D-backs David Peralta, Jake Lamb showing progress against southpaws
Last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks addressed their issues hitting left-handed pitching by trading for J.D. Martinez midseason.
With the slugger leaving for Boston, manager Torey Lovullo hopes his lineup, the core of which looks like it will be largely the same as 2017, will be able to improve through simple growth.
“Hopefully, the guys are a year better and a year more experienced,” he said. “That’ll be a natural evolution as to being a little bit better against anybody.”
Lovullo has already seen progress in two left-handed hitters: left fielder David Peralta and third baseman Jake Lamb.
Last season, Peralta had more than 100 at-bats against southpaws for the first time in his career. He hit .269 against them – well below his mark against right-handed pitchers, but nevertheless an improvement over previous years.
The manager went a step further with Peralta, calling him a potential everyday leadoff hitter.
“He’s just a very, very solid hitter versus lefties and righties with a great approach and he does everything you want a leadoff hitter to do,” Lovullo said.
A good base runner with the ability to drive the ball, Peralta could be a useful bat to have at the top of the order. Speedy newcomer Jarrod Dyson is a more traditional option to leadoff the game, but he only had 55 at-bats against lefties last season. It was his most since 2012, when he had 63 at-bats.
He hit .145 against them.
Hitting lefties is one of Jake Lamb’s final hurdles to becoming a premier third baseman. Despite posting all-star type numbers over the last two years, he has hit for an abysmal .159 against southpaws in his career. Lovullo has seen progress this spring, though.
“The feel and the ideas that he’s getting and talking about make me think that he’s connecting some more dots,” Lovullo said. “These guys have to spend time through the experience of learning, whether they’re good or bad moments, or ups and downs, they continue to press on.”