One Arizona Diamondback player had a crazy 24-hour period, and another was asked a very interesting question. We have quotes, reactions, options, and questions, so let's get started on an article on the lighter side of life in MLB.
Sean Poppen, Arizona Diamondbacks RP
After being optioned to Triple-A Reno Diamondbacks reliever Sean Poppen got to his hotel room and answered a phone call from a number he recognized. He had literally just got settled into his room in Nevada. Who was it? It was the Diamondbacks organization telling him that he had already been recalled. Zach Davies went on the injured list, and things were Poppen again!
His stay in Reno didn't last more than a couple of hours. In fact, Poppen had just spoken with his wife and was watching TV.
"It's baseball, man. It's a funny thing," Poppen said.
"They said 'Baseball's a crazy game. Can you catch a four o'clock flight back?'" Poppen said. "Sure. A couple of plane rides, back, strike out some people."
Arizona is Poppen's 4th team in his major league career (Twins, Pirates, and the Rays) he may have found his groove this season with Arizona. His ERA (2.91) is the lowest of his career. He is 1 inning away from his season-high and has the lowest WHIP (1.292) of his career. His exit velocity, hard hit, and line-drive rates are all below that of an average player. The only glaring negative stat is his 10.3% walk rate.
First baseman Christian Walker of the Arizona Diamondbacks is currently tied for second place in the National League with 19 home runs. In Major League Baseball, those 19 home runs have him tied for 5th. Taking all that into consideration, He was asked if he'd like to take part in the annual MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby, at Dodger Stadium during the All-Star celebration?
"I'd love it. It would be awesome, it would be an honor," Walker said. "If you appreciate hitting at all, I feel like it's fun to watch. I'd like to think I'm in the conversation, but there are a lot of really good hitters around the league. It's something I don't really put much thought into, but it would be awesome to get asked to do, for sure."
The top 3 home run hitters in MLB are all in the American League with Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Yordan Alvarez with 29, and 23 respectively. According to Baseball Savant, his average exit velocity is 90.1, his hard-hit percentage is 45.5 with a 15.1 launch angle. Of his 19 home runs, only 1 of them has come off an off-speed pitch, 6 of them off of breaking pitches, and the remaining 12 off of fastballs. So far this year his longest home run hit traveled 467 feet, which is 2nd in all of baseball. Lastly, when you put these statistics together (exit velocity, distance, hard hit, and barrel rate) together, Christian Walker ranks 12th in MLB. The next closest Diamondback is David Peralta at 52nd.
As much as I am a proponent of trading Christian Walker, I do think he would be an entertaining addition to the home run derby, and might even give him more exposure and highten his trade value.
Both of these stories were based on articles in the Arizona Republic by talented writer Jose M. Romero.