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30 in 30

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Arizona Diamondbacks

All that Slithers is Goldschmidt… but not in 2019. Can the Snakes rebuild quick?

Pool at Chase Field by Nick Bastian is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Arizona Diamondbacks


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Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

2018: Record: 82 – 80

2018 Finish: 3rd in the NL West, 9th in the National League

Surprises in 2018

Clay Buchholz

Welcome back, Clay! Wow. After signing with the Kansas City Royals and getting released by the Royals, it seemed like Buchholz only had two options.

Play baseball in Asia or retire.

Buchholz opted for neither and agreed to a deal with Arizona. No one expected much of Clay Buchholz, but isn’t that always the case?

The last time Clay Buchholz pitched as well as he did in 2018, was back in 2013 when he won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox. The much younger Buchholz pitched very well for the Red Sox, starting 16 games and posting a 1.74 ERA, and a 1.025 WHIP.

In 2018, five years later, after it seemed everyone had passed him over, Clay Buchholz came pretty damn close to replicating that season. Stretching over 16 starts for the D-Backs, Buchholz went 7-2, posting a 2.01 ERA, and a 1.037 WHIP.

The most interesting of his 2018 numbers came in close games. When Buchholz received 3-5 runs of support from his teammates, he stifled opposing hitters with a 1.58 ERA, a 0.955 WHIP, holding their bats to a .209 average.

When he received 0-2 runs of support? Batters facing Buchholz in those games hit below the Mendoza Line, as he threw a 0.933 WHIP, and held a 1.50 ERA.

If I’m Arizona, I’m going to take a second look at Clay Buchholz. I didn’t expect much from him last year, imagine what he could do with two seasons in Arizona?

Disappointments in 2018

Zack Godley

Zack Godley won 15 games in 2018. That’s a fact. Zack Godley is also a good pitcher. That’s another fact.

Zack Godley also had a 1.447 WHIP, a 4.74 WHIP, an 8.9 H/9, and led the National League in Wild Pitches and Hit Batsmen. Those are also facts.

After a solid first season as a member of the D-Backs rotation, Godley was looking to repeat that success in 2018. Through April, it seemed like he was going to continue his run of success, and then the problems began. From May 23rd onward, Godley’s ERA wouldn’t dip below 4.00 for the rest of season, despite going 11-6 over the rest of the year.

At the end of the day, you can chalk Godley’s year off to a sophomore slump. Moving forward with Patrick Corbin off the team, and Zack Greinke getting older, the D-Backs will need Godley to step up and take the reins at some point. In the end, it’s best to smooth out the bumps sooner than later.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Welcome to your rebuild, Arizona fans!

How do the Diamondbacks function without AJ Pollock, Patrick Corbin, and Paul Goldschmidt? I’m asking for a friend. That friend is Torey Lovullo.
Losing A.J. Pollock is one thing, but losing Goldschmidt is another. So let’s focus on Goldy.

Paul Goldschmidt spent 8 years in the desert becoming a generational talent at first base. Goldschmidt owns a career slash-line of .297/.398/.532, with an OPS of .930. In the average season, Goldschmidt’s numbers continue to astound.

Goldy’s 162 game averages: 175 hits, 105 RBIs, 40 doubles, 31 home runs.

Unreal.

All that being said, it’s good that the D-Backs let him go when they did. Imagine if Arizona kept him for the 2019 and didn’t get the deal they wanted at the deadline. Instead, they hold onto Goldy and don’t sign him in the offseason. The fanbase would riot.

The D-Backs were never going to resign Goldschmidt, and it’s better to rip off that band-aid now and reap the benefits. Imagine watching Goldy slip away in Free Agency?

Will this team feel a lot different? Oh yes. But there’s youth on the horizon. In the not-too-distant-future, it’s possible we could see two names on the backs of D-Back uniforms: Taylor Widener and Jon Duplantier.

Widener came over from the Yankees in exchange for Brandon Drury, which at this point seems like an oversight on their part. After pitching to a 7-8 record, a 3.39, and a 1.148 WHIP in for the High Single-A Tampa Yankees. In 2018, Widener showed out, improving at the Double-A level to the tune of a 2.75 ERA and 1.034 WHIP for the Jackson Generals.

Jon Duplantier also improved his play in 2018, which seems insane when you look at his 2017 stats. At the Single-A level, Duplantier pitched out of his mind, posting a 1.32 ERA and a 0.826 WHIP, which shows when you look at his 12-3 record and his 10.9 K/9.

This past year, Duplantier continued to excel at a heightened level of play. In Double-A Jackson, with teammate Taylor Widener, went 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA, a 1.124 WHIP, and a solid 9.1 K/9. Solid year for Duplantier, who keeps getting better.

So the Diamondbacks rebuild might not be as disastrous as we may think it’ll be. Perhaps this is the exact thing the organization needs.

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