Friday, April 5, 2024

The Snakes Look the Part


There was a lot of outcry last year when the Diamondbacks, who finished with a 84-78 record, made it to the World Series over teams that had won 90 games. And despite this team finding momentum and coming into their own, which is genuinely the name of the game these days, people complained the team wasn't 'good enough' to get as far as they did. 

Despite, y'know...having two of the best pitchers in the league, the Rookie of the Year, an unbeatable heart of the lineup and an unstoppable rookie pitcher. 

But I think this was the best thing to happen to the Diamondbacks, because now they can actually construct a perennial competitor out of that 'fluke' playoff team. Re-upping Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was a very good idea, as he's already hit 3 home runs and 10 RBIs. Gurriel is a versatile piece that can hit for power and contact, and he seems to have brought his 2023 skills into the next form of this team. The other returning players from previous regimes have continued their strong work, and this team continuing to have Marte, Walker, Gallen, Kelly and Moreno in peak periods is proving to be a killer asset. 

I also think they signed the right guys to supplementary roles on this team. Joc Pederson's already rebounding from his down 2023 nicely, he's hitting .500 in his first 10 at-bats with an RBI and a double. Eugenio Suarez has been understandably great coming off his Seattle runs, he's already got 9 hits, 5 RBIs and a homer. Even Tucker Barnhart has been a sturdy and dependable backup catcher, and is the most relevant he's been in years. 

And, even better, this team is still calling up people that can immediately aid the team. Blaze Alexander was an early addition to the roster and he's been excellent, hitting .417 with 5 hits, 3 RBIs and a homer in 4 games. Jorge Barrosa was brought up to cover center field in Alek Thomas' absence and he definitely seems to have the defensive chops for it. And then you have to factor in that Andrew Saalfrank and Jordan Lawlar are sitting in the minors, waiting for an opportunity. 

[Oh yeah and Eddie Rodriguez and Jordan Montgomery are chilling back at base. Gumby'll be up in a couple weeks, Rodriguez might be longer but still looks to factor in. So, like, things will improve.]

After a week of play, the D-Backs look confident, varied and fresh, and still look so after the Yankees came to town. The Yankees may have taken 2, but they weren't easy wins, and that last one came down to the wire. This is a very good Diamondbacks team, perhaps better than last year. Only time will tell if they have the same luck.

Coming Tonight: Appropriately enough, one of the Yankees that had fun in Phoenix. 

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