Last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks had arguably the best defense in baseball as they were tied for the league lead in fielding percentage as well as the lowest total errors. There were no weak links, and they were led by two Gold Glove winners in Gerardo Parra, and Paul Goldschmidt.
This year, the storyline has been much different. While most people have focused on pitching as the reason for Arizona’s poor start, the defense hasn’t been much help, posting a league-worst .975 fielding percentage, as well as a league-high 27 errors. If the poor fielding percentage and high number of errors weren’t enough, then let’s take a look at the team dWAR of -0.6. This means if you were to replace the entire team with replacement level players on defense, the Diamondbacks would have 0.6 more wins.
This may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that according to baseball-reference, having a total team WAR of 0.0 means that you will finish the season with a record of about 48-112, you will realize that it is terrible.
The Diamondbacks have always prided themselves on a strong defense, and while it is true that they are of to a terrible start on defense, that is likely to change. Many Diamondbacks players have started the season playing worse defense than normal, such as Parra. He is considered one of the best defenders in baseball, evidenced by his Gold Glove last season, yet he has started the year with just a .958 fielding percentage.
This is almost guaranteed to improve. The same is true for Martin Prado, whose current .919 fielding percentage is far below his career average, which is a solid .979. Most of the players will improve their defense throughout the duration of the season, and that will improve the team defense.