Diamondbacks role players are stepping up big this year
PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks have been a vastly improved team from 2016 despite having mostly the same players with no major changes.
Players like Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Chris Owings and Zack Greinke have all been performing well this season, but the key to the team’s success may lie in the play of the deeper cuts on this roster.
Gregor Blanco, Rey Fuentes, Daniel Descalso, Zack Godley and Randall Delgado have all stepped up to bolster the team through the injuries of key players like A.J. Pollock and Shelby Miller or in relief of current starters as manager Torey Lovullo shuffles the lineup to keep players fresh.
Blanco has been a blessing in the leadoff spot replacing Pollock. He has reached base safely in nine of his last 10 appearances, and is hitting .286 in his last 19 starts with a pair of home runs and four RBI. His speed on the base path and in center field has been an asset to this team.
Fuentes is hitting .359 in his last 14 games, belting his first career home run on June 18th against the Phillies. He’s another fast, versatile player that has provided the D-backs with options in critical game situations.
Descalso has been a pleasant surprise in left field in the absence of Yasmany Tomas. He has reached safely in 19 of his last 23 starts and is hitting .400 in games where he has appeared as pinch hitter.
He’s also been outstanding at home when the team wasn’t last season, with 17 of his 22 RBI coming at Chase Field.
As far as pitching goes, few have been better in a substitute role as a starting pitcher in MLB than Godley. He is 3-1 in nine starts and 57 innings pitched with a 2.53 ERA and 52 strikeouts. You could even say he’s a step up from Miller’s 4.09 ERA.
Godley’s ground ball inducing pitching style factors in at a hitter friendly park like Chase Field as he has only given up 16 home runs this season.
Another pitcher who has shined when called upon in injury situations has been Delgado. In five starts this year, he has a 3.15 ERA with 20 strikeouts.
The D-backs’ team-centric philosophy seems to be infectious when it comes to the production from the players on this squad from top to bottom. These players are just an example of what Arizona has done to achieve their current level of consistent success this season.
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