Ever since incumbent Ender Inciarte was dealt to the Braves as part of the Shelby Miller package, the Diamondbacks deemed Yasmany Tomas as their left fielder . Tomas, with his $68.5 million contract, worked hard all offseason shedding weight in order to stay strong for the duration of the season.
It wasn’t until Chip Hale’s recent media session, however, that he said there still is a possibility that Tomas would not be the everyday left fielder.
Hale recently told the media that rookie outfielder Socrates Brito will challenge Tomas for the starting job this spring. The 23-year-old Dominican has long been touted for his speed, athleticism and defensive prowess while recently earning praise for his gap power. All those elements are what Tomas lacks and it certainly is appealing for the Diamondbacks as they lost very similar player in Inciarte.
With the way the lineup is constructed, it makes sense for the Diamondbacks to consider toolsy outfielder such as Brito to start and lead off as they do not have prototypical leadoff man. This allows them to move Pollock down to the middle-of-the-order while effectively sliding other candidates such as Jean Segura and Nick Ahmed down the order. His career on-base percentage of .333 is significantly better than other options they have and his speed will play a big role at the top of the order.
Defense is another big reason for this move to be possibly considered. Unlike Tomas, Brito is gifted fielder and his athleticism will play a huge role playing next to Pollock. Playing in a large park such as Chase Field requires for good outfield alignment and having the best defense out on the field will also take pressure off of the pitchers each time they take the mound.
Brito has gotten off to a good start while Tomas has been playing the ‘B’ games as he tries to come back from his 0-for-5 start to Spring Training, but it’s still way early into the camp to determine the winner. Although the investment the organization has made in Tomas is huge, Diamondbacks are playing to win it all and they must consider all option to field their best lineup come opening day.