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D-backs’ increasingly popular OF Tim Locastro open to any role

Tim Locastro #16 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB game at Chase Field on September 01, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Take a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ outfield depth chart, and it’s a bit of a numbers game.

David Peralta and Starling Marte are certain starters. Kole Calhoun has had 500+ at-bats in six straight seasons. And Josh Rojas, Tim Locastro, Jon Jay and Ketel Marte factor into the outfield picture in some way or another as spring training ensues.

Locastro has played infield in the minor leagues but only outfield at the major league level. In 2019 with the D-backs, Locastro played 460 defensive innings across the three outfield spots. It sounds like that will continue, as he told MLB Network on Thursday.

“Last year was the first year that I played primarily only outfield, and I think this year I’m going to continue that,” Locastro said. “Left, center and right. Wherever they need me, I’m ready to go whenever and wherever. Whatever helps the team, you know?”

Tim Locastro on MLB Network

The one and only Timmy Lo gets the MLB Network Hot Stove treatment.

Posted by Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, February 27, 2020

The new MLB rule that allows teams to 26 players on its active roster — up from 25 players previously — could mean the D-backs carry another outfielder than they have in the past. Keep in mind, also, that the D-backs no longer have Jarrod Dyson, whose departed speed could open up a greater role for Locastro.

Locastro hit .250 last year with a .697 OPS, but his 17 stolen bases with just 250 plate appearances speak to one of his strengths: He is legitimately one of the fastest players in baseball.

“I stole 40 out of 41 bases [in college] and I know for a fact I was safe on that one I got called out on,” he told MLB Network.

A graphic displayed on the Hot Stove show spoke to that speed even better. According to Statcast, Locastro has the highest average sprint speed since the start of 2015 in the entire major leagues. He has run 30.7 feet per second, which is just a tick higher than the Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton at 30.6. The MLB average is 27 feet per second.

“I don’t really talk about it, but I definitely think it’s sick,” Locastro said of that stat. “I didn’t really notice I had that good of speed until probably my junior year of college, and that’s where I started stealing a lot more bases and it was sort of just a snowball effect and I took advantage of it and used it to my advantage.”

It’s hard to say exactly how the outfield picture will shake out, but Locastro’s on-base percentage in 2019 was the third-highest on the D-backs among players who had at least 200 plate appearances.

Locastro is also excited about where the D-backs are headed after some offseason roster turnover.

“Yeah absolutely. It’s so exciting,” he said. “I got out here in mid January and there was like 80, 90% of the guys out here already. I think that just shows the chemistry that this team has and it’s going to be a special year, and we all believe that. So it’s exciting.”

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