June 21, 2024

The Arizona Diamondbacks are grappling with a significant number of players sidelined due to injuries, comprising three crucial starting pitchers, four relievers from the major league, and two starting position players.

Manager Torey Lovullo has consistently emphasized the objective of maintaining a competitive position despite these challenges, aiming to position the Diamondbacks for a potential resurgence once their injured players return. Achieving this goal necessitates a collective effort from the entire team, with contributions expected from every member of the roster.

However, amidst this adversity, there are three standout players whose potential impact remains largely untapped. Let’s delve into why each of them possesses considerable untapped potential to aid the Diamondbacks in remaining competitive despite the absence of several key players.

Starting with a position player may appear unconventional given the Diamondbacks’ offensive prowess this season. Despite their middling rankings in rotation and bullpen ERA, they lead the league in runs scored, demonstrating their potent offense. However, with numerous pitching injuries, the offense must step up to compensate. This is where Corbin Carroll’s role becomes crucial.

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As the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, Carroll’s offensive performance has been disappointing this season. His batting average sits at .208 with a meager .582 OPS, placing him among the bottom tier of qualified hitters. Additionally, his .260 slugging percentage represents a career low over a 24-game stretch.

While there were signs of improvement during a recent homestand, Carroll’s struggles persist, evidenced by his 7-for-45 (.156) performance. Hitting coach Joe Mather has identified mechanical issues contributing to Carroll’s difficulties, particularly his upright stance and flat bat angle, leading to rotational swings and poor pitch selection.

Of concern is Carroll’s increased tendency to chase pitches in the high and inside zone, resulting in a career-high swing rate of 28.3% in that area without recording a hit. Addressing these issues could significantly bolster Carroll’s performance and provide a much-needed offensive spark for the Diamondbacks.

With Merrill Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez sidelined, the Diamondbacks are relying on all their starting pitchers, including Brandon Pfaadt, who appears to be the most unpredictable among them. While Zac Gallen and Jordan Montgomery are established, Tommy Henry and Slade Cecconi are less proven in back-end roles.

Pfaadt falls somewhere in between. Despite ranking 33rd in ERA since his third promotion last July, his strikeout-to-walk ratio places him 11th among 42 qualified starters. This suggests he’s pitched better than his results indicate, hinting at considerable potential.

Expressing confidence in his abilities, Pfaadt believes his performance will improve over time. While his recent outing against St. Louis showcased flashes of brilliance, translating these moments into consistently better outcomes could elevate the Diamondbacks’ rotation.

Pfaadt sees an opportunity to fill Merrill’s spot and contribute to crucial wins, enhancing the team’s position when Kelly returns. With Kelly’s reliability in mind, Pfaadt aims to build momentum for his return, strengthening the team’s overall performance.

Meanwhile, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo’s absence has prompted manager Lovullo to experiment with various options. Blaze Alexander has excelled offensively, boasting a .316/.371/.544 slash line. However, defensive lapses have limited his playing time, leading to an inconsistent role.

Despite Alexander’s offensive prowess, Lovullo remains cautious about his defensive liabilities. While praising his improvements, Lovullo indicates a continued mix-and-match approach for Alexander’s playing time, emphasizing the need for strategic integration into an everyday role.

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Alexander’s defensive shortcomings, ranking near the bottom in outs above average and errors, hinder his potential for a consistent starting role. Rectifying these issues is crucial for Alexander to earn more playing time and mitigate the impact of Perdomo’s absence on the team’s infield.

 

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