Arizona Diamondbacks Mid-Season Report Card

Seth Cox@sethcoxtshqCorrespondent IJune 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02:  Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Oh, the eternal hope of spring, how fast you fade away.  I feel like a Cubs fan.  Actually, at least recently the Cubs have been making it interesting into September, this Arizona Diamondbacks team lost hope after April.

This season can only be described as the worst season in the history of the team.  Yes, even worse than the 2004 season, because everyone knew the team would be bad that year.

This team had hope, this team had expectations, and this team has crashed hard.

So what has the halfway point brought thus far?  Let's take a look around the diamond:

First base:

The team decided not to offer arbitration to Adam Dunn and instead gave the reigns to...I am really not sure. 

Chad Tracy and Tony Clark had the first crack at it.  Clark was hurt, then Tracy landed on the DL. 

So Josh Whitesell was called up and given a chance.  Well, not really.  The team has flip-flopped between keeping him out there and playing veterans.  I just feel bad for the kid.

The best decision that has been made at first base was to move Mark Reynolds there.  Reynolds is having his best professional season, proving to be a prototypical cleanup hitter.

Even though Reynolds himself would receive an A for his season, the first base position will receive a D.  Until Reynolds is over there full-time, that is all I can give them.

Final Verdict: D

Second Base: 

Orlando Hudson turned down the initial offer from the team, and the Diamondbacks decided to let him walk and take a draft pick instead. 

The team then signed Felipe Lopez.  I can't say much about Lopez other than he has million dollar talent but a ten cent head.

Lopez is hitting over .300 from the leadoff position and playing every day.  The problem is that he makes at least one mental error each game.  Whether it be not running out a ground ball or failing to go from first to third on a ball in the gap, Lopez has one play a game that makes you go, "Huh?!"

Final Verdict: C-

Third Base: 

This falls in line with first base.  If Reynolds was playing the hot corner every day, I would give the position a B+ or an A-.  But he is not, and they are rotating light-hitting players like Augie Ojeda and Ryan Roberts. 

They need to either find another third baseman or a first baseman and make a decision with Reynolds.

Final Verdict: C-


A position that is one of the the strengths on this team.  While Stephen Drew struggled out of the gate, he has played great defense, and is now beginning to drive the ball to all fields.

Stephen Drew joins Mark Reynolds as the only viable building block in the infield.

Final Verdict: B+

Left Field: 

Oh, left field.  Remember the days when all that happened was No. 20 suited up and produced .300, 30, and 120 every year.  Those were the days.

Sadly, Luis Gonzalez is not walking through the door anytime soon so we are stuck with what we have, a trio of Conor Jackson, Gerardo Parra and...I really don't even like writing it, Eric Byrnes. 

Other than Parra, there has been absolutely nothing from left field.  Byrnes is an unequivocal failure, and Jackson has been on the DL since May. 

Parra has been a bright spot, at the plate, yet he has already picked up some bad habits.  He may need to be sent down to get it into his head that you have to hustle all the time.

Final Verdict: D-

Center Field:

A position that was supposed to be a strength for years to come has become a question mark.  Chris Young may not be a major league ball player. 

He flashes some nice tools, but more often than not he is chasing bad pitches and being overmatched at the plate.

Young has also battled injuries to go along with his ineffectiveness and deserves the rest of the year to figure it out.  After that it may be time to pull the plug.

I have faith in Young, perhaps blind faith, but he was beginning to right the ship before his latest injury.

Final Verdict: D+

Right Field:

This has to be the brightest light shining through a dark season.  Justin Upton is evolving from 21-year-old mega prospect to 21-year-old superstar.

Upton has some issues still. He is one of the players who loses concentration sometimes and stops hustling.  He also strikes out too much with runners on base.

That being said, he has been the best thing about this season thus far, and along with Gerrardo Parra, seems to be a building block in the outfield.

Final Verdict: A

Starting Pitchers: 

Dan Haren and Doug Davis have been fabulous.  They deserve to be placed in their own category.  The numbers they have put up, with the lack run support, is amazing. 

Final Verdict: A

The next two pitchers have been confusing.  They have excelled on the road but have been flat out terrible at home. Max Scherzer and Jon Garland have confounded their team and fans alike. The splits at home:

Scherzer is 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA.

Garland is 2-4 with a 7.51 ERA.

That is amazing since their overall stats are:

5-5 3.67 ERA

4-7 5.04 ERA

Final Verdict: C+

The fifth spot in the rotation has not been good.  I don't have time to go through all the pitchers and all the stats, so I will just tell you the grade.

Final Verdict: F


I really don't have the energy to deal with the depression that the bullpen has caused me as a fan.  I couldn't imagine trying to manage this unit. 

So I will say that Clay Zavada has been special.  His story is amazing, and his work has been even better. 

Other than that, I really don't want to comment on the terrible seasons of Chad Qualls, Tone Pena, Leo Rosales, Esmerling Vasquez, Jon Rauch, and Juan Gutierrez. 

Final Verdict: F


AJ Hinch was supposed to bring a new attitude and approach to the team, but all he has done is lose. 

There are rumors that he does not have the respect of a lot of players.  He has no managerial experience and a fat 3 year deal that means this is no interim plan.

He has made some bad in-game decisions, but even worse is the fact that players don't respond to him.

If he is the future of the organization from a managerial standpoint, then these players need to be flushed out and traded or cut.

You cannot have high expectations for a team when the players do not even buy into what the manager is selling.

Final Verdict: F (for now)

So what is there to do for this team?  What needs to be done?

First they need to trade some of the veterans:

Felipe Lopez, Doug Davis, and Jon Garland all have some value and can get at least a decent package.

They need to find a third baseman or a first baseman and put Reynolds at the other spot.

They need to let the kids play this out and find out if they can play. 

It is time to rebuild and everyone but Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, Gerrardo Parra, Dan Haren, and Max Scherzer need to be on the block.

There is not much hope for this year, but that doesn't mean there is no hope for the future.


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