Written by: Tre LyDay – Staff Writing Intern (@trelyday03)
Protecting Paul Goldschmidt is no easy task. He’s one of the premier first basemen in the league, and when he’s on it doesn’t get much better at the plate than him. Fortunately for the Diamondbacks they have 25-year-old Jake Ryan Lamb, who’s exceeded expectations in what has been somewhat of a disappointing year for the Diamondbacks.
Jake Lamb was a sixth round pick by the Dbacks in 2012 out of Washington, and made his debut August 7th, 2014, and since then he’s progressed every year. During his debut year in 2014 he played in 37 games, and only hit .230. He had more strikeouts than hits. He was work in progress that much was for sure.
The following season he played in 107 games, and once again had more strikeouts than hits. It was a step back from the excellent Spring Training he had. With a line of .364/.434/.606 it looked like he was starting to put all the pieces together. But by the end of the regular season his numbers weren’t all that great. He hit .263/.331/.386, so other than his OBP he was still somewhat struggling at the plate. He only managed six home runs and 34 RBI’s. The work in progress continues.
This year in Spring Training he put up better numbers. With a line .404/.521/.684 with numbers through the roof, he earned himself the starting job at third base. Now he’s hitting .291/.371/.612 with a .983 OPS. He’s fourth in the National League in OPS, and second in all of baseball in slugging. He’s got 20 homeruns and he’s T-10th in baseball with 61 RBI’s. He’s first in the National League with a 3.2 Win Probability Added, which essentially means on the offensive end he adds at least three wins per year, not to mention his solid WAR of an even three. He’s also tied for first with Adam Eaton in triples with seven.
Jake Lamb looked bad at the dish for the first two years of his career, and it looked like it was a Jackie Bradley Jr. situation, because Lamb could field that much was for sure. He was second in the National League in Range Factor behind only Nolan Arenado. Actually if it weren’t for Arenado, and if he’d have played more games Lamb could have contended for a National League Gold Glove. His defense has suffered a little bit this year. I would assume because of the extra time he spent in the cages in the offseason.
Lamb has been nothing short of spectacular for the Diamondbacks it makes you wonder where’d they be had Pollock not gotten hurt, and if their pitching was up to par to start the season. One thing I do know is that if Lamb ever figures out how to hit lefties then he’s going to be a premier threat at the plate, but unfortunately for him he doesn’t play against lefties. He’s only going to figure out how to hit left handers if he actually plays against left handers. He got snubbed from the All-Star Game this year, but I can bet he’ll be back soon enough.