With the SB Nation network working towards the announcement of their Rookie of the Year award at the end of this week, it seems an appropriate time for us to focus on the Arizona candidates, and announce the nominees for the next in the 2008 'Pitties - the Diamondbacks Rookie of the Year. Let's be honest: there really isn't much of a competition here, and so, in the interests of promoting discussion, I'm just as interested to see which of the overall National League contenders (Soto, Jurrjens, etc.) you think are deserving of the award. Feel free to post your 1-2-3 in the comments and we'll see how they compare with my and Charmer's choices on Friday.
Anyway, the Arizona nominees are only three in number. There were various others who also made their debut for us this year [Jailen Peguero, Jamie D'Antona, etc.] but all of them will retain their rookie status for 2009 - as far as I can tell, I don't think Billy Buckner spent 45 days on the roster before they expanded at the start of September. The trio listed below will not be so eligible, making this in all three cases, their definitive rookie season. They're listed in alphabetical order.
Alex Romero. The 24-year old Romero made his debut on Opening Day, pinch-hitting for Tony Peña in the ninth, and laying down a successful sacrifice bunt. His inclusion on the roster was a surprise, as he beat out veteran Trot Nixon for the final, left-handed spot on the bench after hitting .316 during spring training. He was sent down in late April, but the loss of Byrnes saw him recalled, and he spent the rest of the season with the major-league club, appearing in 78 games and getting 28 starts, the great majority of them in right. His offense was light, batting only .230, but his only home-run, on July 21, broke up a Rich Harden no-hitter in the sixth inning and was crucial in helping Arizona to a 2-0 win. The highlight of his year was, however, his game-saving catch against the Padres, which won the 2008 'Pittie for Play of the Year, getting a clear majority of votes in our recent poll.
Leo Rosales. Though pitching only 30 innings, Rosales loses his rookie status under the 45-day rule, coming up from Tucson to make his debut on June 15, and staying with the team almost the entire rest of the way. He was used mainly in blowouts, with the majority of his appearances when the margin was three runs or more. Our record was 6-21 in games Rosales was used, but he only appeared six times while we were leading. He picked up his first career win on July 3rd, pitching a scoreless ninth against Milwaukee and benefiting from our memorable six-run comeback in the bottom half of the inning. His only other decision came in his last game, pitching the sixth in an eventual 12-3 clobbering by St. Louis, but an ERA+ of 108 in his rookie year, is nothing to be ashamed of.
Max Scherzer. Our heterochromatically-eyed pitcher entered with a bang, retiring all 13 batters he faced on April 29, seven of them by strikeout. He replaced Edgar Gonzalez in the rotation, making his first start six days later, but taking the loss in an 11-4 defeat by the Phillies - though most of the runs came after he had left the game. He seemed almost cursed: the team won just twice when he pitched, and the scores when he came into those games were 11-1 and 8-3! He ended the season with a record of 0-4, but struck out 66 in just 56 innings, a K/9 ratio that ranked 12th among the 318 pitchers in the majors with 50+ IP. His best outing was likely the September 14 appearance against the Reds, where he two-hit them over six innings, with nine strikeouts, yet ended with a no-decision. Shame we didn't get to see a playoff against the Dodgers with its hypothetical Scherzer-Kershaw match-up.