Are The Diamondbacks Overusing Zack Godley?


When Zack Godley was called up from Double-A Mobile in July, he was nice a surprise for the Diamondbacks and fans. He was considered a throw in from Chicago in the deal that sent former Diamondbacks catcher, Miguel Montero to the Cubs.

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During his brief time with Chicago, Godley was only a relief pitcher. It was the Diamondbacks front office that decided to transform him into a starter. It was a decision that is looking to be a good one. When he was called up, he made the most of his first three games in the majors. He looked very impressive in his debut against the Brewers and that performance earned him two more starts.

In Godley’s first three games, he went 3-0 with 1.50 ERA and became just the second pitcher in Diamondbacks history to win his first three games. Due to a roster situation and bullpen fatigue, he was sent back down to the minors.

Since then, Godley has been up and down between the minors and majors. He’s served time in the bullpen and was inserted back into the rotation this past Friday.

The decision to turn him into a starter is fine, it adds even more depth to the Diamondbacks prospect pool of pitchers and he’s risen to the challenge quite nicely. The only glaring problem is that he has been taken out of the bullpen, and put back into the rotation.

He’s only been pitching professionally for three years, and two of those have been as a reliever. In his first year, Godley threw just 26.2 innings. In 2014, he threw 55.1 innings. Gradually increasing as he grows as a pitcher, but this year he’s thrown 99.2 innings in Arizona’s minor league system and 27.1 in the majors with the Diamondbacks.

That’s 127 innings thrown this year, more than double his total last year and according to the Diamondbacks, he’s not done yet.

Arizona’s front office has said that they would like to minimize his innings for the year as he is just beginning the transition from reliever to starter. That’s why he’s been up and down and placed into the bullpen, because his innings were climbing up fast.

This past Friday however, Godley was given a start against his former team, the Cubs, and it was a disaster. He lasted only 3.2 innings and allowed six earned runs. He wasn’t even close to the dominant pitcher we had all seen earlier in the season. Diamondbacks manager, Chip Hale, attributed the poor performance to being overly amped up in trying to show up his old team, but what about the other aspect here, could he be feeling fatigued?

Sep 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley (52) pauses between batters against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Fatigue is certainly not out of the question. Instead of taking the safe route and shutting him down for the season after Friday’s outing, Arizona’s front office has decided to throw him back out on the mound for another start.

On Sunday, Diamondbacks beat writer for, Steve Gilbert tweeted that Arizona would give another start to Godley in the upcoming series against the San Francisco Giants.

The Diamondback’s season is all but officially over. There will be no playoffs and the rest of the year will most likely be used to see what some of their prospects can do in the majors as they look toward next season.

So, why not play it safe here with Godley? Why even run the risk of sending him back out to start? Arizona made this mistake not too long ago and it cost them their ace in Patrick Corbin.

Corbin was having a stellar year in 2013 but started to come back down to earth toward the end of the season. It was clearly obvious that Corbin was not the same pitcher as the year winded down.

Arizona finished .500 at 81-81, there were no playoff spots on the line for them. So, instead of resting Corbin and saving their ace, they kept sending him out there and that ensuing off season, he had to have Tommy John surgery which forced him to miss the entire 2014 season and half of the 2015 season.

The two situations are looking similar, great performances followed by sluggish and poor outings as we get to the end of the season.

Godley is still young, it’s his first year as a starter and he’s made good progress towards that goal. Shutting him down isn’t the team giving up, it’s playing it safe. There is no need to tax his arm with these extra innings. Arizona has plenty of options to fill rotation spots as the season comes to an end.

Despite being aware of his innings and publicly saying they want to minimize them, the front office continues to give him starts. This isn’t the best course of action for a rebuilding team that has found a potential new pitching prospect in what was originally thought of as just a “throw in” for a trade.

The Diamondbacks have a bright future, and if Godley can pitch consistently like he did earlier in the season, the future will be even brighter. For the Diamondbacks sake, it would be wise to play it safe and follow through with minimizing his innings or shutting him down sooner rather than later.

Next: Arizona State Fans Must Keep Calm