When he was signed to a one-year deal, worth $900,000 during last spring, many D’Backs fans didn’t expect much out of veteran Willie Bloomquist. Little did those fans know, Bloomquist would become a crucial part to Arizona making their first postseason appearance since 2007.
After starting shortstop Stephen Drew went down with a season-ending ankle on a collision at home plate against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 20, Bloomquist stepped in and did an extremely good job considering that he wasn’t expected to be the Diamondbacks starter at short at the beginning of the season and strictly a depth guy.
In receiving his most at-bats since the 2009 season with Kansas City, Bloomquist hit .266; his best batting average since 2008. The former ASU product also hit four long balls and drove in 26 runs. His 44 runs was the second highest total of his 10-year big league career.
Bloomy also did a wonderful job on the basepaths. Never known to have great speed, Bloomquist still managed to swipe 20 bases in 30 attempt; the second highest total of his career. His best stolen base total came in 2009 with Kansas where he swiped 25 bags.
Throughout his career, Bloomy has played every single position on the field, besides catcher and pitcher, but he only played left field and short in 2011. Bloomquist saw 22 starts in left seeing time over Gerardo Parra against tough left-handed pitchers. He also had 57 starts at short. While playing the two spots, Bloomquist committed only five errors, all of them coming at shortstop.
What Bloomquist’s role will be in 2012 will fully depend on whether Drew is healthy to start off the season. Drew is coming off of a very serious ankle injury and had sports hernia surgery back in October, so there is a decent chance that he could miss all of spring training and the start of the regular season in April.
If that ends up being the case, Bloomquist will be the D’Backs starter on Opening Day. He won’t be playing every day though with defensive special John McDonald behind him. Before McDonald was acquired, the wear and tear of Bloomquist playing every day wore down on him, but that won’t be the case with Johnny Mac in Arizona for a full season.
Bloomquist will never be mistaken for a Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes, but he is a guy that every club has to have on their roster in order to win ballgames. He doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well, but he does everything well enough to get the job done. His verstaility to play a number of different spots on field is crucial to the makeup of your roster as well.
However much time Drew misses or whatever position he plays on the field, you can expect Bloomy do a great job.