Tony Capana Caps Arizona Diamondbacks' Speedy Transformation In 2013

By Thom Tsang


Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

No, the Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t going to hit as many home runs, not after trading Justin and Upton and Chris Young, two former 30-homer hitters.

But boy, they are going to run on the basepaths, and they are going to do it a lot.

If you weren’t sure of it when the team made the decision with an outfield rotation that includes Adam Eaton, who could end up with 30 stolen bases in 2013, and Gerardo Parra, who could swipe 20 with more playing time, the acquisition of Tony Campana should confirm the philosophy change.

Sure, Upton and Young did their fair share of running too, but as a whole, the Diamondbacks have considerably more speed to burn going into the upcoming season.

Where this team was one who was content with hitting home runs and striking out a lot prior to this off-season, the 2013 D-Backs are going to score runs by hustling on the basepaths. The 2012 version of the team ended 23rd in the league in steals with 93 – and it’s possible that Campana could exceed more than a third of that total alone for the team, even as a part-time player.

He’s already done it before, after all, stealing a remarkable 30 bases in 33 attempts for the Chicago Cubs in 2012 in just 89 games.

There’s game-changing speed in the 26-year old, but whether he’ll be able to show his stuff when Opening Day comes around is another matter.

To do that, he’ll have to avoid the same aspect of the game that made him expendable on the Cubs – hitting. Campana’s .264 average would’ve been passable enough, if not for the fact that he strikes out a lot (21 percent strikeout rate in career) and can’t get on base otherwise (5.5 percent walk rate).

Combine that with a total lack of power, and Campana is essentially a one-tool player. That’s not to say that he’ll necessarily be earmarked for the minors, though. The team did trade a pair of minor league pitchers for him, after all, which should tell you that they value Campana’s one tool enough to think that he can make an impact on the team.

Could he be worth a roster spot, even if the Diamondbacks could legitimately only use him as a pinch-runner or a late-inning defensive replacement? That’s a question that the team will be asking through Spring Training, where manager Kirk Gibson has said that Campana will have to earn a roster spot.

If and when he does earn the spot on the bench, though, look for the 26-year old to be a key weapon who could easily provide the late-inning spark that the team could use in close games.

Combined with the added speed on the infield with Martin Prado and Cliff Pennington, and these new-look Diamondbacks aren’t going to wait for the home run to generate offense in 2013 – they’ll generate their own on the basepaths if they have to, and Campana be the very best in the game at doing exact that.

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