D-backs’ Lamb credits Goldschmidt with help getting out of ‘a bad place’
Just two years removed from an All-Star season, Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb found himself sidelined. Consistently.
“Last year, obviously, was what it was,” Lamb said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo on Tuesday. “The toughest year of my career.”
His mind was full: Losing playing time. His performance not living up to standards. He finished the year with just six home runs for the second season in a row, a .193 batting average and only 187 at-bats, the fewest since his rookie season.
It was the worst he had ever played baseball, he said.
Lamb got in touch with the best baseball player he had called a teammate during his professional career: former D-back and current St. Louis Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt.
“I actually got in contact with Goldy and reached out to him,” Lamb said. “I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m in a bad place right now.'”
It wasn’t necessarily hitting advice. More about showing up to the field, Lamb said. He figured out how he wanted to work on his body and remain healthy — and, with that, improve his hitting.
Lamb said he found “peace” in September.
“Anything that happens with me with the team, I’m at peace with,” he said, while adding he wanted to come back and loves the organization.
In 2017, Lamb hit 30 home runs and drove in 105 RBIs. That didn’t feel fluky; the year prior, he hit 29 home runs with 91 RBIs. He felt like he could continue that for several years.
But he came down to earth during an injury-plagued 2018. Before he could get back into the groove in 2019, he suffered another early-season injury, missing all but six games between April and June.
In September, Lamb’s reflections had begun to help.
“There was some personal things off the field and then there was some stuff as far as look at myself in the mirror and saying are you truly doing everything you can? Everything you can?” Lamb said.
“I started writing stuff down in a journal as far as the thoughts I’m having on a day-to-day basis at the yard. Just little things like that. Because of that, I feel so much better, a lot more clear.”
Lamb found peace in September, and he and the team avoided arbitration this offseason to settle for a $5.515 million contract.
He’s confident he can regain form this year. Playing time will be at a premium with Ketel Marte moving back to the infield, Eduardo Escobar coming off a career year and the emergence of Christian Walker at first, but Lamb said he’s more prepared in February 2020 than February 2019.
“I’m going to show that I’ve got what it takes. I’m not saying that’s third, first – I’ll play wherever,” Lamb said. “I’ve worked my butt off this offseason … I’m in a good spot.”