D-Backs third baseman Jake Lamb stepped into an expanded role and produced 29 home runs and 91 RBIs last year, and the Diamondback faithful are hopeful the young talent can be another weapon in the Snakes’ lineup.
It was a season of learning for Lamb as teams began to target the left-handed hitter into lefty-lefty matchups, where the third baseman hit .164 last year. He hit .271 against righties with 25 home runs and 75 RBIs against right-handers.
These are results, and Lamb isn’t necessarily focused on that as he prepares for a 2017 season.
“I’m working on certain things,” Lamb said, “Just timing and all that stuff. I’m not really worried about the result. In the past, I’m really fighting for a job and, not saying my spot is guaranteed on the team, but in the past, I’m on the fringe of Triple-A and the big leagues, so you have to have the result right away.”
To help garner that growth, new manager Torey Lovullo wants to put Lamb in a position in the lineup that can set up Lamb’s skill set and put some right-handed hitting around him.
“Jake had a great year last year, and it was tough on him, and I’ve gone on record saying he was really one of the only lefties in the lineup once Hermann was out and Peralta was out,” Lovullo said. “It was a tough challenge for him because everyone is matching up against him. We’re looking to support him the best we possibly can and know that he is in a good place to be ready to take the next step in his production.”
Productive he has been this spring, hitting .326 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in Cactus League play. The new perspective and willingness to learn, from anyone in the clubhouse, has helped him grow this offseason.
“I’m trying to learn from everyone,” Lamb said. Even if certain guys don’t have big league time. If I see something you do well, I’m always trying to get better, so I might pick something from you, I’m talking to pitchers . I’m trying to get better from anyone that from anyone in the locker room.”
And Lamb’s goal for the season are clear-cut.
“Playoff run,” Lamb said. “Successful is making the playoffs and anything after that.”