(National League, South Division)
After decades of watching MLB teams only in Spring Training, Arizona landed the expansion Diamondbacks in 1998 and wasted no time baring their fangs – winning the World Series in just their fourth season.
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Arizona Diamondbacks Team & Farm Club
Active 25 Man Roster
Catchers & Infielders:
- C – Miguel Montero
- C – Carson Kelly
- 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
- 2B – Eduardo Escobar
- SS – Ketel Marte (2B/CF)
- 3B – Matt Williams (1B/SS)
- CI – Erubiel Durazo (1B)
- CI – Jake Lamb (1B/3B)
- MI – Nick Ahmed (SS)
- LF – Luis Gonzalez
- CF – Steve Finley (RF)
- RF – David Peralta (LF)
- OF – Justin Upton (LF/RF)
- SP – Brandon Webb
- SP – Patrick Corbin
- SP – Ian Kennedy
- SP – Dan Haren
- SP – Robbie Ray
- SP – Daniel Hudson (RP)
- CL – Jose Valverde
- SU – Byung-Hyun Kim
- RP – Archie Bradley
- RP – Brad Ziegler
- RP – Josh Collmenter
- RP – Greg Swindell
On the Farm
Catchers & Infielders:
- 1B/3B/RF – Chad Tracy
- 1B – Mark Reynolds
- 1B – Mark Grace
- C – Damian Miller
- 2B/SS – Jay Bell
- 2B – Orlando Hudson
- CF – Chris Young
- CF – A.J. Pollock
- OF – Gerardo Parra
- P – Omar Daal
- P – Brian Anderson
- P – Doug Davis
- P – Matt Mantei
- P – Brandon Lyon
- P – Miguel Batista
Building the Roster: Arizona Diamondbacks
With every team, we started building their all-time 25-man and 40-man rosters by using the Hall of Fame as a starting point, figuring that a player enshrined in baseball’s immortal Hall would certainly qualify to make his team’s all-time roster.
Almost all the Hall of Fame members are easily identifiable with one team so it’s a simple way to start every roster with near-inarguable selections.
And then there’s Randy Johnson…
While “The Big Unit” played for six different teams in his career, he didn’t spend too many years in Montreal (two years and just 11 appearances), Houston (11 starts after the 1998 trade deadline), New York (two seasons), or San Francisco (his final season, with just 17 starts).
Selecting his Eternal team really comes down to Seattle versus Arizona. It’s pretty clear that his best seasons came in Arizona, while his rise to fame and length of tenure favor Seattle. Here are the particulars (with advantages in BOLD):
Seattle: 9.5 years, 5 All-Star appearances, 1 Cy Young Award, 39 WAR, 3.42 ERA, 130 Wins, 51 CG, 2162 K, 19 SHO
Arizona: 8 years, 5 All-Star appearances, 4 Cy Young Awards, 52.6 WAR, 2.83 ERA, 118 Wins, 38 CG, 2077 K, 14 SHO + 1 World Series Title
It’s REALLY close – (maybe the toughest call to make on any one player) but we gave the edge to Seattle. Given that his Expos days are barely remembered, we all got to know Randy Johnson as a Mariner first. He spent more seasons there and had more wins, complete games, strikeouts and shutouts there than he did in Arizona.
While we fully understand (I was living there during his early Diamondback days) his impact legitimizing the franchise as a free agent destination, the fact that his best seasons were in Arizona, and the joy the 2001 World Series win brought to a title-starved city, we still give the slightest of edges to Seattle.
If there are any Diamondback fans left reading this, the rest of the roster was both easy and hard to build.
Expansion teams (especially newer ones) have less candidates to dig through, but less Hall of Famers to start from. If you go to baseballhall.org and use their Hall of Fame Explorer you can select Primary Team: Arizona Diamondbacks and the response is…NONE. That’s not a slam on the team, just an illustration that they haven’t had much time (compared to other squads) to accumulate Hall of Famers who spend the majority of their time in their uniform.
As with every team, we are trying to build an active roster with 13 position players and 12 pitchers, and then a 15-player inactive roster of guys who just missed the cut, but remain valuable as callups in case of slumps or injuries. The 13 active position players are usually two catchers, six infielders, and five outfielders. The stats are built around the average of the player’s best three consecutive seasons.
With the Hall of Fame not helping much here, we use WAR (Wins Above Replacement), a great stat for looking at the all-around contribution to a team for both hitters and pitchers.
We get lots of help here, as in order we find: Paul Goldschmidt, Luis Gonzalez, A.J. Pollock, Steve Finley (more AZ than SD or HOU), Chris Young, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Stephen Drew, David Peralta, Jay Bell, Ketel Marte, Orlando Hudson, Nick Ahmed, Jake Lamb, Matt Williams, Damian Miller, Junior Spivey, Erubiel Durazo, and Jay Bell.
Once plugged into the simulation software, we looked at their OPS (on-base + slugging percentage) and their defensive rankings and they break down like this:
CATCHER: Miguel Montero, Carson Kelly
FIRST BASE: Paul Goldschmidt, Erubiel Durazo
SECOND BASE: Eduardo Escobar, Ketel Marte (sometimes)
SHORTSTOP: Ketel Marte (sometimes), Nick Ahmed
THIRD BASE: Matt Williams, Jake Lamb
LEFT FIELD: Luis Gonzalez
CENTER FIELD: Steve Finley, Ketel Marte (sometimes)
RIGHT FIELD: David Peralta, Justin Upton
The red flag in there is Matt Williams who had more years and more dominant years as a San Francisco Giant. One of the things we learned in putting these rosters together is how deep and talented the rosters are for the oldest MLB franchises. The San Francisco Giants also have the players and history from the New York Giants too.
Matt Williams as a Giant is relegated to their inactive roster, but he starts at third base for the Diamondbacks and we felt it served the overall league better to have the “Carson Crusher” contributing in the bigs rather than waiting for Mel Ott, Freddie Lindstrom and Kevin Mitchell to all get hurt simultaneously in San Francisco.
That leaves inactive roster options A.J. Pollock, Chad Tracy, Mark Reynolds, Mark Grace, Jay Bell, Orlando Hudson, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra, and Damian Miller.
For the pitching staff we’re looking for six starters and six relievers. Bear in mind that across the whole game you will see dynamic, outstanding starting pitchers that can’t crack an all-time rotation but are better served as relievers on a team than sitting inactive. Once we dug into the career WAR (as a Diamondback) rankings we came up with these names:
Brandon Webb, Patrick Corbin, Ian Kennedy, Dan Haren, Robbie Ray, Daniel Hudson, Greg Swindell, Josh Collmenter, Brad Ziegler, Archie Bradley, Byung-Hyun Kim, Jose Valverde, Omar Daal, Brian Anderson, Doug Davis, Matt Mantei, Brandon Lyon, and Miguel Batista.
We looked at their overall numbers in the simulation software and leaned heavily on ERA to come up with these designations:
STARTING ROTATION: Brandon Webb, Patrick Corbin, Ian Kennedy, Dan Haren, Robbie Ray, Daniel Hudson
RELIEVERS: Greg Swindell, Josh Collmenter, Brad Ziegler, Archie Bradley
SET-UP: Byun-Hyun Kim
CLOSER: Jose Valverde
You can swap Jose Valverde and Byung-Hyun Kim if you want to, but we we’re not sure Diamondback fans are ready to trust the ninth inning to BHK again. The inactive pitcher options are Omar Daal, Brian Anderson, Doug Davis, Matt Mantei, Brandon Lyon and Miguel Batista.
So how did we do?
If the D’Backs are your favorite squad you know them better than us. What did we get right? Where did we go wrong?
Will you ever forgive us for Randy Johnson?
What batting order would you suggest versus lefties and righties?
Let us know in the forums below and if you make a compelling case we will adapt it in-game. We want every squad to be the best they possibly can be and appreciate your help fine-tuning the Diamondbacks for Eternal Baseball.
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