Diamondbacks Report Cards: An introduction

One of the major projects for this off-season will be a report card for each significant contributor to the 2011 Diamondbacks - credit for the original idea goes to Sprankton. The series starts tomorrow and will run twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, until we run out of players. This will probably take us almost to the point at which pitchers and catchers report, so by this point you'll probably be going, "Kelly who?" Anyway. a quick introduction to the series is probably in order, so you can put what follows over the coming months in some kind of context.

The selection process

A total of 51 players were used by the Diamondbacks this year, just one off the franchise high set in 2004. Only the Pirates (52) and Rockies (55) had more in the majors; if you're curious, the all-time record is 59 players, by three teams, most recently the 2008 Padres. This year's list needed to be trimmed a bit, including as it did the likes of Robby Hammock and his two plate-appearances, or Zach Kroenke and his four innings of work. All 51 players were listed on a ballot, and the SnakePit editors and authors voted on the ones they thought were deserving of coverage.

That chopped the list down to a more manageable 32 names, all of which received a majority of support. You should note that the main factor was whether their 2011 impact on the team was significant - thus Jarrod Parker with his one regular-season appearance will not be included [I'm pretty sure Dan will be writing plenty about Parker when we get on to the top 50 prospects list, which should probably be getting under way before too much longer]. I think we got everyone with 70 PAs, and almost everyone with more than 30 innings, save Esmerling Vasquez and Aaron Heilman. No-one seemed too interested in them...

After that, the nine wriers taking part drafted picks in four rounds. Personally, this went about as well as most fantasy drafts - somehow, I ended up tasked with writing about Armando Galarraga, even though I didn't actually vote for him to be included in the final list. Not sure how that happened: I think it's probably the same spirit of masochism that makes me watch and write about B-movies like The Creeping Terror. Though given we paid Galarraga $2.3 million for 42.2 pouty innings and a near-six ERA, maybe the most appropriate title for him would be Attack of the Giant Leeches...

What you'll be getting

One writer will be doing an extended piece, covering the important facts, key moments, injuries, best games, etc. While the basics will likely be the same, I'd expect a wide-range of approaches from those taking part. Maybe for amusement, we should mix it up, and require Dan to write a post in the style of Zavada's Moustache, or 'charmer to imitate soco. On second thoughts, that way lies...trouble. However, after the main writer has had his or her say, everyone else gets to chip in with a paragraph providing their grade,. and explaining why they awarded it.

I should mention that the grades given will not be absolutely related to performance, though this will obviously be a factor. They will also be based on expectations for the player, and also his role on the team. So Justin Upton won't be getting graded on the same curve as Sean Burroughs, which would seem a tad unfair. After all, only one of them was eating cheeseburgers out of dumpsters last year. But beyond those general guidelines, everyone is being left to their own devices. Who'll be a harsh judge and who's a soft touch? We'll find out over the coming 16 weeks...

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