Jul 9, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) hits a walk off double to beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 in the tenth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
We have reached the official midway point of the 2014 Major League Baseball season which is really unbelievable. That means that the All Star Break is officially upon us that starts today with the Sirius XM All Star Futures Game. That means its time to recap the Diamondbacks first half and look forward to the second half.
Coming into the 2014 season, the Dbacks were expected to improve on back to back .500 seasons in 2012 and 2013 after winning the National League West division title in 2011. Off-season acquisitions of Mark Trumbo, Addison Reed, and starter Bronson Arroyo were supposed to make this team better, but injuries and under-performance have really hurt this team.
Patrick Corbin the team’s ace from last year went down before the season after tearing his UCL, and the same thing happened to reliever David Hernandez who was expected to be a big part of the bullpen this season. Then Mark Trumbo went out in early April and the lineup suffered as a result. He just returned this weekend after missing 71 games. A.J Pollack went down recently after putting together a great season, and veteran Bronson Arroyo tore his UCL recently after never going on the D.L in his career.
Its safe to say that injuries have hurt this team who coming into play today are 40-55 in the basement of the N.L West and 12.5 games back of the first place Dodgers who are tied with the Brewers for the best record in the National League. The Dbacks are only a game and a half back of the third place Padres.
Starting Pitching: Losing ace Patrick Corbin for the year before the season even started really devastated the starting rotation from the start. Brandon McCarthy had a terrible year with the Dbacks in 2014 winning only one start, Trevor Cahill struggled and so did Randall Delgado. Cahill is now in the minors, and Delgado is in the bullpen. There are some positives. Before Arroyo went down, he was pitching pretty well, Wade Miley is starting to turn his season around, and Josh Collmenter has had a really nice year. Overall the Dbacks have the 4th worst pitching staff in the majors with a 4.23 era as a team.
Bullpen: Just like the starting rotation the bullpen has had the good the bad and the ugly in 2014. The ugly is the season put together by closer Addison Reed whom the Dbacks acquired from Whitesox for highly touted prospect Matt Davidson. Looking back on this deal, this was a horrible trade for Kevin Towers and the Snakes. Reed was just never a good fit in Arizona. He is an extreme fly ball pitcher and he tends to give up home runs. So he goes from U.S Cellular Field to an extreme hitters park in Chase Field that tends to give up alot of home runs. Randall Delgado has done an ok job out of the pen after moving there from the rotation. There are some positives. Brad Ziegler has once again had a great year so far for the Snakes and in my opinion should be the closer. Before he was traded to the Angels Joe Thatcher was a having a great first half. The biggest surprise has to be Oliver Perez who has had a great year out of the pen in his first year with the team. He could be traded before the deadline.
Defense: The Snakes were the best fielding team in the National League last season, so people were expecting more of the same in 2014, that hasn’t been the case. As a team the Dbacks are the second worst fielding team in all of baseball. As a team the Snakes have committed 69 errors this season which is the second worst only behind the Indians. They also have the second worst fielding percentage at .981. Gerardo Parra who won a gold glove last season is having a bad year in right field. Goldschmidt is still having a great year defensively at first.
Offense: The Lineup despite suffering through injuries to A.J Pollack and Mark Trumbo has been the best part of this team this season. The Snakes are ranked 21st in the MLB overall. Miguel Montero has been the brightest spot. After a disappointing 2013, Montero has shortened up his swing and simplified his approach at the plate and it has worked. He isn’t trying to hit home runs every time up and he isn’t over swinging. He is batting .262 but is near the top of the catcher ranks in HR’s with 11 and RBI’s with 52. Paul Goldschmidt is having another MVP type season at the plate with 16 HR and 61 RBI’s both near the top in the N.L while batting .312. He is my first half MVP. Chris Owings won the shortstop job in spring training and has done great things with the bat. Before his injury Owings was leading all N.L rookies in hits and was a favorite to win the rookie of the year. A.J Pollack was having a great year as well. Before he went down with the injury he was batting .316. David Peralta has also been a pleasant surprise. It would have been nice to have Trumbo for the whole first half.
Overall the Dbacks have had a disappointing season largely due to under-performance and injuries but look for this team to have a better second half especially with Mark Trumbo back. Hopefully this team can get A.J back as well. This team is banking that health and offseason moves will get them back to contention in 2015. This team is better than the record shows. Just because this team is already out of contention doesn’t mean this team wont be interesting to watch. I am looking forward to see what kind of second half’s Miley, Goldschmidt, and Montero have.
Enjoy the All Star Break and the second half!