Sorry for the long break between posts, that's really not our bag. We'll do our best in the future to bring you the biggest breaking news as soon as it happens. Or something good like that. Now back to baseball (yeah!).
And I just think that's kind of wacky, you know?
The team's got a middle-of-the-pack offense, but an absolutely awful pitching staff has the team looking at .402 winning percentage coming into tonight's game. And while they can't claim to have 8 players at 2+ WAR like the Yankees can, they are proudly the employers of the only quintet of players that currently have provided 3 or more wins above replacement at this juncture.
Now, that certainly hasn't gotten them much closer to contention, and this has been true for a while given the transition that the team's pitching staff is going through, with Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson departing and Joe Saunders and Dan Hudson arriving. But one certainly couldn't place much blame on the team's five best players, as each one of them is providing above-average production from their respective position. Really, it's the team's non-premium defensive positions (first base, left field) that have really fallen short. I mean, other than the wacky makeshift pitching staff that's been essentially revamped from top to bottom in the past few months.
But the front office has to be awfully happy with the performance that they've gotten out of second baseman Kelly Johnson, center fielder Chris Young, right fielder Justin Upton, third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop Stephen Drew. Well, maybe not Upton so much given that he's actually managed to decline some after his breakout season. But when you're 23, epically talented, and everyone is disappointed when you bat .275/.359/.447 line while stealing 15 bases and playing plus defense in right field, the outlook could generally be characterized as bright.
And a big part of what makes this so exciting is that the Diamondbacks could actually have a pretty exceptional lineup on the field everyday next season. Beyond the five guys thriving so far in 2010, all of whom are under control for 2011 as well, they have one of the better catchers in the game in Miguel Montero and a potential upgrade at first base or in left field in Brandon Allen. That should give the Diamondbacks a few big reasons to believe that they could have a really strong lineup top-to-bottom when 2011 rolls around.
If they can get the pitching staff together, and they have a decent start with Saunders, Hudson, Ian Kennedy and Barry Enright, while getting Upton to put up some star-level numbers, that's a team that could end up looking pretty good given all the runs they'll put on the board. I mean, even in what could only be described as an ugly transitional season in Arizona, they can still tip their hat to being the only team with five 3+ WAR players come the beginning of September. With an offensive core like that already put together, they're already much closer to contending than you'd expect from a team that's on pace to lose 97 games.