Zack Greinke is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. Paul Goldschmidt has three hits in 34 at-bats on the season for a .088 batting average. Jake Lamb is on the DL, and so is Steven Souza, Jr. Time to panic, right? What is going on?
Nick Ahmed. Nick Ahmed is what’s going on.
AAAA player Nick Ahmed, the kid with the glove that can’t hit anything is leading this team in RBIs, and he missed the past few games with the flu. What’s different about Ahmed this year? Apparently, he’s grown the ever so elusive “clutch” gene. I wasn’t even aware such a thing exists – I thought it was just a myth.
What’s made Ahmed so impressive is his ability to play within his means. His OPS is 1.029, which qualifies for 40th in the majors among all players. However, his eight RBIs are tied for 17th among all players. He’s doing so by making the most of his opportunities. Three of his eight RBIs came from a three-run home run Ahmed hit in the second game of the season against the Rockies. However, only one of his other five RBIs came from anything more than a single. Four of his RBIs came from singles, and one came from a ground out.
It’s the same thing that makes Daniel Descalso so valuable- and it’s why Descalso’s wearing Sedona red and not Phil Gosselin. Descalso, who’s getting praise despite hitting .167, does a few things very well. He moves base runners, gets hits when his team needs them most, and takes pitchers deep into at bats.
Ahmed, according to Baseball-Reference, has had 19 baserunners on the base paths while he’s been up, and had driven in 7 of them. That’s good for a 37% BRS%. For reference, Giancarlo Stanton had a 19% BRS% last season when he led the majors in RBIs. However, Nick Ahmed isn’t going to drive himself in 59 times this season via the long ball. Furthermore, Ahmed has been at bat with a runner at third with less than two outs, and has driven all three runners in.
Good teams are those that win based on the production from their stars. Last year, the D-backs were led in WAR by Zack Greinke with 6.3 and Paul Goldschmidt with 5.8. But great teams are those that win with everybody. Nick Ahmed is currently eighth on this year’s team with 0.3 WAR. This is a big deal because it took Ahmed all season last year to reach 0.3 WAR. Should Arizona get production throughout their lineup, they’ll run away with the NL West.
Are the Dodgers OK? They don’t look good at all. Kenley Jansen maybe is just taking longer to get in midseason form, or maybe he just doesn’t have it this year. Through four appearances this season, he’s already matched his number of saves blown last year (thanks, Chris Owings). Also, let’s not forget how Little League the Dodgers’ bullpen looked as they walked in three runs, especially after they walked Jorge De La Rosa, a relief pitcher put in to simply lay down a sacrifice bunt. Oh well, a bad Dodgers team is good for baseball.
The D-backs are 6-1 against the Rockies, Dodgers, and Giants combined. That’s pretty damn good. Arizona last year led the division with 45 wins against the NL West too, so this should come with very little surprise.
Also, I’m really glad that the D-backs traded away Brandon Drury. I’ve really liked Drury since his days in the Arizona Fall League, and he was never going to get the chances he deserves in Phoenix. Also, a move for Drury back to third base, his natural position, will be very good for him.