To no great surprise, Josh Collmenter took home the Unsung Hero of the Year award, receiving 79% of the votes for his sterling work in the Diamondbacks bullpen. That earned him a spot in this week's nominees, to decide who was the best overall pitcher for Arizona this season. Actually, quite a few names here are re-appearing from last week: which certainly makes my job a lot easier...
Collmenter 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.
Despite not locking down his roster spot until late in spring training, Corbin had a pretty good 2013, particularly early on. He was only the second pitcher in the live-ball era to open with nine starts of at least six IP and two or fewer runs allowed; through the end of June, the D-backs had gone 15-1 with Patrick on the mound, with Corbin's own record 9-0 with a 2.22 ERA. His All-Star selection was a shoo-in, and there was legitimate talk about contending for the Cy Young as well. However, the second half of the season proved disappointing, Corbin going 5-8 with a 4.74 ERA from the start of July, but for his first full season in the majors, the overall numbers were perhaps the nicest surprise of the year.
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).
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 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.
When all about him in the 2013 bullpen were losing their heads, blowing saves or having their limbs malfunction, Ziegler quietly continued doing... Well, pretty much what he has been doing since coming to the team in July 2011: Brad now has the best ERA of anyone who has ever thrown at least 30 innings for the Diamondbacks.He started off as our 7th-inning guy (9 of his first 12 appearances), then moved into the eighth inning when J.J. Putz went down, before picking up his first save on July 4. From that point on, Ziegler appeared in 33 games and had a 1.60 ERA, holding batters to a .588 OPS, with four extra-base hits allowed to the 142 batters faced.