Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves

Diving into the depths: Arizona Diamondbacks


This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

1. Joe Saunders
2. Ian Kennedy
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Zach Duke
5. Armando Galarraga
6. Barry Enright
7. Aaron Heilman
8. Kevin Mulvey
9. Jarrod Parker
10. Wade Miley
11. Micah Owings
12. Josh Collmenter
13. Matt Torra
14. Pat Corbin

It appeared that the Diamondbacks set their rotation when they acquired Duke from the Pirates, but they’ve since brought back Heilman as a possible starter and traded for Galarraga. That means Enright, who got off to such a nice start as a rookie before losing each of his final five starts, might be returned to Triple-A for a bit. I’m pretty skeptical about Enright anyway, and Galarraga should prove to be an upgrade in the fifth spot.

1. J.J. Putz
2. Juan Gutierrez
3. David Hernandez
4. Aaron Heilman
5. Sam Demel
6. Kam Mickolio
7. Esmerling Vasquez
8. Mike Hampton
9. Carlos Rosa
10. Micah Owings
11. Armando Galarraga
12. Clay Zavada
13. Kyler Newby
14. Jordan Noberto
15. Zach Kroenke
16. Brian Sweeney
17. Rafael Rodriguez
18. Daniel Stange
19. Joe Paterson
20. Yonata Ortega

Baseball’s worst pen from 2010 got a makeover with the Putz signing and the Mark Reynolds trade. There will be plenty of competition for the final full spots, as holdovers Vasquez and Rosa try to fight off some newcomers. I think Hernandez will prove to be the team’s second-best reliever.

1. Miguel Montero
2. Henry Blanco
3. John Hester
4. Konrad Schmidt

First base
1. Juan Miranda
2. Xavier Nady
3. Brandon Allen
4. Micah Owings
5. Andy Tracy

Second base
1. Kelly Johnson
2. Geoff Blum
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Tony Abreu
5. Ryan Roberts
6. Cody Ransom

Third base
1. Melvin Mora
2. Geoff Blum
3. Ryan Roberts
4. Tony Abreu
5. Willie Bloomquist
6. Cody Ransom

1. Stephen Drew
2. Geoff Blum
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Tony Abreu
5. Cody Ransom

Yeah, the budget was quite limited, but the Diamondbacks should have done better than Mora, Nady, Miranda, Blum and Bloomquist as their offensive pickups. My current guess is that Miranda starts at first against right-handers, with Nady shifting back and forth as the first baseman against lefties and the left fielder against most righties. Allen, who has the most offensive potential of the team’s first base-left field candidates, will probably go back to the minors to work on his defense.

Left field
1. Xavier Nady
2. Brandon Allen
3. Gerardo Parra
4. Cole Gillespie
5. Wily Mo Pena
6. Willie Bloomquist
7. Collin Cowgill

Center field
1. Chris Young
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Cole Gillespie

Right field
1. Justin Upton
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Cole Gillespie
4. Wily Mo Pena
5. Willie Bloomquist
6. Collin Cowgill
7. David Winfree

Just 23, Parra is awfully young to be at a career crossroads. However, he might not have the bat to help the Diamondbacks as a corner outfielder. Gillespie is the better bet offensively, and he could get a chance to overtake Parra as the team’s fourth outfielder. As a right-handed hitter, he’d make more sense for the club if the plan is for Nady to cover first against lefties.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.