SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Infielder Willie Bloomquist #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks fields a ground ball out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Nine games in, it's time to check on the Diamondbacks Grit Meter.
As you can tell from a glance around SBN Arizona, we've fully embraced the Diamondback Way of ignoring tallies like wins, talent acquisition, and investment in product. Instead, we will join the team in marking success through the Grit Meter.
The Grit Meter will evolve as the story we've been asked to tell by the franchise matures through the season. For example, we haven't been able to find the right clubhouse assistant to bribe to measure the amount of grass matter and dirt caught in the drain traps of the industrial washers used on the uniforms. This will come, my friends. We are committed.
For now, we'll settle for stinky old statistics but the ones that totally matter in the Grit Meter. After nine games:
The Diamondbacks rank third in the majors with 12 stolen bases on 15 attempts, perhaps an early reflection of their fifth-best on-base percentage per... erm, ability to gut out people on base and stuff. They've only grounded into seven double plays, which is rather impressive and obviously a reflection of the amount of running happening.
In hit-by-pitches, though, the team ranks Lousy. Only two people have garnered bruises as their reward for standing near where a guy throws a baseball hard: Juan Miranda and Kelly Johnson. The D'Backs have also only hit one person with a thrown baseball and it's not Miguel Montero. Montero has allowed a passed ball, witnessed four wild pitches, and errored thrice. Despite his gaudy batting statistics, he can't be considered terribly gritty early on.
On the other hand, Miranda has proven to be a gutty player, bunting for one sacrifice and the team's only bunt hit in just nine games despite theoretically possessing some power. (Theoretically, as he has hit nothing but singles so far.) Hopefully, Miranda has shown skipper Kirk Gibson his true birth certificate and convinced him that he actually did fight with Castro and therefore is veteran-y enough to stick around a bit longer.
And don't ask about productive outs. The Diamondbacks rank 19th in MLB in making outs count when they do happen, which shows a failure to commit to the plan, really. They allow productive outs at an acceptable rate, slipping into the top ten in preventing the productive. Still, there's room to improve.
Which leaves pesky ol' wins. As our own Cory Williams pointed out yesterday, these Diamondbacks just won't accept losing like last year's team. Of course, last year's team was 5-4 after nine games and this year's squad is only 4-5. Perhaps last year's team accepted winning a tiny bit better early in the season.
We'll leave you with the Grit Newsboy of the week, delivered to the player who best sold the storyline that caring matters more than preparing for the future. We grant this week's honor to Willie Bloomquist, who has an eight-game hitting streak, four double plays, and zero errors. He also possesses an ineffable Bloomquistian nature that is almost Fuld-like in its Ecksteinity.
By the way, we apologize for mentioning the wins/losses thing earlier. We're still working out the bugs in the Grit Meter. Also, grit grinds up just about every type of machine except Big Red ones, which have to be constantly lubed with the slobber of Joe Morgan.