Last night was crazy. Due to a fun win in Washington D.C. for Arizona and a bullpen meltdown from the Dodgers (resulting in a loss for LA) in Cincinnati, the D-backs now sit alone atop the NL West with a 36-25 record. 1 full game ahead of the 5th richest team in baseball.
Multiple players had strong performances last night in what was a true team victory. Pavin Smith and Josh Rojas both drove in 3 runs and the bullpen held down the fort and tossed 5.2 scoreless innings after a rough start from Tommy Henry.
It’s been a fun ride through the first 61 games. It is crazy to think that Arizona has already played almost 40% of their regular season games for 2023. We better enjoy these sweet moments while we can.
36 wins in 61 games doesn’t come through mediocre performances. Several D-backs players are breaking out this year.
Let’s take a look at the leaders in each major category.
Corbin Carroll leads the Diamondbacks in OBP
I wrote an article yesterday about how Carroll may not just win NL Rookie of the Year, I think he also has a legitimate shot to win NL MVP. Call me crazy, but with the numbers he is posting as a rookie, this kid is looking like a star in the making.
Corbin leads Arizona with an OBP of .378. His .378 on-base percentage ranks him 16th in the MLB and 9th in the NL (National League). Over his last 7 games, Carroll has got on base at a .433 clip (8 hits and 4 walks in that span).
What can’t this kid do?
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. leads the Diamondbacks in OPS
You could make a strong case that Gurriel Jr. has been Arizona’s most effective bat this season. He is having a career year and he has shown no signs of stopping.
Hopefully, his groin injury is nothing too serious, because the Diamondbacks really need him. Gurriel Jr. currently leads the team with an OPS of .909. His .909 OPS ranks him 9th in all of baseball, and 6th in the NL.
Arizona traded away Daulton Varsho this offseason for a package that included Gurriel Jr. Gurriel Jr. has an OPS of .909, Varsho has an OPS of .692…
Christian Walker leads the Diamondbacks in RBIs
Walker has had a solid season. Not great like Carroll’s or Gurriel’s, but a solid season nonetheless.
He leads the team in HRs (12) and RBIs (36). His team-leading 36 RBIs, ranks him 32nd in the MLB and 14th in the NL. As you can tell, the D-backs offense has been a balanced attack, and production has come from many different names and faces.
May 3rd was a day at the plate Walker will never forget. He hit 2 HRs and knocked in 5 against the talented Texas Rangers.
Zac Gallen leads the Diamondbacks in ERA
Gallen is having another season for the history books. This might be the season he wins the hardware (CY Young Award).
Gallen’s 2.75 ERA is the best on this Arizona ball club by .05. Merrill Kelly’s 2.80 ERA is closing in behind him. With the ERA Gallen owns, he ranks 13th in the MLB and 5th in the NL. Where Gallen has really been lights out is his strikeout-to-walk ratio.
With a 5.18 K/BB ratio, Gallen ranks second in the NL only behind Giants ace Logan Webb. Gallen also ranks 1st in the NL with 7 wins.
Merrill Kelly leads the Diamondbacks in WHIP
I feel like WHIP (walks+hits per inning) is one of the best indicators of showing how dominant a pitcher is. In my opinion, if a pitcher has a low ERA, it shows that they often bend, but don’t break. Whereas a low WHIP shows that the pitcher doesn’t often bend even.
The team leader in that department? Kenneth Merrill Kelly. Kelly’s 1.08 WHIP is 19th in all of baseball and 5th best in the NL. Over his last 7 starts, Kelly is 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.
Dominant? I think so…
Diamondbacks best relief pitcher: Kyle Nelson
This one is probably debatable, but my pick here is Kyle Nelson. Nelson started the season in Triple-A, but quickly came up to the bigs and from day one has been a safe bullpen choice for Torey Lovullo.
Nelson is 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA and he has struck out 29 batters in 23 innings pitched. Out of Arizona relievers that have pitched at least 20 innings, he holds the lowest ERA.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but when Nelson comes into the game, you can be assured that he will most likely get the job done one way or another.