I’ll bet you think I am crazy. At 9-22, how can anything have possibly been good for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the month of April? Let’s face it, we have written enough negative stuff about this team and expect to write a whole lot more in 2014. Maybe it’s the fact that after a Winter to forget and a rainstorm that would make Noah and the Ark proud, it’s 75 and sunny outside. The weather has put me in a great mood. With that in mind, I want to keep those positive thoughts going. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to think about but yes, there were five good things to take away from the just-concluded first full month of Spring.
1-Chris Owings can rake. After a battle for the starting shortstop position that lasted all of Spring Training, it was the former first round draft pick that emerged as the winner. He has rewarded management with a tremendous first month of the season in which he leads all National League rookies in hits with 26. Owings helped end the month on a positive note by coming off the bench and stroking a two out double in the ninth inning. His defense has been suspect on a couple occasions but his speed allows him to make catches like the one he made Tuesday night. Owings’s slash line at the moment is .313/.376/.398 and should be in the running for the NL Rookie of the Year Award by the time the season finishes.
2-Paul Goldschmidt proves 2013 was no fluke. Coming off a season in which he led the National League in just about every offensive category, many wondered what Goldy could do for an encore. So far, it’s obvious that the All-Star will remain one of the best players in the game. He leads the league in hits with 40 and doubles with 12 and has played in all 31 of his team’s games. The slash line numbers are off slightly but still hefty at .323/.368/.516 on the club with the worst record in the Majors.
3-Brad Ziegler is still Brad Ziegler. Who didn’t struggle at some point last month? The submariner player rep of the D’backs sure did over his first four appearances. Since then it has been vintage Ziggy: low pitch counts and maximum results. Since April 8th, Ziegler has appeared in 12 games covering 10 2/3 innings and allowed no runs. In fact he surrendered only three hits in that span while walking four and striking out four. It is mystifying as to why Ziggy did not pitch another inning on Tuesday and was taken out for Addison Reed. Remember what happened next? Let’s keep this positive.
4-Martin Prado is better now than he was at this time in 2013. He ended April of 2013 with a slash line of .217/.266/.348. Today, his line reads .263/.317/.342. Granted, those numbers are a little inflated because of Prado’s 5 for 11 series that just concluded vs. the Rockies. Still, he struggled mightily during the first half of last season under the weight of being the main player in the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Braves. Now that he appears to be comfortable again, expect Prado to continue his consistent ways and finish up like he did in 2013 when he set a career high in RBI’s.
5-Miguel Montero is back. Like Prado, Miggy also started off 2013 extremely slowly. Unlike Prado, he never recovered. Even before last night’s game-ending home run, Montero was showing the world that his struggles of the prior season were over. He has hit 12 of his last 13 games and is back to his old iron man self, catching 28 of the D’backs’ 31 games. He has an impressive .278/.378/.433 line and is third on the team in RBI’s with 16. Miggy catches almost every game and is often the only left-handed threat in the lineup, making his play all the more remarkable.