By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Jake Lamb is surrounded by a flurry of activity in the Salt River Fields clubhouse. Outfielder Yasmany Tomas is doing an interview nearby with the help of a translator. Pitchers Shelby Miller and Archie Bradley are engrossed in their cellphones on a couch. Utility player Daniel Descalso thoughtfully answers questions for a corporate communications employee at his locker.
But Lamb is quiet on this first day of full-squad workouts. He’s matter of fact when asked about his goals for the 2018 season.
“The goal is to win the World Series,” says Lamb, wearing a black shirt and red shorts. “Last year was awesome. We made it to the playoffs. We’re having success as a team, but now we’re trying to take it to the next step. With me, my goal is to get better all around.”
The third baseman will show off his skills throughout Spring Training and when the 2018 season officially starts on March 29 at Chase Field against the Colorado Rockies.
“Spring is always fun, then you have Opening Day,” Lamb says. “Once that’s over, it’s 161 more games. You try to treat every game the same. There are some big games—against the Dodgers or going to Wrigley Field. For the most part, though, we try to treat every thing the same.”
Among D-backs fans, the word “Dodgers” usually comes with some under-the-breath comments. Lamb is diplomatic.
“They went to the World Series,” he says. “They’re the team to beat right now in our division. Naturally, we want to beat them. We don’t put them on a pedestal, though. Frankly, the Giants and the Padres have gotten better, too. We’re all out here to win.”
The 6-foot 3-inch ballplayer is hoping to make a repeat visit to the All-Star Game in 2018. In 2017, he had a .248 batting average; 30 home runs and 105 RBIs.
But there is more to Lamb than numbers. The 27-year-old cherishes his time in the Valley—particularly in North Scottsdale, where he lives with Bradley.
On February 24, the two headed to Gila River Arena for D-backs Night with the Coyotes. The first 7,500 ticketholders through the gates were given Lamb bobbleheads. He dropped the ceremonial puck.
“That was cool,” he says. “It’s cool enough getting your own bobblehead for your team. For another team, and another sport to do a bobblehead for me, it’s pretty dope. I was excited about that.”
In a center ice suite, Lamb and Bradley hung out with teammates Daniel Descalso, Zack Godley, David and Jordan Peralta, with baby Sofia; Jake Barrett, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and new pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano with his family.
Always into baseball
Hailing from the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, lamb was a star on the Bishop Blanchet High School baseball team. Upon graduation, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose him in the 38th round of the 2009 MLB draft. He bypassed the offer to study at and play baseball for the University of Washington. In 2012, the D-backs selected him in the sixth round.
The following year, he participated in the Arizona Fall League and received an invite to the 2014 Spring Training season. He didn’t quite make the cut to the big leagues, so he was sent to the Reno Aces, the snakes’ AAA minor league affiliated. He made his major league debut on August 7, 2014.
“I knew I could play baseball, once I got drafted,” Lamb says. “I wasn’t heavily recruited. I wasn’t a superstar by any means in college. When I was drafted, I knew I could do this.”
He spent this offseason refining his skills.
“I learned more about my swing, and being quicker or more reliable at third base,” he says. “I did my baseball stuff, but I also spent time with my friends and family back home. I love going to Huskies football games. Fortunately, I was here in Arizona when they lost to ASU. I got a lot of crap for that. But I like to go to the football games and hang out. I’m pretty laidback and low key. I’m the exact opposite of my roommate.”
The Jake Lamb-Archie Bradley comedy duo may soon come to a halt, as Lamb is looking for his own home.
“I have a great situation now,” he says. “But I’m slowly looking for houses. It will be my first house. It’s a little different, but it’ll have to happen sooner or later.”
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