Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Brief Look Back 

Well, there goes the Diamondbacks' home-field advantage in the 2005 World Series.

What? They're not going to be there anyway? Oh, phooey!

In lieu of anything substantial to say, here's a review of the team's first 55.5555555555% of the season.

First Base: Tony Clark and Chad Tracy have combined for a VORP of 38.6, 3rd in baseball for first-basemen (7th overall in NL) behind Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols. I would have to say they've exceeded expectations, no? I suspect that we've found the Tony Clark sweet spot -- too much, and he might break down. 19 Win Shares, or 11 above baseline.

Second Base: Craig Counsell (and Matt Kata) have combined for a VORP of 16.8 and 15 Win Shares (Counsell leads the team in WS), 7 above baseline. Counsell's cooled down a bit from his hot start, but he's still been effective in the leadoff spot and plays good defense.

Shortstop: Royce Clayton and Alex Cintron have combined for a stunning VORP of 4.2, with Royce's offensive contributions below zero. The 7 Win Shares, 2 below baseline, confirms that neither is stellar with the glove, either. I think defensively Clayton's presence has helped Webb (even if he just thinks it helps him), but I'm all for Cintron getting increased time in the second half to advertise him in trade or to season him for one more half-season before Santos and/or Drew join in mid-2006.

Third Base: A VORP of 22.7 (highest on the team) and 12 Win Shares, 5 above baseline, for Mr. Glaus. Good numbers, about what we expected, though not what we hoped. He's been relatively healthy thus far, but we'll see how he responds to the accumulation of aches and pains throughout the second half. There are lots of opportunities to mix up the infield occasionally to get Cintron and Clark more at-bats.

Left Field: Gonzo has a VORP of 20.2 and 13 Win Shares, 6 above baseline. He seems perfectly recovered from his 2004 surgery. Which makes him an adequate defensive player, barely. Gonzo responded to being named the D-Backs' sole All-Star by having an 8-game offensive tailspin, but should be back.

Right Field: Shawn Green has a VORP of 18.5 and 11 Win Shares, 4 above baseline. OK numbers, better than we feared, but not better than we (or Diamondbacks management) hoped. If Green displays his traditional strong second half, we'll be pleased; if he shows signs of continued aging, calls for Quentin and Jackson to be called up will become louder.

Center Field: Centerfielders, centerfielders everywhere, and not a single one meriting much confidence. Cruz, Terrero, McCracken, and Hairston (yes, he's more of a LF, but this is the catch-all category) have been middling at best. A combined VORP of -2.7 and 5 Win Shares, 4 below baseline make this the "lost position." The sad part is that Cruz started out well (and is the only CF with positive numbers here), but injuries have obviously taken their toll. Time to give Terrero more starts -- with three older starting OFs, he's a great candidate to get at least a couple starts a week in various positions. (Even if it's just to display him for trading purposes.)

Catcher: Snyder, Hill, and Stinnett have combined for a VORP of 3.4 and 4 Win Shares, 2 below baseline. Somehow I don't feel as bad about this, basically because Snyder's already a decent defensive catcher and will develop offensively. Definitely not a strength, but nowhere near as worrying as CF and SS.

Rotation: The six pitchers in the rotation -- Webb, Vazquez, Estes, Halsey, Vargas, and Ortiz -- have combined for a pitching VORP of 46.2 and 33 Win Shares, 16 above baseline. The lion's share of that comes from shoulda-been All-Star Brandon Webb and Javier Vazquez. Vazquez isn't pitching as well as he was in May, but it's OK. Estes has been a pleasant surprise; Halsey and Vargas haven't disappointed our low expectations, and Ortiz... well, let's not go there. But, overall, this is a better rotation than last year.

Bullpen: Oh boy. Lance Cormier has a pitching VORP of 15.7 and 7 Win Shares, 6 above baseline. The rest of the bullpen has a pitching VORP of -24.8 and 10 Win Shares, 7 below baseline. Clearly, some of the worst offenders of the bullpen are no longer there, as the D-Backs continue their low-risk, low-reward strategy of plucking castoffs from the waiver wire. But as long as the rotation is tiniest bit shaky and the offense sputters, we'll be forced to endure a bullpen of little consistency.

There you have it. Nothing you didn't know already, but consolidated in a tiny format. Print and enjoy.

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