All-Time Diamondbacks 9 - The REAL Story

There's currently a poll on the Diamondbacks site inviting fans to choose the best offensive performances at each position in franchise history. Which is an interesting idea, except, it's woefully Neanderthal in its approach. The only information provided on the ballot is BA, HR, RBI and stolen-bases - as I'm pretty sure everyone should agree, that's a embarrassingly-simplistic selection of offensive numbers, which fails to provide anything like a true measure of worth. It would have been a nice chance to educate people on which are actually the more important numbers, like OBP and OPS+, but the opportunity is wasted. Oh, well.

Still, after the jump, we'll provide the full stats, allowing you to use somewhat less crude analysis when it comes time to work out who are the real best performers for the D-backs at each position, and cast your ballot.

Overall qualifying numbers: 400 PAs (except for pitchers, where it's 20), and must have played at least 50% of their games at the position specified.

First-base

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Chad Tracy 132 553 2005 503 73 155 34 4 27 72 35 4 78 8 10 3 1 .308 .359 .553 .911
2 Mark Grace 113 553 2001 476 66 142 31 2 15 78 67 6 36 4 7 1 0 .298 .386 .466 .852
3 Conor Jackson 109 477 2007 415 56 118 29 1 15 60 53 2 50 4 8 2 2 .284 .368 .467 .836

Comparison
[MLB.com = Tony Clark (2005), Grace, Tracy] Clark was eliminated from consideration due to not reaching the 400 PAs required. His overall 154 OPS+ was excellent, but he only started seventy games in the field that season, all at first-base, though still scored an impressive 3.8 WAR. That same year, Tracy saw more (albeit only just) time at 1B, and also made 47 starts in right-field and four in left-field. Snakepit endorsement: Tracy

Second-base

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jay Bell 131 688 1999 589 132 170 32 6 38 112 82 2 132 4 9 7 4 .289 .374 .557 .931
2 Junior Spivey 117 626 2002 538 103 162 34 6 16 78 65 5 100 16 10 11 6 .301 .389 .476 .865
3 Orlando Hudson 107 455 2008 407 54 124 29 3 8 41 40 2 62 2 18 4 1 .305 .367 .450 .817

Comparison
[MLB.com =  Bell, Hudson (2006), Spivey] Not much argument on this one - only four second-basemen in history have hit more homers in a season than Bell - Davey Johnson, Rogers Hornsby, Ryne Sandberg and Alfonso Soriano. Spiveys MVP-vote gathering season is all the more remarkable, since he was out of the majors after three more years. And Hudson's 2008 was actually better than his 2006. Snakepit endorsement: Bell

Third-base

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Troy Glaus 126 634 2005 538 78 139 29 1 37 97 84 2 145 7 7 4 2 .258 .363 .522 .885
2 Mark Reynolds 123 662 2009 578 98 150 30 1 44 102 76 3 223 5 8 24 9 .260 .349 .543 .892
3 Matt Williams 118 678 1999 627 98 190 37 2 35 142 41 9 93 2 17 2 0 .303 .344 .536 .880

Comparison
[MLB.com = Glaus, Reynolds, Williams] Pretty close, and I could hardly argue against a vote for any of 'em. Glaus has the edge in OPS+, but Reynolds has a better Batting Runs Above Replacement (24.6 to 23.6), and his stolen bases also should factor in. Williams production in the traditional stats - particularly BA and RBI - was monstrous. However, I have too many qualms about he and Glaus in the PED department. Snakepit endorsement: Reynolds

Short-stop

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Alex Cintron 112 487 2003 448 70 142 26 6 13 51 29 0 33 2 7 2 3 .317 .359 .489 .848
2 Stephen Drew 109 663 2008 611 91 178 44 11 21 67 41 6 109 1 5 3 3 .291 .333 .502 .836
3 Jay Bell 106 645 1998 549 79 138 29 5 20 67 81 3 129 7 14 3 5 .251 .353 .432 .785

Comparison
[MLB.com = Bell, Drew, Tony Womack (2000)] Alex Cintron is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Diamondbacks, it would appear - just can't get no respect. It can't be his PAs, as that's almost a hundred more than Clark, who was listed on the ballot. Yet, Cintron is ignored in favor of Tony Womack, whose only offensive value was in his SBs: his OPS+ that year was 70, ranking him #94 of 102 players in the NL with 400 PAs. Snakepit endorsement: Cintron (write-in)

Catcher

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Miguel Montero 110 470 2009 425 61 125 30 0 16 59 38 5 78 3 6 1 2 .294 .355 .478 .832
2 Chris Snyder 102 404 2008 334 47 79 22 1 16 64 56 5 101 4 7 0 0 .237 .348 .452 .800
3 Johnny Estrada 92 443 2006 414 43 125 26 0 11 71 13 7 40 7 17 0 0 .302 .328 .444 .772

Comparison
[MLB.com = Estrada, Damian Miller (2001), Montero] Snyder is the one unfairly dissed here, his .237 BA deemed inferior to Miller's .271, even though Snyder was superior in just about every other category. Estrada has the gaudy .302 but if you were here in 2006, you'll recall how Johnny couldn't take a free pass to save himself: from June 4-August 13, he had one walk in 183 PAs. Snakepit endorsement: Montero

Outfield

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Luis Gonzalez 174 728 2001 609 128 198 36 7 57 142 100 24 83 14 14 1 1 .325 .429 .688 1.117
2
Justin Upton 126 588 2009 526 84 158 30 7 26 86 55 3 137 2 10 20 5 .300 .366 .532 .899
3 Steve Finley 120 623 2000 539 100 151 27 5 35 96 65 7 87 8 9 12 6 .280 .361 .544 .904
4 Reggie Sanders 117 496 2001 441 84 116 21 3 33 90 46 7 126 5 2 14 10 .263 .337 .549 .886
5 Shawn Green 114 656 2005 581 87 166 37 4 22 73 62 6 95 5 18 8 4 .286 .355 .477 .832
6 Conor Jackson 109 612 2008 540 87 162 31 6 12 75 59 3 61 9 14 10 2 .300 .376 .446 .823
7 Quinton McCracken 107 400 2002 349 60 108 27 8 3 40 32 0 68 2 3 5 4 .309 .367 .458 .825
8 Devon White 106 627 1998 563 84 157 32 1 22 85 42 4 102 9 9 22 8 .279 .335 .456 .792
 9 Eric Byrnes 103 698 2007 626 103 179 30 8 21 83 57 5 98 10 12 50 7 .286 .353 .460 .813

Comparison
[MLB.com (alphabetical order) = Byrnes, Finley, Gonzalez, Green, Jackson, Sanders, Upton, White, Chris Young (2007)] Seems they have limited it to one season by each player: probably wise, or we'd have the Gonzalez triplets playing outfield, since Luis has six of the top eight years by OPS+, including the top four. It's amazing to see Upton crack the top five at age 21 - at the same age, Gonzo was playing A-ball for Houston, hitting six homers in 86 games. J-Up could end up dominating the list, the same way Gonzalez does now.

The list here is very close to the one online: the only difference is Chris Young's 2007 replacing McCracken's 2002, despite an OPS+ nineteen points lower. Again, the gaudy numbers of 32 homers and 27 stolen-bases are seen as more important than McCracken's 72-point edge in on-base percentage. Sanders and Green rank surprisingly high, and are worth consideration, but we'll just go straight OPS+. Gonzalez, Upton, Finley

Pitchers

Player OPS+ PA Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Micah Owings 152 64 2007 60 9 20 7 1 4 15 2 0 16 0 0 0 0 .333 .349 .683 1.033
2 Micah Owings 88 58 2008 52 7 15 2 0 1 3 5 0 21 0 2 0 0 .288 .351 .385 .735
3 Omar Daal 69 31 2007 27 2 7 1 0 1 4 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 .259 .286 .407 .693

Comparison
[MLB.com = Owing (2007), Owings (2008), Brandon Webb (2008)] Well, we've all made more difficult decisions that this, haven't we? Micah's' 2007 was the best by any pitcher in baseball with 50+ PAs since Don Larsen in 1958. If only his ERA+ with Arizona has been better than 95. And what's with listing Webb? His OPS+ that season was -6, 29th in franchise history. He wasn't even top-three that year: Owings, Dan Haren and Randy Johnson all had a better OPS+. Snakepit endorsement: Web... Oh, alright: Owings (2007).

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