I don’t want to sound dramatic, but the D-backs fate is now in their hands.
With 9 games remaining and the blessing of a 2 game lead in the wild card race, things are looking promising for Arizona. That is except for the fact that they have to face the powerhouse Astros and the red-hot Yankees in 2 of their last 3 series.
Despite what happens in this last stretch of games, Arizona has shattered their preseason expectations in 2023. Looking at their farm system, this success doesn’t look like it will slow down either. The future is bright in sunny Phoenix.
This season, the baseball world has taken notice of guys like Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker, and Zac Gallen for their elite numbers. But what the baseball world doesn’t see is two guys who have been vitally important to the success of this ball club.
Those two players are catcher Gabriel Moreno and reliever Kevin Ginkel.
The 2 unsung heroes of the 2023 Diamondbacks: C Gabriel Moreno and RP Kevin Ginkel
Agree or disagree, you can’t deny how important these two have been for this surprising ball club.
Let’s start with the 23-year-old; Gabriel Moreno. Moreno came to Arizona in a trade that made us say goodbye to utility man Daulton Varsho. At first, it was sad, but now that we have had Moreno for a full season, I don’t think we would change anything about the transaction.
I think it is safe to say that Moreno plays beyond his years. At the plate, he has racked up 25 extra-base hits, and 46 RBIs. He has also recorded an impressive OBP of .342 this year.
It’s well known that young/rookie players usually swing and miss a lot due to their inexperience against big league arms. But Moreno ranks in the top 21% in whiff percentage among all big league hitters. This is a telling sign that he has the potential to develop into an elite hitter.
Moreno’s numbers at the plate are impressive for a youthful catcher. Speaking of playing catcher, Moreno is already the best in the game at it. When it comes to backstop numbers, here is where Moreno ranks among all MLB catchers.
6th in blocks above average - 1st in caught sealing above avergeae - 9th in pop time
Need more proof that Moreno is elite at his position? Out of all MLB players, Moreno ranks 1st in defensive WAR this season with a mark of 3. He truly does not get enough credit; Unsung hero #1.
Unsung hero #2; Kevin Ginkel. I know what some of you will think. How can a relief pitcher be a team hero? Well when the ERA for your bullpen is 4.33, you desperately need a guy like Ginkel.
Kevin Ginkel has been stellar this year. In 62.2 innings pitched, he is 9-0 with a 2.15 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. If you go to his baseball savant page, you will only see red (red is good). I am not kidding.
Among all MLB pitchers, Ginkel is in the top 10% in expected ERA and expected batting average. He is also among the best in whiff and strikeout percentage.
Since the all-star break, Ginkel has 6 wins and an ERA under 2.00. When Arizona has really needed someone to step up, Ginkel has been the man.
Who are your unsung heroes of the 23’ season?