Long Relief- Randall Delgado
I would like to start off this piece by saying how much I miss Josh Collmenter.
Randall Delgado still has a roster spot because he was a key piece in the Justin Upton trade, and the organization still isn’t ready to give that up yet. He’s essentially the garbage man. He’ll finish an inning as damage control before handing the ball over to a reliever who just needs the innings in a game that’s already seemingly lost. He’s the guy to go to when everyone else’s ERAs are not worth sacrificing. In his 21 relief appearances, he had a 4.30 ERA.
He’s also available to come out of the bullpen for spot starts. That happened on five occasions last season. He had a 4.2 ERA as a starter. He also averaged only five innings per start.
Middle Innings- Andrew Chafin
What a glorious mustache! Chafin is great in high pressure, middle innings situations. Chafin had a 3.51 ERA in 71 appearances. His average outing lasted just over two thirds of an inning, because as a south paw, he was often brought in to face a left handed batter. In fact, 47 of his 71 appearances lasted less than an inning. 30 of his outings lasted for one out, and there were 11 outings in which he did not record an out. However, Chafin didn’t give up a run when throwing more than an inning, but gave up 3 runs when throwing .1 innings, four runs when throwing .2 innings, and six runs when throwing one inning. He also gave up six runs when he was unable to record and out in his appearance. He should be used in a mix of lefty-lefty matchups and when a starter’s start is relatively short. Chafin never went on the DL last season, and was one of the snakes’ most reliable relievers.
Middle Innings- Jimmie Sherfy
Sherf will be a Major League closer one day, and it’ll probably be sooner rather than later. The kid’s only 26 years old, and in four minor league seasons, had an ERA under 4.00. He was able to record a very impressive 3.12 ERA in the AAA offensive heavy Pacific Coast League in 44 appearances. He was called up to the Big Leagues for a cup of coffee towards the tail end of last season, and didn’t give up a run in 10.2 innings of work over eleven appearances. He was 1-1 on save opportunities, and features closer stuff. John Sickels, of SB Nation’s Minor League page, wrote about Sherfy, “no question about his stuff, fastball up to 95-97 earns 70-grades from scouts due to movement; also has a plus slider; even small improvement in command could take him a long way.”
His biggest impact this season could be via trade to a team looking to improve the back end of their bullpen if he can perform well enough.
Middle Innings- T.J. McFarland
McFarland may be the most seldom used reliever the D-backs keep on their roster. Last year, he racked up a 4-5 record with a 5.33 ERA. That ERA, however bad it was, was still an improvement from McFarland’s 6.93 ERA in 16 appearances with Baltimore in 2016. McFarland found his way into 43 games with the Diamondbacks last season, including a spot start. He threw 54 innings, and gave up 65 hits. His 1.519 WHIP qualified for eleventh on the team last season.
7th Inning- Brad Boxberger
Boxberger, who was acquired in November for Curtis Taylor, had stuff good enough to close in the Bigs. However, he doesn’t have the durability to be put in that role on this team. Remember when the D-backs’ bullpen was the laughing stock of the league? Well, now, it could be one of their strengths. In Arizona’s 2011 playoff run, if the starters could get through the sixth inning with the lead, Brad Zeigler was going to throw a scoreless seventh, David Hernandez was going to throw a scoreless eighth, and JJ Putz was going to close the game, if it was even still a save situation.
The same will happen this year. The starting rotation has every capability to pass the game on to the bullpen after throwing a quality start. Brad Boxberger is just going to be the first of three All-Star caliber pitchers that shut down opponents. I believe that he has a shot to start the season as the closer until Yoshihisa Hirano gets accustomed to the MLB season. But, Boxberger has had two consecutive April trips to the DL. He started on the DL in 2016 after recovering from groin surgery in March, and then again in 2017, when he had a right flexor strain. Durability will be the biggest thing to watch with Boxberger.
I watched Archie Bradley’s NL Wildcard Game triple set to “My Heart Will Go On” before writing this section, so now I’m uncertain about his role. Also, you should watch this video every second of every day:
DIAMONDBACKS ADVANCE TO THE NLDS!!!
ARCHIE BRADLEY'S 2-RUN TRIPLE (ARCHIE FREAKING BRADLEY!!!) IS EVEN BETTER WITH TITANIC MUSIC!!!
I very well understand that people can use sports as an escape from the real world, but this is about to get extremely political. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has declared that he will run for US Congress, so he has to resign as mayor by May 30th. However, if he resigns before April 20th, the election will be in August.
I write this because I have very serious concerns that Archie will win based on the write-in vote, because he has positioned himself as the King of Phoenix after his triple and now his relationships with the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, and now Phoenix Rising FC. Also his luscious beard. You could curl up and nap in that thing.
Archie has the stuff to be the closer, the intensity to be the closer, and the fan support to be the closer. That’s why he needs to pitch in the eighth inning. Archie’s demeanor could very well swing the momentum of the game. He’ll shut the door on opponents and fire up the crowd, all at the same time.
But even his role as set-up-man is somewhat uncertain. The Diamondbacks take on the Rockies over fifteen times this season, and Archie should be available as a pinch hitter in every single one of those. Hot take: Archie’s triple was the greatest moment in Diamondbacks history since the wee hours of the morning on November 5, 2001.
Closer- Yoshihisa Hirano
Hirano was signed from Japan for six million dollars, including a million in incentives. That carries a lot of pressure for the Diamondbacks, a team who historically haven’t had great closers. However, the last big name reliever from Asia was Byung Yung- Kim, and that turned out pretty well. Hirano will start out in the seventh inning role, I predict, before transitioning to the closer role as he gets more and more comfortable.
Torey Lovullo said on March 4 that the battle for closer is “wide open,” according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Lovullo did say later in the press conference that the coaching staff is looking at how well a pitcher’s stuff looks more so than Spring Training results, and that Hirano’s stuff looks the best.