Tag:Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: April 3, 2008 1:30 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks Batting Order

 Arizona doesn't have a pure clean-up hitter, period. The closest players we have to a clean-up hitter is Eric Byrnes, Mark Reynolds, and Conor Jackson. Those are the most pathetic clean-up hitters I've seen. Eric Byrnes is a stereo-typical 2 hitter, Mark Reynolds strikes out too much and doesn't fit the clean-up hitter scenario for this team (advance runners, get rbi's), and Conor Jackson has the worst RISP average. Even with the team makeup (to produce one run at a time) these guys are bad for the clean-up spot. With that said, Arizona's batting order is perpetually needing to be changed, and will always be geared towards getting those one or two runs per inning instead of the three or four. Regardless of whether the top, middle, or bottom of the order is due up.

Granted the line-up will be changing more than the shifting sands in the Sonoran Desert, and players will rise and fall within the lineup more than a "Streety's" britches on Van Buren. But as a general rule of thumb this is how I think the batting order ought to look, not for power numbers, but to maximize what this team tries to do, score one or two runs per inning. This line-up would use certain strengths of players, such as Young's speed or Jackson's eye for the strike zone, to keep pressure on the opposing teams pitchers.

Lead Off Hitter

Chris B. Young - He's got great speed and can swipe bags as good as anyone else on the team. He's also got a bit of pop in his bat. His .239 carreer batting average and high strike out numbers are a cause for concern, but what he brings to the table when he's on makes him a shoe-in for the leadoff spot. He can improve, but being a young player you have to give him the benefit of the doubt... for now.


Orlando Hudson - Hudson started the year off as the lead-off last season, and did a great job. When Chris Young started getting hot, Hudson moved to the #2 slot, which is a good place for him. He's an aggressive runner and his speed makes it difficult for teams to double him up. He's also a carreer .278 hitter with his lowest being .268. That kind of consistencies is what you look for in the top of the order. If Young struggles at the dish it won't be long until Hudson takes over the lead-off spot.


Eric Byrnes - He's only hit .300 one time in his carreer, and that was when he played 10 games with Oakland his rookie year. Last year was his best year for batting with a meager, in regards to a #3 hitter, .286 average. So why do I want him batting #3? Because I don't like any of the other options more. He's got good speed so he also doesn't get doubled up frequently, he's got average power numbers, but most importantly last year with RISP he batted .296 with 19 BB and 62 RBI's.

Clean Up

In my opinion, the best player for the cleanup spot has to be Mark Reynolds. He's got a lot of pop in his bat, and I expect to see a better year this year than last. As a switch hitter, his batting average is nearly identical no matter where he plays or what side of the plate he is swinging from. He strikes out quite a bit, but you expect that out of an average power hitter. He batted .279 his rookie year with 17 homeruns and 62 rbi's in 111 games. Most of that damage was done in the second half as he adjusted to the pitching in the Bigs.


Chris Snyder - Once again the batting average is low (.252) but provides different threats depending on if he's facing a lefty or a righty. Last year against lefties he bats .316 with 23 RBI's and a .407 OBP. While the rbi's don't drop off against the lefties, his batting average goes down while his power numbers go up.


Stephen Drew - I expect to see a break-out year from Stephen Drew. He doesn't have the power numbers to be a three,  four, or five hole hitter, or the speed to be the one or two. He's a consistent bottom of the line up guy who puts the ball in play and puts pressure on the defense and the pitcher. He's got a .259 carreer batting average and average numbers across the board. Drew has a strong second half upside as his batting average, run production, and rbi's consistently climbs through July, August, and September.


Justin Upton - Upton his touted as one of the greatest prospects in baseball. He floundered last year after being brought up after the All-Star Break. He can benefit greatly from getting some good looking pitches to hit. Placing him seventh isn't because he deserves it, but because he can develop more here than batting ahead of the pitcher where he won't get any decent looks. I expect a rough start early on for the kid, but as the season progresses look for some decent numbers with increased run production and fewer strikeouts. He'll also provide some good speed in the bottom of the lineup.


Conor Jackson - I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but frankly I'm not impressed by his unfulfilled potential. His 2008 RISP average is a horrendous .235, with an overall ba of .284. My greatest reason for putting him here as opposed to sixth or seventh is because he walks... a lot! The eight hole hitter always gets junk pitches because you've got the pitcher behind you. If your eight hole guy isn't swinging at bad pitches, it means you aren't beating yourself. If Mark Reynolds fails to produce in the clean-up spot, you almost have to give the guy the nod for that spot.


**For those of you that aren't familiar with my disdain for CoJack, let me just say this: I can't stand the guy and he ought to be traded. He hasn't lived up to his potential at this point, and like many other "up and coming" Diamondbacks, I doubt that he ever will. And until he can prove me wrong, I'm going to continue raggin' on the guy, regardless of complete logic. If it weren't for my distaste for him, he'd probably be batting sixth instead of ninth.**

Posted on: February 13, 2008 3:22 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2008 10:51 pm

NL Pre-Season Rankings

NL West: This is turning into not just the most competitive division in the National League, but the division with the most talent as teams are picking up a lot of AL talent and talent from other NL areas. Expect 4 teams to be in the race going into the final month, and like last year


Diamondbacks - The pick up of Dan Haren to replace Livan Hernandez will put these kids over the top in their division this year. This season will depend on their young guys continuing to progress throughout the year. They had a break out year by Chris Young last year, and have a lot of young prospects (like Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds)  who look primed to repeat that this year.

Padres - They've still got the best pitching in the conference with Jake Peavy, Chris R. Young, and Maddux. The addition of Mark Prior could prove to be a huge move, or a giant bust. Time will tell. They've also amped up their batting with Jeff DaVanon and Jim Edmonds, but there are still holes throughout the rest of the batting order. While their batting leaves a lot to be desired it should still be enough as long as their pitching can continue to carry them through another year.

Dodgers - The Dodgers had a nice core last year, but didn't do anything with it. The addition of Andruw Jones into their line-up could prove to be just what they needed offensively. Jones had a down year last year, and it should be interesting to see how he bounces back with the Dodgers against better pitching. The Dodgers also bolstered up their pitching rotation with Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. For the most part this is an older team, and injuries will probably be their downfall.

Rockies - For the most part the Rockies stood pat with the young team they had. The additions of Marcus Giles and Scott Podsednik could provide some good veteran leadership. The loss of Kazuo Matsui could prove costly for this young team, but for the most part you're looking at the same team that made its way to the World Series through the back door last year. Before the Rockies fans jump on me, let me just reiterate that the #4 spot in this division is not an insult, the division is too tough for that.

  Giants - The team that needed to do the most this off season has done the least. They have finally parted ways with the roid king himself, Barry Bonds, and replaced him with Aaron Rowand. Great move, but it only addresses the removal of one freak from the locker room. They've still got a long way to go, and chances are they won't be competitive for another year or so.


NL Central: This is certainly a top-heavy division and the top three will be really competitive with the remaining three dropping out of the race no later than late July.

Cubs - The NL Central Champs return most of their players with the execption of a few players who had down years last year and didn't have a huge impact. In addition to their returning roster they have added Kosuke Fukudome, a Japanese OF who puts up a huge .383 carreer BA, and averages 21 HR's a season. The Cubs have to be the frontrunner in the NL Central this year.

Cardinals - The return of Chris Carpenter, and other key players from injury are going to be huge for the Cardinals. But the losses of Scott Rolen, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Troy Percival are hardly made up for by the additions of Troy Glaus  Cesar Izturis. They'll be competitive, but likely fall short in the end.


Astros- These guys had a huge firesale as if they were going out of business. They've traded away Chris Burke, Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, Mike Lamb, and the list goes on. But that firesale sThey've picked up some quality players, like Geoff Blum, Darin Erstad, Kazuo Matsui and Miguel Tejada. Should be interesting to see what these guys can do.


Brewers - A late season collapse last year kept them out of the playoffs. The only key losses this offseason were Johnny Estrada,  Kevin Mench, and Scott Linebrink, and Francisco Cordero. They will be effectively replaced by Jason Kendall, Mike Cameron, and Eric Gagne. The Brewers organization appears to know what it is doing. They'll be right there until the end, and could pull off the Division Championship if they can avoid that late season slump.


Reds - Didn't do much outside of acquiring Francisco CorderoJeremy Affeldt and a bunch of minor leaguers. Since the Reds can't score runs, and their pitching is awful, Cordero won't get many save situations, etgo we'll see if those minor leaguers pay off. Otherwise, it will be another subpar season for the Reds.


Pirates - In addition to a plethora of minor leaguers they picked up Doug Mientkiewicz which is nice, but won't be nearly enough.




NL East: This should be an interesting race for three teams, but as usual the Nationals and Marlins will be the whipping boys of the National league.

Mets - All you need to know, and probably already do, is Johan Santana. They blew their 7 game lead to lose the division race in the final 17 games. Santana alone is enough to pick up those extra games to secure the division race.


Braves - The additions of Tom Glavine and  Mark Kotsay are huge. But not nearly as big as having Mark Teixeira for a full season. They did lose Andruw Jones and Edgar Renteria, but they're certainly more loaded this year than last and have the deepest pitching rotation in the division. They'll be right on the heels of the Mets when all is said and done.

Phillies - The Phillies in the three spot can only mean one thing, this is going to be a tight division race. They lost out big with the loss of Aaron Rowand, the losses of  Jon Lieber and Tadahito Iguchi don't help matters much either. The pick-ups of Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, and most importantly Brad Lidge will help. But bottom line is that Rowand is too great of a loss for them to overcome and still win the division this

Nationals - Although they've been suprisingly better since returning to D.C. a few years ago, this team typically consists of has-beens or never-will-bes. There are the few players inbetween. D.C. seems to be a pit stop for trades or on the way out the door. This year they'll feature guys like Johnny Estrada, Aaron Boone, and Wily Mo Pena so they'll pick up more games than Florida, but don't look for them to be able to keep up with the rest of the division.

Marlins - I think the ownership of these guys are suicidal, not only did they trade away their best player, Dontrelle Willis, after having an off year, but they picked up the marvellous  Byung-Hyun Kim. That in and of itself should secure them the worst record in the entire MLB.

Posted on: February 13, 2008 11:53 am
Edited on: February 13, 2008 11:55 am

Arizona Diamondbacks: Batting Order

Since Spring Training is starting this week, I figured I would take a break from my beloved PAC-10 Basketball and discuss some baseball. I've got a few season predictions, and a bit of analysis... and then it's back to basketball again until the regular season gets underway. The first order of business is the Diamondbacks batting order. First of all, with the "Mad Scientist" Bob Melvin at the helm we know that this lineup is going to be ever changing. But as a general rule of thumb, this is what I think the BO (no, not that kind of BO) will look like...

1.Chris Young - proved he can handle the lead-off spot. He's a threat to steal and to go long with it. Love his hustle. He's worked his way through the first year adjustments and proved that he is going to be an elite player.
Big Concern: Will he avoide the typical sports Sophomore let down?

2. Orlando Hudson - Very consistent hitter with a lot of speed will keep the pressure on the bases and limit the double-play ball.
Big Concern: How will he respond after the wrist surgery?


3. Eric Byrnes - Keep the speed coming. Byrnes proved he can get it out of the park with some regularity. Byrnes seemed to come up with big hits last year to keep drives going. He was quick on the basepaths when the D-backs needed to keep the pressure on.
Big Concern: Can he keep his emotion under control? The emotion is a good thing, but at the end of the year last year he stumbled a bit because he was overly excited.


4. Mark Reynolds - Should be more consistant than last year. This kid has some major power in his bat. His numbers on the road vs. at home only vary by 0.010, and against righties and lefties there is only a 0.001 vairance. He's a constant threat so long as he's not in one of his adjustment funks (which should have ended last season).
Big Concern: Can he learn he doesn't always need to hit it out?


5. Chris Snyder - He's a solid hitter than had more success when he wasn't batting 8 or 9. Had 13 HR's last season, and he doesn't strike out very frequently. Not the ideal hitter for the 5 spot, but its the best the Diamondbacks have.
Big Concern: Can he have big numbers like you want out of a 5 spot guy when he'll be splitting time behind the plate with Miguel Montero?


6. Stephen Drew - He gets on base constantly, and I expect he should have a break out year this year as he becomes more mature and understands the pitchers better. He's got decent pop to his bat, and does a great job of making the defense work. He should make some great progress this year.
Big Concern: Can he keep out of the double play?


7. Conor Jackson - Jackson has a great eye for the strike zone, but is frequently too patient at the plate and passes up on big pitches. He has the potential to have good HR numbers, but his clutch numbers are horrible. His RISP is barely over .200, and he's almost a guaranteed out after the 7th inning with the game within 1 run. Not the player make-up you want for your 4 or 5 guy.
Big Concern:  His clutch numbers are horrendous, and he's not the swiftest of foot. If Upton is running behind him he better find another gear.

8. Justin Upton - Love his speed and his potential. Batting 8th will make him look at the pitches and in the long run will make him a better hitter. He's got decent power, but he will need some development. Overtime he should develop into a great hitter.
Big Concern: Batting 8th is a tough spot to hit. Don't usually get very good pitches to hit. Should be interesting to see what he can do with this spot being as it will be his first full year in the Bigs.

9. Micah Owings  - With the exception of Owings (and Davis a slight bit) this spot is typically an automatic out. Owings proved last year he can handle a bat just as well as he can pitch. You never know, if his pitching goes south he might end up pulling a Rick Ankiel.
Big Concern: It's the pitcher's spot... what do you think? He's not going to pitch but every fifth game. This isn't the AL you know.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com