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Diamondbacks are in a hideous offensive slump

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The Diamondbacks were fourth in the NL in OPS and fifth in runs while going 20-8 during the first month of the season. May, though, has been a problem. After collecting just four hits in an 8-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, the Diamondbacks find themselves batting .190 this month. Here’s the team’s offensive rankings among NL teams this month:

AVG: .190, last in NL (26 points worse than 14th-place St. Louis)
OBP: .267, last in NL (13 points worse than 14th-place New York)
SLG: .301, last in NL (55 points worse than 14th-place San Diego)
Home runs: 10, tied for last in NL with San Diego
Strikeouts: 151, most in NL (two more than San Francisco)
Runs: 38, last in NL (one fewer than a Mets team that’s played two fewer games)

Arizona’s best hitter this year, A.J. Pollock, just landed on the DL with a thumb fracture and is expected to miss at least a month. Paul Goldschmidt‘s OPS has fallen under .700. With Pollock on the DL, the only two Diamondbacks who have been even league average hitters this year are David Peralta (.279/.359/.483) and, incredibly, Daniel Descalso, who has a team-high .363 OBP and is slugging .514. The OBP is 45 points better than his career mark, while the slugging percentage is 155 points better.

The good news for the Diamondbacks is that the team is still 25-18, and no one else in the NL West is seems all that interested in stepping up. Jake Lamb will soon return from his shoulder injury, and Steven Souza should get it going after struggling in his first two weeks back from a five-week absence due to a pectoral strain.

Still, the Diamondbacks badly need Goldschmidt to figure it out, especially now that Pollock is out. His exit velocity remains strong. His strikeout rate is way up — he’s fanned in 30 percent of his plate appearances — but his swinging-strike rate isn’t all that bad. Maybe the humidor is in his head. There’s little doubt that the change in Chase Field baseball is taking a toll on Arizona’s offense at home, but the effect isn’t as severe as Goldschmidt’s numbers would suggest; he’s hitting .140 with no homers at home, compared to .294 with four homers on the road. It might actually be a good thing for the team that it starts a nine-game road swing against the Mets on Friday.

American draft prospect Carter Stewart signs in Japan

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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.

The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.

Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.

It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.

He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.