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2008 in franchise history

The team's eleventh season proved remarkable mediocre, 82 wins being right on the button for the average number of victories. However, it ranks only in seventh place, with the mean being skewed down thanks to 2004. How do the marks set by the individual players stand against those posted over the first decade of the Diamondbacks' existence?

At the plate, Conor Jackson became the ninth man in franchise history to qualify for the batting title and hit .300 - the first since Chad Tracy's .308 in 2005. Luis Gonzalez did it four times, while Shea Hillenbrand, Matt Williams and Junior Spivey are the others to have accomplished the feat. CoJack's .376 on-base percentage tied him for tenth on the team's all-time list, though no-one cracked the top ten for SLG or OPS. Chris Young missed just two games, a number surpassed only by Gonzalez, who was an ever-present in both 2000 and 2001. [The two NL players who appeared in all 162 games this season: Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard]

Nobody reached 100 runs - Stephen Drew's 91 led the team, but he did get a total of 178 hits, ranking him sixth on the franchise list for a single season. Tracy's 75 moved him up to sixth all-time for Arizona; Orlando Hudson is eighth and Jackson ninth on the same ranking. Drew's 44 doubles this season were good enough for fifth, and Young's 42 follows immediately behind him. Our short-stop's eleven triples is the highest total since Tony Womack had 14 in 2000, trailing only that and David Dellucci's dozen from the 1998 season. Overall, Drew had 76 extra-base hits, a tally no-one save Gonzo has beaten in a D-backs jersey.

It looked like Mark Reynolds was a shoo-in for thirty homers: after all, on August 7, following game #115, he already had 24. But he struggled thereafter, batting .219 with an OPS of .663, falling two short. On the all-time list, however, he's already up to number twelve: next season could well see three new entries to the top ten, at the expense of Tony Clark, Damian Miller and Erubiel Durazo. Chris Snyder, Reynolds and Jackson are the most likely candidates, with Drew also a possibility. Similarly, Special K looked sure of a 100 RBI year, but managed to drive in only five over the final 25 games of the season. The 97 he reached was still enough for ninth-equal, while Jackson moved up to sixth on the all-time list.

It probably is significant that Reynolds' 64 free passes couldn't even reach the top twenty for walks in Arizona history. To put that into context, during all eight seasons Gonzalez was here - even the one where he missed a third of it due to injury - his lowest total was still 66. The Diamondback leader for walks this season was also only 29th in the National League, an unwanted feat which I hope to see improve going forward. Reynolds, as is well-documented, also set a new major-league record for strikeouts. Obviously, this was also a franchise mark, yet perhaps less-noticed was that Chris Young, also smashed the previous "best", fanning 165 times, twenty more than any other Arizona player of the last decade. His total number of outs - 496 - was also a new high.

Finally on the hitting side, a tip of the hat to Augie Ojeda, who managed to get hit by a pitch ten times, good enough for eight-best in a single season, even though he only had 272 plate-appearances. No-one else in the majors got his so often in less than 300 PA's, and it was at a higher rate than Carlos Quentin. It's particularly impressive, given that Ojeda is such a small target.

Moving to the mound, the question becomes, how high does Brandon Webb now rank on the list of all-time Diamondbacks? Back in January 2006, when published our original top ten, he was #5, behind Randy Johnson, Gonzalez, Curt Schilling and Steve Finley. I think it seems ripe to revise the rankings, given the past couple of years, so I've attached a poll to see whereabout he should go. Here are some career stats for Webb. Johnson leads in most categories, with Webb second in IP, wins, K's and shutouts, while he's third in ERA, Win %, complete games and WHIP, with Schilling generally the other pitcher ahead of him, if there is one. Obviously, it's an ongoing career, but where would you rank Brandon now?

Obviously, Webb's 22 victories stands out, being the best the team has seen in six seasons, though Dan Haren's sixteen is not to be sneezed at - it's a total beaten by Webb, Johnson, Schilling and no other pitchers for Arizona. Haren's WHIP this year of 1.130 is also good enough for ninth spot; again all eight spots ahead of him belong either to the Big Unit or the Big Mouth. Particularly noteworthy, is that Haren made the top ten for fewest BB/9 IP and also for most K/9 IP, showcasing an impressive combination of power and control. He finished with 206 strikeouts, eighth-most. Though one suspects the top four spots - all RJ - are likely untouchable, since from 1999-2002, Johnson averaged more than 350 K's per season. Oh, and pitched 31 complete games, including eleven shutouts.

Out in the bullpen, Chad Qualls appeared in almost half of Arizona's games - 78 in total. Let's hope there are no omens to be found in the subsequent careers of the D-backs who are ahead of Chad: Villarreal's 86 games in 2003, and Kim's 78 from 2001. Obviously, while losing his job as closer certainly stopped Brandon Lyon from saving more, his 26 is still fifth-best for a single season. I note that the top five are by five different pitchers - quick, how many of them can you name? Answer to that at the end of the piece. He still finished fifty games this year: even before being removed from the closer's spot, Lyon had more non-save appearances than saves. Contrast F-Rod - 76 games, only fourteen not resulting in a save.

[The top five single-season save totals for Arizona were by: Jose Valverde (47, 2007); Byung-Hung Kim (36, 2002); Gregg Olson (30, 1998 - I bet that was the one you didn't get!); Matt Mantei (29, 2003); and Lyon's 26 this year.]