Arizona Diamondbacks Season Recapby John Lepore October 26, 2021 0 comments
The Arizona Diamondbacks tied the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball. Going into the season, the Snakes were picked to finish either third or fourth in the NL West. While the division ended up as a surprise for every team, the Diamondbacks didn’t play up to their talent level at all finishing 22 games behind the fourth-place Colorado Rockies. Arizona made a few moves starting in mid-July trading Stephen Vogt to the Atlanta Braves.
As the trade deadline approached, the Diamondbacks unloaded Joakim Soria and Eduardo Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers respectively. The team in the desert was plagued with underperformance from a few players namely David Peralta, Nick Ahmed, and Christian Walker. Injuries to their best player, Ketel Marte, and their budding catcher, Carson Kelly, didn’t help matters. The pitching staff was inconsistent at best.
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Manager: Torey Lovullo
Position: Last in the NL West
Postseason: Missed Playoffs
The pitching staff sported an NL-worst 5.11 ERA. Of the 12 pitchers who contributed 40+ innings to the team, Tyler Gilbert was the only one with a sub-4.00 ERA (3.15), while seven of them had an ERA north of 4.50. No one on the team had more than six saves and the pitching as a whole finished last in the NL in runs allowed (893), next-to-last in strikeouts (1,238), and third-to-last in HRs allowed (238).
On the hitting side, they finished in the bottom five in runs, HRs, SBs, and OPS. Of the 11 players to play 90+ games, only three of them got on base over a third of the time: Marte (.377 OBP), Kelly (.343), and Josh Rojas (.341). Escobar led the team in HRs with 22 despite playing only 98 games before he was traded. Finally, no one on the team stole more than 10 bases as Rojas led the Diamondbacks with nine. Let’s hand out some awards to put a positive spin on a dismal season.
MVP and Best Hitter of the Year: Ketel Marte
Considering Marte paid a couple of visits to the IL, he had a productive season at the plate. His .909 OPS was by far the best on the team. He also had an excellent .385 wOBA and 139 wRC+ while blasting 14 homers in just 90 games. Marte’s defense is what suffered this year posting a -15 DRS in centerfield. He is still easily the best player on the team leading the Diamondbacks with a 2.9 fWAR.
Starting Pitcher of the Year: Zac Gallen
This was a close one, but Gallen gets the nod. He led the team with a 17.2 percent K-BB. He edged out Luke Weaver in FIP (4.25-4.42) and SIERA (4.04-4.29). Gallen also led the team with 139 strikeouts. He held opposing batters to a .233 average and a below-league average .724 OPS. The pitching wasn’t anything great for Arizona this year but Gallen is the best of the bunch.
Relief Pitcher of the Year: Caleb Smith
While the southpaw started 13 games, nearly half of his innings came in relief (56.2). As a starter, he was downright awful (6.95 ERA, 14 HRs, 40 BBs in 57 IP), but coming out of the bullpen, Smith pitched to a solid 2.70 ERA. He also held opponents to a .615 OPS while striking out 59.
Best Fielder of the Year: Nick Ahmed
We give the award to Ahmed over Kelly. The Arizona shortstop posted four DRS in just over 1,000 innings. He wasn’t his usual dominant defensive self after winning the Gold Glove in 2018 and 2019, but Ahmed was good enough to still rank as the best fielder on the Diamondbacks.
Comeback Player of the Year: Madison Bumgarner
Many people were writing off Bumgarner last year as washed up and finished after a 6.48 ERA and 7.18 FIP in his first season with Arizona in 2020. This season certainly didn’t start off well as MadBum surrendered 17 earned runs in just 13.2 innings in his first three starts. After that, he pitched to a 4.00 ERA and held opponents to a .692 OPS. He also pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves on April 25.
While this isn’t the Bumgarner of his prime, the big lefty still has some left in the tank to be a solid starter for the Diamondbacks over the next few years.
The Diamondbacks will be selecting second in the 2022 MLB Draft. Their first-round picks of the past two years, Jordan Lawlar and Corbin Carroll, are in the top 20 of MLB prospects. While neither will be hitting the Majors until 2023 or 2024, Arizona will be able to get a gauge on a few other young players. Alek Thomas is an exciting player and could be the centerfielder of the future for the Diamondbacks. He had an OPS of .953 across two stops and 106 games this season. The 21-year-old should be with Arizona next season. Let the rebuild begin.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images