The Diamondbacks had their eyes on a playoff berth during the offseason when they signed Zack Greinke for $200MM-plus and traded a haul for fellow right-handed starter Shelby Miller. Things haven’t gone according to plan for Arizona so far this season, however, as the team has stumbled to a 27-37 start. The rotation, with its 5.00 ERA, has played a big role in the club’s fourth-place NL West mark. General manager Dave Stewart opened up about the starters’ struggles to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, saying, “I don’t think it’s any surprise that I am disappointed in the way that we’re pitching. I would imagine that at some point this is all going to pull together and the end result is going to be good.” Stewart added that he doesn’t think the Diamondbacks’ front office handled the assembly of the rotation poorly; rather, he believes the starters have simply underachieved. “No way I expected us to be 11 games below .500 or 11 games out of first place at this point based on what I know we are as a baseball team and what I know we are as a pitching staff,” he stated. Encouragingly, Greinke has rebounded from a rough start to resemble his usual ace self in recent outings, having combined for 16 straight scoreless frames over his previous two starts.
More from Arizona and two of its National League counterparts:
- Miller is one more rehab start away from coming off the disabled list and rejoining the Diamondbacks, reports Jake Rill of MLB.com. Before going on the shelf May 27 with a right index finger sprain, Miller threw 45 innings of 7.09 ERA ball and struck out just 30 hitters against 29 walks. In a High-A rehab start Thursday, the 25-year-old fanned 11 and didn’t issue any free passes. “You’re facing A-ball guys, so you can’t really base too much off of what you do, but moreso past the numbers was how I felt, and I felt good mechanically,” Miller said. “Everything felt a little bit smoother and simpler.”
- Dodgers right-handed prospect Frankie Montas has gone from a candidate to help their bullpen this year to a potential near-term rotation option, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Montas, whom the Dodgers acquired from the White Sox over the winter, has performed brilliantly in multiple Triple-A starts and will continue to increase his workload at that level. If he keeps faring well, Montas could eventually join LA’s rotation and replace 19-year-old Julio Urias, who’s on an innings limit.
- Thirty-five of the Pirates’ 41 draft picks this year are from the college or junior college ranks, and general manager Neal Huntington expects the Bucs to continue going in that direction in the future. “It’s not a strategy. It’s the reality of the new system,” he told Adam Berry of MLB.com. “It gets harder and harder to get high school players. As the industry shifts, you’ve seen high school players go earlier and earlier if they’re signable. You’ve got guys that are coming off the board earlier than they would in certain situations because they are signable high school players.” Pittsburgh did grab high schoolers early, drafting three with its first five selections.