I thought this team wore purple...
Okay. So the Diamondbacks have gotten rid of a color scheme both unappealing and probably not different enough from their NL West neighbors in Denver. They look better. Are they better? Are they good?
As you all probably know, the Diamondbacks GM is one of Theo Epstein's old assistant GMs, Josh Byrnes. Byrnes has kept the team committed to a (mostly) youth movement since he came aboard. Some of the most exciting young position players not wearing Devil Ray uniforms, or blocked by inferior veterans in the Dodger organization wear the red and black of the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks are second in the NL West, 1 game back of the Padres, with a 36-25 record, having won 8 of their last 10 games.
- 1B: Conor Jackson
Jackson is a former 1st round pick in the 2003 draft. He's shown patience and gap power at the big league level, but I would imagine the team would like to see more in terms of HR power. Jackson has seen most of his numbers improve over last season.
- 2B: Orlando Hudson
Hudson spent most of his career in a Blue Jay uniform before becoming part of the Troy Glaus trade. He's having a bit of a career year thusfar at the plate, and has one of the best 2B gloves in the game.
- SS: Stephen Drew
J.D.'s little brother has apparently been taking hitting tips from him this season. His walk rate is in line with last season, but he's struggled with power and batting average. He had a ridiculously high BABIP last season (.396) which has been corrected quite a bit this season (.278). He may or may not be the kind of player who has the ability to put up an above-average BABIP every season (think Manny or Jeter), but he hasn't thusfar, and has struggled.
- 3B: Mark Reynolds
I was all set to write about Chad Tracy, and in my ignorance, didn't realize that he was on the DL. Reynolds has done a more than admirable job filling in, posting a 1.001 OPS in 78 ABs. He's probably a pretty good player, but unless you believe his #s from the hitter-friendly California League, the truth is that he's probably not this good.
- LF: Eric Byrnes
Is Eric Byrnes THIS (.908 OPS) good? Should the D-Backs care about whether he is or not? He's probably providing them with good defense in LF, and a team that probably has someone young to replace him next season should just sit back and enjoy being the beneficiary of a contract year performance.
- CF: Chris Young
Obviously, the White Sox couldn't use a player like this to man CF. Just no need. I mean, if you can't count on scraputitty Darin Erstad, who CAN you count on? Young hasn't been ridiculously good thusfar, but you can see the potential in flashes.
- RF: Carlos Quentin
Have to believe he's going to be better than this. His debut last season was encouraging, and basically all of these guys are learning on the job.
- C: Chris Snyder/Miguel Montero
These two are basically sharing duties, and neither are hitting very well. Keep an eye on Montero, as he's the only one of the two with a ceiling (rated a B+ as a good all-around catching prospect by Sickels)
- Bench: Robby Hammock-Scott Hairston-Alberto Callaspo-Tony Clark
Can a D-Back fan reading this please e-mail me and explain why Hammock is on the roster, unless they're trying to combat the spreading epidemic of roster flexiblity? Thanks. Hairston, Callaspo, and Clark make up a decent bench, with Clark and Hairston able to provide a bit of punch off the bench, while Callaspo serves as their backup everything (2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF thusfar).
Good news first: No Brandon Webb this series. Bad news? Two LHPs and a rookie starter. So expect more anemic performances from the offense, kids.
- Game 1: Doug Davis
Davis is shaping up to be what he was in Milwaukee, though a bit better thusfar this season. A durable pitcher averaging just over 6 IP per start. That ERA may not hold up all season, especially with a WHIP more than a shade above his career average. Papi is 1 for 3 with a 2B, Manny is 1 for 2 with a 2B and a SF, WMP has 2 HRs in 15 PAs (with one other hit).
- Game 2: Micah Owings
Owings has had a good start to his career, with a 4-1 record, and a 3.86 ERA. This being his first season, he has never faced any Red Sox hitters.
- Game 3: Randy "Smiley" Johnson
What don't we know about RJ? One of the best LHPs of all-time, he has regained form in Arizona, striking out 61 in 47 2/3 with a tidy 1.049 WHIP. The difference in these numbers and his time with the Yankees could be the ultimate cautionary tale for the Clemens to-the-AL comeback. Coco is 2 for 7 with 2 2Bs, Manny is 11 for 41 with 5 HRs, 5 BBs, 3 2Bs, and 17 RBIs, 'Tek is 7 for 23 with 2 HRs, a 2B, and 4 BBs, and Youks is 4 for 13 with a 2B, a HR, and 3 BBs. Pedroia has reached base in all 3 PAs against RJ, with a 2B and 2 BBs.