2013 AZ SnakePit Awards: Unsung Hero

Jared Wickerham

It's a bit of a contradiction, having an award to honor the greatest unsung hero. Because, if they get an award, they're no longer unsung so shouldn't qualify. I think I have a headache.

While I find a couple of Tylenol, let's announce the winners of the Rookie of the Year, which was the biggest landslide yet. A.J. Pollock received a clear three-quarters of the ballots, winning 76% of the vote. He follows in the footsteps of previous winners such as Miley, Collmenter and Hudson, so many congratulations to him.

Josh Collmenter

Speaking of Collmenter, he was a real workhorse in the Arizona bullpen, throwing 92 innings, the most relief work by a Diamondback for a decade, since Oscar Villarreal in 2003. His particular forte was the long outing, with nine appearances this season which lasted three or more innings - no other NL reliever has had more than seven since 2006. And Jose was excellent in that role, posting an ERA of 1.04 over those 34.2 innings. Perhaps his most impressive performance was the third game, where he got the win against the Cardinals, with no less than five innings of relief - the day after he'd worked 1.2 scoreless innings.

Will Harris

[Copy... paste... Hey, it's Saturday: sue me. :)] Harris entered the back of the 'pen in May after J.J. Putz went on the DL. But Harris's performance was anything but "back of the bus". He put up a zero in 49 of 61 appearances, and his ERA+ of 132 was ninth among rookie relievers in the majors (min 50 IP). He'd likely have been higher, but for one day where he allowed four earned runs while retiring a single batter. Outside that, his ERA the rest of the season was a sparkling 2.24. As is, he became our first rookie reliever with a sub-three ERA and 50 IP since 2003 (Jose Valverde and Villarreal).

Wade Miley

Expecting Miley to live up to his rookie season, where he came second in Rookie of the Year balloting, might have been a bit much. But he did a very respectable job, finishing second to Patrick Corbin among our starters, by both bWAR and fWAR, and thus ahead of much more renowned (and better-paid!) names. He did struggle early, his pin-point control apparently deserting him [most notably, a seven-walk outing on April 27] and we wondered if this would be another sophomore slump, as batters adjusted to him. But Miley adjusted right back, and over his final eighteen starts, he had a 2.67 ERA, and appears to have secured his roster spot for 2014.

Cliff Pennington

There was some grumbling about the trade which brought Pennington to Arizona (blah, blah, all the shortstops, blah), but given Chris Young's rough 2013, you'd be hard pushed to call it other than a win for Arizona,. Pennington proving cheaper and better. It was all about Cliff's defense, and playing the field in only about the equivalent of 72 games, he put up 1.8 bWAR, a bargain for his price of $1.75 million. While appearing mostly as a shortstop, he was our infield Swiss Army knife, also making starts at second and even third-base, also coming off the bench in almost 30 games. Whatever Penny was asked to do, he played solid baseball.

Cody Ross

Despite losing a very significant amount of time - he only appeared in 94 games, which is a couple fewer than Pennington - Ross still ended up fourth in the team on bWAR, worth 2.5 wins, his highest figure since 2008. While his power may not have been what was expected, Ross's defensive stats made up for that, proved more impressive than most expected. His UZR/150 of 23.0 was quite comparable to both Pollock (27.0) and Parra (29.5), and good enough for eighth in the majors among outfielders (min. 700 innings). Hopefully he can rebound from the unfortunate hip injury and enjoy a productive 2014.

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