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The Brewings Of A Star In Arizona

The big news of this off-season for the Arizona Dbacks was that they signed Cuban sensation Yasmany Tomas in November. Due to a lack of need in the outfield, they figured they'd audition him at third base this spring. To date, Tomas has seemingly proved himself too bulky to play the position capably defensively. He's seemingly ticketed for the outfield or the minors, which means that Jake Lamb is well on his way to manning third base again.

I'm honestly not sure why there was ever talk of replacing Lamb at third. Sure he hit only .230/.263/.373 last year in the majors, but that was in only 133 at-bats. That's hardly enough of a sample size to call a guy who hit .316/.400/.535 across multiple levels of the minors a bust. In fact, when you take a look at Lamb's home run total for 2014 you see a player who hit 18 in only 593 at-bats. That's certainly someone I think is capable of hitting over 20 homers if given the opportunity to play out a full season.

Some people may claim Lamb strikes out too much. During his brief stint in the majors, Lamb made contact with 80 % of the pitches he swung at that were in the strike zone. Meanwhile, he only made contact with 58 % of the balls he swung at outside of the zone and swung at balls outside of the zone 25.9 % of the time. Anywhere Lamb has accumulated more than 300 at-bats he has managed to bring his strikeout totals down. Just like any other rookie, he will learn to be more patient as he gets more seasoning.

Now let's talk about the opportunity.  Let's say that Lamb wins the third base job outright which is looking more likely to happen each passing day this spring. He'll find himself hitting in the same lineup as Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Mark Trumbo, and potentially Tomas. Not the worst lineup to find yourself in by any means. He'll also have the advantage of playing his home games at Chase Field where the weather stays warmer longer and the ball travels.

You may have noticed that I didn't have Lamb ranked in my third base dynasty rankings. It's because I didn't know how the Tomas situation would play out, but I should have at least mentioned Lamb. It was an oversight on my part, and I'm thinking I'll have to update most of my rankings sooner rather than later. For those wondering, I'd probably take Lamb over Maikel Franco assuming Lamb takes the position and runs with it.

It might surprise you to learn that in my 12 team dynasty start-up draft Lamb wasn't even drafted. It'd probably be especially surprising if you learned we have a corner infield spot. Meanwhile Franco went in the 22 round and was subsequently dropped when he was sent down to the minors.

So what am I projecting for Lamb? A younger Aramis Ramirez strikes me as the height of his potential. If he doesn't live up to his potential, I see him being a Lonnie Chisenhall type going forward.

I'm personally attempting to buy Lamb as soon as I see verification that the third base job is his for this year. I'd buy earlier if my league format had a taxi squad. I only hope it's not too late.

 





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