Arizona Diamondbacks: Top Takeaways From Spring Training Thus Far
By Leilani Fitzpatrick
With Spring Training well under way, the Diamondbacks are already tracking the progress of the players in camp. So are we.
Spring Training for the Diamondbacks started on February 23, with a game against the division-rival Rockies. With one week of Spring Training over, it’s time to discuss the top takeaways for the Snakes so far.
A Mix of Good (and Bad) Pitching Debuts
, a long-time Dbacks starting pitcher, made his spring debut on Sunday, February 24. Although he didn’t feel completely 100%, he pitched 1 1/3 innings of quality work, giving up two walks, and one hit, allowing no runs against the Cleveland Indians.
Zack Godley made his spring debut on Tuesday, February 26. He is currently penciled in as the team’s #3 starter. He allowed four runs (three earned), and lasted one-third of an inning against the Cubs. Although rough, Godley rebounded in his second start on Sunday. He tossed three scoreless innings and picked up three strikeouts.
Luke Weaver, an acquisition from the multi-player Goldschmidt trade, made his debut for the Snakes on Wednesday, February 27. He was extremely successful, as he pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, and a scoreless second inning (with only a hit and a walk allowed). He’ll be one of the more closely-tracked players this season.
Merrill Kelly, who was an 8th round pick in the amateur draft out of Arizona State University by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, was a participant in the Dominican Winter League and a four-season pitcher for the South Korean Wyverns. He made his debut on Thursday, February 28, throwing 27 pitches against the Indians, allowing three runs off of three hits. Kelly seemed unfazed by the poor start, however, as it was his first game back in the states in quite a long time, so he was “getting [his] feet wet,” and expects to “be a lot better” moving forward, according to Arizona sportswriter Kevin Zimmerman.
Different Clubhouse Energy
With the loss of three veteran leaders (Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, and A.J. Pollock) during the offseason, there is new leaders and new energy in the clubhouse this spring. The leadership group emerging is composed of mainstays
. Peralta said that he feels “even better energy than last year or the year before,” a good sign for a team that’s on a rebuilding path.
According to Steve Gilbert, Diamondbacks beat writer, Peralta is also trying to “make sure that the young players and non-roster invitees are included in everything and not left to hang out amongst themselves.”
The club knows that there is a myriad of expectations and assumptions being made about them, but as Peralta stated, “whatever they expect we don’t care. They can say whatever they want because we don’t play for them. We play for our teammates.”
A Preview of the New Adjustments
Jake Lamb and
are each attempting to familiarize themselves with the new positions they’ll be playing during the season. Lamb is transitioning from third to first base, as he will be (most likely) assuming the role Goldschmidt once held. Lamb remarked that he’s
“not afraid to admit the game is still going a little quick over there at first,”
but he knows that the continuation of plays is the only true way to learn and adjust.
Marte said he feels great out there, and although he’s “been playing infield [his] whole career,” it’s all about practice. “The more I play, the more I feel good,” he continued. “Any way they need me, I’ll be there to give 100% for the team.”
Three health-related setbacks have occurred for the Diamondbacks, as outfielder
, and pitchers
are all facing early misfortunes.
RHP Bracho was forced to leave a recent game after experiencing elbow discomfort and was examined by the team physician Sunday night, and he’s down for the count with Tommy John.
McFarland, a left-handed reliever, has been shut down due to left shoulder inflammation. No tests have been scheduled for him, and the timetable for his return is uncertain.
Lastly, center fielder Jarrod Dyson has been sidelined having discovered, through an MRI, that he is suffering from a strained left oblique muscle. He reportedly, according to manager Torey Lovullo injured the oblique while “aggressively” playing catch.
These are the early takeaways, but as the weeks progress, and opening day inches closer, the Snakes will face what should be good previews of how the teams will look during the regular season.
While one week of Spring Training is just a small sample, hope springs eternal for the Diamondbacks in the increasingly competitive National League Western Division.