Every other day, from now through to Christmas, we'll open up discussion on a particular player who made a meaningful contribution to the 2014 Diamondbacks. [I've drawn the line at 125 PA or 20 innings] There will be two sections. Firstly, a poll where you rate them from 5 ("Highly satisfied") down to 1 ("Very dissatisfied"): it's entirely up to you what criteria you use for the number. Secondly, the comments below, where you can talk about the reasons for your vote, etc. Things to discuss include, but are not limited to:
2014 performance: strengths and weaknesses, etc.
Health and other mitigating factors
How they'll help the team in 2015, their role, etc.
Three days down the line, we'll collate the votes, calculate a final average score, and write up the consensus of SnakePit thought into an appraisal. Here is a quick overview of today's candidate for your consideration.
Additional bonus! Going forward. we'll also have a "Comment of the Thread" for the appraisal, so please rec the comments you find insightful, funny, or whatever.
Arguably the centerpiece of the trade that sent Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres in 2013, Stites was looked at as a possible closer of the future. From the time he was acquired, until he was promoted to the majors in the middle of 2014, Stites continued to excel, demonstrating to those paying attention his excellent control, something that had become a trademark for him. The word on Stites was that he had success for two reason. First, Stites can bring the heat. Second, he simply was not one to walk batters.
Unfortunately for Stites, things did not go so well once he reached the majors. While he was bitten hard by the gopher ball, that actually is not terribly uncommon among the very hard-throwing, late inning relief crowd. What seemed to hurt Stites the most was his inability to stop issuing walks. Stites remains one of a handful of pitchers on the 2014 Diamondbacks that calls into question just how the pitching staff was being handled on the field by their battery mates.
Clearly, Stites had an atrocious first season in the majors. Poor pitch selection or batter preparation can only be blamed for so much. Frankly, Stites simply did not execute. However, with his raw stuff, and given some of the moves that the front office has made this winter, acquiring other similar arms with less minor league success than Stites, it appears that there is a very good chance that Stites gets a shot at redemption in 2015.