Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.
Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito
Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay
Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.
Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Aaron Hill, Archie Bradley, BRad Ziegler, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Gerrardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Kevin Towers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, spring training, Stephen Drew, Takashi Saito, Takashi Saito, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:15 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
The American League East is the biggest, baddest division in baseball -- in large part because of the deep pockets of the Yankees and Red Sox, but also because of the drafting and development from the Rays. Somewhere in the middle is the Blue Jays, a team that could be a giant in maybe any other division in baseball. In our exercise, the Blue Jays have an argument as one of the best teams in baseball, largely because of a stout rotation.
1. Reed Johnson, CF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Michael Young, 1B
4. Adam Lind, DH
5. Vernon Wells, LF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Ryan Roberts 3B
8. J.P. Arencibia, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Ricky Romero
4. Shaun Marcum
5. Alfredo Aceves
Closer - Brandon League
Set up - Marc Rzepczynski, Tim Collins, Brandon Lyon, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen
Long - Jesse Litsch
Notable Bench Players
Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Casey Blake, Travis Snider, Eric Thames.
That rotation, are you kidding?
There's Rios and Wells -- two of the most overpaid players in the game. Those two are not just overpaid, they're also not very good. Eric Thames could step in for either one. There are some decent players on the bench, but not a lot of pop.
Comparison to real 2011
The 81-81 season was seen as a step forward for the Blue Jays in 2011, but with this lineup the expectations would be much, much higher. The rotation alone makes this team the favorite in the AL East in our hypothetical. The offense lacks the impact of Jose Bautista, but there's enough to support the pitching staff. Not only is this team better than the real Blue Jays, they have a shot at winning it all.
Next: Colorado Rockies
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, AL East, Alex Rios, Alfredo Aceves, Blue Jays, Brandon League, Brandon Lyons, C. Trent Rosecrans, Casey Blake, Casey Janssen, Cesar Izturis, Chris Carpenter, Dustin McGowan, Eric Thames, Felipe Lopez, homegrown, J.P. Arencibia, Jesse Litsch, Jose Bautista, Marc Rzepcynski, Michael Young, Orlando Hudson, Reed Johnson, Ricky Romero, Roy Halladay, Ryan Roberts, Shaun Marcum, Tim Collins, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells
Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:02 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers starter didn't get the win on Friday, but he was a line for the victory before John Axford's blown save. Gallardo won Game 1 and overall he went 14 innings, allowed 10 hits, two runs, walked three and struck out 14. The only two runs he allowed were on solo homers. The right-hander was the team's opening day starter by default as Zack Greinke was injured in spring training, but Gallardo came through this season to prove his worth as a top of the rotation starter.
Chris Young. There were a lot of bigger names in this series, but few performed like Young. Perhaps the only thing he didn't do was celebrate after Game 5. He hit .389/.421/.944 with three homers in the series and made one of the greatest catches I've seen in a postseason game -- going deep to take away Jerry Hairston Jr.'s liner in the Brewers' sixth inning. If he doesn't make that catch, Milwaukee scores at least two in that inning and there may be no extra innings. Had Yuniesky Betancourt not followed with a bloop single, who knows what happens in Game 5? So why a B? Every player feels they could do just a little more to win a series, even one who had as dominant a series as Young. Consider this a B-plus held down by the curve of his team.
Managerial moves: There were some winners and losers on both sides. In the end, the managers weren't the reason the Diamondbacks are going home and the Brewers are ready for the NLCS -- the players were. The players put on an amazing display of baseball through five games and especially in the last game. Gibson was overaggressive in the first game, getting punished by pitching to Prince Fielder, but then used his bullpen masterfully in the fourth game. Roenicke was slow to his bullpen in the fourth game, but played the right notes in his lineup, especially using Hairston as his third baseman, with Hairston coming up with some big hits and big plays in the field.
Road team woes. The home team won every game of this series, while the road teams struggled to score runs. Give credit to the pitching staffs for both teams, especially Gallardo and Josh Collmenter, but the team batting first struggled throughout the series. Milwaukee hit just .215/.278/.369 at Chase Field and Arizona hit just .229/.296/.400 at Miller Park.
Video: Arizona manager Kirk Gibson still believes it was a great season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 6:25 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Brewers have the reputation as a big, lumbering slugging team -- and much of that probably comes from the image of Prince Fielder and his bombastic blasts. But Arizona has counted on the long ball more than Milwaukee in the National League division series -- at least so far.
After Justin Upton's solo shot in the top of the third of Game 5 off of Yovani Gallardo, the Diamondbacks have tagged Brewer pitchers for 10 homers in the series, with homers accounting for 17 of the team's 24 runs so far in the series.
All six of the Diamondbacks' runs at Miller Park have come on home runs.
Milwaukee led the National League with 185 homers in the regular season, with Arizona's 172 homers the fourth-most in the league.
Friday's homer was Upton's second of the series, he also homered in Game 2. Five different Diamondbacks have homered in the series and of those five, all but Aaron Hill have more than one homer in the series. Chris Young has three -- including two in Game 3 -- with Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts and Upton all hitting two.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 1:35 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
One of the more famous stories in American sports history is that of Sandy Koufax refusing to play on Yom Kippur. Koufax, who is Jewish, decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on the Jewish holiday, which is also known as Day of Atonement and is the holiest of day of the year in the religion. It is traditionally observed by a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.
Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown and perhaps the most visible Jewish athlete in American sports has what could be the biggest game of his life, as Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun prepares for Game 5 of the National League division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A win, and Braun will advance in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Braun is a big part of the Brewers' lineup, he's a potential MVP and is hitting .467/.529/.867 with three doubles and a homer, driving in four in the series.
The game is scheduled to being at 4:07 p.m. local time in Milwaukee, so the game could finish before the scheduled 6:23 p.m. setting of the sun. But that is unlikely to be an issue anyway. The Brewers faced a similar situation in 2007 and the then-rookie Braun said he would play regardless.
"I am half Jewish, and I am not Orthodox," Braun told MLB.com in 2007. "So I never grew up celebrating the holidays. I'm going to play."
In addition to Koufax, another famous Jewish baseball player chose not to play on Yom Kippur, when Hank Greenberg played on Rosh Hashanah, but not on Yom Kippur during a Tigers pennant race in 1934.
What's interesting to me is the reactions -- in 1934 Greenberg was bashed by the Detroit press for putting himself over the team. In 1965 Koufax was praised for sticking to his ideals and being true to himself. In 2011, it's not really an issue for Braun -- and that's OK. I think the interesting thing is the different reactions based on the different times.
I don't for a moment want it to be interpreted as me judging Braun for playing -- it's his decision and his alone to judge. He's doing what he feels is right, and as a non-practicing Jew, why should he step aside? I'm sure someone in the comments will say I'm judging him -- and I'm the last person who can judge another man's religious convictions -- good, bad or indifferent. I've worked on every holiday known to man, from Christmas Day to Arbor Day -- and I usually volunteer. To me, it's just interesting to see the changes we've made in a society as far as this issue is concerned, and use Braun as a way of looking back at Greenberg and Koufax and admiring what they did in their own time.
Lineups have yet to be released
Kennedy vs. Brewers: Kennedy was a little worse than average in Game 1, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings in the Diamondbacks' loss. The big blow was Prince Fielder's two-run, two-out homer that chased Kennedy in the seventh inning. Fielder is 4 for 12 in his career against Kennedy with a double and two homers and six strikeouts.
Gallardo vs. Diamondbacks: Game 1 came down to Gallardo's mastery of the Diamondbacks, as Gallardo held Arizona to four hits and one run, striking out nine over eight innings. Arizona threatened in the first inning of Game 1, but Willie Bloomquist was thrown out at the plate by Ryan Braun for the inning's second out and then Gallardo retired the next seven batters he faced. After asking his only batter of the game in the fourth, he retired his next eight. By the time Ryan Roberts homered in the eighth, Milwaukee led 4-1 and the Brewers were in control. Counting his Game 1 performance, Gallardo is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in his career against Arizona.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 1:26 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Hero: In such a jam-packed game, it's easy to overlook something that happened in the first inning, but from the moment the ball left Ryan Roberts' bat with two outs in the first inning, the Brewers were playing catchup. It was Roberts' only hit of the night, but when you can drive in four runs with one hit -- especially in the first -- you've had a pretty good night.
Goat: Brewers starter Randy Wolf not only gave up Reynolds' grand slam in the first, he also gave up a homer to Chris Young right after Reynolds' blast. Wolf's offense kept him in the game, scoring runs in the second and third to make it 5-3, but then the Brewers left-hander gave up a two-out single to pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill in the third to return Arizona's lead to four. Wolf's final line: three innings, eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and two homers.
Turning point: In the first inning of Game 1, Arizona third base coach Matt Williams sent Willie Bloomquist on a single to the outfield and the Diamondback shortstop was thrown out at the plate, killing the Diamondbacks' momentum and their only real shot at Yovani Gallardo. On Wednesday, Williams threw up the stop sign for Bloomquist on a single to right by Miguel Montero. Two batters later, the conservative call paid off as Roberts blasted the grand slam.
It was over when … It seems odd for a scoring play for the losing team to occupy this spot, but when Corey Hart's drive in the sixth inning stayed in the park, it seemed like some air was let out of the Brewers' balloon. Hart's drive to left-center was corralled by Gerardo Parra, allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to score, making it 7-4. But a single run was a disappointment after Hart crushed Bryan Shaw's pitch. Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a fielder's choice to end the inning with two on and Ryan Braun in the on-deck circle.
Next: Just like the other NLDS matchup, this one's going the distance, and Arizona's Cy Young candidate, Ian Kennedy, will get another shot at the Brewers and Gallardo. Gallardo was dominant in a 4-1 Game 1 victory in Milwaukee. Gallardo allowed just four hits and struck out nine Diamondback batters in the win, while Kennedy gave up four runs on eight hits.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 5:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You'd think Tuesday's thrilling victory over the Brewers in Game 3 of the National League division series would be all the advertising the Diamondbacks would need to sell tickets to Wednesday's Game 4. You'd be wrong.
As late as Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks official Twitter feed said there were "good seats still available" for Game 4.
Despite the team's surprising run to the National League West title, Arizona was still 18th in overall attendance on the season, averaging 25,992 per game -- up from 25,394 in 2010. Among playoff teams, only the Rays had a lower attendance. The Rays drew 18,878 per game, more than only the A's.
The Diamondbacks played before an average capacity of 53.4 percent, the seventh lowest in baseball. No playoff team had a worse percentage. Tampa Bay played in front of an average of 55.4 percent full crowds at Tropicana Field.
Game 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TBS
Wolf vs. Diamondbacks: The left-hander has had trouble against Arizona this season, losing both his starts and putting up a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. On July 5 he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a Brewers loss at Miller Park, while he was better on July 18, allowing just two earned runs (three total) on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Justin Upton is just 5 for 20 (.250) against Wolf, but two of those five hits are homers. Lyle Overbay, Parra, Roberts and Young also have homers against Wolf.
Saunders vs. Brewers: Saunders earned a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Brewers on July 20, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee. Braun is 2 for 6 in his career against Saunders with two homers. Prince Fielder is hitless in six plate appearances against Saunders, striking out three times and walking once.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos GOmez, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Diamondbacks, George Kottaras, Gerardo Parra, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joe Saunders, Justin Upton, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Willie Bloomquist, Yniesky BEtancourt
Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Marcum vs. Diamondbacks: Marcum earned a no decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. Every Brewer that has faced Marcum has managed a hit against him, but only Upton has more than one (2 for 6). Montero's lone hit in three at-bats against Marcum was for a homer.
Collmenter vs. Brewers: Collmenter was moved up in the rotation in part because of his success against the Brewers. In two starts against Milwaukee this season, the Brewers haven't scored on him in 14 innings. Collmenter started in back-to-back starts around the All-Star break, getting a no-decision after six innings of three-hit ball on July 6 in Milwaukee and picking up the win after allowing just three hits in eight innings at Chase Field on July 18. On the Brewers, only Fielder (2 for 5), Morgan (2 for 6) and Betancourt (1 for 3) have hits off Collmenter. All the Brewers hits off Collmenter have been singles.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Diamondbacks, Georardo Parra, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joe Saunders, Jonathan Lucroy, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Nyjer Morgan, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Shaun Marcum, Willie Bloomquist, Yuniesky BEtancourt