02 July 2010

The DBacks' Mid-Season Shake-up

Obviously, Manager A.J. Hinch wasn't getting things done. Back in May of last year, I posted about how Bob Melvin was replaced by then-Director of Player Development AJ Hinch, who, in his one year and one month as manager of a big league team posted an 89-123 win-loss record. This prompted the Diamondbacks organization to fire him and General Manager Josh Byrnes late last night. My phone was literally ringing nonstop with Twitter updates and text messages about the rumor mill surrounding the shake-up.

Obviously, right from the get-go, there was a lot of controversy surrounding "the Hinch Era" due in part to his never having managed a baseball game prior to replacing Melvin. Fans across Arizona wrote vile comments on the Facebook pages I read, the MLB news stories, sports web pages, on the radio, and elsewhere. Within the organization, I imagine they believed that Hinch would be a good choice because he had basically brought up our entire team (Reynolds, Upton, Webb, Drew, Conor Jackson, etc.) from the farm system, and knew them all very well. Sadly, the Diamondbacks have consistently failed to do anything right since Hinch began managing them. It was in retrospect a bad decision, and the DBacks are stuck with about $7,000,000 in contractual obligations to the two men over the next few years.

Last night (after the rumor sprouted, was confirmed, then reconfirmed, then triple-double checked to be sure it was confirmed... yes, I got a LOT of text messages) it was annouced that Diamondbacks bench coach and former Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson would become the interim manager while Jerry Dipoto becomes interim GM (I don't know a lot about him, so I'll be trying to find out more in the near future). Gibson has been coaching with the team for the past few seasons, and while he too has never managed, his NL MVP Award in 1987, two World Series rings (1988 being his more well-known), and years of lower-level coaching experience make him an obvious interim, if not permanent, choice.

Just for kicks, here's an idea of how the boys in Sedona Red stack up in the majors this year (statistics are followed by the team's place out of the 30 teams in the major leagues in parentheses):

The Arizona Diamondbacks' batters have scored 362 runs (14th) on 675 singles (23rd), 157 doubles (5th), 13 triples (16th), and 94 home runs (5th) - two of which were inside-the-park HRs. They have garnered 1,140 total bases (7th) and amassed 353 runs batted in (10th). They have walked 295 times (6th) and struck out an incredible 724 times (1st in majors by 102 strikeouts). These totals give them an on-base percentage (times on base divided by times at the plate) of .328 (16th), a slugging percentage (measure of how many bases a batter gets per at-bat) of .424 (7th), and a team batting average of .251 (23rd).

Our hitters have also amassed 14 sacrifice fly balls (tied for 27th - last place), 17 sac bunts (27th), and have grounded into double plays 61 times (15th). We've been hit by pitches a mere 21 times (22nd) and intentionally walked 21 times (10th).

Our fielding skills, while improved upon from last year, still leave a lot to be desired: 750 assists (26th), 48 errors (tie for 18th), 8 passed balls (3rd highest total). We have turned 68 double plays, putting us in 19th place there, and are tied for 12th place with a 98.3% fielding percentage.

Obviously, if you've watched the team at all this year, our biggest weakness has been in our pitching, specifically the bullpen. Here's the numbers: in 697.0 innings pitched we have a 31 win (27th) and 48 loss (3rd highest) record, while pitching 2 complete games (tied for 15th) and 2 shutouts (tie for 23rd). One of each of those was Edwin Jackson's recent no-hitter, one of the only bright spots this year for the team. We've gotten 16 saves of 30 opportunities (tie for 24th) and have a team earned run average of 5.33 (30th, or last, place). Our pitchers have surrendered 767 hits (2nd), 446 runs (1st), 413 earned runs (1st), 105 home runs (1st), 299 walks (4th), and have hit 22 batters (21st) and struck out 542 (19th). We have 6 balks to our credit (tie for 6th), 6 pickoffs (tie for 8th), and 48 wild pitches (1st). With a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 1.53 (tie for last with the Pirates), we won't be improving on our winning percentage of .392 (28th ahead of only Baltimore and Pittsburgh) anytime soon.

Not good... hopefully Kirk Gibson and the team can start to salvage some dignity this year.

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