The Diamondbacks haven’t had the greatest start, but it could be a lot worse if it weren’t for a few surprising contributors.
Wade Miley has stepped up admirably for the rotation while Daniel Hudson was lost to injury, Patrick Corbin has been very good since being promoted to replace the struggling Josh Collmenter and journeyman Cody Ransom has provided a significant spark for a slumping offense. The 36-year old Ransom has bounced among 5 MLB teams but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his production right now. Ransom is hitting .317 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI in just 41 at-bats. Since being called up on April 22nd, Ranson has been a more than adequate fill-in as a backup infielder for the injured Geoff Blum. In fact, Ransom has hit safely in all but 2 of the 11 games he’s played in and has significantly outproduced the Diamondbacks’ starter at third base–Ryan Roberts.
Ransom’s production is something to take note of. He has more home runs and one fewer RBI in 50 fewer at-bats–91 for Roberts to 41 for Ransom. Roberts has raised his average a little in May (hitting .320 this month), but he’s only hitting .198 overall and has driven in just 12 RBI with 2 home runs and has failed to get a hit in 17 of the 31 games he’s played in. Even in May, he’s hitless in 5 of 10 games.
While right now, the offensive gap between the two is huge it’s not a foregone conclusion that Ransom should replace Roberts. There’s reason for pause as Ransom hasn’t ever proved to be an everyday player–his highest single season total is 79 at-bats–while Roberts had 555 at-bats last year alone. Additionally, the defensive edge goes to Roberts who despite 5 errors at third base, has the highest range factor (assist + putouts) for any NL third baseman.
So as the D-Backs offense continues to be mired in a slumber, manager Kirk Gibson has an option to help try to get the offense kick started. Does he stick with the incumbent–and fan favorite–Roberts, try to ride out Ransom’s hot streak or continue to platoon the two. If we start to see more playing time for Ransom, it might be a sign that Gibby is losing faith in Roberts and perhaps the D-Backs offense as a whole.