Monday, December 9, 2019

Uncustomed Heroes of 2019: Diamondbacks

Interesting year for the Diamondbacks.

They didn't come especially close to playoff contention. They had a few setbacks that shedded them of some of the people that made their 2018 season an exciting one. But...this was still a pretty entertaining team. The new core of Eduardo Escobar and Ketel Marte is pretty awesome, and Robbie Ray is still a tight strikeout artist.

Jarrod Dyson was also pretty sharp this year, with 92 hits in 130 games, and a team-high 30 stolen bases. He was a little weaker than he's been in years past, and his numbers are very much like his backup numbers from the Royals teams, but he's still a solid asset.
Why Him in 2019?: Led the team in stolen bases while everyone else was busy hitting .240
2020 Prediction: Someone will sign him...but not likely as a starter.

 Jake Lamb made his comeback due to injury this year, but...oh man, he's not the same. He hit .193 this year in 78 games, with only 30 RBIs. Not sure what else the team can do with him.
Why Him in 2019?: Made the D-Backs realize how crucial Eduardo Escobar was to the team.
2020 Prediction: Will be released midway through the year.

 A slightly happier story was that of Wilmer Flores, former Mets infielder who fought valiantly for a starting spot in Arizona, eventually splitting 2nd base with Ketel Marte. Flores did pretty well this year, with 84 hits in 89 games, and a .317 average.
Why Him in 2019?: Proved his worth as a utility man in the wake of Marte's rise.
2020 Prediction: More utility work, but on another club. Hell, maybe the Mets re-sign him.

 Probably one of the more impressive non-Greinke feats of the first half was the rise of Luke Weaver, who was coming off a muddied 2018. Weaver only pitched 12 games due to injury, but had a 2.94 ERA with 69 strikeouts, so his stuff is still sharp outside of St. Louis
Why Him in 2019?: His ability gave the team hope, but his injury, and Greinke's departure, doomed them.
2020 Prediction: A more consistent, healthy year, and some numbers that may goad the team into trading Robbie Ray
 Merrill Kelly's season was, in my opinion, a disappointment. After seeing Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas flourish after seasons abroad, I'd hoped that Merrill Kelly would follow suit, and to see him only post okay numbers, like a 4.42 ERA and a 13-14 ratio, was a little disheartening. His 158 strikeouts wasn't bad, though.
Why Him in 2019?: Started the most games for the team.
2020 Prediction: Either his ERA falls and he gets his stuff together, or it rises and the team gives up on him.
 Alex Young's call-up was an impressive way of coping with Greinke's loss, as Young went 7-5 in 17 games, and had a 3.56 ERA. He's a pretty durable middle-of-the-rotation guy, but once Leake and Gallen came in, there wasn't much room left for him.
Why Him in 2019?: Bridged the team between two polar-opposite climates for the rotation.
2020 Prediction: Not an initial member of the rotation, but will make some crucial starts down the stretch, or potentially be included in a trade deal.

 As far as bench players go, Ildemaro Vargas was an amusing one, taking some time in the infield and hitting .269, including some clutch moments.
Why Him in 2019?: Middle infield stability for a team losing its once-famous youth infield core.
2020 Prediction: Will back up Marte, and have some strong moments off the bench before a trade makes him a starter somewhere else.

 Alex Avila was supposed to be the starting catcher in AZ this year, and his early April numbers, with a .333 average and 5 RBIs, seemed to foreshadow a great season. Injuries limited his playing time, and some paltry months at the plate depleted his average.
Why Him in 2019?: Without his injury, Carson Kelly never becomes a trusted starter.
2020 Prediction: Will have some ample playing time in Minneapolis, but will slowly lose some to La Tortuga.

 Jon Duplantier was one of Topps' favorite rookie subjects of 2019, solely because he came up in April and had one or two amusing moments then. After April, though, he's not really a factor in this season. Eventually a move to the bullpen makes him a bit more useful, but overall he's mostly a footnote in this season.
Why Him in 2019?: His April appearances were unhittable. Then May started.
2020 Prediction: Teams up with Yoan Lopez and Junior Guerra to form an impressive bullpen platoon.

 Archie Bradley's years have formed an arc- at the start of every year, the organization swears they won't use him as a closer, sign a free agent, and use Bradley in middle relief where he excels. Then the free agent fails miserably, is released, and Bradley ends the year as closer. It happens every year, and this year was no exception, taking over for Greg Holland and getting 18 saves out of it.
Why Him in 2019?: Better or worse, he's still the D-Backs closer, and he still gets the job done.
2020 Prediction: A complete year at closer, and 30 saves come with it.

After the Greinke deal happened, the D-Backs made two more pitching moves, and got Mike Leake and Zac Gallen. Everyone thought Leake would go right into ace form, and it ended up being Gallen that excelled for them. Leake was a bit more disappointing, posting a 4.35 ERA in 10 games, with only 27 strikeouts.
Why Him in 2019?: He was a high-profile trade that did his best amidst the circumstances.
2020 Prediction: Back to his consistency, and more dominance. He'll probably take the lead once Ray gets traded.

Coming Tomorrow- There's gonna be a lot of customs, so I may split the post, but...the Dodgers team that should have won a World Series...and was stopped by a team that did.

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