It's the Diamondbacks we are talking about here so you are probably thinking that the Snakes lead the league in strikeouts or perhaps bullpen ERA (as in the highest bullpen ERA). Both guesses would be false. Well, not really false as much as not the answer we are looking for. We'll get to that...read on, I promise it's worth it.
The Diamondbacks did in fact have an MLB-high 264 strikeouts for the Spring Training campaign. They also had a league-worse 5.86 ERA. And while we are at it, they also tied with the Padres for the most errors (43).
The offense at least, was good. Unfortunately, it's pitching and defense that wins games.
Batting average (.300) was fifth in the league and 42 home runs tied for second. Slugging (.472) and on-base (.355) percentages were both sixth-best in the majors. Not bad for a team slotted to have a huge drop off in power.
The best news out of this spring is on the farm. The Diamondback hadn't ranked high on anyone's list of deep franchises but with the salary dump moves last year and some natural progression from a few homegrown prospects, things are looking up. Here's how one scout put it to the Republic's Nick Piecoro:
"I was skeptical," he said, not knowing a lot about the Diamondbacks’ minor leaguers. "But I got my first look at Cowgill, Borchering, Pollock, Davidson, Schmidt. I was impressed. I was happy for the Diamondbacks because I think they’ve got some guys coming. And I didn’t even see Skaggs. They’re in a lot better shape than I think the industry perceives."
Add to that the D-backs third and seventh pick in the up-coming great draft and the future looks much brighter than the present.
Oh, and the one stat the team did lead the majors in for Spring Training?
Games played. (That was totally worth it, huh.)
The Diamondbacks played 37 games which is two more than any other team and six more than the MLB average. Skipper Gibson said the team had an obligation to play a certain number of games a the newly constructed Salt River Fields and appropriately agreed to play two charity games in Tucson to benefit the victims of the tragic shootings that took place in the Southern Arizona city. Gibson didn't seemed thrilled with the schedule saying the team, "made it through."
Side note: My brother-in-law and his buddy are in town from Iowa. His buddy had some business here and they are also going to get some golf in. Neither of them knew until they got there that Tucson was 90 miles south of Phoenix. They thought it was just a Gilbert-like suburb of Phoenix. Are all Cardinals fans geographically challenged?