Most importantly, I’d like to apologize to all of you for my lack of writing over the past weeks – things have been abnormally hectic both at home and at work, and I just have been unable to find the time! However, I’m here now to answer your most recent questions, with other pieces to come over the next few days – including what to expect out of Arizona’s left field this upcoming season.
Laurie Laney (@laurielle628) asks “Aaron Hill says he feels “awesome” Do you believe it?”
Laurie – I do believe it. Hill has always followed a bit of a sine curve pattern throughout his career, with a few up years, followed by a bad season (or two), then repeating the cycle. (See what I did there? Hill? Cycles? I won’t be quitting my day job). Anyway, just to give you the warm and fuzzy, here are every one of Hill’s slash lines (avg/obp/slg) from his career, starting in 2005, and ending in 2014.
.246/.299/.356 (2011 – Hill split time with Toronto and AZ – hitting .315 for AZ)
Granted, Aaron is aging, but I would expect more solid defense, with decreasing range, and an above average year out of his bat. Will he hit .300/.325/.400? Probably not. But I would expect .285/.300/.380 out of him offensively, and that’ll do just fine for us. Lest you forget Hill is only one season removed from a Silver Slugger (2013) at 2B in the NL. If he does struggle, I would look for Owings to get some time at 2B while Ahmed gets a look at SS.
Sam Mireles (@SamIAmAndWillBe) asks “Where does Lamb play [into] the Dbacks plan for 2015 if Tomas is at 3rd?”
Sam, from what I understand, Lamb and Tomas will be competing for the starting spot at 3B during Spring Training. This is not the Diamondbacks organization of old, where players seemed to be guaranteed a spot based simply on the information on the back of their baseball card. Competition tends to breed success, and I think Hale believes in this theory as well. Lamb and Tomas competing for one spot makes both of them better players, mentally and physically. I guess that isn’t really the answer you are looking for – so let’s say Tomas wins the starting spot at 3rd. There are many things that can happen from there.
1)Tomas could struggle at the plate – given his struggles against the pitching of Team USA in Cuba. This would mean (most likely) Lamb spelling Tomas for a few weeks or even months, depending on how bad the struggles are.
2)Tomas could get injured, paving the way for Lamb at 3rd.
3)Tomas could struggle defensively at 3rd, the team could move him to LF, again paving the way for Lamb at 3rd.
Of course there are many more possible situations than the aforementioned three, but my readers are intelligent baseball minds, so I’ll let you come up with your own theories. For all we know, Tomas becomes a Paul Goldschmidt at 3B, and Lamb becomes a valuable trade chip. Luckily, “The Gunslinger” is no longer in office, so I’m sure we’ll expend all our proverbial ammo at 3B before doing anything permanent – such as a trade. We, as fans, must not forget that Tomas is not a proven thing in Major League Baseball. As it stands right now, he’s a huge question mark – which is why his contract is so team friendly. I’ll keep a better eye on this as Spring Training progresses.
Sam Mireles (@SamIAmAndWillBe) asks “Who is the projected starting 5 at this point?”
This is a tough question to answer. As you probably know at this point, Collmenter is the only sure thing thus far – slotted as our “ace.” 2-5 is as big a toss-up as anything else right now. I’d say the only sure things in regards to the rotation are Collmenter being number 1, with Hellickson either 2 or 3. While Arizona doesn’t have a depth of 1’s and 2’s, they do have a depth of starters, and Hale will again go with a ‘trial-by-fire’ here to build competitiveness and passion in any potential starters. As Spring Training develops, this question will be easier to answer, and I’ll keep you posted.
Dbacks mailbags will be posted approximately once a week. If you have questions you want answered, even if they aren’t specific to the Diamondbacks, send them to me at email@example.com or on Twitter @dbackcjack (Notice the e-mail has an “s” while the Twitter handle does not).