Tag:Justin Upton
Posted on: July 15, 2009 3:55 pm
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The Diamondbacks Invade St. Louis

The Diamondbacks defensive woes were on display for the entire nation to see Tuesday night.  A deep fly ball sailed over Justin Upton’s head allowing Curtis Granderson to reach third, setting up the American League for the go ahead run.  The same type of questionable defense allowed two AL runs in the bottom of the first when Tim Lincecum failed to cover first base in time and Albert Pujols failed to field a grounder.

Although it is not recorded as an error, the ball was clearly misplayed and Granderson would most likely not have reached third had someone else been in left field.  This is the type of play that Diamondback fans have witnessed all season.  On the bright side however, the nation also saw the Dan Haren that Dback fans have enjoyed all season.

My hope is that Justin Upton was embarrassed enough by misplaying a ball on national television that he recognizes it is a problem, and that if he truly wants to remain an All Star it will need to be fixed.  I hope that he concentrates on being a better fielder, he’s got the athleticism, he’s got a great arm, all he needs is to work on the fundamentals of the position.

As we saw last night, a team playing sloppy defense will rarely win, and so far this season the Diamondbacks have rarely won.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 1, 2009 12:17 pm
 

Diamondbacks Mid-Season Report Card

Catcher
Miguel Montero is currently hitting .255 and is getting better defensively.  Chris Snyder is currently injured but was having an average season as well.

Grade C


First Base

The biggest problem with this position is that they do not have a first baseman.  They have used four different players at this position this season, Chad Tracy, Mark Reynolds, Tony Clark, and Josh Whitesell.  Only Reynolds has been able to hit with any success and only Whitesell has been able to field with any proficiency.  In addition, neither Tracy nor Reynolds are true first basemen, they are stop gaps moved from third base when the need arises. 

 

Grade F

 

Second Base

Felipe Lopez is a decent hitter, hitting .303, but he is a terrible second baseman.  He is out of position a lot of the time and shows no hustle at all.  Once you see him play everyday it is very obvious why he is nothing more than a journeyman playing on his fifth team in 8 years.

 

Grade C

 

Third Base

 

Mark Reynolds has been having a great season and is among the league’s top hitters in power number categories.  His replacements, however, have not shared his success. Ryan Roberts is batting .257 and Augie Ojeda is batting .234.  Reynolds has trouble fielding some routine plays, but has also made some incredible plays at other times.  Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks he is the best fielding player at that position with a fielding percentage of .945.  In fairness to the other two, Roberts and Ojeda have both been used all over the infield this season, but Roberts has a 3B fielding percentage of .920 and Ojeda a dismal .880.

 

Grade B+

 

Shortstop

 

Because of the expectations going into the season this has been one of the more disappointing positions for the Diamondbacks.  Stephen Drew was thought to be in the top five to ten shortstops at the beginning of the year.  He was injured for some time and is currently is hitting .251 on the season with a respectable fielding percentage of .980.  He has improved his batting average every month, and hit .292 for June.  If he continues to play like he did in June shortstop will be one of the bright spots on this team.

 

Grade B

 

Left Field

 

This position is most likely the weakest spot on the team.  The projected starter at the beginning of the season, Conor Jackson, is not much for power but hits consistently around .300.  He has been out most of the season with Valley Fever and was hitting only .182 while he was playing.  The next player for this position is Eric Byrnes, batting .216, making bizarre errors and diving after unreachable balls, and fielding only .964.  He was recently put on the DL for a broken hand.  The final player at this position is Gerardo Parra, a AA call up.  He started out very hot when he was first called up, but has since cooled off, which was expected. 

 

Grade D-

 

Center Field

 

While there have been several players to play this position the large majority of starts have been made by Chris Young.  Young is batting an abysmal .194 with no pop in his swing this year.  He has looked completely lost at times and although an above average fielder there have been fly balls hit at the warning track where it appears that he is afraid of running into the wall to make a crucial out.

 

Grade F

 

Right Field

 

Justin Upton is coming into his own.  He’s the best hitter on the team with a .320 average and an OPS of .975, but still makes simple mistakes in the field and at times has shown his age. 

 

 

Grade A

 

 

Starting Pitching

 

Dan Haren is the best pitcher in the National League and fellow starters Doug Davis and Max Scherzer have both had good seasons as well with sub 4.00 ERAs.  Jon Garland and the fill in the blank fifth starter have both struggled.  Losing Brandon Webb on Opening Day definitely put an unexpected burden on this piece of the team and they have won only 2 of the starts in his place in the rotation.

 

 

Grade B

 

Bullpen

 

Every pitcher in the bullpen has struggled at times this season, possibly with the exception of Clay Zavada, a AA call up.  Every pitcher has been personally responsible for losing a game for the Diamondbacks this season regardless of whether or not they actually have a loss on their record.  They have been embarrassing and inconsistent and none of them have lived up to any expectations the team or the fans may have had at the beginning of the season.

 

Grade F

 

Overall Grades

 

Offense

Two players batting over .300, team average ranks 27 in MLB and OPS ranks 21. 

 

Overall Grade D

 

Defense

Most errors in the majors.

 

Overall grade F

 

Pitching

Team ERA is ranked 22 in MLB.

 

Grade D

 

Overall Team Grade

Third worst winning percentage in all of baseball.

 

F

Posted on: June 2, 2009 4:02 pm
 

Justin Upton, All Star Casualty

The Diamondbacks could have a starter in the All Star game for the first time since 2001. Justin Upton deserves to be voted in by the fans, whether or not that happens remains to be seen. Currently among National League outfielders only Carlos Beltran, Brad Hawpe, and Raul Ibanez rank above him in both batting average and OPS. Of those three players only Beltran has more stolen bases, and currently Upton has 29 more at bats and a better fielding percentage than Brad Hawpe.

When looking at the total player Justin Upton clearly ranks among the top three. He is an exciting player to watch and he’s just getting started. Unfortunately for Justin Upton the fans get to decide the starters and the Diamondbacks are not on most casual baseball fans’ radar outside of Arizona and possibly the other cities of the NL West.

Most likely Justin Upton will not be voted in by the fans, as there is generally an astounding ignorance that goes along with the fan voting. As of today Justin Upton does not even rank in the top 15 of votes for outfielders. One potential starter, Alfonso Soriano who is currently third in votes, has a .246 average and a .790 OPS. One of the players for the All Star hosting Cardinals, Rick Ankiel, is currently tenth in votes and has a .221 average with 2 home runs.

If MLB wants to let the fans vote in the starters that’s fine, the game is after all for the fans. But to have a game decide home field advantage for the World Series that has starters voted in by people who either have no idea how a player is actually performing or don’t care how the players are performing is ridiculous. The fact that deserving players who play outside of the three or four largest markets get left out is merely a side effect.

Justin Upton stats and rank among National League outfielders
Batting Average .322, sixth
OBP .396, seventh
SLG .592, third
OPS .988, third
HR 9, tied for sixth
2B 12, tied for seventh
3B 4, tied for first
RC27 8.49, fourth
Posted on: June 1, 2009 4:01 pm
 

May wrapped up, here comes June

Bad weekend.  Two blowout games that were basically over before the fans were settled in their seats.  Jon Garland was making excuses about the roof and the mound instead of just admitting that he sucked, but one does have to ponder why he’s so bad at Chase Field.  At least Max Scherzer came out and said he just didn’t have it.

 

If you can take away one positive it’s that the bullpen performed at an acceptable level.  Yesterday they shut down the Braves from the sixth inning on.  Hopefully that will give them confidence that can carry over to successful outings when the game is actually still competitive. 

 

As May comes to a close things are starting to look up, even if only a little.  The team hit a dreadful and MLB worst .231 in the month of April, in May they have a .251 average.  I didn’t really support the Melvin firing and still maintain that it wasn’t necessarily his fault that the team wasn’t producing, but there has been a marked improvement in the offense since A.J. Hinch and batting coach Jack Howell took over.

 

We will have to see how June turns out, but at least games are now fun to watch (most days).  If the team can continue to make strides at the plate, continues to get consistent production form Felipe Lopez, Justin Upton, and Mark Reynolds, and guys like Eric Byrnes and Chris Snyder play like they did in May the team could still have a shot at the wild card.  Don’t forget, Brandon Webb is expected to return before the All Star break, which essentially turns that loss they get every fifth time into a win. 

 
 
 
 
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