Despite a long list of injuries, the Arizona Diamondbacks have compiled the second-best record in baseball.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently 20-8, the best record in the National League and second best in the majors. The Diamondbacks are on pace for 116 wins, despite having a crowded disabled list. What should Arizona Diamondback fans expect from these players once they return from the disabled list?
As of Tuesday, May 1, the Arizona disabled list includes the likes of Robby Ray (went down just the other day with an oblique strain), Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery), Jake Lamb (sprained AC joint), and Steven Souza, Jr. (pectoral strain).
What does all of this mean? Well, for starters, let’s look at Robbie Ray. Last year, Ray went 15-5 in 28 starts. The D-backs won 71% of the time he took the bump. Zack Greinke had the same injury a few years ago and missed six weeks, so we can use that as a benchmark. Assume that in all, Ray misses eight starts. That decreases the number of games the D-backs win over that stretch from around six to about three if we play the percentages.
Time off for Ray may be a good thing. He seems to be hungover from his All-Star season last year. He’s 2-0 but he has a 4.88 ERA and hasn’t looked terribly sharp all year. Best case scenario, he returns from injury in his 2017 form, in which case, the Diamondbacks are immediately the favorites to win the NL West.
Taijuan Walker’s injury means more to the Diamondbacks than Ray’s. Walker’s season-ending injury means that Matt Koch will probably have a spot in the rotation until Shelby Miller returns from the DL, and no one can even predict which Shelby Miller the D-backs will have this season.
Jake Lamb’s injury has hurt the D-backs in the sense that it took Daniel Descalso off the bench, which is where he’s most valuable. Lamb was hitting .278 on the season before he got hurt, but that doesn’t really mean much since the sample size is too small. However, whatever he’d be hitting had he not gotten hurt, it’d probably be better than Descalso’s .212 batting average. Lamb’s injury has cost the D-backs hits, and a bat to protect Paul Goldschmidt. If the D-backs can keep putting up big numbers without him, his return will only make the D-backs better.
Steven Souza’s injury is the biggest question mark. Currently, the D-backs right fielders are batting .188 with an OPS of .624. That’s not good at all. Souza will surely hit higher than .200, and while he might not play as good of defense as Jarrod Dyson, he’ll hopefully be able to field better than Chris Owings, who’s just not an outfielder. Souza’s return will help put the bat back in a position that hasn’t contributed much this season.
The Diamondbacks are a playoff team as they’re currently playing. With the return of Jake Lamb, Steven Souza and Robbie Ray, The D-backs might be able to go farther in October than they would otherwise.