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2006: A Record-Setting Season?

No: not really. Arizona's final tally of 76 wins falls almost exactly in the middle between our best (100) and worst (51) seasons in franchise history, though it ranks only seventh of nine. It's also true to say that individual performances, particularly with the bat, were similarly mediocre - no-one made it into the top ten for BA, OBP, SLG or OPS. But there were still some marks worthy of note, and that's what I'll be taking a look at today.

Orlando Hudson appeared in all but five games, a figure surpassed only by two players; Shawn Green last year, and Luis Gonzalez, who was an ever-present in both 2000 and 2001. Chad Tracy missed three more, and is tied for ninth in the franchise list. His 597 at-bats was the highest figure since Gonzo had 609 during our World Series run in 2001, and Tracy also had 168 hits, sliding into the top ten in Diamondbacks' history at #9.

One all-time record was set: Gonzalez's 52 doubles broke his own mark of 47, from six seasons ago. Chad Tracy's 41 during the year was the best figure ever by anyone not named Luis Gonzalez, and was good for fifth all-time, ahead of Eric Byrnes (37) in equal sixth. Triples were led by Orlando Hudson, with nine (6th-best), but perhaps more impressive, Stephen Drew also made a mark, hitting seven (=9th) in only 59 games. He may have a shot next year at the franchise best, held by Tony Womack, with 14 in 2000.

Home-runs, RBIs and walks saw no change in the top ten. The closest contenders were, respectively, Eric Byrnes (26, =12th), Chad Tracy (80, =15th) and Luis Gonzalez (69, 11th). Initially, it seemed that Tracy was a lock to grab the strikeouts' crown, racking up 85 by the All-Star break. However, he reined that tendency in, and only fanned twice in his last ten games - his overall tally of 129 was still equal-third. Byrnes, meanwhile, stole 25 bases, one less than Craig Counsell in 2005, but enough for 6th all-time, as he became the first Diamondback ever in the 25 HR/25 SB club.

Another mark to keep an eye on next season is the 'Hit By Pitch' category; Counsell and Conor Jackson were plunked nine times each (=9th), but Carlos Quentin is clearly the man to watch. He was hit on eight occasions, in just 57 games, and as 2007's everyday right-fielder, could pass Andy Fox's record of 18 - the only one remaining from the Diamondbacks' debut year in 1998. Jackson grounded into 18 double plays, which ties for 5th-most all-time; Johnny Estrada and Hudson each had one less and, alongside Matt Williams, are in equal-eighth place.

In career leaders, Gonzalez cemented his already-secure lead at the top of most offensive categories, bar triples and stolen bases. Counsell also moved up the lists, for example passing Williams, Jay Bell and Womack in games played. Brandon Webb, however, is now the franchise leader in career sacrifice hits, his figure of 34 being one better than Curt Schilling's total during his time with the Diamondbacks.

Speaking of Webb brings us nicely to the pitching side of the record-books. Despite his final day implosion, his 3.10 ERA was still 10th best, and those 16 wins have only been surpassed by Schilling and Randy Johnson. The same goes for Webb's .667 win percentage (6th), 235 innings (8th) and 1.132 WHIP (9th, and a career best for our ace). He walked less than two hitters every nine innings, the 7th-lowest figure we've ever seen. His five complete games were the best since the glory days of Schilling and Johnson in 2002, and Webb's three shutouts is surpassed only by Johnson's four, also during 2002.

Out of the bullpen, we saw most from Luis Vizcaino, whose 70 appearances made the top ten list at #6 - two appearances and two places lower, we find Brandon Lyon's 2006 figures. Jose Valverde had a career-high 18 saves (6th), while his mid-season replacement, Jorge Julio, had fifteen. This matched Valverde's figure from last year, sliding into the top ten at number nine. Miguel Batista probably won't thank us for mentioning it, but his figures for hits (231), walks (84) and wild pitches (14) were each the second-highest ever, and the 105 earned runs which resulted were just one short of the all-time high.

Finally, Juan Cruz was the Diamondbacks' most dangerous pitcher - for the health of opposing hitters, anyway! He hit eleven batters, 4th-most ever for an Arizona pitcher in one year, and Cruz has already made the career top ten for the Diamondbacks, in his first year with the club. He and Brad Hennessey were the only NL pitchers to plunk double figures in less than 100 innings during 2006, but Cruz hit more and faced fewer batters.