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Place Your Bets on the 2014 Diamondbacks: A land down under

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How appropriate we began the season in Australia, because just about all the lines on the 2014 team ended up also going down under...

Justin Edmonds

You'll have noticed a lack of updates on this feature in the second half of the season. That was in part due to unfortunate timing - the two-thirds update more or less coincided with the trade deadline, which saw a ferocious burst of other activity. And in part due to the fact that nothing changed. The writing was on the wall, both for the team and the individual players at that point, and there's only so many ways you can write "Yeah, we still suck." But let's go for a final round-up, picking over the carnage which were the 2014 betting lines for the Diamondbacks.

For each line, we give the original projection, the amount wagered over and under, and the current pace, assuming we continue at the same rate going forward.

Wins: 84.5 (3350-4562) - Final 64, UNDER

Perhaps surprisingly, that's only two wins less than the pace at the half-way stage. I dunno about you, but the second half seemed a good deal more dismal than the first. That's probably the result of the terrible way we started and finished: from May through July, Arizona actually played .500 baseball, going 39-39 and giving us some sense of respectability. But before and after that? An ugly 25-59, and the final two months of the season, where we went 16-37, likely cost Kirk Gibson his job. A combination of injuries and ineffectual performance sent the team spiraling into the tank. But, hey: that #1 draft pick...

Place in NL West: 2.5 (2164-1700) - Final 5, OVER

There was never any real chance of us catching the Giants and Dodgers that would have been necessary for us to reach the over on this line, with a two-tier system firmly in place for the NL West (there was an 11-game gap between the second and third spots). After occupying last place for every day in the first half, we escaped the cellar for much of the second half, peaking at actual sole possession of third, by percentage points, on July 22. That lasted only one day, and after a ferocious struggle with the Rockies down the stretch, we sank back into last place on Sep 19, and held that the rest of the way.

Paul Goldschmidt's home runs: 35.5 (1100-4073) - Final 19, UNDER

Thanks, Pirates, for ruining our season with your inability to pitch inside. Ok, that's a little hyperbolic, but it certainly ruined Goldie's season, even he'd stull have been hard-pressed to reach the line with a full season of games [his 109-game pace equates to 28 HR over 162 games] But he made up for it with an extraordinary number of doubles (39), and was likely robbed of a real shot at Luis Gonzalez's franchise mark of 52, set in 2006. Overall, Goldie's OPS was barely changed on the year, dipping slightly from .952 to .938, and assuming a full return to health next year, he should be every bit as good again.

Mark Trumbo's home runs: 37.5 (1200-4136) - Final 14, UNDER

Ending the year exactly on the tally we expected at the mid-way point, though certainly some distance from what could be called a consistent performer over the season. Seven HR in his first 87 PAs, then after a lengthy DL stint due to stress fractures, Trumbo hit just ONE over his next 226 PAs, before finishing strongly with six bombs in his final 49. We need more bookend Trumbo, rather than mid-season Trumbo, if he's to be effective, because he doesn't get on base enough to be a threat when he isn't hitting home-runs. His OBP of .293 ranked him 215th of the 263 hitters in the majors with 300+ PAs this season.

Brandon McCarthy's innings pitched: 144 (1452-1350) - Final 200, OVER

Yay for McCarthy's health! He hit 200 innings for the first time ever, blowing away his previous best of 170.2 in 2011. Of course, 45% of that - and the good 45% at that - was not for the Diamondbacks. But it will be very interesting to see what Brandon gets as a free-agent this season. Will his first fully-healthy season, and undeniable effectiveness for New York, be enough to counter the lengthy 2005-2013 period, where he averaged only 13.5 starts a year? Meanwhile, his legacy in Arizona will largely be of a gamble that didn't pay off, as he was paid $15.5 million over two years, for an 80 ERA+ and -0.7 bWAR.

Bronson Arroyo's home runs allowed: 31.5 (100-4847) - Final 10, UNDER

And also, yay for Arroyo keeping the ball in the park, with the fewest home-runs allowed in over a decade, going back to 2003. Of course (and of course, there's also an "of course"), that was mostly because his innings were also the lowest in over a decade, as the iron-man of baseball turned out to be made of balsa. No, strike that as unnecessarily cruel, especially considering Arroyo tried pitching through a torn UCL, which must have taken a great deal of fortitude (and pain medication!). But with Arroyo owed at least another $14 million by the team, and possibly as much as $20.5m, it's going to be tough for this to make it back to a good free-agent signing.

Archie Bradley's starts at MLB level: 12.5 (2200-716) - Final 0, UNDER

Man, remember when Bradley was fighting for a rotation spot in spring training? The season instead ends with Chase Anderson, Mike Bolsinger and Andrew Chafin all having beaten Bradley to the majors, combining for 33 starts. Odds against that in March. However, his 22nd birthday was only last August, and there's still reason to think this year's detour was not a permanent diversion from his path to greatness, perhaps related to the injury which sidelined him for two months.  I certainly hope new management is more patient with our young pitching prospects than the old one seemed to be [Bauer dealt away at age 21, Skaggs at 22, Parker just after turning 23]

Martin Prado's OPS: .770 (4300-136) - Final .733, UNDER

Like McCarthy, Prado certainly caught fire after his trade to New York, in a thankfully futile effort to push them into the 2014 post-season. He hit .316/.336/.541 for the Yankees, 189 OPS points higher than he batted with us, though it still wasn't enough to lift his season figure anywhere close to the projected line. As someone pointed out, if he had hit like that with the D-backs, he wouldn't have been traded. But with two more years left on his contract, and a .340 BABIP with New York, it'll be interesting to see how he performs - and, indeed where on the diamond he plays - for them in 2015.

Bench-clearing incidents with Dodgers: 0.5 (2866-250) - Final 0, UNDER

Bench-clearing incidents with anyone this year = 0, though there were some moments, against not just the Dodgers, but also the Brewers and Pirates over the season, where things got a bit "handbags at 20 paces". Probably the nearest was the September 7 game vs. LA, which saw Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly both ejected, after Oliver Perez hit Andre Ethier. Warnings were issued, which apparently upset some of the Dodgers to the point of them getting tossed, even though Adrian Gonzalez admitted, "They weren't trying to hit him." I'm sure there's a world in which that all makes sense, but I'm only a tourist there.

The final tallies

If ever there was a poster-child for pessimism paying off, this would be it. The only line which can be called a wholly positive outcome for the Diamondbacks was McCarthy reaching 200 innings - only 110 of those were with Arizona, and they weren't very good ones. Arroyo's homers was somewhat positive, but would have been a lot closer if he had thrown closer to the expected two hundred frames, rather than the actual 86.2. Everything else fell abysmally short of expectations, through an unpleasant cocktail of bad luck, bad health and bad performance. It's those who expected the worst, who leave the SnakePit Casino this year with the most...

Name Payout
Incomplete Translation 1,500
Dallas D'Back Fan 1,500
azshadowwalker 1,500
shoewizard 1,500
dbacks25 1,500
blank_38 900
SenSurround 868.66
piratedan7 700
TolkienBard 600
Moranall 500
Craig from Az 500
Diamondhacks 500
MyGirlsDad 500
preston.salisbury 100
phx suns 0
Angry Saguaro -100
JoeCB1991 -300
Stumpy657 -300
xmet -300
Makakilo -500
AzDbackfanInDc -500
Marc Fournier -500
AF DBacks Fanatic -500
GuruB -1,000
grimmy01 -1,500
Fangdango -1,500
biglakejake -1,500
Total 4,168.66

Congratulations to the five profitable pessimists, in alphabetical order:azshadowwalker, Dallas D'Back Fan, dbacks25, Incomplete Translation and shoewizard. They all showed the power of negative thinking, winning all their bets. At the other oend, biglakejake, Fangdangi and grimmy01 will be taking the bus home, if they find enough left for the fare down the back of a sofa somewhere. What will happen next year? Tune in come next spring training and find out. But things surely can't go any worse than they did in 2014. Can they? Hello? Is this thing on?