ESPN: Left-handed hitting Diamondbacks’ ‘problem projection’ for 2017
But their biggest “problem projection,” according to ESPN writer Bradford Doolittle, will be the proficiency of the club’s left-handed hitters, particularly those in the infield. Doolittle projects that the Diamondbacks will finish 22nd in the majors in weighted on-base average by left-handed batters next season.
Arizona has a lot of holes in its profile, especially in the middle infield where it ranks 26th in projected weighted on-base average at second base and 24th at shortstop.
According to FanGraphs, weighted on-base average – or wOBA – “is a rate statistic which attempts to credit a hitter for the value of each outcome (single, double, etc) rather than treating all hits or times on base equally.”
Of Diamondbacks left-handed batters who had more than 200 plate appearances last season, third baseman Jake Lamb had the best season, with a wOBA of .352. He finished the season with a .249 average, 29 home runs, 31 doubles, 91 RBI and 81 runs scored.
While Lamb and outfielder David Peralta are set in their roles as the dominant left-handed hitters in the lineup, Doolittle says there is potential to improve the southpaw hitting of the club’s middle-infield.
The Diamondbacks will be shuffling through their middle-infield options and to balance the lineup, it would be good news if Ketel Marte seized at least the right-handed portion of a shortstop platoon. A switch-hitter, Marte hit .279 against righties last season for Seattle.
The 23-year-old shortstop joins Lamb and Peralta as the only Diamondbacks switch-hitters or lefties projected to hit for a wOBA over .300 next season. He hit .259 with 21 doubles, 55 runs scored and 33 RBI for the Mariners in 2016.
The additions of two middle-infielders who can bat left-handed in rookie switch-hitter Domingo Leyba from the minors and left-handed veteran Daniel Descalso from the Colorado Rockies via free agency may also bolster the Diamondbacks’ lineup.
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