“Youth movement” has become synonymous with the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.
Leading the charge are Daulton Varsho, 26, and Alek Thomas and Geraldo Perdomo, both 22. In 301 at-bats this season, catcher/outfielder Varsho had 12 home runs and 45 RBIs with a .233 average before the All-Star break.
Thomas, who has been an outfield highlight reel in his rookie season, has approached home plate 212 times after being called up in May from the Reno Aces, the team’s AAA affiliate. The Chicago native took a .250 average into the All-Star break, with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
Filling in at shortstop for the veteran Nick Ahmed, Perdomo has stepped up to the plate 250 times thus far in 2022. The Dominican switch hitter owned an average of .200 at the All-Star break, with two home runs and 17 RBIs.
Though he is only four years older than Thomas and Perdomo, Varsho wants to support his teammates, much in the way Kole Calhoun and Dallas Keuchel have for him.
“I remember when I was coming up, Kole Calhoun took me out for breakfast every once in a while,” Varsho says about the now-former D-backs outfielder.
“It’s nice to have that person. I want to do that for the younger guys. When we were in Colorado (playing), Dallas Keuchel took us younger guys out to dinner. It was a pretty cool move by him, just to show he cares.”
A competitive balance draft pick, the D-backs selected Varsho in the second round — 68th overall — of the 2017 MLB draft.
That year, after signing, he made his pro debut with the Hillsboro Hops of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. He batted .311 with seven homers.
The following year, he moved up to the Visalia Rawhide of the Class A-Advanced California League and ended the season with a .286 batting average. He was named a mid-season all-star.
During his 2019 season with the Jackson Generals of the Class AA Southern League, he was named to the All-Star Futures Game.
He was promoted to the big leagues on July 30, 2020, making his debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He wrapped his season hitting .188 with three home runs in 37 games. His .233 mark as of this year’s All-Star break, marks a 45-point improvement from his MLB debut season.
The catcher/outfielder combo is certainly noteworthy, too. Varsho, who hails from Marshfield, Wisconsin, has played 30 games at catcher, 31 games in center field, and 26 games in right field.
Varsho’s goal is to maintain the camaraderie among the ballplayers. Good energy can be synonymous with a winning culture.
“I want to make sure we’re all sticking together and just having fun,” he says. “When I came up, there were a lot of older guys. I just feel a lot of the younger guys have proven themselves coming up here. We’re having a lot of fun, and the energy is great with this team.”
The younger faction came up together. Varsho and Thomas briefly played together in 2020.
“Last year, I got to know him a little more, and now we’re really, really good friends and teammates,” Varsho says.
“We’re a young team who’s ready to win. It’s nice to be in with (Josh) Rojas playing really well. He’s hungry. We’re hungry. He’s coming to the ballpark every day ready to play.
“We’re playing for each other. We’re not playing selfish. We’re going out there and playing to the guy next to us.”