AZSnakePit: Taking All-Star inventory
By Jim McLennan
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It’s probably not a surprise, but it doesn’t look like the Diamondbacks have any chance of having a player elected to the All-Star Game in Anaheim next month — the last batch of results had no D-back anywhere in the 50 players mentioned. So it looks like we will be reliant upon player voting or managerial selection. Who might it be? Here are the five Arizona players who have most impressed in the season to date.
Compare these two lines:
Player A: .256/.375/.460, 10 HR, 26 RBI
Player B: .282/.383/.546, 13 HR, 33 RBI
“A” is the Phillies’ Chase Utley, who is leading NL balloting by more than 1 million votes, last we heard. “B” is Kelly Johnson, who isn’t in the top five, and is even behind the Cardinals’ Sklp Schumacher — who is hitting .237 with one home-run. Idiocy like this makes me want to see the vote stripped from the fans, as it was from 1957-69. If Johnson does not make the NL All-Star team, it will be a complete travesty.
What a difference a year makes: On this date in 2009, Young was hitting .189, almost ninety points below his number so far in 2010. Young has already driven in more runs than he did all of last season and currently leads the National League in home runs and RBI by a center fielder. Sunday’s heroics — two home-runs, including a walk-off shot in the bottom of the ninth inning — were perhaps the high point to date. Only Johnson has a better OPS than Young for the Diamondbacks.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the year, that Kennedy would have an ERA basically the same as two-time reigning Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum? Indeed, taking into account the parks in which they pitch, Kennedy is doing better. While other pitchers in the blockbuster trade have had a limited impact at the major-league level (Max Scherzer’s ERA with the Tigers is 6.30), Ian has blossomed in the National League during his first full season. It’s a shame he missed out on being eligible for Rookie of the Year, though Jason Heyward and Jaime Garcia would still be front-runners there.
It has not been a good summer for the Arizona bullpen — the only more-maligned group in America is probably the board of BP. But, to quote Rudyard Kipling, Heilman has kept his head when all about him are losing theirs, with a career-best 2.83 ERA. That’s despite a heavy workload: He has appeared more often than any other Diamondbacks reliever, in close to half of all Arizona’s games. Over his last 21.2 innings of work, dating back to April 27, Heilman has allowed only three runs, and after Chad Qualls’ latest meltdown, A.J. Hinch may have no option but to starting sending Heilman in for save situations.
It was close between Reynolds and Stephen Drew, but I give it to Reynolds, largely because his defense has been so much improved this year. He is on pace for only 13 errors, down from an MLB-worst 34 in 2008. While the batting-average is lower than he’d like, this has largely been made up for with walks, and his on-base percentage is little changed from last season. He leads the league in home-runs at his position and isn’t even top on the team in strikeouts — admittedly, that is mostly because Justin Upton’s K-rate has exploded.