The Arizona Diamondbacks (8-10) are in re-building mode, but they still have a better record than the New York Mets (7-13). Gone are the days of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling mowing down hitters, but the Dbacks do have great young talent like Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, Miguel Montero, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Justin Upton, and Chris Young. I had a moment to catch up with Scott Allen, the lead blogger at Venom Strikes, to ask him six questions about the Diamondbacks.
1. Have you bought into the early-season successes of Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts?
Yes I have, only because Bloomquist has been consistent since day one of the season. He has been aggressive at the plate and on the bases. As for Roberts, he is just carrying what he did in spring training over to the regular season. He blew his shot to make the team last spring and took that to heart and had a new attitude this spring.
2. Do you see Dan Hudson and Ian Kennedy’s struggles as typical growing pains or as a legitimate causes of concern?
I’ll start with Kennedy because he is absolutely maddening. He goes out pitches 8 awesome innings and the next time out goes and gives up 9 runs in 3 innings. Then he pitches great again on the next turn. No consistency. You never know what you are going to get with him. As for Hudson, just get him to skip the first inning. That is where all his troubles start and mostly end. It is concerning though he has trouble getting out of the gate.
3. Who deserves to see the most playing time at first base–Juan Miranda, Xavier Nady, or Russell Branyan?
I wish manager Kirk Gibson would just make up his mind there. I thought Branyan should be the everyday guy coming out of a terrific spring hitting .429, hitting 5 HR’s and 21 RBI. Miranda though was tapped by the organization to be the future of 1st base for the Dbacks, so they wanted to give him every chance to be that. He had a decent spring, but a rough start to the season, so Gibby started playing Nady so he could get him into the lineup every now and then. Personally, I think Branyan, if given the everyday job, would flourish the most there right now. I’m not sold on Miranda yet.
4. Will J.J. Putz be in a Diamondbacks uniform past the first half?
If the Dbacks are still within 6-7 games of first place near the All-Star break and have a realistic chance to making a run at the title in what is a mediocre division right now, then Putz will be around. General manager Kevin Towers has said he wants to win now. I’m not sure even if the Dbacks have no realistic shot at winning this season that you will see the type of fire sale the Dbacks employed last season. Putz is a piece of the puzzle and looks to maybe be one of the best closers this franchise has seen. So, long story short, I think Putz sticks around awhile.
5. Do you think Chris Young will produce closer to his 2009 self than his 2010 self?
Jury is still out on that one. I thought early on, we’d see 2009 Chris Young based on the way he was approaching his at-bats. However, I think we will see more of the 2010 Young. He drops his shoulders a lot and it’s a habit he needs to eliminate. It causes a lot of pop ups. When he is right though, he is right and the ball can travel a long way.
6. Which prospect(s) are you most excited to see make their 2011 debut?
I’m still waiting on pitcher Jerrod Parker. I think many of us have.