Results tagged ‘ Arizona Diamondbacks ’

Kyle Crick and Edwin Escobar Make MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects, Every Other NL West Team Features More Than SF

At mid-season in 2013, Kyle Crick (formerly #43) and Clayton Blackburn (formerly #94) held spots in the MLB.com Top 100 prospects list, and while Thursday it was announced that two Giants would still be on the list to give Giants fans hopes of help coming from the farm, the ranking, with one of the names changing. Since mid-season, Crick climbed eleven spots to #32 and now Edwin Escobar joins the list at #95. You’ll remember MLB.com named Escobar their eighth-best LHP prospect not too long ago. Looking at the rankings from the Top 100, Crick would appear to be the 14th best RHP prospect. Projections on Crick range from excellent reliever to a solid #2 starter, while the talk on Escobar is from a back-end starter to a #3 SP. Considering the Giants problems with depth in starting pitching in 2013, Giants fans saw why you can’t have too much pitching ready for the big leagues. Going around the NL West, here’s an update on what MLB.com saw for the other NL West clubs:

Diamondbacks

Three prospects made the list, beginning with the projected future frontline starter, RHP Archie Bradley. The #5 overall prospect, and the #1 RHP prospect on their list, Bradley could be the ace of the Diamondbacks staff for years, but that might change if he’s traded for a gritty position player, a pool security guard, or a veteran pitcher. Archie is expected to arrive in the bigs this coming season. I remember the days when I was scared of the Diamondbacks having Bradley, Trevor Bauer, and Tyler Skaggs. The new trio could be something like Bradley, #79 Braden Shipley, and perhaps the soon-to-be-20 year old Jose Martinez. The third Diamondback to make the list was #77 Chris Owings, a shortstop that profiles with a good power and better hitting tools, debuted in 2013.

Dodgers

The Dodgers have too many outfielders and it’s about to get more crowded with Joc Pederson at #36 on the way for sometime in 2014 and the starting pitching continues to gain MLB-ready depth with Zach Lee at #63. Pederson may not be at the level of a healthy Matt Kemp, but reports are that he would be a solid MLB OF. Lee would fit in nicely at the back-end of a rotation, with reports on the ceiling being #3. Other prospects that ranked highly but might be a a year or two away are #34 Corey Seager, a shortstop that is the younger brother of Kyle, and #64 Julio Urias, just seventeen years old and could reach the big leagues in 2015. He’s also left-handed. All these prospects didn’t even require a team having deep pockets, so don’t think that the Dodgers just went obnoxious on these guys like they did for Yasiel Puig.

Padres

Two in the top-half, two in the bottom-half of the Top 100, and while four on the list is great, the Padres aren’t the farm they used to be touted as. Still, they have some excitement coming their way, and leading the way is the great defensive catcher Austin Hedges at #24. As long as Hedges can hit, which I’m seeing people say he’ll be able to at least hold his own, you’re going to see him on All Star teams for years to come. 2012 first-round pick Max Fried comes out at #43, a lefty that could be a couple years away. Fried could be their best pitching prospect in terms of upside, but doesn’t get the #1 label put on him. RHP Matt Wisler (#78) and RHP Casey Kelly (#87) could help round out the middle-back end of the San Diego rotation right away.

Rockies

You know how the Rockies knew they needed to grow their own pitching because their park is not an attractive venue for pitchers? Well, that train is about ready to pull up to the stop, and it’s coming in the form of a possible 1-2 punch in Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler, both first round picks from 2013, and 2012 (supplemental first round), respectively. By “1-2 punch,” it’s possible that could even mean a true #1 and #2 pitcher, and that could spell big-time trouble for the NL West. Should Gray and Butler stay true to their prospect status, I’m sure Rockies fans would love to see a team-friendly deal lock up those starters through their arbitration years. Gray is #14 on the list while Butler is #41. The Rockies have two more prospects on the list, first-rounder from 2012, OF David Dahl is #71 and years away, as is #99 Rossell Herrera, a shortstop.

This is just what MLB.com’s team thinks. Baseball Prospectus will release their version of their list on Monday. I’ll try to cover that one, but we’ll see. The weekdays are always busy.

GIFPost: Tuesday Night Fights in LA

Just your average Tuesday night in LA between NL West rivals, and I guess you could say this all started when Ian Kennedy had a pitch hit Yasiel Puig in the nose. Zack Greinke would later hit Miguel Montero in the back and the benches would empty to nothing more than some words and some slowing down of the game. Then Ian Kennedy decided it was his turn to take matters into his own hands by throwing back at Greinke, whom would not start in the 8th inning… a curious move by Don Mattingly, to say the least.

You’ll see Miguel Montero below not really doing any loud shouting with Greinke, which shifts the focus more to Ian Kennedy.

Speaking of Kennedy, he’s just gonna casually walk outta here

Look for #31 and how he just kinda disappears while the Dodgers look for his head

Puig had some words

Ronald Belisario would get his swings in

Diamondbacks coach Turner Ward got some action with the banister of the camera well near the visitors dugout

And a close up for the coach

Mark McGwire also got steaming ma and Matt Williams had to receive the brunt of his words of rage

Something about road apples

Poor Matt Williams, just listening to McGwire vent

Here’s Williams getting Don Mattingly out of there.

Kirk Gibson would be ejected since there were warnings issued, and Joe Paterson would hit Mark Ellis later in the game, although nothing in terms of brawls or ejections happened. The lesson to be had here is Ian Kennedy could have really hurt Zack Greinke, and if Greinke’s aim isn’t slick, he could have hurt Miguel Montero. This is not something that is good in baseball. It will grab the headlines, generate site hits, but happy will I be when the day comes that I don’t blog about this anymore.

Re: Paul Goldschmidt, plenty of DBacks fans more than willing to break the Law

Paul Goldschmidt wasn’t touted as some super prospect when he was drafted or while he was coming up through the the minors. Steven Burt of the Diamondbacks division of SB Nation pieced together some evaluations from a few scouts, but whenever Goldy does something productive, I feel like I see the army of fans go after Keith Law. But that really speaks more to what I see on social media, but maybe that’s subject to what happens to come across on my timeline. There are plenty of people like me that really respect Keith Law’s opinion, and he hasn’t become one of the biggest names in scouting because of his inability to evaluate, and any scout will tell you they will never have a 100% track record of being right. It stands to reason then that even the common fan will understand that scouts will at least get one player wrong, but much like the big leagues itself, a lot of people expect perfection. Diamondbacks fans have very vocally let Law know that they strongly believe — with the numbers as their guide — he has been very wrong about their Goldy.

When anybody SBNation gets involved, you can count on their following getting behind them right away for sure.

This guy has made it his life mission to get Law to say Goldschmidt is “more than a bench bat.”

Well, maybe this isn’t a DBacks fan.

Well that’s just a “don’t-read-the-comments” type comment

Keepin’ it going

One of Law’s many responses (you don’t need an insider account to view his tweets, *winky face*)

And I forgot to subscribe from my “don’t read the comments” way of life

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 8.58.35 AM

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 8.58.57 AM

I mean, really, guys.

This isn’t something that only happens with Diamondback fans and Law’s evaluation of Goldschmidt, it’s in or been in every fanbase with some player evaluator — sometimes the general manager, the field manager, someone else in the front office, or even maybe a respected blogger or former player. I think Giants fans give Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean a lot of grief for Brandon Belt, and I don’t see that being let go anytime soon.

Honestly, I get, but I’m really not sure why we as human beings do this. Someone makes a mistake, we don’t let them forget, sometimes all in good fun, sometimes malicious. We see this kind of stuff all the time in politics, but I don’t want to go there. I understand the desire for accountability, but if Keith Law ends up being incorrect on the level of play from Goldschmidt to the very end, OK. If Goldschmidt turns into a platoon bat next year, OK. I don’t see why this has to be such a big deal. I’m trying my hardest to think of why there’s a good reason to go off on someone in this scenario, but I just can’t think of it.

Lineups Posted: Grinding #DBacks look to out-will slumping #SFGiants

The Diamondbacks are tied with the Rockies for first place, while the Giants have had trouble finding the win column of late, losing five in a row and eight of their last twelve. Opening Day starters Matt Cain and Ian Kennedy will square off as the Giants hope they can beat the intangibles out of the Snakes and take some quick revenge for losing their last series at home to them. In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss this stretch of losing, it has been a combination of the pitching, defense, and getting the hits with RISP for the Giants. Normally, most fans would be less irritable if it were just one or two of those, but to have all three of those facets of the game plaguing the Giants right now is bringing about some panicked breathing around the internet tubes.

The lineup for the visiting Gigantes:

So today isn’t Marco Scutaro‘s day off and Brandon Belt is batting 8th. Also, a note on Sandy Rosario and Jose Mijares:

and for the home team Diamondbacks:

Remember, Didi Gregorius was put on the 7-day DL for a concussion yesterday retroactive to Saturday so he’ll miss this series.

Cain and Kennedy will both get to embark on their sixth start of the year, and the month, so I’m going to put up their game logs for April. Starting with Cainer:

Date Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str
Apr 1 @ LAD L,0-4 99 6.0 4 0 0 1 8 0 1 0.00 23 93 55
Apr 7 STL L,3-14 5 3.2 7 9 9 2 2 0 0 8.38 20 66 39
Apr 12 @ CHC L,3-4 4 7.0 7 2 2 2 6 2 0 5.94 30 113 72
Apr 18 @ MIL L,2-7 5 6.0 7 7 7 0 4 3 1 7.15 26 98 67
Apr 23 ARI L,4-6 4 6.0 5 4 3 1 6 1 0 6.59 25 90 60
28.2 30 22 21 6 26 6 2 6.59 124
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/29/2013.

I’m not sure I like where this pattern is going, especially if last start was supposed to be his “good” start, and this is another start where he’s had five days of rest. Hopefully, Cain has worked out whatever kinks there were in his delivery. Having even three of his pitches show up and be excellent would be an improvement over the starts of his I’ve been able to see (can you tell I missed Opening Day?). At least Matt Cain hasn’t been walking everybody, while still getting his share of K’s.

For IPK it looks like this:

Date Opp Rslt DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str
Apr 1 STL W,6-2 99 7.0 5 2 2 1 8 0 0 2.57 25 94 67
Apr 7 @ MIL W,8-7 5 6.0 7 4 4 1 4 1 2 4.15 26 90 62
Apr 13 LAD L,5-7 5 5.2 10 6 6 4 4 1 0 5.79 30 108 68
Apr 19 @ COL L,1-3 5 6.0 3 3 3 3 6 1 0 5.47 24 106 66
Apr 24 @ SFG W,3-2 4 6.0 4 1 1 2 4 0 1 4.70 25 106 72
30.2 29 16 16 11 26 3 3 4.70 130
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/29/2013.

“So you’re saying there’s a chance,” is what I can hear from you. While Cain has allowed double the HR that Kennedy has, clearly, outside of his last start, he hasn’t been as sharp as he can be, although he seemed to be fine against the Giants. Funny how that goes when you’re in the midst of a losing streak. I’m sure the career numbers of Kennedy versus the Giants have been and will be widely discussed as the game goes on.

Tonight’s game will be at 6:40PM PST, and my weather app says it will be somewhere around 97-99 degrees at gametime in Phoenix. It’s not even May yet!

Lineups Posted: Can #SFGiants handle the intangibles the #DBacks bring?

In what might have been the longest off-season for Arizona Diamondback fans, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Trevor Bauer, and Chris Johnson were shipped out, and Martin Prado, Didi Gregorius (awesome name, by the way), Cody Ross, Cliff Pennington, and Heath Bell were brought in. Somewhere along the way, it got out that the Diamondbacks wanted players that were “gritty,” “gamers,” “played the game the right way,” yada yada yada. Intangibles are fine when it comes to leadership, whether verbal or through their actions, but even with the moves that were made, it’s hard to see how the team got better. Nevertheless, here they are, their first series against the Giants and at AT&T this year. You’ll remember the first time these two squared up in 2012 in Phoenix, the DBacks swept the Giants and nothing good ever happened again for the Giants. Just awful.

The lineups!

For the snakes:

For the Champs:

Brandon Belt turning into the platoon partner with Joaquin Arias until he can get his swing in order, apparently. Once he does find the swing that made him successful, I’d imagine he’s back to getting the playing time we’re used to seeing from Bochy.

Ryan Vogelsong will look to continue a streak that Giants pitching has started since Friday when Chase Headley homered off of Madison Bumgarner

Can the Giants beat that streak? The smart money says “no,” because a lot really needs to go right, and the Diamondbacks still have a pretty decent lineup. However, the Giants did pull that off in a three-game streak against a depleted Dodgers squad, and in one game against the Reds. That was a pretty fun stretch of games.

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 5.31.23 PM

Wade Miley seems to primarily be a three-pitch pitcher to lefties, loving that four- and two-seam combo with the slider being the finisher. With RHH, he’ll include that changeup, and try to surprise you with it from time to time when he falls behind into a traditional fastball count. Spreads it out pretty well when he gets ahead of you or in two strike situations versus a RHH.

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 5.31.36 PM

Vogey shares the wealth to everybody, but using his five pitches even more against lefties. Apparently, he is using his curveball-for-a-first-pitch-strike move nearly a third of the time against LHH. Sooner or later, I worry that that’s going to catch on and hitters really start looking for that. I take him to be a pretty smart and seasoned guy, so he should be able to adjust when necessary.

Game time is at 7:15PM PST tonight. I’ll try to hear what’s being said as my wife blasts tonight’s “The Voice.”

NL West Division Preview: “Disrespect”

The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the NL West, where my predictions mean I have no respect for managers that have transformed Eric Gagne‘s career (“Trace, you’re crazy!”), the intangibles, and recent success.

5. Colorado Rockies

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 25/1, 60/1, 150/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Troy Tulowitzki (5.3), Carlos Gonzalez (2.1), Jhoulys Chacin (1.9)

Stuart sees: a team that if healthy, could hit their way to third place in the division. Really! It’s just that I don’t know how healthy they can be, and their starting pitching is mostly what I would call “not good.” Jeff Francis and Jon Garland bring up the back of the rotation, and I’m not sure how long that’s going to work, especially Francis. Maybe he’ll wind up with the Marlins some time this season. The bullpen is whatevers with Rafael Betancourt handling the save opportunities, and the bench not being horrible for a bench. That lineup led by Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki should be respected, and yea, Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton are older, but if they’re in the lineup, you respect that, too. With this team, I’m just waiting for the wheels to come off in terms of health and then watch the pitching suffer. I’m glad they tried that four-man rotation last year to try and innovate, and hope they try something else this year. Maybe less sacrifice bunting by position players?

4. San Diego Padres

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 14/1, 40/1, 75/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Chase Headley (3.2), Everth Cabrera (2.5), Carlos Quentin (2.5)

Stuart sees: a farm system that’s good, but just saw Casey Kelly and Rymer Liriano go down for a significant amount of time, so the Padres won’t have a starter and a worthy OF reinforcement to help them out in the middle of the season. They’ll probably get some assistance elsewhere from within, but knowing your back-up plan isn’t as readily available as you hoped it’d be isn’t quite the start to the season you were hoping for. Back to the major league club, I’m curious how Jedd Gyorko will do as he springs onto the scene at 2B, and I’m sure he won’t mind that Petco brought its fences in. 2012 second-half erupter Chase Headley will miss a month with a thumb injury, and Yasmani Grandal decided to be stupid so he’s missing fifty games, so if the Padres start slow, don’t be all too surprised. The bullpen should be good (again), with the rotation holding their own, promising to be that annoying team that doesn’t just let you trample them in September when you need those wins. I say the ceiling for this team is third, the floor being last. Yea, yea, I can hear you, I know that’s not a super-bold prediction.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 13/2, 25/1, 60/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Miguel Montero (3.1), Martin Prado (3.0), Ian Kennedy (2.9)

Stuart sees: a front office that went out of its way to make its squad worse because Justin Upton wasn’t good enough for them, and their bullpen didn’t have enough 9th-inning experience so they decided they would be happy to pay for Heath Bell, and why not ship off Chris Young, and get Cliff Pennington, too… as your starting shortstop. Sure, Didi Gregorious will be diddling about in the minors, but if the moves the DBacks made this off-season didn’t make your eyes roll, what will? Trevor Bauer was given up on, and I’m just hoping they trade top prospect Tyler Skaggs to the Giants for someone “gritty” because intangibles, that’s why. Each part of this Diamondbacks roster should be able to pull its own weight at the major league level, which makes them sound remarkably average, and that’s where I think they are, but maybe a few games above that. This team can win the division, and they might have a couple guys that can provide some help in the home stretch if they so desire to bring them up in Matt Davidson, Didi, and Skaggs.

2. San Francisco Giants

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 8/5, 13/2, 12/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Buster Posey (4.7), Pablo Sandoval (4.2), Matt Cain (3.6)

Stuart sees: loyal Giants fans getting ticked at me putting them here just because I predicted they would win just about every three-game or playoff series against their opponent last season which means I should place them first here, too. Some Giants fans after 2010, and now after both 2010 and 2012 get extremely butthurt when you don’t put the team they support in first, as if that’s disrespecting their team. It’s not at all disrespecting their team as it is respecting what the team ahead of them has put together by throwing around money to bring in talent. Changes to this team include: the bench of Nick Noonan, Andres Torres, and Cole Gillespie, and long-reliever Chad Gaudin in the bullpen. Outside of that, not too much different. The Giants must have someone in the crowd of Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum, and Barry Zito to step up their game to both compensate the regressions that will happen with Gregor Blanco, and help them make up for the difference in talent on paper between them and the Dodgers. This team can definitely win the division, but I don’t see them finishing any worse than third. I am hoping they do not part with any of their top pitching prospects again to bring in someone this year, but I am worried it will happen.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

From a Spring Training game vs. the Giants, but take note:

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/6, 4/1, 9/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Adrian Gonzalez (5.0), Clayton Kershaw (4.9), Matt Kemp (4.6)

Stuart sees: a new land of evil, sure it’s a new kind of blue, or whatever the slogan is, and it’s funny how we associate large amounts of spending with being bad, but the contracts the Dodgers handed out to the likes of Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp weren’t all that obnoxious at all. Swallowing up Carl Crawford‘s, taking a risk on Hyun-Jin Ryu, though, are just going to anoint you king of the moneys by people observing the game. A rotation led by Kershaw and Greinke (though the latter might be a little slow out of the gates) followed by some decent guys in Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, and the question mark Ryu, we’re just wondering who can stay healthy, and who Ryu really is: is he a starter? Or an expensive reliever? The spring of Yasiel Puig came to a halt when the Dodgers wisely optioned him to the minors to get an extended look at him there to see if he can develop some plate discipline, but I’ve heard a lot of positive reports on him even without said discpline. Their bullpen is good, so anything that lineup that includes Kemp, Gonzalez, and the platoonable Andre Ethier can put together in the form of a lead, I expect them to hold it down. Injuries are really the only thing that I can see bringing these guys down (hello, Hanley Ramirez‘s thumb), or Don Mattingly bunting them all over the place. The floor is third, but it is an unlikely floor at that.

The Long Nightmare is Finally Over: Justin Upton Traded to Atlanta

Wednesday afternoon reports surfaced that GM Frank Wren of the Braves had sent an offer to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 25-year old OF Justin Upton. Thursday morning, reports have come out that GM Kevin Towers has accepted that offer. Finally, after months of speculation that Justin Upton be traded, he does. There was some speculation that the DBacks would try to trade Jason Kubel to the Baltimore Orioles but now that Justin has been traded, that possibility seems pretty much done.

The Braves get:

OF Justin Upton (Already 108 HR, but a change of scenery could do wonders)

3B Chris Johnson (traded from Houston to AZ last season, 15 HR, defense not his calling card)

The Diamondbacks get:

UT Martin Prado (plays all over the place, in my opinion a little underrated, fans should like him but doesn’t have Upton power)

SP Randall Delgado (92.2 IP in MLB in ’12, will enter age 23 season)

SP Zeke Spruill (Double-A in ’12)

SS Nick Ahmed (High-A in ’12)

CI Brandon Drury (Single-A in ’12)

There was speculation yesterday that Braves top prospect Julio Teheran would be in the deal, but apparently he was swapped out and Prado and Delgado were brought in. Looking at the deal, I can’t say I hate it too much for either side, and I assumed the Braves would “win” this deal on paper. There are some people like me that didn’t feel trading Upton was appropriate, but getting Prado and Delgado back isn’t bad of a return at all. Atlanta now has a platoon partner for Juan Francisco, a pair of Uptons in the outfield to join another young star in Jason Heyward, it’s hard not to love this trade for the Braves. The Diamondbacks get a great player in Prado, another guy that they could ease into the rotation in Delgado who can be around until the latter part of the decade, and they get three guys that were all Baseball America Top 30 prospects (Spruill being the only Top 10 at #9; Ahmed #11, Drury #27, per JJ Cooper), this isn’t the worst thing in the world done by Kevin Towers. Really! I mean, the Trevor Bauer trade was easily much worse than this trade if you’re looking for an axe to grind.

If you clicked on the links to MLBDepthCharts on the team names, you’ll notice at how the rosters might take shape. Funny how the Diamondbacks used to have guys like Chris Young (now with the A’s), Justin Upton (traded today), Trevor Bauer (now with the Indians), and could’ve stayed content with Jarrod Parker (also now with the A’s). Their replacements are Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton (all this combined is a downgrade because Upton is a pretty good player), and Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado (could we call this a “push” for the pitching in the short-term?).

Both teams after this trade are left in pretty good shape, sending a message to their fans that they want to compete in 2013, but after the offseason the Diamondbacks have had, I’m not sure if I can say they are in better shape than what they ended 2012 with.

Three-Team Trade Thighliting Tlazy Tsaturday

Can’t even enjoy a Saturday eating out at a sushi place with my wife and her family and not have Billy Beane go all off-season on me. Since the press conferences haven’t been held yet, we don’t know where this all started, but after some waiting, we’ve come to know some of the terms of the deals along with the money exchanged. A trade between the Oakland A’s, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Miami Marlins took place today, and let’s talk about who got what:

The A’s Got: 

OF Chris Young (from the D-Backs)

$500,000 (from the D-Backs)

The Diamondbacks Got: 

IF Cliff Pennington (from the A’s) link goes straight to his splits versus other teams — look at his stats vs. the Giants!

RP Heath Bell (from the Marlins) link goes to his stats page on Fangraphs

$8,000,000 (from the Marlins)

The Marlins Got:

SS Prospect Yordy Cabrera (from the A’s)

Happier fans, for now

Early votes from the twittersphere suggest the A’s and Billy Beane have “won” this deal on paper, since they’re buying relatively low on Chris Young, while getting rid of Cliff Pennington (and having a healthier Stephen Drew on their roster already) and only parting with a very meh prospect, or “prospect” as some might call him. The “loser” of this trade is predictably being labeled the D-Backs because Heath Bell is fat, and the DBacks will pay him $6.5MM/year. The Marlins can now focus on being a much stronger team without Bell because Jeffrey Loria is a snake  no, not relevant people in Florida like baseball ugh no, not true. I don’t know.

I didn’t watch Heath Bell that much in 2012 so I can’t tell you what was wrong with him, but we do know he had a horrible start, although quietly had a finish that was much of what the Marlins signed him for. Maybe Arizona will get more of San Diego Heath Bell than Miami Heath Bell? That is to be seen. I think this deal with Bell could work out more for the DBacks than initial reactions suggest (but not to the point of being ecstatic that $6.5MM/yr is being designated to a 7th inning guy). To echo Diamondbacks fans though, if the DBacks think Pennington is their starting SS in 2013, there could be a lot of grumbling fans in the stands.

We wonder also about what the A’s do from here with their outfield of Chris Young, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, and Coco Crisp. Got to imagine Billy Beane isn’t done dealing quite yet. If you can think of any teams that might need an outfielder this season, you can bet he’s thinking of that team as a potential trade partner. Oh look, the Giants need an outfielder in 2013 because we don’t know if Gary Brown will be ready at the start of the season. Only the front office really knows the answer to that right now. Stay tuned.

Series Preview: #DBacks (77-76) vs. #SFGiants (89-64)

The Diamondbacks have an elimination number of four, and there’s nine games left for them to pull of an unlikely miracle. They need a lot of help, but also need to do a lot themselves, beginning with sweeping the Giants, who while they have clinched, still are acting like they have a fire of intention in their bellies. Interesting bit of recent trivia, the last time the Snakes have lost a series, it was against the Giants in Arizona, and the last time the Giants lost a series it was against the DBacks in San Francisco. It is also the only series the Giants have lost in September. The Giants will miss Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched to take the rest of the season off. Josh Collmenter and all of his tomahawks will take his place tonight.

Tuesday, September 25th: RHP Josh Collmenter vs. RHP Tim Lincecum

One sentence summary: Collmenter’s last start was July 27th against the Mets (6 IP, 5 ER), and Lincecum has had the lowest wOBA against of .302 in September of every month this season.

Wednesday, September 26th: LHP Wade Miley vs. RHP Matt Cain

One sentence summary: RHH (.312) have about a full tenth higher of a wOBA against Miley than LHH (.214), while Cain’s last two outings against the DBacks have seen 11 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 10 K, 2 ER.

Thursday, September 27th: LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Barry Zito

One sentence summary: Corbin’s last outing against the Giants of 8 IP was a season-high, while Zito’s .318 wOBA against in September means he’s probably pretty lucky to be sporting a 2.66 ERA in the same month.

Panda vs. Snake

Impressive when a guy has over a 200 wRC+ in the last week like the Diamondbacks have in Chris Johnson (221), but more impressive that the Giants have four guys. I’ll get to that in the next paragraph. Justin Upton is also contributing, but without the long ball (.467 wOBA L7, .338 wOBA overall). Aaron Hill (2 HR L7, 24 HR overall), Miguel Montero (.442 wOBA L7, .369 wOBA overall), and the notorious Paul Goldschmidt (.412 wOBA L7, .368 wOBA overall) have been enjoying their time against San Diego and Colorado. Gerardo Parra — though only 11 PA — is the only one really struggling of late (.201 wOBA L7, .309 wOBA overall).

Those four guys with over a 200 wRC+ in the past week? I’m sure you got Pablo (362!), then Hector (222 in 11 PA), Scutaro (203), and Belt (202 in 15 PA). Pablo’s .703 wOBA in the past week is outstanding and I’m going to venture a guess that it doesn’t stay that hot for the remainder of the season. In addition to the four guys I mentioned, Angel Pagan has also been leading the lineup off right (.443 wOBA L7, .344 wOBA overall). Guys that have been slowing down a bit include the awkward Hunter Pence (.191 wOBA L7, ) and the blue-eyed Brandon Crawford (.207, .281). Angel Pagan is two SB away from 30, and two HR away from 10.

Series Prediction

It should be interesting to watch how Bochy plays the field here (I giggled when I typed that), but by scratching Skaggs, I’m not sure the DBacks have concerns about winning right now.

Tuesday: Diamondbacks win (Goldschmidt)

Wednesday: Giants win (Matt Cain)

Thursday: Giants win (Because I said so)

What I’ve Been Reading (that I believe are important)

Alex Pavlovic’s Postgame Notes from Sunday

Grant Brisbee’s little Barry Zito piece

Bill Baer’s response to a Philly media member and only using the eyes to scout

The broadcaster bias work on WSJ

Wendy Thurm’s Melky article on Fangraphs

Series Preview: #SFGiants (81-62) vs. #DBacks (71-72)

Catcher Miguel Montero and his Diamondbacks, while maybe out of NL West contention, and very real contenders in the Wild Card.

The fourth through sixth games of the month (out of nine) of September between these two clubs brings the Giants to Chase Field for the last time of the regular season, and the black + orange hope they can do better than the last series, where they were outscored 22-17, and lost two out of three from the Snakes. The Diamondbacks will be either 3.5 or 4.5 back of the Wild Card leaders tomorrow depending on how the Cardinals and Dodgers fare tonight, and are currently 10 back of the Giants for the West. For the Giants, the Diamondbacks are that annoying team that never seems to stop bothering you, and will throw three lefties at the Giants this weekend. The DBacks lead the season series 7-5, and with six to go, it actually would not surprise me if the Giants did not win the season series with Arizona.

Friday, September 14th: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs

One sentence summary: Tyler Skaggs’ starts have gotten shorter as his debut season has progressed — 6.2 IP, 5.2, 5.0, 3.2; Matt Cain has gone at least 7.0 IP in 5 of his last 6 starts.

Saturday, September 15th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Wade Miley

One sentence summary: Miley has allowed 11 baserunners in his past two games, giving both teams a chance to win, while Zito hopes to strike out the Snakes like he did last time (6), but with better results for the team.

Sunday, September 16th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Patrick Corbin

One sentence summary: Corbin hasn’t allowed less than 3 ER in a game since a little over a month ago; while Vogelsong still struggles to find what made him a 2011 sensation after only going 8.1 IP in his last two starts combined.

The Bats are Hot… But That’s the Phoenix Heat’s Fault

I mean, have you ever been to Phoenix in the summer months? It’s death outside. I realize it’s September, but that’s still a summer month for Arizona, as are seven to nine other months there. For a team that’s been slithering closer to playoff contention, they don’t have any super-stand-out-crazy-hot batters doing the work for them. Sure, Miguel Montero has been hitting (.404 wOBA L7, .362 wOBA overall), Jason Kubel has been mashing a little bit (.395 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .358 wOBA overall, 29 HR overall), but it’s also a point that outside of John McDonald (.063 wOBA L7, -80 wRC+ L7; . 275 wOBA overall, 63 wRC+ overall), nobody is particularly cold over the past week. Kubel (29) and Hill (22) are still the only 2 DBacks with 20+ HR, but Goldschmidt (18), Montero (15), Johnson (14), Young (14), Upton (13) are all legitimate power sources. Chris Young hasn’t appeared in a game since September 7th, as he’s healing from a quad strain. The primary base-stealers on the club are Goldschmidt (16), Hill (14), Upton (15), and Parra (13).

By averaging 6 runs/game in the last six game, you’d figure there might be some guys doing work, and there are. One of those guys leading the charge might have a new nickname of “MVP” when the regular season ends: Buster Posey (.588 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .402 wOBA overall, 21 HR overall) has been fantastic in the second half for the Giants. Not to be ignored, Gregor Blanco (.450 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .312 wOBA overall, 22 SB overall), and Angel Pagan (.443 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .337 wOBA, 25 SB overall) have been working to set the table up for Giants rallies. Marco Scutaro has also been a more than decent contributor to the offense (.385 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) of late. It’s not lost on anybody who is ice cold: that of the Panda, Kung Fu (.098 wOBA L7, -50 wRC+; .319 wOBA overall, 101 wRC+ overall), who may be hurting more than we comprehend at the moment, or could just be tired because he’s so…. exhausted after playing a lot of games in a baseball season (I already wrote an article on fat, I don’t need to go back to it here).

Series Prediction

How wild will it get in Arizona this weekend? Can the Giants finally put Arizona away for now so that they can focus on clinching the West? Arizona is the one team in the West that worries me the most, especially as the Dodgers continue to be of the LOLs Angeles variety.

Friday: Giants win (Skaggs tires, Cain rises)

Saturday: Giants win (Zito throws a gem because I’m not watching this game due to being at a separate baseball event)

Sunday: DBacks win (It’s not that Vogelsong will stink it up, it’s that the DBacks will do just enough)

Hopefully the Giants can come home with a single-digit magic number, giving them a chance to do some celebrating at AT&T like they did in 2010, but without the last game dramatics.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,658 other followers