yet, instead prioritizing filling out the assistant GM job. Now that’s over with, the team will likely start the process of finding a manager. Lovullo, Eddie Perez, and Phil Nevin are three names linked to the job already. Lovullo is the favorite to land the job due to his Boston connections and has experience managing in the big leagues already with a 28-20 mark as the interim when John Farrell went treatments for lymphoma to close the 2015 season.
2016-10-25T09:00:11-04:00As the World Series gets ready to start in Cleveland, the D-backs filled another front office spot. More on that in later today, but to get you up to speed... Team news [AZ Central] Diamondbacks land Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye - The Diamondbacks’ new-look front office continued to take shape Monday with the addition of Red Sox executive Amiel Sawdaye, who will become the club’s senior vice president and assistant general manager, a source said Monday night. Sawdaye, who has been with the Red Sox since 2002, will be the second in command to new General Manager Mike Hazen. The two overlapped in Boston for 11 years. Sawdaye ran the amateur draft for the Red Sox from 2010 to 2014, during which time the club selected Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Blake Swihart and Matt Barnes, among others. [dbacks.com] D-backs to hire Amiel Sawdaye as assistant GM - D-backs general manager Mike Hazen made his first significant hire since being named general manager last week when he tabbed Amiel Sawdaye on Monday to become senior vice president and assistant general manager, according to a source. The D-backs have not announced the hire. Sawdaye joins Bryan Minniti, who is also an assistant GM for Arizona. Like Hazen, Sawdaye comes to the D-backs from the Red Sox, where he was the team's vice president in charge of amateur and international scouting. [AZ Central] Maricopa County extends Chase Field negotiations - Private investors seeking to buy Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, won't finish negotiations before an Oct. 31 deadline, prompting the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to extend the deadline through Jan.16. "The talks are still ongoing with the possible buyer and the Diamondbacks," said Board Chairman Clint Hickman, who described his view of the negotiations as "optimistic." The board agreed by a unanimous vote Mondayto delay the deadline "to afford both of those groups more time to discuss, negotiate and do whatever else they need to get this deal done." [dbacks.com] Will D-backs, Mike Hazen deal Greinke, Segura? - Hopefully in the coming weeks, we'll get a better feel for the direction Hazen plans on taking. As for Greinke if -- and that's a big if -- the D-backs wanted to trade him, they would no doubt have to eat part of what's left on the $206.5 million deal he signed last offseason. In addition, Greinke is coming off a subpar season, so his trade value is lower than what it would typically be. Given those two factors, my guess is they will hang onto him, but this is also going to be a very thin free-agent market when it comes to pitching, so that could change the equation. Former D-backs news [TKB] Mariners Agree To Terms With RHP Micah Owings - Owings participated in the Atlantic League this summer. During that time, he was clocked between 91 and 93 mph while accumulating 88 strikeouts against 33 walks across 106.3 innings pitched. In August, he looked particularly good, throwing 31 innings with 33 strikeouts, 13 walks and a 3-0 record. [The Guardian] Curt Schilling joins Breitbart to fight 'progressive, socialist agenda' - “I am proud to be a part of a team that will continue to point out the very thing that’s ruining this country: liberal, progressive, socialist agenda driven by the elite globalist connected to American politics and the Clinton family,” the announcement quoted him as saying. [Editorial comment: sigh...] [cleveland.com] Carlos Baerga to throw out ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 in Cleveland - The '90s Indians are considered something of a gold standard, even though the group didn't secure a championship. And now those players will return to Cleveland to usher in the start of a long-waited World Series appearance. Kenny Lofton will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. Carlos Baerg[...]