Arizona Diamondbacks: Time for Steven Souza Jr. to Begin Producing
By Randy Holt
Over the winter, the Arizona Diamondbacks lost one of their key offensive components from 2017. Unable to afford a big money free agent, they instead turned to the trade market. The payoff, however, hasn’t been there to this point.
Steven Souza Jr. was brought in as a sort of replacement for J.D. Martinez, after the latter departed in free agency. The Arizona Diamondbacks surrendered Anthony Banda and Brandon Drury in order to hopefully boost their outfield offense. However, while nobody expected him to replicate what Martinez did (29 homers in 62 games), the output from Souza has been virtually nil.
Almost the entirety of that has been due to injury. Souza has been limited to just 16 games and 55 plate appearances to this point. He didn’t appear until early May because of a pectoral injury suffered during a diving catch in spring training. The same injury forced him back to the DL before the month was over. When he has been in the lineup, the impact has been relatively minimal.
More from Diamondbacks News
- What is the Rule 5 Draft? How does it impact Diamondbacks?
- Former Diamondbacks SP Robbie Ray wins AL CY Young!
- Bannister the bench coach, yet another great hire by the Diamondbacks
- The king of Chase Field should be signed by the Diamondbacks
- The Goat has come to the Diamondbacks to save the day
We’re talking about an extremely small sample, of course. But a line featuring a .160 average and .236 on-base percentage isn’t going to get anybody on board with the offseason move. That, in addition to the obscene lack of power, with a .020 ISO to date. Much of that is likely due to the injury, as he hasn’t been able to put the full force into his swing. He’s also striking out 27.3% of the time. His wRC+? 17.
Again, small sample size and he’s been extremely limited by injury. But for a player whose fielding has never been one of his larger assets, he needs to produce with the bat. Now apparently healthy, it’s time for Souza to begin producing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The biggest element that needs to manifest itself is the power. Souza has never been a high average guy. His BA the last two years came in at .247 and .239, respectively. His on-base last year was a career high .351, thanks to a walk rate that ballooned to over 13%. Something to that effect would definitely work for the Snakes. But it’s the power, above all, that they likely covet.
The Diamondbacks are 18th in the league in homers and 23rd in the league in slugging percentage. Their team ISO, at .163, ranks 12th. And even some of those numbers are, no doubt, buoyed by the likes of Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta running things in the power game. Their team wRC+ comes in at 87, which ranks 25th in the league. Every single one of those numbers can be improved by the emergence of Steven Souza Jr. and his power bat.
Next: No Reason for the D-Backs to Worry About Shelby Miller Yet
Souza is going to continue to get the opportunities to return to form. Jarrod Dyson just went down, and as high as I am on Jon Jay, he doesn’t bring the upside with the stick. The most important thing for now is that Souza is healthy and able to stick in the lineup. As frustrating as it is to watch him, he really hasn’t had the time to adjust back into big league time this year. If he can regain his form, along with some confidence, he can absolutely get to what the Diamondbacks acquired him to be. More than anything, that’s what this offense needs.