Arizona Diamondbacks: Who Will Be the Breakout Player This Season?
In my best Johnny Mathis voice, “it’s beginning to look a lot like, baseball.” Obviously, my parody skills need to stay on the bench. But one thing is true is that spring training baseball is just day or so away. This means it is time to look at some team rosters to see who makes the final cut, who does not, and which new acquisitions are going to impact their teams the most. This week with the Arizona Diamondbacks there is a new acquisition that could make a huge impression on the fan base, and it is not who you would first think.
Arizona made some noise this off-season acquiring big names such as Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte. However, the one that is set to break out this season is the Gold Glove award winner, Kole Calhoun. Coming to the team, Calhoun is mostly known for his diving catches and cannon arm he utilizes to gun down runners that try to stretch doubles into triples. This player is not particularly known for offense, but the main reason for this is due to an issue with his batting stance.
As you can see from the video above, even though it is a home run, he holds his hands very close to his body. What this results in is late contact. Late contact leads to a lot of pulling which more often than not leads into a lot of grounders hit to either the first basemen or right into the first base side. Even the home run in the video is hit on the right side of the field, it’s pure strength that got that home run. This does come in handy sometimes, but it is not consistent because of the high probability of pulling the ball and grounding into a double play.
At one point in the 2017 season, Calhoun had a seven-game hit streak, with a .478 (11-for-23) batting average. What changed? It can be seen in the video below that his hands start further away from his body, which results in a much faster swing rate, and a more consistent approach at the plate which leads to higher averages and improvements in almost every offensive area.
Unlocking this trait and helping him not revert to keeping his hands close to the body is going to be quite the task for D-Backs hitting coach Darnell Coles. If he can do this, Kole Calhoun will go from being a .232 hitter in 2019, to one of the most well-rounded players on this Diamondbacks roster and the league. Hitting is an interesting science to the point where, even if one thing is out of place, it is all out of place.
Who do you think will be the Arizona Diamondbacks’ breakout player in 2020? Leave a comment below.
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