Arizona Diamondbacks 2017 Grades: Assessing the infielders
First and third base were productive positions for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017
The Arizona Diamondbacks dealt with injuries and question marks up the middle, but the corners made up for those shortcomings with consistent production.
When the season began, the D-backs had more depth at second base and shortstop than any other position. On opening day, Chris Owings started at shortstop and Brandon Drury got the nod at second base.
By seasons end, depth was the D-backs best friend up the middle. Owings and defensive wizard and fellow shortstop Nick Ahmed missed significant time on the 60-day disabled list with injuries. Meanwhile, Drury went through a major slump and was benched for a fair amount of time.
Owings, Ahmed, Adam Rosales and September callups will not be included in this post for the purposes of grading.
Drury would finish the season strong, and veteran Daniel Descalso made starts at all four infield positions. Descalso was acquired by general manager Mike Hazen last offseason and came up huge several times in clutch moments.
Paul Goldschmidt turned in another MVP campaign at first base, and Jake Lamb had a career year at the plate.
But the emergence of Ketel Marte was the story of the 2017 D-backs’ infield. After leading all of minor league baseball in hits at Triple-A Reno, Marte was called up on June 28 and hit .260 with a .345 on-base percentage. He walked (29) almost as frequently as he struck out (37)) and improved his OPS from .610 in 2016 to .740 in 2017, a difference of 130 points.
Overall, the D-backs committed the fifth-fewest errors this past season, and the infield played a big part.
The next slides that follow will focus on the infielders for the Diamondbacks, and a grade will be assigned to each outfielder based on their on-field performance and impact they had on the team.