Two members of the Arizona Diamondbacks each reached a significant plateau
In a season littered with dashed hopes and broken dreams, one number stands alone for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
That would be, 200.
From an offensive and defensive vantage, the number, achieved by infielder Jean Segura and pitcher Robbie Ray, could hold an important significance. That’s because each player achieved to a certain level, and decision-makers of the Arizona Diamondbacks hope these numbers can carry over, and possibly increase, during the 2017 season.
In 2016, Segura became only the second player in franchise history to reach 200 hits in one season. Coming into play Friday at home against San Diego, Segura had 201 hits and with three games remaining, has an opportunity to break the club record. That’s held by Luis Gonzalez, who had 206 hits in 1999. Coming into Friday’s game, he is hitting .320 and that is the fifth highest average in in the majors. At this point, Segura is one point behind the Reds’ Joey Votto (.321)
“This year, I’ve been a little more aggressive, swing the bat and take that fastball down the middle and try to put a good swing on it,” he told MLB.com. “Last series in Baltimore (Sept. 23-25), I hesitated too much to swing the bat. I came to this series to be aggressive. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m hitting at the top of the lineup, because I’m one of those guys who is always going to be aggressive.”
Starting with a .469 (30-for-54) spring training batting average, Segura arrived at Salt River destined to have a superlative year. That’s coming off a .257 season a year ago with the Brewers and 144 hits. Not only has Segura hit for average, but also with power. His 40 doubles, 20 home runs and 64 RBIs are all career bests. Plus, Segura chipped in 31 stolen bases, and that is the second highest in his major league career.
In Ray’s case, the glass could be considered half-filled. In 32 starts this season, Ray fanned 218 hitters, and that’s the ninth best season for an Arizona pitcher in franchise history. The 218 Ks ties the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard for ninth place among major league pitchers for the 2016 season.
Over the course of the campaign, Ray developed a high-powered fast ball, but his secondary pitches remain works in progress. Ray continues to be plagued by high pitch counts, and turned in only 10 quality starts among his 32 starts this season.
While Ray says numbers are not terribly vital, he finished the season with an 8-15 record The 15 losses tied a franchise mark established by Brandon Webb in 2004, and equaled by Rodrigo Lopez in 2010.
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With Ray, location is paramount. Despite a fast-ball which runs constantly in the mid-90s, Ray tends to place that pitch over the plate. Tagged with 24 home runs this season, and tied with lefty Patrick Corbin for most on the team, Ray will likely repair to his off-season conditioning program with the aim to improve location.
With the 200 season achieved by both Ray and Segura, decision-makers of the Arizona Diamondbacks still have to sign both players for next season.
In the case of Segura, he made a reported $2.6 million in 2016, and is eligible for arbitration for the 2017 season. Ray is a restricted free agent, and earned $521,000 this season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks close out their 2016 campaign with a three-game set at home against the San Diego Padres.
On Friday night at 6:40 p.m., look for right-hander Braden Shipley (4-5, 5.26 ERA) to oppose former Diamondback Edwin Jackson (5-6, 5.77). On Saturday at 5:10 p.m., it’s righty Archie Bradley (7-9, 5.15) facing Clayton Richard (3-3, 2.98). In the season finale Sunday at 12:10 p.m., Matt Koch (1-1, 2.25) starts for Arizona and gets righty Paul Clemens (4-5, 4.23) as his mound opponent.
Here are some numbers involving hitters with significant at-bats.
Against Bradley, Wil Myers is 1-for-11, Derek Norris is also 1-for-11 and Yangervis Solatre is 4-for-8 with one home run. Against Jackson, Paul Goldschmidt is 5-for-17 (.294) and one home run. Jean Segura is 4-for-15 (.167).
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Against Richard, Welington Castillo is 3-for-13 (.231), Goldschmidt is 5-for-15 (.333) with five RBIs, and Segura is 2-for-15 (.133).