29-20 Diamondbacks appear to have stolen the San Diego Padres’ thunder
There was always hope that a young, funky team would finally not only get the best of the Dodgers, but also mark the end of the Dodgers’ now decade-long run atop the NL West. Yes, the Giants got them once, in a season when the Dodgers still won 106 games. And we know what happened in the first round. We just assumed it was an expensive kids collection in San Diego. Turns out it might be a cheaper collection of even younger kids in Phoenix?
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The Diamondbacks are 29-20, third best in the National League and just a game and a half behind the Dodgers in the West. While the D-Backs were expected to be better and more interesting, even from the ugliest and most confused writerscontroversy came early for the Snakes.
So you may be asking yourself, how did they get here? If Arizona’s plan was to bring a bunch of young hitters through the system and then watch them blossom together, that’s pretty much where we’re headed. Six of their nine hitters with over 100 PA so far this season have a wRC+ over 115. Dominic Fletcher, who was called up on the last day of April and took over the midfield job, can take the seventh place on the list. . Fletcher does something like this on the field in addition to the game:
Expected batting average on balls hit by Kyle Schwarber: .930.
In addition to Fletcher, the youth movement is also driven by the preseason, and likely current Rookie of the Year favorite Corbin Carroll, catcher Gabriel Moreno, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and three-fifths of the rotation.
Old man take a look at my life
But hey, every young person needs a mentor, and Arizona has them. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. can’t get out right now, currently on a 13-game hitting streak and a 1.256 OPS in May. He also has hair like this:
(although we will certainly forgive if you don’t find fun in Gurriel)
Perdomo was the real surprise as he wasn’t seen as much more than a shortstop with a glove as he never really got above high-A. And he’s certainly on the good side of some devilish BABIP betrayals, hitting .370 in that category while 200 points ahead of the expected slide. It won’t last, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been one of the best defenders this season, which is valuable in itself.
The only guy not hitting is Josh Rojas at third, but he was one of the best defensive shortstops in the league in both Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Average. For visual proof, see here and here.
While the rotation as a whole is shaky (17th in ERA), Zac Gallen’s Cy Young candidacy has held him more than once in two months. And he thinks the Cardinals are bullshit stupid, so you should find him entertaining. Gallen carries a sub-3.00 ERA and sub-.200 FIP with a 6:1 strikeout/walk ratio. Gallen has relied heavily on his curveball this season, throwing it nearly a third of the time and getting a 41 percent whiff rate. On. Now that the D-Backs have thrown professional red-ass Madison Bumgarner out into the sun, they are certainly a much lighter team. and the rotation behind Gallen is filled by under-25s Ryne Nelson, Brandon Pfaadt and Tommy Henry. And not everyone is trying to take the game back to 1972 without drugs like Bumgarner. Each has had its ups and downs, but Arizona is hoping that’s what the rotation will look like for seasons to come.
Who knows how long this might last? Even if Gallen can pull this off for a full season, Nelson, Pfaadt and Henry will have growing pains and fatigue late in the season. Row kids will soon get the scout report blues. Gurriel will eventually remember that he is almost 40 years old. And we all know that dyed hair fades over time and the roots grow in. if that is the source of his magic.
But for now, there’s fun. And they’re new, and if nothing else, I repeat, they’ve made Bumgarner as awesome to the curb as possible. Let’s take what we can get.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate to see if he actually turns on a Cubs game one day.