The 2012 Pitties: Pitcher of the Year

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The "Unsung Hero" contest proved a close one: in the end, it came down to two relief pitchers. Brad Ziegler prevailed over David Hernandez 37%-30%, and seemed quite pleased....

We now move, appropriately, on to the best overall pitcher on the 2012 Diamondbacks... Can Miley double-up to become the Rookie and Pitcher of the Year? Will Ziegler follow up his Unsung Hero award by becoming rather more "sung"? Or might one of the three other candidates come through on the ballot?

Trevor Cahill

200 IP, 3.78 ERA, 1.290 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 bWAR
It's worth pointing out that, despite all his experience (128 major-league starts), Cahill is still very young. For instance, our SnakePit Rookie of the Year, Wade Miley, is 15 months older than Cahill. He became the second youngest pitcher in team history to throw 200 innings in a season (Daniel Hudson was eight days younger last year) and only two men since 2007 have had more wins through their age 24 season than Cahill's 53: Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw. Trevor was particularly good on the road, putting up a 2.91 ERA there, mostly through allowing only one home-run every 17 innings pitched.

David Hernandez

68.1 IP, 2.50 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 2.08 FIP, 2.1 fWAR, 1.7 bWAR
Over the past two seasons, Hernandez has shown a wonderful combination of durability and dominance. Among National League relievers with 130 innings pitched since 2011, the only man with a higher strikeout rate than David's 11.44 is Craig Kimbrel, and Hernandez's 3.4 fWAR over that time puts him in the top five of all NL bullpen arms. Our set-up man was particularly impressive as the season wore on. After the All-Star break he had a 2.03 ERA, striking out more than one-third of all batters faced (41 of 121, in 31 innings of work) while walking only five, and holding opposing hitters to a .499 OPS.

Wade Miley

194.2 IP, 3.33 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 3.15 FIP, 4.8 fWAR, 3.2 bWAR
Let's just copy-paste his Rookie of the Year paragraph... Undeniably the surprise story of the year, it's already well-recorded how Miley only made the roster due to Takashi Saito's injury, and pitched so well from there, that he became an All-Star, and delivered the team's best-ever result in the Rookie of the Year voting. Miley shouldered a career-high workload (up from 169.2 last year) and the September ERA of 5.40 perhaps cost him the RotY award. To that point, however, he was magnificent, with a 2.85 ERA, and lead the team in wins. Wade's control was particularly notable, a 1.71 BB/9 has been beaten by a qualifying pitcher in Arizona only by Dan Haren since 2004.

J.J. Putz

54.1 IP 2.82 ERA, 1.031 WHIP, 2.38 FIP, 1.6 fWAR, 1.2 bWAR
Only one other pitcher has as many saves as Putz's 77 and a sub-2.50 ERA since the start of 2011 - yes, that man Kimbrel again... Putz's 2.82 figure would have been better, except for some early season struggles, climaxing in a four-run outing on May 9 against the Cardinals. Over J.J's 46 appearances thereafter, he allowed seven earned runs in 44.1 innings, a 1.42 ERA, and those with the misfortune to face him could manage only a line of .191/.247/.229. Sixteen of his last 29 outs recorded were by the K. He's now second on the all-time franchise saves list, and all being well, should overtake Jose Valverde around the All-Star break next season.

Brad Ziegler

68.2 IP, 2.49 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 3.21 FIP, 1.0 fWAR, 1.6 bWAR
[Copy... Paste... :)] There were pitchers who got more double-plays than Ziegler's 21 this year. However, they all needed at least twice as many innings as Brad's 68.2 frames. Only one other man in baseball history has reached 20 GIDP's in less than 85 innings - Dick Fowler for the 1950 Philadelphia Athletics. Ziegler could generate ground-balls almost at will, and that helped him strand inherited runners: only 20% of those scored against him, compared to MLB average of 29%. And Ziegler was a very busy man, quietly plugging away in and around the seventh inning : his 77 appearances for Arizona this season had not been topped by a pitcher since 2003.

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