As Cactus League action makes Arizona one of the hubs of the baseball world, let’s take a look at some notes on the team that resides full-time in the Grand Canyon State….
- Christian Walker has been the definition of a blocked prospect for his entire career, moving between four different organizations but always ending up stuck behind various high-profile first basemen (Chris Davis, Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt). Now that Goldschmidt has been dealt to the Cardinals, however, Walker may finally have an opening to find some regular MLB playing time. “I don’t know if discouraging or frustrating is the right word – maybe somewhere in between,” Walker told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “You go out and you’re staying ready and trying to be the best player you can be, and on the other hand you’ve got a guy like Paul Goldschmidt who plays 158 games a season. (I knew) some things are really going to have to align to get my shot.” Jake Lamb is penciled in as the Diamondbacks’ first baseman heading into 2019, though there’s certainly room for the right-handed hitting Walker to claim at least a platoon role, given Lamb’s struggles against left-handed pitching. Walker has received only 99 Major League plate appearances in parts of four seasons with the Orioles and D’Backs, though strong minor league numbers indicate that Walker (who turns 28 late this month) still has some intriguing breakout potential.
- Two D’Backs relievers have hit health setbacks in camp, as detailed by MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Southpaw T.J. McFarland will be shut down for five or six days after experiencing inflammation in his throwing shoulder, while righty Silvino Bracho left today’s Spring Training game due to elbow discomfort. Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t think McFarland’s injury was anything too serious, and noted that it wasn’t related to the bone spur issue that ended McFarland’s 2018 season in early September. More will be known about Bracho’s status once the righty is examined by team doctors tonight, Lovullo said. Both pitchers enjoyed strong 2018 campaign — McFarland revived his career by posting a 2.00 ERA over 72 frames for Arizona, while Bracho finally showed an ability to limit home runs en route to a 3.19 ERA in 31 IP.