Upon completion of yesterday’s split-squad action, the Diamondbacks are just about halfway through spring training. Here’s a rundown of noticeable position battles as the club looks to take their best 25 into what looks to be exciting season.
MIDDLE INFIELD (2B/SS)
Leading Candidates: Nick Ahmed, Jean Segura
This was supposed to be the key position battle for the Diamondbacks this spring and no one has come out hotter than Segura. Segura has 9 hits in 13 at-bats, good for a whopping .692 average. His defense has been solid at both shortstop and second base, and he is solidifying his job to start at one of the two positions.
Ahmed, on the other hand, seemed to have lost his starting job at short, but also came out swinging with his .417 batting average along with usual Gold Glove-caliber defense. Chris Owings and Phil Gosselin also have been swinging the bat extremely well so this could go down to the wire if all the players keep this up.
Leading Candidate: Jake Lamb
It was Lamb’s job to lose and he has been holding down his position quite well thus far. The 25-year-old is off to a solid start both at the plate and with his glove. With what he was able to do last season and lack of left-handed bat in their lineup, Diamondbacks will hope that Lamb can continue his development and seize the third base job come Opening Day.
Other Candidates: Brandon Drury is showing the baseball world why he is constantly ranked among Top 100 prospect ranking by the experts with his performance thus far this Spring. The versatile infielder is still raw and would be much more highlighted if it weren’t for aforementioned veterans swinging their bats so well.
Leading Candidate: Socrates Brito
In what was supposed to be his year to come in and compete for the fourth outfield role, Brito has taken off and is seizing the moment as he makes play to be the starting left fielder as well as leadoff man. Segura has shown that he can handle the lead off spot thus far, but Brito is much better suited with his speed and ability to lay off tough pitches to get on base. His defense is stellar and perhaps this will allow the Diamondbacks to bat Brito and Segura at the top, effectively moving the run producing AJ Pollock down the order along with sluggers Paul Goldschmidt, Welington Castillo, and David Peralta.
Other Candidate: Yasmany Tomas is struggling to get on the field after going 0-for-5 to start the Spring. Tomas has been resting his elbow while playing in the ‘B’ games to get his confidence back thus far.
Leading Candidate: Robbie Ray
Ray has done nothing but separate himself from others and to prove why he had the left up coming into Spring for the final rotation spot. He pitched five scoreless innings while showing that he can be much more effective with his pitch counts which hindered him for much of last season. It’s his job to lose and so far Ray has done nothing but out pitch his competition, even the guaranteed fourth starter, Rubby de la Rosa.
Other Candidates: Zack Godley, Tyler Wagner, and Archie Bradely all have been hit hard in one or both of their outings thus far. It’s hard to say that their results are bad so far, but based on the performance alone, they have some catching up to do if they want to break camp in the big league rotation.
Players of Note: Silvino Bracho and Evan Marshall have been getting praise after praise for their performance during games as well as their arsenal this camp. They would be the leading candidates for the last remaining bullpen spot unless the Diamondbacks want to carry the second left hander, which would make non-roster invitee Wesley Wright a likely candidate for that job.
Rickie Weeks has been off to a great start and his presence in the locker room is much appreciated by younger players so he could be the perfect candidate to hold down one of the bench spots. Tuffy Gosewisch seems healthy and ready to go, but Chris Herrman has been playing well in his share of time as well.