Friday, April 19, 2024

New Trim, Same Approach


There's picking up where you left off, and there's the 2024 Diamondbacks. Who are beginning the season with exemplary production from Ketel Marte and Lourdes Gurriel, stellar starts from Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, an appalling back half of the rotation and some missed 'big games'. The most striking difference between this year and last year might be the newfound emphasis on mint green, lacing the uniforms in almost every opportunity. I do really like a lot of the D-Backs' new uniform rotation, and the cream-and-maroon ones should be their new standard, it really works for them. 

I will add, by the way, that there are some new faces on this team, and they have mostly boosted the power department. Joc Pederson is hitting .333 in the DH position, with 6 RBIs and 2 homers, and he seems honestly pretty perfect for this team. As does Eugenio Suarez, who already has 13 RBIs. The one issue with that is that it has made this team a lot bulkier and less defensively-inclined. Yes, they still have Christian Walker and Ketel Marte, but without Gerardo Perdomo and Alek Thomas, the number of great defenders has gone down, and that does explain why the D-Backs are down a few pegs in the standings. 

The pitching picture is basically the same as last year. Same bullpen picture, same back half, all of that. And both Kyle Nelson and Tommy Henry are picking up from last year by being mediocre. Brandon Pfaadt is improving, but had some dismal starts to start off as well. And that's really the issue, as it was last year- once you get past Gallen and Kelly, it's easier to win against these guys. It's especially the case this year, because Gallen and Kelly are having excellent seasons. Gallen's 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 26 Ks, and Kelly's 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 21 Ks. Both of these guys are still in their prime, and both are among the best pitchers in the league. The fact that Kelly was able to go from a fluke 'let's see if this guy has anything after coming back from KBO' guy to a trusted member of this rotation is fantastic. He's barely missed any starts, and has been reliable pretty much every year he's been in Arizona. This is the last year he's contracted with the team, though he does have an option if the D-Backs like what he does for them this year [which is pretty likely].

I just wish the D-Backs had a more definitive answer about the rest of the rotation. The idea is that they'll get Jordan Montgomery eventually, and that Eduardo Rodriguez will pop by at some point, but until then the really need to turn around people like Nelson and Pfaadt, or else it's just gonna be easy to beat this team for a while. And in a season with so many NL West competitors, they need to make it more complex than that.

Coming Tonight: One of the many traded players the Rays have turned into stars.

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