Restoring the rosters: No. 11 – Arizona

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reynoldsupton.jpgThis is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
The Diamondbacks took an odd road initially, making the playoffs in their second year of existence and winning a World Series just two years later, but even though they spent big at the start, they’ve developed talent consistently throughout. Despite having had less time to accumulate players besides any team other than the Rays, they rank 11th here.
Rotation
Brandon Webb
Max Scherzer
Jorge De La Rosa
Brad Penny
Brett Anderson
Bullpen
Jose Valverde
Vicente Padilla
Brian Bruney
Ross Ohlendorf
Jason Bulger
Tony Pena
Clay Zavada
That’s seven legitimate starting pitchers between the five in the rotation, Padilla and Ohlendorf. I think Padilla and Ohlendorf would be the most useful out of the pen, though there’s always been talk about trying Penny and Scherzer as closers. The Diamondbacks, though, don’t need a closer with Valverde in the role, and they have other nice power arms in Bruney and Bulger.
De La Rosa’s presence here will surprise some. The Diamondbacks signed him out of Mexico in 1998, only to sell him back to a Mexican team in 2000. He later signed with the Red Sox. That wasn’t his only stint with Arizona, though. On Nov. 28, 2003, he was sent to the Diamondbacks in the Curt Schilling deal. Three days later, Arizona moved him to Milwaukee in the Richie Sexson trade.
Micah Owings would have made some teams as a pitcher and others as a bench player. The Diamondbacks, though, seemed to have better options all around, at least if everyone were healthy. He’d still be one of the first additions to the team.
Lineup
SS Stephen Drew
RF Justin Upton
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Carlos Quentin
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Dan Uggla
C Miguel Montero
CF Carlos Gonzalez
Bench
OF Scott Hairston
OF Jack Cust
1B/OF Conor Jackson
C Chris Snyder
INF Emilio Bonifacio
How’s that for depth? Not cracking the roster were Rod Barajas, Chad Tracy and Gerardo Parra. As little need as there will be for pinch-hitters, there’s a good argument for carrying Brian Barden as a second utilityman. Still, I just couldn’t bring myself to drop Cust or Jackson.
Overbay, Montero and Gonzalez would all sit against lefties, with Jackson, Snyder and Hairston entering the lineup. The Diamondbacks should be plenty strong against both lefties and righties, and given that all of the key players are still fairly young, that’s not going to change for years.
Summary
The Diamondbacks have one of the game’s top pitching prospects in Jarrod Parker, but trades, particularly the one for Dan Haren, and budget concerns have taken a toll on the farm system recently. Fortunately, most of the team’s key players still have youth working for them, and with all of the old deferred money payouts finally starting to come off the books, the Diamondbacks should be able to keep much of what they have now. The future doesn’t look as promising as it did a couple of years ago, but if they catch some breaks, there’s no reason they can’t contend annually in the NL West.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.