March 22nd, 2016

Spring Training Roster Construction-Arizona Diamondbacks

I know I have commented earlier on the Arizona Diamondbacks in my daily Spring Training reports. I just wanted to share some additional comments. I think some things have changed as the spring has progressed and it gets closer to determining the 25-man roster.

I think the Dbacks are intrigued with the potential Rickie Weeks, Jr. provides. No longer a second baseman, in case you’ve missed it, Weeks Jr. is playing left field in Dbacks camp. And he’s playing well. He now prefers to be called Weeks, Jr. And that is the name on his uniform.

Weeks, Jr. has always had a very strong upper body and strong forearms. His strength is less obvious watching from the stands or on television. But every time I stand next to him I marvel at his well defined upper body. That strength could pay huge dividends in National League West parks like Chase Field and Coors Field.

In the past, Weeks, Jr. has had issues with his wrists. I think he is healthy and raring to prove to the baseball world that he still has value.

The Dbacks have very viable outfield candidates in David Peralta, A J Pollock, Yasmany Tomas, Socrates Brito and Peter O’Brien. Where does Weeks, Jr. fit? I keep trying to see a viable path to the 25-man roster for him. In this scenario, I think O’Brien gets additional Minor League time and is optioned. So if Weeks, Jr. sticks, the outfield consists of Weeks, Jr., Peralta, Pollock, Tomas and Brito. That’s five. (5)

The infield is another place that is loaded with candidates. Of course Paul Goldschmidt is a fixture at first base. Then the club has Nick Ahmed, Jake Lamb, Chris Owings and Jean Segura to consider. However, Phil Gosselin, who came in a trade with Atlanta is opening plenty of eyes with very good contact hitting and some pop in his live bat. Does he get a roster spot? And what about highly rated prospect Brandon Drury? Can Drury make the team as a platoon partner at third base with the left-handed hitting Lamb? Or does Gosselin take that role in addition to playing some second base? I think Drury becomes the odd man out and gets permanent playing time in the Minor Leagues. So by process of elimination consider Ahmed, Lamb, Owings, Segura, Goldschmidt and Gosselin as the infield that is six deep. (6)

In my scenario, I have 11 players between the outfield and infield.

I’m assuming the club will keep two catchers. (2). The 40-man roster includes starting catcher Wellington Castillo and then Tuffy Gosewish, Chris Hermann, and prospect Oscar Hernandez. I am assuming Hernandez gets a full year of seasoning after his Rule 5 year in which he was hurt and couldn’t get playing time. Then, the last catching position should go to Gosewish or Hermann. But not both if the team wants a 12 man pitching staff.

My total roster is now 13. That leaves 12 pitchers, including a bullpen of seven. Does it work? I think so. At least at the start of the season. It would leave quality players like O’Brien and Drury off the roster initially. Each would benefit from additional seasoning. If they are valued by the front office, eventually, a spot will have to be found for both-either by trade of another player or injury.

The catcher that is the odd man out would remain in the organization as the top Minor League catcher waiting for poor performance or injury.

The Diamondbacks also have outfielder Gabriel Guerrero waiting in the wings. He will be another in the line of prospects that can make an impact along with O’Brien and Drury-each already on the 40-man roster.

Tomorrow: First look at Los Angeles Angels

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That’s it. I’m done. For now.