Desert Deserters Update

Russ Ortiz managed to hold the Arizona Diamondbacks to 2 runs in a 4-2 San Francisco victory Friday night. It's safe to say that Ortiz is exceeding everyone's expectations so far this season. With that impetus, FutureBacks examines how ten ex-Diamondbacks players have performed since deserting the desert.

Russ Ortiz (2-1 4.35 ERA) - Ortiz has given his team a chance to win in all three of his starts.

This, after going 5-19 over the past two seasons.  Ortiz supposedly rediscovered his formerly solid stuff playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.  He did not have good control even before he came to the Diamondbacks, however, so Ortiz will never evolve into a dominating pitcher.  It remains embarrassing, however, that the Diamondbacks are still paying Ortiz millions of dollars to make the Diamondbacks lose games.

"I was more anxious than anything," said Ortiz after the win. "I was not nervous wondering how I would do."

Luis Gonzalez (3 HR 8 RBI .304 BA) - Gonzo went 1-for-6 with two strikeouts in his first two games against the Diamondbacks.

Approaching his 40th birthday, coming off his worst season in ten years, and moving from a hitter's paradise to a pitcher's park, Gonzalez wasn't expected to provide a whole lot of offense for the Dodgers.  Even if he can't keep up this fast start, Diamondback fans know that what Gonzo brings to the Dodgers clubhouse and Los Angeles community cannot be measured.  Letting Gonzo go was a necessary evil; like breaking up with that hot girlfriend that you know isn't any good for you.

Shawn Green (2 9 .333) - Green smacked his second homer of the season on Friday off Rafael Soriano of the Braves.

Green's .257 batting average after last year's August trade had been a disappointment for Mets fans.  But Green wasn't acquired to secure the NL East - that had been done ages ago.  Green was brought in to perform in the playoffs, and he responded by going 10-for-30. That combined with a quick start to this season makes the trade appear beneficial for both clubs, even though Evan MacLane has struggled mightily in his first two Tucson starts.   

Javier Vazquez (2-0, 2.50) - After a disappointing 2006 season with the White Sox, Vazquez has looked either solid or dominant in his first three starts of 2007. 

Vazquez had an Fielding Independent ERA under 4.00 last season, and held opponents to a .217 batting average in the first four innings of his starts.  With a four-pitch arsenal, Vazquez had no reason to struggle as much as he did the third time around in the order.  Were the AL Cy Young Award not perennially decided before the season even begins, Vazquez would prove an excellent sleeper candidate.

Chris Young, the main player received in return for Vazquez, is currently hitting .200 with the Diamondbacks.

Johnny Estrada (0 4 .286) - Once again, Estrada hits for a high average while failing to display any secondary abilities at the plate.

With only one walk and no home runs to his name so far, Johnny Estrada hasn't been a very valuable offensive player with the Brewers.  He has scored an unusually high 9 runs from the #5 spot, particularly since he barely reaches base over a 30% clip.  Despite not being all that he appears with the stick, Estrada has guided the Brewers staff to the 4th highest strikeout total in the majors.

Claudio Vargas (2-0 3.46) - Vargas has fanned an unbelievable 22 batters in just 13 innings thus far.

Diamondback fans may not have given Vargas the credit he was due in Arizona.  He had a better than 2:1 K/BB ratio and a winning record as a back-of-the-rotation starter.  Now his 11:1 ratio this season is a bit absurd, but don't be surprised if Vargas finishes with a low-4's ERA now that he won't give up so many longballs in the dry heat.  

In return for Vargas and Estrada, Doug Davis has been solid so far, while Dana Eveland has made two spectacular starts in the minors and stands a good chance of being recalled soon.  Dave Krynzel hasn't gotten things going at Triple-A yet, carrying a .235 SLG into the weekend.

Troy Glaus (2 5 .333) - Glaus played in only eight games before landing on the DL with bone spurs in his right heel.

Glaus remains one of the best power hitters around when healthy.  Many people do not realize that Glaus is just 30 years old, as he first hit the majors at the age of 21.  But while ha may yet have a couple of 40-homer seasons left in him, the Diamondbacks were happy with what they got out of Miguel Batista last year, and are ecstatic about what they're still getting from Orlando Hudson.  O-Dog currently anchors the team on both sides of the ball and leads the majors with a .289 batting average.

David Dellucci (1 3 .256) - Dellucci has only played in eleven games due to the Indians/Mariners series cancellation.

We last saw Dellucci in a Diamondbacks uniform during the 2003 season.  As a backup outfielder, he had shown glimpses of his potential, but few would have expected him to become the best bargain in the majors over the past two seasons.  He hit 29 homers for the 2005 Rangers as a platoon player before becoming one of the National League's best pinch hitters with the Phillies.  One must wonder whether two months of Raul Mondesi was enough of a return for this easy-to-root-for player. 

Matt Chico (1-1 5.27) - Despite Chico's 1.90 WHIP, the Nationals have won two of his three starts.

Let's face it, on almost any other ballclub, Chico would be getting some Triple-A experience.  But these desperate Nationals had Chico skip that level altogether, and Chico's going to get hit hard this year as a result.  The young pitcher will either use this experience to become a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for Washington or lose confidence in himself and fall out of baseball in a few years.

Livan Hernandez has had mixed results as the pitcher acquired in return for Chico. 

Luis Vizcaino (1-1 6.52) - Vizcaino carried a 1.08 ERA into Thursday's game against Cleveland.  He has surrendered six runs in the two games since.

With three different clubs from 2004-2006, Vizcaino's ERA always ranged between 3.58 and 3.75.  He has begun 2007 with control issues, and may not be a good bet to continue his trend of consistency.  The Yankees have a history of ruining newly acquired pitchers' mechanics (remember Javier Vazquez?) and other pitchers simply buckle under the pressure of Yankee Stadium (wave to the people, Kenny Rogers).  Vizcaino may be the next in line to suffer this fate.

Randy Johnson is expected to make his 2007 debut on the 24th, as the man Arizona got in return for Vizcaino.

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