Sure enough, sabermetrics has ways to measure that, one of which is a metric called "clutch," which takes into account how batters hit in so-called "important" situations.

Prado's "clutch" was rated just above the benchmark for "above average" last year. Upton was between "below average" and "poor" last season, and is between "poor" and "awful" for his career.

This analysis digs beneath the comparison of overall runs scored in a season between the two.

Kevin Towers watches his work in action.
Jamie Peachey
Kevin Towers watches his work
in action.
Martin Prado's overal stats are much superior to Justin Upton's.
Jamie Peachey
Martin Prado's overal stats are much superior to Justin Upton's.

Despite Rosenthal's opinion, there's no column for "gritty" in the Bill James handbook.

"People want to call them gritty, grinders," Towers says of some of his favorite new D-backs. "You know what? They're talented."


Towers never answered the question he posed to himself.

He won't go to great lengths to defend the moves he's made.

He understands that fans and media criticize the trades, but he prefers that everybody "wait and find out" if they were worth it.

There's been some evidence this spring that Towers' plan can work, by "scraping together" runs with speed instead of heavy hitting while the pitching staff keeps runs off the scoreboard.

On March 13, the Diamondbacks faced Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, who's never lost to the D-backs in a regular-season game since he came into the majors in 2007.

D-backs outfielder Gerardo Parra opened the game with a homer off Gallardo, who didn't allow another run in his four-inning outing.

On the other hand, Delgado — still fighting for that fifth spot in the Diamondbacks' rotation — didn't allow a single run in his four innings.

Halfway through the bottom of the sixth inning, the Diamondbacks had five runs on only two hits, while the Brewers committed zero errors. That's scraping together runs, and that's Towers' plan executed.

At the end of the 2010 season, Towers inherited a team that had just finished last in the division for two straight seasons. The next year, the D-backs were division winners, although they made an early exit from the playoffs. In 2012, fans were stuck with mediocrity.

Towers hopes that the team he's assembled plays on grass and dirt like they do on paper and in his head. If they do, it'll be "Upton who?" If they don't, it'll be an outcry for mounting that silvery head on the jagged end of a broken bat.

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15 comments
dogbiter
dogbiter

After two games, the jury is out on Towers...

danxranx
danxranx

Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with ti.


www.Gone-Anon.tk

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Towers better produce, what with him sending Upton packing! He'll be an ex-GM if he doesn't. Personally, I think his brand of Billyball (Kevball) will work. Predicting that the D-backs will go deep into the playoffs this year.  

RandyHill
RandyHill

Wow, what a misleading white wash of Kevin Towers tenure. KT won in 2011 with a team built almost entirely of players DiPoto and Byrnes acquired. He's been destroying tat team ever since.The stellar outfield defense has been replaced w/a DH in left who is one of the worst defenders in baseball. Justin Upton had the best range in right field and has been one of the most valuable right fielders in all of baseball despite the lack of a cherry picked OPS number, and we replaced him with an aging journeyman that we overpaid. And Adam Eaton was drafted by Josh Byrnes, just like Goldschmidt.And just like Jarrod Parker, who fulfilled predictions last year to become one of the best starters in baseball, for Oakland after Beane robbed Towers blind, giving him the less talented, far more expensive Cahill, and also picking up a great reliever and useful outfielder for throwing n another expensive, less valuable veteran reliever. Gee I wonder why Towers needs pitching? He gives up quality pitchers in almost every trade.And then KT finally makes a good pick in Trever Bauer and blows it while you misrepresent the story.. Bauer told every team not to draft him if his routine bothered them cause he wasn't changing it, but KT still took him. And the team said nice things about his "quirks" as Trevor dominated every level of the minors and shot into the majors. The kid had a few bad starts as young pitchers often do (see Kennedy, Ian in his Yankee stint) and suddenly KT and Kendrick couldn't wait to stick the knive in. They knew all of this before drafting him, ran him and his value down publicly and were forced to trade Bauer for an INJURED shortstop prospect who has never been able to hit for average, power, or get on base vs. MINOR LEAGUE PITCHERS at the same age where Jeter was coming off a near MVP season leading the Yankees to a World championship.

And no one questions a major league catcher so dense or self centered that either isn't even aware or doesnt care that his teams top pitching prospect relies on a very specific and widely reported pitching style and attempts to force him to change everything that's worked for the kid in the first inning of his first MLB start? Where is the manager? Where is KT?

If Trevor Bauer is this years Jarrod Parker just maybe fans will start to realize how hard it is to get top young talent and how much KT has squandered for older, more expensive,

RandyHill
RandyHill

Wow, what a misleading white wash of Kevin Towers tenure. KT won in 2011 with a team built almost entirely of players DiPoto and Byrnes acquired. He's been destroying tat team ever since.

The stellar outfield defense has been replaced w/a DH in left who is one of the worst defenders in baseball. Justin Upton had the best range in right field and has been one of the most valuable right fielders in all of baseball despite the lack of a cherry picked OPS number, and we replaced him with an aging journeyman that we overpaid. And Adam Eaton was drafted by Josh Byrnes, just like Goldschmidt.

And just like Jarrod Parker, who fulfilled predictions last year to become one of the best starters in baseball, for Oakland after Beane robbed Towers blind, giving him the less talented, far more expensive Cahill, and also picking up a great reliever and useful outfielder for throwing n another expensive, less valuable veteran reliever. Gee I wonder why Towers needs pitching? He gives up quality pitchers in almost every trade.

And then KT finally makes a good pick in Trever Bauer and blows it while you misrepresent the story.. Bauer told every team not to draft him if his routine bothered them cause he wasn't changing it, but KT still took him. And the team said nice things about his "quirks" as Trevor dominated every level of the minors and shot into the majors. The kid had a few bad starts as young pitchers often do (see Kennedy, Ian in his Yankee stint) and suddenly KTs boys can't stick the knive in fast enough

TomDaunt09
TomDaunt09

Brilliant story! Hope Towers deliver. If he doesn't, the Upton deal will haunt him right out of town. 

Dustin Mitchell
Dustin Mitchell

Upton with his close to .300 avg..6 hrs and 20 rbis in the spring?? No not at all.. Maybe we can trade goldy for some more RP since Kevin can never have a big enough bullpen

Walt Creed
Walt Creed

Nope, Bauer showed nothing but attitude and Upton was way overrated, I think Towers knows what he is doing..

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

I like the work that KT has done.  While I like and respect J-Up, there are times when for whatever reason a player gets stuck in a rut and can't get out.  Look at Aron Hill - he hit .205 and .225 for Toronto in 2010 and 2011 but hit .315 after coming over to the D-Backs for the remainder of the 2011 season and .302 in 2012.  It seems like J-Up was stuck in a rut and a change of scenery may have been required.  I don't see the J-Up trade as anything but creating the opportunity for J-Up to escape his rut and the D-Backs not to have to suffer through it any further.  Love Eaton as a player and disappoitned to see him injured.  Would love to see Parra reduce his base-running mistakes and make as big an offensive contribution as he does on defense.  I'm excited for this team.  But it all comes down to pitching - it always does - and we'll have to see how deep the 5 starters can go and still keep us in games and how effective the new arms in the bullpen can be.  Then with Hernandez as the set-up in the 8th and Putz as the closer in the 9th we're good to go.  I will say this, I would put KT's baseball knowledge and intentional development of this team up against the Dodgers just throwing money at the team any day.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

You're hanging this on Bauer being a first-class prospect?! Please! That's just stupid. He didn't just have bad starts, he had terrible ones. He's going to be one of those pitchers who is working in a used-car lot soon. 

RandyHill
RandyHill

@Walt Creed If Towers knows what he is doing why'd he waste the #3 pick in the draft and $4.5M on Bauer, after Bauer told every team he wasn't changing his attitude or his approach to the game? Bauer is still rated one of the top 18 prospects in baseball, so why'd Towers dump him for an injured prospect who has never ranked higher than 63 and has consistently been a terrible hitter and barely average  defensive shortstop  in the minors for 5 years?

RandyHill
RandyHill

@Dogbiter Bauer was such as highly thought of prospect by Towers that he wasted the #3 pick and $4.5M on him.  Bauer is still rated the #14 best prospect in baseball by Baseball America and #17 by MLB.com, while Didi is 63 and 80th. 

You may think 4 bad starts by a 21 year old tells the tale on his career hopes, but the rest of baseball thinks his dominating 160 innings of 3.00 ERA in the minors says he's the real deal, esp. since half those innings were in Reno, the AAA version of Coors field, with a 2.85 ERA.

But if you & Towers are right, why didn't Towers trade him last season before bringing him up from AAA? BA had him rated the #3 prospect and we could have gotten a huge return. The truth is that Towers is clueless and didn't realize the backlash he'd get from Kendrick, Montero and Gibson when Bauer came up, so Towers bailed on a hugely valuable trade chip and dumped him for an injured shortstop of dubious ability and potential.

 
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