A rival scout sizes up the DIAMONDBACKS
ADDISON REED has been sharp this spring. He's not overpowering, but he certainly shows enough at 93 or 94 to close, with a solid slider and changeup. They're content with that.... They're shopping two guys in their bullpen: JOE THATCHER and J.J. PUTZ. Thatcher's velocity is way down from what he's thrown in the past—he used to be around 89, now he's at 85. He might get away with it because he's a low-slot guy who relies more on tricking batters than power.... PATRICK CORBIN was throwing well in camp; losing him to the elbow injury is going to hurt them. WADE MILEY and BRANDON MCCARTHY have looked good. But someday soon ARCHIE BRADLEY will be the featured guy in this rotation. He isn't far away even though he hasn't had much minor league time....A.J. POLLOCK has been driving it to both gaps and running down balls in the outfield.... AARON HILL is an offense-over-defense guy at second base. He's not real rangy and won't run much, but he can hit bombs.... I really like GERARDO PARRA; he's underrated. He's got sneaky pop, and he can play all three outfield positions.... Between DIDI GREGORIUS and CHRIS OWINGS the D-Backs have some options at shortstop. They aren't deep in catching prospects, so I wouldn't be surprised if the loser of the shortstop battle gets moved. KIRK GIBSON likes Owings's bat, and it's not like he's a slouch at short—he's at least an average defender.
2014 Projected Statistics and Run Totals by ROTOWIRE.COM
PROJECTED RUNS SCORED
NL AVERAGE 667
PROJECTED RUNS ALLOWED
NL AVERAGE 677
There has been some great research, dating to the Elias Sports Bureau in the 1980s and built upon by others, about the value of platooning not by handedness but by ground-ball/fly-ball tendencies. Ground-ball hitters hit fly-ball pitchers better than they do ground-ball pitchers, and vice versa. The Diamondbacks can put that into play this season at the back end of their bullpen, where they have an extreme ground-ball pitcher in BRAD ZIEGLER (70% of balls in play last season were on the ground) and an extreme fly-ball pitcher in ADDISON REED (44% of balls in play in the air). Both are righthanded, so while they can't be platooned in the traditional manner, KIRK GIBSON can use them based on the tendencies of the batters due up over the game's last two innings. It's a strategy that should protect more late-inning leads than simply assigning one righty to pitch the eighth and the other the ninth all the time.
TOM DIPACE (GOLDSCHMIDT)
CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES (PARRA)