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An unofficial Arizona Diamondbacks community and blog



Updated: 2018-02-22T15:25:11-05:00

 



MLB Team Banners & Slogans

2018-02-22T15:25:11-05:00

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I put together a collection of every team’s banner from their team website to see how each club is being marketed. I did a similar exercise back in 2013 and enjoyed how silly it was. Unfortunately, it was much more interesting last time. I guess teams are steering away from creative designs and are going with more simple layouts... or they just haven’t updated yet for the new season. That said, I still thought it would be fun to share the collection and compare with last time. Filling the void in one of the last non-baseball days of the offseason!

AL

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full size

NL

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The 2018 hashtags haven’t been released yet but here are the ones from last season. The D-backs have been using #OurSeason for a couple of years now so it might be a good idea to stop using that... maybe #OkThisTimeItReallyIsOurSeason.

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Toss out your own ideas. Probably going to see a lot of 20th anniversary flair throughout the season.




SnakePit Fantasy Baseball rides again...

2018-02-22T15:00:04-05:00

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#AreYouSmarterThanMikeHazen? #WhatAboutDaveStewart?

Time to start up the SnakePit Fantasy Baseball experience once again! I’ve already renewed the Premier League for the 14 top competitors there. If the two winners of the feeder leagues would care to make themselves known and claim their promotions, I will send them invites to the Premiership. These will go to the email address on file for their SnakePit accounts, so they should make sure those are accurate.

For everyone else, we will be having a lower tier as well, though we’re chewing over the format for that. I’d rather have one tier of 16 committed players, rather than two divisions half-filled with players who have abandoned all hope and interest by the All-Star break. So, please think carefully about whether you’re going to be one of “those people” everyone hates. But if you’re willing to be there for the full six months, post in the comments below, and we’ll see how it goes. It’ll be first come, first served as far as slots go, and room will depend on what works best. So if you’re not in the first dozen, no guarantees...




Snake Bytes 2/22: Roster Ready

2018-02-22T09:57:45-05:00

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The D-backs waited for J.D. to sign elsewhere before being sure on what to do next

Tomas Faces Battle in Suddenly Loaded Outfield

My wife has been telling me to be less negative. I will try. For Yasmany, I will have to try REAL hard. He has a decent power game as evidenced by his 30 home runs 2 years ago. As for his other 4 tools - at least he drives fast. He could be a DH in the AL. Or in the NL he could be a last-ditch hope for a home run late in a game. Without sounding negative, my advice to him would be to save your money, invest conservatively, and never have to work a full day in your life. When your GM brings in 2 outfielders in 2 days and doesn’t want to talk about you, that makes sense.

Souza, D-backs Expect Smooth Transition

Our newest member talks about the “great dudes” on the team he knows like Goldy, Lamb, Ray, and Ahmed. If Souza is a great dude himself, he will fit in well with this team of great dudes. When your best player is an unassuming pro and you don’t have any toxic personalities, team chemistry will be strong. It is strong for the D-backs.

Elite Speed Sold D-backs on Dyson

Despite stealing bases, the D-backs have lacked elite speed for some time. It will be interesting to see how going with speed over power in your 4th outfielder works out.

Diamondbacks’ Trade for Steven Souza is Latest Win-now Move

Of course, winning now means different things to different teams. The D-backs want to win now within budgetary reason. But it is hard not to love this trade and the hope that it keeps the winning window open for a couple more years at least. The valley does not need another Phoenix Suns type rebuild.

Around MLB

Remember 2016? These Cubs Could Be Just as Good

Must be nice for Cubs to have real optimism with a recent past to support it. Personally, I’d be fine with the Cubs to return to being the lovable losers.

Baseball’s Economics Aren’t as Skewed as They Seem

An interesting article at The Ringer about labor and owners. Perhaps baseball does have a better system than a salary cap. At least the poorer teams have time to develop young players to field a strong team to compete with the big markets. Sounds like owners and players are all making their fair share.




Diamondbacks 6, Sun Devils 2: Undefeated

2018-02-21T20:37:58-05:00

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The Diamondbacks got their spring training under way at Salt River Fields this afternoon, in a very low-key contest against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The game was tied at two after four innings, but the D-backs took advantage of some wildness later on, to pull away in the later stages of the seven-inning contest.

Even by the lax standards of spring training, it was definitely a third-tier line-up for Arizona, with Rey Fuentes the only starter to have more than 70 plate-appearances with the Diamondbacks last year. Taylor Clarke got the start, and faced the minimum in his inning of work, clearing up his own base-runner, with a pick-off after a two-out walk. Arizona then jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Christian Walker driving in two with his single scoring Ildemaro Vargas and Jeremy Hazelbaker. It was a short-lived lead, as Yuhei Nakaushiro allowed four line drives to the first four batters he faced, and a bases-loaded walk one out later, tied the game and ended Nakaushiro’s afternoon.

The rest of the D-backs’ bullpen was much better: six further pitchers combined for 5.2 shutout innings, holding the Sun Devils to one hit and two walks, with 12 strikeouts. Michael Dimock was the pick of the bunch, striking out the side on 13 pitches in the fourth inning. While Arizona had been held in check through four by Arizona State, the major-league team took the lead in the fifth on Tony Renda’s RBI triple. They then added three more in the sixth, on a single by Kevin Cron, and bases-loaded walks by Kevin Medrano and Marty Herum. They could have had more, but it looks like a D-backs’ batter hit out of turn, ending the frame with the bases loaded.

Walker had two hits and his two RBI, while Medrano and Herum each drew a pair of walks, as Arizona picked up nine free passes (eight walks and a HBP) compared to three strikeouts, and also stole three bases. Cesar Puello had a day to forget though, hitting into a double-play in both his at-bats, and catcher Michael Perez was charged with an error on a throw. There were 5,506 in attendance at Salt River Fields, and the D-backs have an off-day tomorrow, before Cactus League play proper gets under way on Friday. There, they’ll play SRF neighbors, the Colorado Rockies.




Spring Training Gameday Thread, #0: 2/21 vs. Arizona State

2018-02-21T14:30:01-05:00

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Baseball.... BAAAAAAAAAAAASEBAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!

Diamondbacks line-up

  1. Ildemaro Vargas 2B
  2. Rey Fuentes CF
  3. Jeremy Hazelbaker RF
  4. Christian Walker 1B
  5. Cesar Puello DH
  6. Ramon Flores LF
  7. Kristopher Negron SS
  8. Jack Reinheimer 3B
  9. Josh Thole C
    + Taylor Clarke P

Any similarity to Arizona’s actual Opening Day line-up is purely coincidental... Indeed, I’ll put the over/under on the number of players above who will make the Opening Day roster at 1.0 [Hazelbaker and Walker the most likely candidates] The most interesting thing might be seeing how Clarke does on the mound. He was ranked our second-best pitching prospect by John Sickels, who called him “very solid all-around with low-90s fastball, good slider, improving changeup, usually throws strikes; stuff isn’t quite as good as [Jon] Duplantier’s but Clarke matches him for pitchability and polish, possible number four starter, maybe more.” With a cited ETA of 2018, might be a name to know...

Still, it’s baseball, with actual Diamondbacks being involved, and we’ll take it over YouTube and/or the video-games which have sustained us through the dark, cold winter [well, relatively dark and cold anyway - this is Arizona after all!]. I’m sure the ASU guys will be giving it their all, seeking to make a good impression against the pros. Let’s just hope that Sparky doesn’t mistake D. Baxter for any other bobcat mascot, otherwise it could get a bit unpleasant at Salt River Fields! No TV or radio for this one, so it’ll pretty much be Gameday and/or social media for updates, unless someone knows differently...




Thoughts on the Steven Souza trade

2018-02-21T09:00:11-05:00

Here are my 2 cents on this trade. After losing J.D. Martinez to free agency, the Diamondbacks acted quickly to revamp their outfield. The first move was signing Jarrod Dyson, a glove-first outfielder with terrific speed, to a two-year, $7.5M contract on Monday. The following day, they swung a 3-team trade with the Yankees and Rays to acquire RF Steven Souza Jr. and pitching prospect Taylor Widener at the cost of 2B Brandon Drury, pitching prospect Anthony Banda, and 2 players to be named later. Banda and the 2 PTBNL could swing the trade in the Rays favor 3 years down the road, but the Diamondbacks made out pretty well in the trade. The Steven Souza trade will likely go down as the signature move in regards to the 2017-2018 offseason. The team gave up a top 5 prospect in Banda and a player with average starter upside in Drury while getting a pitcher in Widener that I figure will slide into the Top 10. Those two PBTNL could be troublesome if those names include Jose Almonte, Cody Reed, or Andy Yerzy. The move also takes Yasmany Tomas out of the regular lineup, to the glee of many Diamondbacks fans, and possibly off the 25-man roster overall. Given how the bench looks, there isn’t a reason to keep him around. I already expressed my thoughts on Dyson, although that came before the trade. Dyson should be a semi-regular that should spell Pollock and Souza in the outfield as well as provide insurance to all three spots in case of an injury. The team’s outfield is very balanced with the four outfielders expected to play the majority of 2018 all grading above average defensively and on the bases. While none of them will match Martinez’s homer barrage with the Diamondbacks, they are more well-rounded in their value. Souza is never going to hit for a high average, but he provides plenty of sources for offense. Souza saw a breakout in 2017, posting a 120 wRC+ off a .220 ISO and a 13.6% walk rate. In addition, he ranked 50th in Barrels/PA (6.6%) amongst MLB hitters with 190 Batted Ball Events and 28th in Barrels/BBE (11.8%), showing that he’s above average to the rest of MLB in terms of doing damage on the balls he puts into play. For those concerned about his .239 batting average I have two reasons why you can relax. The first is that Tropicana Field is a pitcher-friendly stadium and the second is you should read this great fanpost by shoewizard in which he projects Souza’s triple slash moving to Chase Field’s hitter-friendly park. Not only does he provide value with the bat, he is also a solid defender in right field. He rated well in terms of range and arm with DRS and UZR, although he can be prone to boneheaded plays at the time. The biggest flaw in his game is strikeouts. Souza’s strikeout rate is well over 30% of his career, although last season he cut it down to 29%. Looking deeper into those numbers, there are encouraging signs. He’s become more selective at the plate, which led to a career high walk rate. He posted his best swinging strike rate over a full season with a 13.3% and lowest chase rate with 24.4% O-Swing rate. The job of a hitter is to make as few as outs as possible and Souza does a good job of doing that with a .351 OBP. His maturation as a hitter is especially notable since the Dbacks control him for the next three seasons. If he can show his progress in 2017 was the next step as a player, then this deal will come out as a massive win for the Diamondbacks. The other player coming to Arizona is pitching prospect Taylor Widener. Widener slides into the #4 of my rankings with Daulton Varsho sliding up to the #3 spot previously held by Banda. The reports on him is that he has a plus fastball and an above average slider that flashes plus. That gives him the floor of a back-end reliever should he be unable to develop a 3rd pitch. If Widener develops a solid change-up, his ceiling is a #2 starter. The biggest flags on him were knee and back injuries t[...]



Unpacking the Steven Souza trade

2018-02-20T21:30:02-05:00

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#NoMartinez #NoProblem

What the Diamondbacks get

Well, we did talk about getting an outfielder from the Rays, didn’t we? Just not this outfielder. For the centerpiece of the deal, as far as the Diamondbacks are concerned, is right-fielder Steven Souza. The 28-year-old showed impressive power for Tampa last year, hitting 30 home-runs, while also showing some speed on the basepaths (16 SB in 20 attempts). His average was low, at .239, but his plate discipline improved markedly, with a walk-rate of 13.6% (MLB average is 8.0%). That helped get his on-base percentage up to a very respectable .351. The K-rate was high, at 29.0% (MLB = 20.9%), but that 2017 figure was a significant improvement.

The defensive metrics are a little unsure of what to make of him: two of the three main stats graded him as a positive contributor in right last year, while the other had him slightly below average. However, playing him there will then allow David Peralta to move back to left field, which appears to be where the team want him. With that power, I can see Souza slotting in behind Paul Goldschmidt in the batting order. While also a right-handed hitter, his career splits are almost non-existent. Souza’s OPS is just six points better against left-handed pitching, so there’s no reason he should not be in the starting line-up almost everyday.

As has already been noted by several people, the level of production Souza delivered last year overall was very comparable to a certain other outfielder of note: