Though the Diamondbacks have a strong anti-analytics reputation, team president Derrick Hall told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they’ve hired a pair of full-time employees and two interns recently to add to their growing analytics department. Chief baseball officer Tony La Russa disputed the notion to Rosenthal as well, noting that he feels the data provided by D-Backs analysts is important for game preparation. La Russa wants manager Chip Hale and his coaches to employ “observational analytics” during games, though — that is, to adjust based on what they see on the field and in their guts. That, of course, sounds like a decisively non-analytical approach. The additions to the staff are noteworthy, to be sure, but it’s worth questioning how much buy-in there is at the top of the food chain given quotes such as this one from La Russa: “But once the game starts, you’ve got to really make sure that you don’t let some of the preparation change what your guts and brain are telling you when you look out at the field. During the game, you observe. That supersedes what you would have learned from the preparation going in. … You have to allow your managers and coaches to make adjustments. That’s how you can win extra games.”
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Daniel Hudson has spent the season in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen and seen his velocity tick up to triple digits while working in relief, but the former starter and two-time Tommy John victim tells the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro that he believes he can return to the rotation. “I’d really like to try it again and if we get to a point where we say, ‘Well, we don’t know if this is the smartest thing to do,’ then I’ll be perfectly fine doing whatever they need me to do and just going like that the rest of my career,” says Hudson. As Piecoro notes, the righty was initially placed in the ’pen because doctors didn’t want him tossing more than 80-90 pitches per outing, and there were questions about how deep he could work into games early on as he reestablished his control.
- We’ve touched upon the state of uncertainty in the Giants future rotation several times recently, and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle is the latest observer to offer his take of the situation. The upcoming rotation market has a lot of talent, of course, but many of its better arms of it will at least start out looking for nine-figure guarantees. Schulman says the “most likely scenario” for San Francisco is to try to bring back Mike Leake, who he pegs in the six-year, $90MM range, while also looking to deal for another mid-rotation arm.
- The Padres face ongoing shortstop questions, and Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune takes a look at the early returns from the latest player under consideration at the position: Jedd Gyorko. Still just 26 and locked up for years to come, Gyorko has come alive at the plate in recent months. While he’s only logged 103 frames at short, Lin suggests that he’s shown enough at least to merit a continued look the rest of the way. With an upcoming shortstop market that is fronted by players like Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, and Alexei Ramirez, there are certainly some free agents that could warrant consideration as everyday options — to say nothing of the possibility of a trade. But Gyorko’s work at short potentially gives the team some flexibility in its acquisition plans.