D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall chatted online with fans on Thursday about the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, team performance, and fan appreciation.
Derrick Hall: Welcome to today's chat. This has been an amazing three-week ride.
azrocker24: Judging by the D-backs' recent success, do you think this season will be a winning season?
Derrick Hall: I certainly hope so, but I am not one to make predictions. This team is exciting and fights and grinds everyday. Even the losses have been close. To have so many one-run games, and to be on the positive side has been nice.
diamondbacksfan0704: In addition to his role in the front office, does Bob Melvin interact with any of the players, particularly the ones he managed back in 2007?
Derrick Hall: Great having Bob back. Yes, he has interacted with the players he managed quite a bit. He has a great relationship with those guys and Gibby welcomes the interaction from all former players and managers.
Dbacks133: What was the result of the fan-choice bobblehead vote?
Derrick Hall: We will be announcing the results next week. There were several fans who participated, so I thank each and every one of you. I can say it was very close between Putz and Roberts.
oakland52: What do you think of Paul Goldschmidt's chances of getting a call up this year? He is tearing up Double-A pitchers. Do you see him as the future at 1B? Keep up the good work!
Derrick Hall: Thanks for the nod. He is crushing the ball and pitchers are all pitching around him. We are really proud of his progress and results. He will make it up here at some point for sure. First base is his best and probable position. He had an amazing spring for us as well, you may recall, and became a quick favorite of Gibby's.
wedgedbacks: If what Ken Rosenthal is reporting is true about KT looking for a reliever, why is that a higher priority than getting an upgrade at 3rd base? Or is that also an area of interest as well?
Derrick Hall: We have an interest in upgrading in a few areas, one of them being the bullpen. As he has already proven this season, we can never have too many good arms in the bullpen. He would like to find one more reliable arm like we see late in games. This pen has made all the difference.
neilruby: What do you think the focus of our draft should be as far as positions go? We have some good young pitching and hitting, which is more of a "need"?
Derrick Hall: Pitchers for sure. We believe you build championships around pitching and defense, and this draft is full of talented pitching, both at the college and high school levels. We are thin in the system at catcher, so we would like to find a few in the draft. Bob Melvin is looking at a few catchers for us this weekend, having played the position.
rwestrum: How in the world can we get more fans out to the games?! The crowds for this homestand have been weak so far.
Derrick Hall: I think they will increase. We have had really strong walk-ups. With school now out, and this team now proving to be exciting, more should show up. The crowds for the Twins series were outstanding and gave the guys a strong send-off of momentum. The Marlins have never really drawn here, so I hope to see more out for this Nationals series. This team loves playing in front of the larger crowds and deserves larger crowds so far.
nanocean: Congrats on being on the top of our division. What changes if any are going to be made regarding Burroughs and Blum?
Derrick Hall: Burroughs has done a nice job for us since being up and is a remarkable comeback story. Blum is getting very close and we need him. His veteran presence and versatility will help this team. But to your point, a roster decision will have to be made. We will cross that path when Geoff is ready.
Nejhan: Derrick! First of all, thank you for the great treatment at Chase when I flew in from Sweden for Opening Day! Loved it. Nice meeting you, Gonzo and all the other great D-backs people! I will definitely be back! =)
Derrick Hall: We enjoyed meeting you as well and appreciate your support overseas. I included this in the chat just to let our fans know you are there and supporting us fully. Very cool!
ardenhotep: I love this team
Derrick Hall: I certainly appreciate that. There is a lot to love about this team. Their determination and humility have made them somewhat admirable. Having all of us, including Gibby and Kevin Towers on the same page has made all of the difference.
nanocean: Roberts, Drew, Young, and Upton are top notch. Why are they not getting more votes for the All-Star game?
Derrick Hall: It is sad to me that they do not get more votes. This is typical for the smaller and mid-sized markets. It is very difficult to compete with the larger fan bases. I just encourage everyone to keep on voting and spread the word.
exphands: Is the team willing to pay for a impact player if one became available?
Derrick Hall: We are, but we have to be careful not to disrupt the chemistry while doing so. I trust Kevin's instincts there. We are committing a great deal of money to this upcoming draft. This is an important one for us with two top 10 picks.
ruthie350: Why isn't Nady getting more playing time? He's certainly earned it.
Derrick Hall: He is doing a great job and has come through in some clutch situations. It really comes down to lefty/righty match-ups and historical results against starting pitching. He handles his playing time very well because he is such a pro.
sony623: With the D-backs in first place, what is the front office looking to do to make sure they stay there for ex, Starting pitching, or LF ? power bat? By the way, I'm getting season tickets now keep up the great work!!
Derrick Hall: This is a work in progress. It will take time to build it right, but we are thrilled that it is clicking so quickly. I credit our general manager and manager for the new culture and bringing in the right pieces. We will do more and will never sit idle. We want to win! Thank you for joining our season ticket family. Our future looks bright with fast rising stars like Parker, Skaggs, and Corbin.
Nejhan: How surprised are you with Ryan Roberts' success this season so far? Did you see it coming or did it come as a total surprise, considering his previous season(s) wasn't all that hot?
Derrick Hall: An absolute pleasant surprise, but we realized right away in spring training that he was a man on a mission and that the ball looked the size of a beach ball to him. We should not have been surprised knowing how hard a worker he is and the lessons he learned from his frustrating season. He is fun to watch and is the type of player you want at the plate during a pressure situation.
azrobinson: Do you think that Kevin Towers could be the next John Schuerholz?
Derrick Hall: I think he is as strong a GM as there is. That is a nice name to compare him to and I am sure Kevin would be flattered.
caleb55: We are very exited to have Gibby as our manager and hope the team and organization allows him to continue his shaping of a great team
Derrick Hall: I am with you! That's why we are letting him drive the car. So far, we have all enjoyed the ride with him.
Nejhan: Now that the D-backs are one of the hottest teams around, what do you do to stay cool and not getting too carried away? This has been a great few weeks, but there are still plenty of baseball left to focus on...
Derrick Hall: Very important that we stay focused and realize this will be a long grind. Gibby constantly reminds his players to remain humble and work hard. That message is well understood.
bawlmouth: About 2 months ago I heard you say that having a .500 record at the end of May was probably an unattainable dream given our schedule. Amazing what a few players and a dramatic change in attitude can do. How do you improve without disrupting chemistry?
Derrick Hall: I didn't say it would be unattainable, but I did acknowledge it would be a challenge. I said if we were around .500 we would be in good shape. And, we were close to .500. This has been remarkable so far, but we will hit some snags in the road as well.
dbfan12: With the recent improvement in the bullpen and many other areas of the team as well has a great minor league system do you believe our Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to contend at a title in upcoming years?
Derrick Hall: Absolutely. That is the plan. And with our strong starting pitching getting close in the minors, we have a chance to have a rotation much like the Braves had in the 90's -- and that is the name of the game.
azrobinson: If Upton makes the Allstars, do you recommend him doing the HR derby?
Derrick Hall: Absolutely! He puts on a Home Run Derby show every day here at batting practice. This is his home and we wants it badly. I think it would be great.
Derrick Hall: I have been told we reached our time limit. Thanks to everyone for the support of this club. Come on out and let them hear you. They deserve it. We will continue looking to improve this team and hope the winning continues. They are playing hard for you. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.