A Minor Review of 2017: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks have some intriguing, high-ceiling prospects and quite a few intriguing players sprinkled throughout their minor league system. I quite liked their 2017 draft.

First Taste of The Show: Ildemaro Vargas, IF: The Diamondbacks didn’t really give much playing time to rookies in 2017 so I’ll focus on Vargas even though he had just three plate appearances in The Show. He actually has a chance to be an intriguing utility guy off the bench but the organization stuck with mostly at second base and that has hurt his value. He received opportunities at third base, shortstop and center field – but those opportunities were few and far between. Vargas’ strength comes from making an insane amount of contact – He struck out just 7.5% of the time at triple-A in 2017. He showed a willingness to take a walk in the lower minors but, at the upper levels, he’s been far more reliant on his batting average to drive his on-base percentage. Still, middle infielders that can consistently threaten to hit .300 are in short supply.

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Bullpen Report: September 14, 2017

All that stood between the Indians and the major league record for consecutive wins with no ties was Kelvin Herrera. On a different night, it could have been Scott Alexander who was charged with protecting a streak-ending 2-1 lead for the Royals. However, the lefty had pitched on each of the two previous days, tossing a total of 37 pitches, and on five of the previous seven days. So on Thursday night, Ned Yost chose Herrera to pitch the bottom of the ninth.

It was Herrera’s first save opportunity in a week and his third appearance since being removed from the closer’s role last Friday. He was close to preventing the Indians from making history, as he worked a 1-2 count on Francisco Lindor with two outs and a runner on first. Herrera’s fourth pitch was high, and Lindor smashed his fifth pitch off the left-field wall for a game-tying double. While Herrera blew the save, he did not take the loss, as he retired Austin Jackson for the third out.
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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 496 – Mike Zunino: Batting Champion!

9/14/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Leading Off: Question of the Day

  • Shohei Ohtani is coming! Where’s he going & how good?

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

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#2xSP (9.18-9.24)

The season numbers aren’t great but we’ve picked up some steam over the last few weeks and hopefully will finish strong. As always, if you have any suggestions or tips, please feel free to mention them in the comments section, and thank you for reading.

Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 22)

41-40 record
4.74 ERA
7.8 K/9
2.5 K/BB
1.40 WHIP
44 quality starts

Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):

RHP Dinelson Lamet – 36.6% ESPN – v. ARI (95), v. COL (86)

Lamet dueled with Ervin Santana at Target Field on Wednesday night, and while his team came out on the short end of a walk-off loss, it was a giant step forward for the 25-year-old righty who has put together an intriguing season, to say the least. He’s allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last 10 starts, and that’s good for a 2.44 ERA, .553 OPS against and 66-28 K/BB ratio over 59 innings. However, this week he not only has matchups against two teams with so-so or worse offenses, but he’s also pitching at home, where he’s been markedly better (3.59 ERA) than on the road (4.73).

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Low-Ownership Starters for Friday (9/15)

Here are my thoughts on some lowly owned pitchers throwing tomorrow (<10% in Yahoo! leagues).

Sean Newcomb (9% owned) vs. Mets (Rafael Montero)

Why not? He’s what streaming is about, strikeouts and maybe a Win. He has a 9.4 K/9 on the season with 11.6 K/9 in AAA. He’s facing a beatable Mets team with Montero on the mound. While he’ll walk more than a batter every other inning inflating the owner’s WHIP and ERA, owners know these lowly guys have some negative traits. At least Newcomb as some positive ones, too.

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The Daily Grind: Juicy, Middle-In Fastballs

There are some things you want to be juicy. Most cooked meat products. Watermelon. Fastballs (if you’re a hitter).

AGENDA

  1. Rosey
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. TDG Invitational Returns!

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Mookie Betts and Pull Power

Mookie Betts hit a pair of home runs against the Athletics on Tuesday, which hopefully for the Red Sox means that their star player’s power slump is over. Entering last Friday’s game, Betts had not homered in more than a month. Then, he hit this Fenway special.

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Bullpen Report: September 13, 2017

On Wednesday, for the first time since Aug. 12, Scott Alexander gave up a run. In fact, he coughed up two of them in the ninth inning against the White Sox, taking the loss for the Royals. While Alexander’s ERA grew from 2.00 to 2.26 as a result, there is a possible silver lining in that Ned Yost entrusted him to preserve a tie in the top of the ninth. Yost also gave Alexander the ball for Tuesday’s save opportunity against the White Sox, so there is at least the appearance of him being at the head of the Royals’ closer committee.

Alexander has certainly done everything possible to earn that distinction. While going a month and 15 innings without yielding a run, Brandon Maurer has posted a 7.71 ERA over that same period. Mike Minor has been more reliable over the last 30 days, though he has been less effective at getting batters to chase pitches out of the zone (29.1 percent O-Swing rate, as compared to a 35.8 percent season-to-date mark).
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Pitcher Spotlight: Chase Anderson’s 2017 Transformation

Chase Anderson wasn’t supposed to be a must-own pitcher this season. His first three years in the majors all rendered ERAs north of 4.00 and WHIPs above 1.30, with his strikeout rate falling under 20% in 2015 and 2016. It didn’t look to be much different at the start of this season, with Anderson holding a lackluster 4.25 ERA, 7.58 K/9, and 3.51 BB/9 through his first nine games of the season. However, he’s turned on the jets since, with a sparkling 1.99 ERA, 9.13 K/9, and 2.51 BB/9 over his last twelve starts and he’s making us question where to draft him in 2018.

There are a few apparent changes to Anderson with a tick of velocity added to his Fastball (turning it from a -1.5 pVal to 8.4) and an extra 1.5 inches of drop to his Cutter (pVal increase from -3.4 to 2.4) and I could call it a day by showing off those pitches.

But there’s more to the story than those two changes and I want to expose it. In short, Anderson has become a pitcher. Read the rest of this entry »


Second Half Hitting Standouts

I honestly can’t believe how close we are to the end of the regular season. This is a great time of the year without question, especially if you happen to like football a bit in addition to baseball. You have the playoff races, hopefully some fantasy chases, the start of football, and the transition to Fall. Oh, and then my birthday on October 24th, don’t forget please! Today, I wanted to look at some interesting second half performances that might’ve slipped your radar for any number of reasons.

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