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Fun facts* from the 2015 Arizona Diamondbacks: Pitching + defense

We close out our selection of random trivia from the 2015 season, looking at the men on the mound and those behind them..

[* As ever, "fun" not contractually guaranteed...] Thanks again to Casey Wilcox and the D-backs for most of the facts. All opinions, wrong-headed analysis are my own!

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona used 27 different pitchers, one shy of the club record set in 2010. The 27 pitchers were tied with Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the third most in the NL behind Atlanta (30) and Colorado (28). The D-backs’ 12 starting pitchers tied the franchise mark (also: 2004, 2010). I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is why pitching depth matters. That said, the most-used five started 125 games and the front seven made 145 starts, so there was quite a long tail, with the back five starting pitchers combining for only 17 games between them.

The D-backs 4.04 ERA was 0.22 lower than their total from 2014 (4.26)...the biggest drop since the  1.01 improvement from 2010 (4.81) to 2011 (3.80). The improvement was mostly due - and this might seem surprising - to the bullpen, who got 0.36 better (3.92 to 3.56), while the rotation improved by just 0.07 (4.44 to 4.37). However, it's probably fair to say the improvement was more than it seemed, because the overall run environment in the NL was a lot more hitter-friendly, with ERA jumping by a quarter-run, from 3.66 to 3.91, the biggest increase since 2006. This is quite a turnaround, considering it had dropped in seven of the eight seasons after that year..

All D-backs starting pitchers this season were under 30 years old for the first time in club history; our expansion siblings in Tampa were the only other team in the majors to do so (source: Elias Sports Bureau). Arizona has now made 237 consecutive starts by a pitcher 29 or younger. I'm presuming that dates back to the last time Bronson Arroyo took the mound for us! Right now, the only pitcher who started for us in 2015 who will be 30 next year is Josh Collmenter, as he hits the big three-oh in February, but of course, pretty much everyone expects the off-season to see some moves in this department, so stay tuned.

The Diamondbacks compiled a 27.0-inning scoreless streak from Sept. 16-20, the second longest in club history:

  1. 31.0 - July 24-27, 2002
  2. 27.0 - Sept. 16-20, 2015
  3. 24.0 - April 30-May 3, 2014
  4. 23.0 - July 25-27, 2003

Separately, the bullpen produced a 13.1-inning scoreless streak from Sept. 27-Oct. 1, the fifth-longest streak since 2013:

  1. 19.2 - July 26-30, 2014
  2. 18.0 - Aug. 24-27, 2013
  3. 16.0 - May 4-11, 2013
  4. 13.2 - Aug. 17-21, 2013
  5. 13.1 - Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2015

Speaking of our relievers, they set a new record for innings pitched, leading the Majors for the first time with 579.1. That blew away the team record, being a full 56 innings more than the previous record in 2004. This is my unsurprised face, and it may explain why eight different pitchers recorded at least one save, tying the most by Arizona, set in 1999 [Can you name the eight? Answer at the end]. Still it didn't seem to impact performance, with the 3.54 ERA third-best in team history, as was the OPS against of ..698.

The D-backs did not allow a run in 35.0 innings at AT&T Park from June 13-Sept. 20, their longest streak at an opposing stadium in club history, and also the longest - a dozen innings clear - by any opponent at AT&T Park:

  1. 35.0 - AT&T Park, June 13-Sept. 20, 2015
  2. 25.0 - Qualcomm Stadium, April 25-July 27, 1999
  3. 22.0 - Dodger Stadium, Aug. 1-31, 2012
  4. 22.0 AT&T Park April 19-June 13, 2015

Arizona’s .986 overall fielding percentage (86 E in 6,182 TC) ranked fourth in the NL, behind Los Angeles (.988), San Francisco (.987) and Miami, and was the second-highest in club history (.988 in 2013). If you're looking at more advanced metrics - and we will be, beginning next week, when I finally get some time! - the D-backs led the majors with a tottal 71 defensive runs saved by Fangraphs' DRS [Defensive Runs Saved], a full fifteen ahead of the next best Royals.

Among individual Diamondbacks:

  • Nick Ahmed was tied for second at shortstop with 20 DRS and tied for fifth overall.
  • Paul Goldschmidt led all first basemen with 18 DRS.
  • Ender Inciarte ranked second among outfielders with 29 DRS. Particularly impressive, he was was second in right-field, even though he only started 56 games there! His 10 outfield assists were tied for fourth in the league.
  • A.J. Pollock was tied for fourth among all center fielders with 14 DRS.

The eight Diamondbacks to record a save this year: Brad Ziegler (30), Daniel Hudson (4), Addison Reed (3), Enrique Burgos (2), Andrew Chafin (2), Silvino Bracho (1), Josh Collmenter (1) and Randall Delgado (1).