by Matt Trueblood
on February 17, 2010 @ 00:00:00
Everyone knows Coors Field in Colorado is the best place in the league to hit. Relatively few are aware, though, that Arizona's Chase Field might be a fairly close second in the NL. It is among the league's most homer-friendly parks but also encourages doubles and triples. There simply isn't a downside for hitters anywhere in the park's numbers.
Under manager A.J. Hinch, Arizona should continue to make a fantasy impact on the base paths, but it may be lesser. Mark Reynolds stole 21 of his 24 bases after Hinch took the helm in mid-May. However, the team became less efficient on the base paths under Hinch, who seemed to dial back their aggressiveness as the season wore on.
The problems for Arizona's hurlers don't end with those presented by batted-ball influences. Chase Field helped to facilitate the fifth-most walks and the third-fewest strikeouts in baseball last year.
Diamondbacks starters threw 100 or more pitches 95 times last season, most in the NL, but never exceeded 120. The team's bullpen allowed the highest rate of inherited runners to score in the Senior Circuit, a problem the team has done little to address this winter.
Arizona gave up the third-most runs in the league last season, despite an above-average mark in team fielding independent pitching and a rangy defense. Much of that was due to the team's 124 errors, second-most in baseball. If the squad can improve its fundamentals and avoid those miscues, its pitchers stand to gain tremendously.
Kelly Johnson looks like the organization's choice to start at second base, but the team's groundball pitchers - which make up a majority of the staff - might hope Ryan Roberts somehow wins that job. The outfielders have great range and plus arms, except for Conor Jackson, who's back in left and barely acceptable. If they cut down on errors, they could be among the league's best groups.
About Matt Trueblood
Matt is a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. The guest contributor is a featured Chicago Cubs columnist on the Bleacher Report as well as a contributor to hotstove.com. Matt envisions himself as both a writer and analyst and strives to deliver pieces that are both well-researched and thought-provoking. He work first appeared on KFFL.com in February 2010.
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