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AZ SnakePit Awards: Pitcher of the year nominations open

Which Diamondbacks pitchers deserve to make the ballot?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This will be interesting, because it's not as if pitching was an area of great strength for the Diamondbacks this season. In the National League, both our starters and relievers were ranked 10th by Wins Above Average, at -3.0 and -1.6 wins below average respectively. There's no doubt, if the team is to contend for a playoff spot next season, these are areas that will have to be improved significantly, and the acquisitions made already this winter appear to indicate the team's awareness of this fact, at least for the rotation, I'll probably dig into how much better that might be going forward, in another article. For now, we care only about 2015's performance.

Generally, the award would be a cert to be given to a starting pitcher - it has been every year since it came into being, after the 2007 season. However, this year, that may not be the case. We only had one "ever-present" in the rotation, and that was Rubby De La Rosa... who wasn't very good. values De La Rosa at fractionally below replacement level; Fangraphs is slightly more optimistic, having him at +0.3, or three-quarters of an Enrique Burgos. And that's the guy who threw 36 more innings than anyone else on the roster. The next two, in terms of innings pitched, Chase Anderson and Jeremy Hellickson, both had below-average ERA+, at 95 and 88 respectively.

Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin were both decent, but Ray threw only half a dozen more innings than Josh Collmenter, while Corbin didn't appear at all until July, albeit for entirely understandable reasons. Still, even then, Patrick was on a strict pitch-count, which meant he never threw more than 91 pitches in a game. Outside of those five, the remaining 37 starts were divided among seven different starters, and had an overall ERA of 4.87, so seems to be an all-you-can-eat buffet of fringe candidates, ranging from the surprisingly decent (Zack Godley) to the thoroughly underwhelming (Allen Webster, who'll be pitching next year in Korea).

Might this all open the door for a reliever to take the title home for the first time ever? There were certainly some credible candidates this year. Brad Ziegler became the seventh man in team history to pick up 30 saves in a season, despite not getting his first until May 24. Josh Collmenter was as excellent out of the bullpen, as he was generally unimpressive as a starter. Andrew Chafin delivered one of the best seasons by a left-handed reliever we've enjoyed for quite some time. Silvino Bracho made the leap from Double-A to the majors, and kept right on striking everybody out.

It's going to be interesting to see what players get nominated onto the final ballot. As before, the comments will decide. You can either submit a new player's name in the comments, or "rec" an existing suggestion. The top five (approximately) will move on to the next stage of formal voting, which begins on Thursday and runs through the weekend.