Every so often, we at VenomStrikes reach out to the Diamondbacks fan base to see if there are any questions that need to be answered – lucky for us, there always are! This is the most recent installment in our Mailbag series.
Sharon Sponcel (@sharonsponcel) asks: “Is Collmenter working on a new pitch? Teams have seen a full season of him. Could make it harder to get Ks this season.”
Sharon, great question! Because of Collmenter’s arm angle (his ‘slot’) it would be very difficult for him to learn an effective new pitch, beyond his current repertoire of cut fastball, changeup, and curveball. To answer the second part of your question, hitters first saw a full season out of Josh in 2011, when he started 24 games, hurling 154.1IP and recording 10 wins, with a 3.38 ERA. While Josh usually struggles the third time through a lineup, he is most often in command for the first two times through – hitters find it difficult to repeat success against him on a game-to-game level, and this goes back to that over-the-top arm angle – which us Dback fans have affectionately dubbed “The Tomahawk.” I would look for Collmenter to continue his success this season, especially given his newfound role as ‘ace’ for Arizona.
Sadly, I wouldn’t expect either of the two starters to return to the Diamondbacks any time before the 2015 All-Star Game. Arroyo had his surgery in mid July of ’14, with what is usually about a year of rehabilitation time – which takes him right into midseason ’15. Corbin went under the knife of Dr. James Andrews in late March of ’14, but the club will want to be 100% sure he is ready to go before returning him to any type of action, given his young age. If he returns before the 2015 ASG, I’d be very surprised. The good news is that Hernandez could return about one month into the 2015 season, so our ‘pen could have his arm to use on top of so many other talented guys as well.
Tyler Nickel (@TylerNickelASU) asks: “When do you envision Yoan Lopez making a contribution to the big league team?”
Believe it or not, Lopez’s $8.27MM signing bonus and attached contract with Arizona is a Minor League one! He does have an invite to Spring Training for 2015, but I would expect him to start his career at the AA level, in Mobile, Alabama.
BaseballAmerica.com has a very nice scouting report laid out for Lopez, and they had this to say:
"“Lopez was one of the more intriguing young arms in Cuba at the time he left the island. In Cuba, Lopez had thrown in the low-90s, but he added size and strength since then to his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and has touched the mid-90s. During his final season pitching in Cuba for Isla De La Juventud in Serie Nacional, Lopez posted a 3.12 ERA with a 28-11 K-BB mark in 49 innings in seven starts. When Lopez pitched in Cuba’s 18U national league in 2011, he had a 1.74 ERA in 77 2/3 innings with 88 strikeouts and 45 walks, ranking second in the league in both strikeouts and walks, and third in wild pitches (9).”"
As I said, I doubt Lopez starts the year any higher than AA, but I do see him making an impact sometime during the 2015 season all the same.
Do you have Diamondback or SABR questions you’d like answered? Would you like to be featured in a future mailbag? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter – @dbackcjack