Left-handed batters who could be on the Arizona Diamondbacks' radar

Mike Hazen hinted at pursuing a left-handed hitter during Lourdes Gurriel's press conference, so could be on their radar?

Sep 19, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; San Francisco Giants designated hitter Joc Pederson (23) hits a
Sep 19, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; San Francisco Giants designated hitter Joc Pederson (23) hits a / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

During the press conference for the Lourdes Gurriel Jr. re-signing, Arizona Diamondbacks' general manager Mike Hazen hinted that the team is far from done adding to the roster, hinting that the 'heavy-lifting' of this off-season has yet to come. The D-Backs have already made a handful of highly impactful moves, acquiring slugger Eugenio Suarez to cover third base, Eduardo Rodriguez to bolster the rotation, and now re-signing Gurriel Jr. But there are still some holes to fill. The team does not have any good answer at designated hitter, and one could argue the confidence they have in Tommy Henry covering the 5th spot in the rotation.

Another thing Hazen hinted at is that he may look into left-handed-hitting options, stating, "We're still looking to add a position player to the lineup; now that we have Suarez and Gurriel, I'm not so sure it has to be right-handed. I think we have flexibility now in how this can come together." Of course, that doesn't mean they're not pursuing J.D. Martinez, Jorge Soler, or Rhys Hoskins, three batters who could easily fill the DH role and provide a ton of pop.

But some left-handed hitters could potentially be on their radar. One is long-time former division rival Brandon Belt. Belt was the San Francisco Giants' first baseman for over a decade from 2011 through 2022. Last year, he signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, mostly serving as a platoon first base/designated hitter.

Of Belt's 404 plate appearances, 365 came against right-handed pitching, whom he crushed to the tune of a .256/.375/.515 triple-slash. Belt owned a .381 wOBA and 146 wRC+ when facing opposite-handed pitching. Last year, among the batters with at least 300 plate appearances vs. RHP, Belt was tied with Corbin Carroll for the 13th-best wRC+ vs. RHP. His .259 ISO in match-ups like this was also in the top 20, ranking 19th. However, in the 39 plate appearances he received against lefties, he registered just eight hits and 15 strikeouts. If the Diamondbacks were to sign Belt, they would need to find him a platoon partner.

Joc Pederson is another potential platoon option. Pederson came to the plate 425 times last year and 373 times against righties. When facing a right-hander, Pederson posted a quality .241/.351/.435 triple-slash, 13.1% walk rate, 19.1% strikeout rate, and a 115 wRC+. Pederson could definitely perform significantly better next season. He was above the 90th percentile of both exit velocity and hard-hit rate while sitting in the 79th percentile of barrel rate. Pederson had a .366 expected wOBA compared to his bottom line .331 wOBA.

Joey Gallo would bring a very interesting kind of hitter to the lineup. Last year, Gallo had the most three-true-outcomes season of all time. He batted .177/.301/.477. He is the first batter in history to bat below .180 with an OPS+ of 100 or greater. He had 332 plate appearances, and over two-thirds of his trips to the dish ended in an extra-base hit, walk, or strikeout. Gallo would bring some utility to the team, as he played at least ten games at all three outfield positions and first base.

Of course, Cody Bellinger would be awesome. Throw him in right field, move Carroll to left, and let Gurriel take most of his plate appearances at designated hitter. But I don't think Bellinger is currently on the Diamondbacks' radar. Although they may not aim as high as Bellinger, I don't think they'll aim as low as someone like Dom Smith, Jesse Winker, or Kole Calhoun. Belt is probably the best platoon option given how well he crushed right-handed pitching last year, but Pederson definitely has more potential. Gallo gives them the most flexibility as to where he can play.