Right fielder Yasmany Tomas and left fielder David Peralta could be switching positions this spring, manager Chip Hale said yesterday.
Hale said that if a switch is made, it will come at the beginning of spring training so that each player will have time to get acclimated to their positions.
The Diamondbacks’ outfield defense has become somewhat volatile since Ender Inciarte was traded to the Braves back in December. Inciarte, who started 77 games in right field last season, was the best defensive corner outfielder the team had. He saved 29 runs above the league average and had a 5.7 UZR in right field.
Both Tomas and Peralta fared much worse than Inciarte did during their respective times manning right field last season. Tomas was six defensive runs saved below the league average with a -6.1 UZR in 57 games in right. In the nine games Peralta played there, he was zero defensive runs saved above the league average had a 4.4 UZR.
Peralta was two defensive runs saved below the league average and had a -3.8 UZR in 124 games in left. Tomas was also two defensive runs saved below the league average and had a -2.3 UZR in six games.
Neither is a star fielder, but it is clear from these metrics that Peralta is the better fielder, and that Tomas may benefit from a new position. Arizona had the fourth-fewest errors in 2015, so defense might be the only area where the Diamondbacks regressed this offseason.
While the corner outfield positions are in question, center field is certainly not. A.J. Pollock is coming off of a Gold Glove season, and will be covering center field for the foreseeable future.