I think Zavada's Moustache wrote something like this a while back but I wanted to get a little more in depth with individual players rather than as a team as a whole. This shows how much our players have overcome their own strides to get to where they want to be. Hope you enjoy!
On September 23, 2011 the Arizona Diamondbacks clinched the NL West at Chase Field in front of a sold out crowd. It was the franchises first division title since 2007 and it marked the first time we clinched the division at home. Paul Goldschmidt came up with a big triple in the 8th inning to give us the lead 3-2. JJ Putz came on in the 9th and closed out the game, and the division.
On September 23, 2010 the Diamondbacks won at Chase Field 10-9 vs the Rockies. DJ Carrasco got the win as Juan Guittierrez came on to save the game. This pushed our record up to 62-91 and we were now 24 games back in 5th place.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were a mess in 2010. Our team had set the all time single season strikeout as a team with over 3,000. Our bullpen was 3rd worst in baseball history with an ERA over 5. We had a corrupt front office with no leadership, and a manager who had absolutely no idea what he was doing in A.J. Hinch. This is what the current 2011 D'backs were up to in 2010.
1. Ian Kennedy- Kennedy was pretty solid in 2010 posting an ERA of 3.80. A solid #2 or 3 on any other team but he was our ace in a pitching staff that blew ball sack. The future seemed to be bright and he was finishing the season strong
2. Daniel Hudson- When the D'backs acquired Daniel Hudson from the White Sox at the trading deadline, we thought we had acquired another young and wild starter. He had an ERA in the sixes before coming over but the D'backs were desperate to try anything. But Huddy came over and blew the doors off of the NL. He went 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 70 k's in 79 innings of work. The future looked bright with a 1-2 punch of Kennedy and Hudson.
3. Joe Saunders- Saundo got a bad rap in AZ in 2010, and for some odd reason still does at times. He was traded over from the Angels for our ace Dan Haren so automatically he wasn't welcome here. He didn't help his own cause either though. He went 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA and was just another mediocre pitcher on a below average staff giving up homeruns at an alarming rate.
4. Josh Collmenter- The young Tomahawk was a 2007 draft pick that nobody else wanted to take a chance on due to his awkward throwing motion. Josh performed very well in the minors playing in all 3 levels of the minors posting a respectable 3.38 ERA combined, but he did not look ready for the big leagues for a few more years. Most saw him as a reliable long reliever at best.
5. Wade Miley- He was on his way and looked ready in 2010. He pitched at Single A and Double A and posted a 2.65 ERA. There was no doubt he was going to arrive soon.
1. JJ Putz- JJ was not a closer in 2010, he was a set-up man to Bobby Jenks in Chicago. JJ had a few years prior when he had some problems staying healthy. Many though he was near the end of his career or his days of closing games was over. The Soulpatch still managed to have a tremendous year in Chicago posting a 2.83 ERA.
2. David Hernandez- He was a scrub in 2010. He was on a horrible Baltimore Orioles team and he wasnt too good himself. He was young, inexperienced and had a flat fastball that couldn't hit the side of a barn. In 2010, he had a 4.31 ERA.
3. Joe Patterson- In 2010 Jo-Pa was on the darkside in the Giants minor league system. He was a minor league all star and had tons of talent. Who knows how many people passed up on Joe because of his throwing style?
4. Bryan Shaw- Had a very forgettable year in 201 in Double- A Mobile. He was a 22 year old who had a 4.25 ERA and was nowhere on the D'backs radar.
5. Brad Ziegler- Unless you were an avid Oakland A's fan, you didn't know who Brad Ziegler was. But he was actually a very solid reliever in 2010 with a 3.26 ERA and was very popular in Oakland. He even finished 8th in the ROY Award in 2008.
6. Micah Owings- It looked as if there was tons of talent that was never going to be fully exposed. With every step forward for Micah, it was two steps back. In Cincinatti he posted a horrible 5.40 ERA and looked that he would be one of those AAAA players.
1. Sean Burroughs- His career fell apart in 2006 after being traded to the Rays. He was signed by the Mariners in 2007 but was released halfway through the season. He struggled with substance abuse problems for several years in which he was out of baseball living in Las Vegas eating out of garbage cans. In November of 2010 he was signed by the D'backs. " I was running away from people who weren't real. I was talking to light poles, I would sit in Starbucks bathrooms for 6 to 8 hours afraid to get out. I would hear police helicopters above me and there weren't any."
2. Collin Cowgill- In 2010 he was a highly praised prospect that the D'back expected tons from in the future. He hit .285 with 83 rbi's in Double- A, and was close to getting that call to the Show.
3. John McDonald- Was still kicking it around in the big leagues. In 2010 he played in Toronto with Aaron Hill but only got 150 AB'S batting .250. His glove defense has always been the reason he's stayed in the league.
4. Geoff Blum- Blummer was one of those ageless veterens that could help any team off the bench. He hit .262 in Houston but the end looked very near for Geoff Blum.
5. Lyle Overbay- Overbay's best seasons were WAY behind him in 2010, it looked as if he would never get back to the glory days of slamming 50+ doubles in a season. He hit .245 for a horrible Pirates team.
LF Gerrardo Parra- After a great 2009 season Parra took a step back in 2010. He hit only .261 and drove in 30 rbi's. There was still promise in Parra though that he could be our everyday left fielder.
CF Chris Young- C.Y. was the MVP of the D'backs in 2010. He had the best year of his career after signing an extension with us that would make him a D'back until at least 2013. He drove in 91 rbi's and became a fan favorite quickly after becoming a target.
RF Justin Upton- He was expected to be phenomenal in 2010 since he was given a 6 year 51 million dollar contract and a section of Chase Field, (Uptown). Upton underperfromed in 2010 striking out at an alarming rate and seemed to not be giving max effort a lot of the time. He became an easy target of the fans who called him overrated, overpaid, and lazy.
3B Ryan Roberts- RyRo was a nobody in 2010. He was living in a minor league clubhouse while his wife and kid lived back in Phoenix to save money. He had a surprising season in 2009 after filling in for Felipe Lopez, but nobody expected a repeat performance. He was a 28 year old minor leaguer. He made the team in 2010 and hung around until June 12, when he was sent down to Triple-A.
SS Willie Bloomquist- Willie was a crusty old veteran just trying to hang around. He started his season with the Royals and got moved to the Reds in July. He had a solid season in 2010 batting .267 as a bench player. He continued to play just for his love of the game.
2B Aaron Hill- Had a Mark Reynolds type of year but less productive. After signing a huge contract in Toronto after slamming 36 homeruns in 2009, he hit only .205 with 26 homeruns the next year. Fans became impatient along with management and it was pretty clear he needed a change of scenery.
1B Paul Goldschmidt- Goooooooldschmidt had some ridiculous years in the minor leagues. The D'backs drafted this tall Texas boy with the intent of making him a star. In 2010 in Double A he hit .314 with 35 bombs and Goldschmidt chants were starting as soon as the Dbacks announced Adam La Roche would not be coming back.
C Miguel Montero- Miggy showed signs of greatness to come in 2009, and experts predicted he would become an elite catcher in 2010. That didn't happen. Miggy had knee problems and sat out most of the year. He didn't put up bad offensive numbers but the defense part was still horrible.
What a difference a year makes! Almost every player on this magical 2011 team has completely turned their career around a full 180 degrees. This season was great, and the fans and players had a blast. But don't forget the manager who got the absolute most out of all his players.
Kirk Gibson- He was just a bench coach in 2010 and was forced to take a backseat to a man who had zero managerial experience even as a little league coach, (AJ Hinch). Gibson was promoted to manager after the firing of Hinch.