Two teams went 93-69 in the 2017 season, so with an American League East title under their belts, the Boston Red Sox take the tiebreaker over the Arizona Diamondbacks in our offseason recap roundup, who finished in second place in the National League West. (I know it’s not necessarily the offseason anymore, but I took too many days off and got behind. C’est la vie.)
The Diamondbacks had an excellent first half with a 53-36 record, which was still barely good enough to sit 7.5 games back in the NL West. Through most of the season, Arizona held steady and swapped second and third place in the division with the Colorado Rockies. By the middle of September, the Diamondbacks solidified their place as the division runner-up with a 13-game winning streak.
After finishing the season 17-11, the Diamondbacks were clicking on all cylinders and looked ready to make a solid run in the playoffs, but it wasn’t meant to be and they were swept in three games by the LA Dodgers in the National League Division Series.
Despite a 93-win season, the Diamondbacks were just an average offensive team with a team batting average one point below the Major League Baseball average of .255. Even with an inability to string together hits, Arizona posted a .445 slugging percentage–second in the NL–and hit the most triples in the bigs. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt was the offensive leader in the clubhouse with a .297 batting average, .563 slugging percentage, 36 homers, and 120 RBIs.
Pitching was very good for the Diamondbacks. Arizona pitchers tossed the second-best ERA in the NL with a 3.66 staff ERA, reliever Archie Bradley posted the best ERA at 1.66 in 63 appearances. Three starting pitchers won at least 14 games, including Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, and Zack Greinke. Starter Taijuan Walker seems to have found his place in the desert and had his best full season to date with a 3.49 ERA, 8.5 hits per nine innings, and 1.0 home run per nine.
The Diamondbacks allowed just 4.07 runs per game, second in the NL. However, it wasn’t defense that kept opponents in check. Arizona’s defense was less than spectacular. Third worst in the NL, Arizona committed 108 errors for a fielding percentage of .982. But the pitching staff worked hard and tossed the second-highest strike out total in the NL, behind only the Dodgers.
Arizona made a move within the last few days to get better both offensively and defensively with the addition of outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who played in 111 games in 2017 with a .251 batting average and a .988 fielding percentage with just three errors. I do hesitate to anoint Dyson the savior in the desert because you would expect somebody nicknamed Zoombiya to have stolen more than 28 bases (and attempted more than 35 times). Even if Dyson plays only 120 games, which is the most he has ever played in his career, his veteran presence should help this young roster get to the next level.
Photo by Brigham Berthold