The 5: Promising statistics from the D-backs’ spring so far
If last season taught us anything, it is that overreacting to spring training results is not a particularly wise thing to do.
But even with that in mind, that does not mean what happens in the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues are not at least notable.
Here in Arizona, the Diamondbacks have once again produced a winning spring training record, but more importantly than that, some key players are showing that they may be ready to take steps forward.
Obviously, what happens in spring stays there, but if you are looking for reasons to get excited over the 2017 Diamondbacks, these five stats from Cactus League are exactly what the doctor ordered.
Taijuan Walker’s strikeout-to-walk ratio, 25:2
It’s fair to say the Diamondbacks have high expectations for Walker, the centerpiece of their big offseason trade with the Seattle Mariners. Just 24 years of age and long regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the game, it appears he might finally be ready to start making good on his potential.
Walker leads D-backs hurlers in strikeouts this spring, with 25, but has just walked two in his 17.2 innings of work. The right-hander who has a career 3.25:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is doing just a smidge better in his first spring with Arizona.
Brandon Drury’s average: .435
OK, so we know Drury is probably not going to contend for the batting title this season. However, we know the second baseman can hit, and what he’s done this spring has been mighty impressive. Drury has collected a team-best 20 hits in 43 at-bats, giving him an average of .435. He has seven doubles — which also pace the D-backs — as well as two triples.
Oh, and Drury’s .458 on-base percentage and .674 slugging percentage give him an OPS of 1.132, which is not too shabby for a middle infielder.
The pitching staff’s ERA: 4.22
While ERAs skyrocket in spring, Arizona’s is seventh-best and bolstered by strong outings across the board by starters Robbie Ray (2.70), Patrick Corbin (3.44) and Taijuan Walker (3.57), who all rank in the top-20 in MLB.
Spanning his starts last Tuesday and this Sunday, Corbin earned 19 consecutive outs and finished having retired 23 of 24 batters in a row before the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians.
Power and discipline
Arizona is third behind the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals with 12 triples this spring.
Veteran outfielder Gregor Blanco leads the way with three, while Drury, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed have two apiece.
While they’re cranking hits for extra bases, the D-backs have shown discipline at the plate with the fourth-fewest strikeouts, 175. The Rockies have the fewest, 162, while the Cleveland Indians have 247, the most this spring.
Shelby Miller’s darts
Shelby Miller has thrown 204 pitches in official spring games so far. Per StatCast, 59 of those have surpassed 96 mph, while 17 more have topped 97 mph. Two have gone into 98 mph territory.
D-backs pitching coach Mike Butcher said Miller came into camp in tremendous shape, and it appears that’s coming through in his straight velocity.