Saturday, September 6, 2014

The All-Time Major League Baseball Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are the NL West Expansion team from 1998. They almost immediately made a splash in baseball. Their second season as a team they won 100 games. They had put together a great team that year, with a pitching staff anchored with Randy Johnson. They lost to the Mets in the first round of the playoffs that year. Then 2001 rolled around and even though they didn't win 100 games, they beat the Yankees in the World Series. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling won the Co-World Series MVP. They came back in 2002 with more regular season wins than the year prior, but didn't make it to the Fall Classic. After that they were never quite as good. Partially due to the loss of Curt Schilling, then Randy Johnson.

Now let's get on with their All-Time Team.
Leading off and playing Center Field, Eric Byrnes. The now MLB analyst was a typical utility outfielder, until he got to play everyday. Then he put up great offensive line highlighted by 50 stolen bases and a dirt dog attitude.
Batting second the Right Fielder, Justin Upton. The former first overall pick was a high risk/medium reward player for the D-Backs. While he never quite lived up to expectation, he was better than people give him credit for. He had the athleticism and power for Right Field. He showed his talent in 2011 finishing 4th in MVP. The Diamondbacks have since ship him to the Braves, where he is putting up plus numbers.
Batting third and playing Second Base, Jay Bell. Jay Bell was part of the combination of himself and Matt Williams that led the team to a 100 win season. He crushed nearly 40 Home Runs and thanks to Matt Williams, he scored over 130 runs.
Batting cleanup and playing Left Field, Luis Gonzalez. The only player to have his number retired by the Diamondbacks, led them to a game 7 victory over the New York Yankees in the World Series. His 2001 season was also probably the best season in Franchise history, when he blasted over 50 Home Runs and drove in over 140 RBIs. He is however criticized for PED use.
Batting fifth and playing First Base, Paul Goldschmidt. Goldie broke out in 2013 and immediately gave himself a spot on the All-Time Team. He led the National League in Home Runs, RBI, Slugging, OPS and Total Bases. He had my pick for MVP, but Andrew McCutchen snatched it up.
Batting sixth and playing Third Base, Matt Williams. Williams had one of his better seasons with the Diamondbacks in 1999, driving in a career high 142 RBI. While he wasn't the type of guy to take a walk, he made contact more often than not.
Batting seventh the Designated Hitter, Mark Reynolds. Mark Reynolds is known for two things, Striking Out and hitting Home Runs. He crushed 44 Home Runs, but also stole 24 bases, which I never would have guess from him. This was a plus season for him in every category and good enough to make the All-Time Team.
Batting eighth and catching, Miguel Montero. The best catcher in Franchise history is still active. While he's had a down season in 2013, he had back to back seasons that I had trouble choosing from. I eventually went with the season where he hit more extra base hits.
And batting ninth the Shortstop, Stephen Drew. Drew can and did hit anywhere the Diamondbacks put him. One of the leagues most consistent Triples hitters in the National League, Drew used his intelligence to make him an above average base threat. He was finally traded after an injury to his ankle and had a bounce back season for the Red Sox. He's batting ninth so he can Triple men home and then get hit in by the lead off man.
Now for the pitching staff that makes them an above average team. Sorry Mariners fans, but Randy Johnson is on the Diamondbacks.
  1. Randy Johnson*   2.32/35/35/334/71/260/8/4/24-5/1.03 (195)
  2. Curt Schilling      2.98/35/35/293/39/256/6/1/22-6/1.07 (157)
  3. Brandon Webb    3.01/34/34/194/72/236/4/3/18-10/1.18 (158)
  4. Dan Haren          3.14/33/33/223/38/229/3/1/14-10/1.00 (142)
  5. Ian Kennedy       2.88/33/33/198/55/222/1/1/21-4/1.08 (137)
With Randy Johnson highlighting this staff with 334 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA and great a number 2 and 3 starters, this team would be hard to beat. Everyone could strike you out or make you break you bat on the way to the dugout.
Now don't let the Rays bullpen cloud your view, the Diamondbacks bullpen is a plus too.
  1. Byung-Hyum Kim  2.04/72/0/92/26/84/66/36/8-3/1.07
  2. Jose Valverde         2.15/54/0/71/26/50/33/10/2-1/0.99
  3. Greg Swindell*      2.51/63/0/51/21/64/15/1/4-0/1.16
  4. Brad Zieglar           2.22/78/0/44/22/73/33/13/8-1/1.13
  5. Omar Daal*           2.88/33/23/132/51/162/0/0/8-12/1.21
  6. Miguel Batista       3.54/36/29/142/60/193/0/0/10-9/1.32
Byung-Hyum Kim was a great closer who they tried to turn into a starter. It didn't work out. But he was a high quality closer when he was closing. Brad Zieglar was one of the more consistant relief pitchers in all of baseball in 2013, of course he'd make this team. The other two short relievers didn't pitch as many innings, but were very effective when they did.
The Diamondback bench is a plus defensive bench with Gold Glove caliber defenders.
  1. Orlando Hudson      .287/87/166/34/9/15/67/9/.354
  2. Damien Miller         .271/45/103/19/0/13/47/0/.337
  3. Chad Tracy              .308/73/155/34/4/27/72/3/.359
  4. Chris Young            .257/94/150/33/0/27/91/28/.341
  5. Kelly Johnson         .284/93/166/36/5/26/71/13/.370
Chad Tracy is the weak defensive link, but his offense from the corner positions is why he's here. Chris Young almost got the starting Center Fielder nod, but Eric Byres put up better numbers and was a plus defender as well. Kelly Johnson I put as a back-up outfielder because he can play left and right field. He's mainly there for his bat, but he has a good throwing arm as well. Orlando Huson, the O-Dog, is a Gold Glover for reason. One of the smoothest Second Basemen I've ever seen. Plus he was fun to listen too. Damien Miller was the second best Catcher in their franchise making him the obvious choice for back-up Catcher.
Their starting line-up would look like this.
  1. Eric Byrnes              .286/103/179/30/8/21/83/50/.353
  2. Justin Upton             .289/105/171/39/5/31/88/21/.369
  3. Jay Bell                    .289/132/170/32/6/38/112/7/.374
  4. Luis Gonzalez         .325/128/198/36/7/57/142/1/.429
  5. Paul Goldschmidt    .302/103/182/36/3/36/125/15/.401
  6. Matt Williams         .303/98/190/37/2/35/142/2/.344
  7. Mark Reynolds        .260/98/150/30/1/44/102/24/.349
  8. Miguel Montero      .282/65/139/36/1/18/86/1/.351
  9. Stephen Drew          .291/91/178/44/11/21/67/3/.333
This line up is a good combination of speed and power, but they are also an intelligent line up. Each player can clearly read the base paths really well and as well as hit for RBIs instead of power. You add the strong defensive bench and excellent starting pitching and you have a formidable opponent for any team. The Diamondbacks are probably the most impressive 90s expansion in my opinion, even though the Marlins have more than one World Series Championship.
Next up, the Florida/Miami Marlins.

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