Arizona first basemen rank 24th among MLB teams with a .691 OPS this season, so the Diamondbacks have decided to call up 25-year-old prospect Brandon Allen for his third shot in the majors.
Allen saw some time with the Diamondbacks in both 2009 and 2010, but hit just .221 with five homers and 60 strikeouts in 172 total plate appearances. Of course, even that modest production equaled a .709 OPS that beats what Arizona got from Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at the position in the first half.
Allen’s minor-league resume is far more impressive. He’s hit .287 with 56 homers and a .960 OPS in 243 games at Triple-A, including .306 with 16 homers and a 1.009 OPS in 83 games there this season. He’s old for a prospect and is going to strike out a lot, plus those Triple-A numbers are inflated by a very hitter-friendly environment, but Allen could bring some much-needed power and plate discipline to the lineup.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)