If Jake Lamb doesn’t want exposure to media, he certainly did himself wrong when he changed his uniform number to 22 this off season. As a neighbor of superstar Zack Greinke and his infamous number 21, Lamb certainly will have enough cameras around him. Although that media attention might not be geared towards him at this point, it is essential for Lamb to have a breakout season for the Diamondbacks to make the playoffs.
Ever since being drafted in 2012, Lamb has done nothing but hit while shoring up his already stellar defense. Along his ascension from rookie-level Missoula to Triple-A Reno, Lamb managed to compile .321/.408/.552 slash line. Once given a starting job in the majors, Lamb translated that success with scorching start in his first 10 games, batting whopping .414 with five extra-base hits. However, he never quite regained that form after a foot injury in May.
Now that he’s fully healthy and ready to contribute, Jake Lamb’s role will be quite important both in terms of offense and defense. Offensively, the Diamondbacks know that Paul Goldschmidt will bat third, David Peralta cleanup, followed by power-hitting catcher, Wellington Castillo. A.J. Pollock will presumably lead off unless that spot is given to Jean Segura. That is a very formidable lineup at the top, but questions mark arise towards the bottom three occupied by Chris Owings, Yasmany Tomas and Lamb.
If Lamb can prove to be that on base threat at the bottom of the order or even be moved up little higher with his gap power, he will provide another weapon to create fearsome lineup top to bottom. Lamb would also serve as a left-handed hitting counterbalance to a predominately right-handed lineup.
Playing the hot corner has been Lamb’s specialty ever since he was playing in Pac-12. He might not make any flashy plays, but will make all the routine plays and with his accurate arm, rarely makes fielding mistakes, saving ten defensive runs above average in 95 games at third last year. With elite to above average defenders in every position across the infield, Lamb’s defense will prove to be essential for pitchers such as Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin.
He might not be the biggest name on the roster let alone his side of the locker room, but Jake Lamb might be one of the most important players for Diamondbacks this season.