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Finding the real "Diamondback Killers"

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We hear it at least once a series, either on a broadcast or in the Gameday Thread: "Man, so-and-so really kills us!" But who are the hitters where the numbers back this up? Can we name a "Diamondback Killer" on each of the other 29 teams?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In general terms, we should probably divide the results into tiers, because it's an awful lot easier to put up a big OPS over 50 PA than over 500 PA. Not allowing for PA would give a big advantage to American League teams, which we may only see once ever three years, and certainly to those outside the NL West, whom get to face us half a dozen times per season. So, we have three groups of killers: the heat of the moment (50-100 PA), occasional psychopaths (101-250 PA) and mass murderers (more than 250 PA). Here are the top 5, for each category, among active players.

50-100 PA
Rk Player OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
1 Jhonny Peralta 1.186 54 50 9 20 4 16 3 7 .400 .426 .760
2 Billy Butler 1.146 51 40 8 15 3 8 8 8 .375 .471 .675
3 Alex Rodriguez 1.084 66 58 13 19 6 22 7 11 .328 .394 .690
4 Delmon Young 1.025 50 46 10 19 1 4 4 5 .413 .460 .565
5 Starling Marte 1.015 73 68 13 24 3 12 4 18 .353 .397 .618
101-250 PA
Rk Player OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
1 Freddie Freeman 1.197 120 110 26 44 9 32 8 17 .400 .433 .764
2 Edwin Encarnacion 1.142 102 88 18 26 11 25 12 19 .295 .392 .750
3 Miguel Cabrera 1.104 174 148 29 53 11 39 24 40 .358 .448 .655
4 Justin Upton 1.041 111 92 19 30 7 19 17 27 .326 .432 .609
5 Wilin Rosario 1.038 172 160 25 58 10 29 11 31 .363 .407 .631
251+ PA
Rk Player OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
1 Carlos Beltran 1.031 280 243 46 83 16 55 32 36 .342 .418 .613
2 Albert Pujols 1.005 342 289 64 91 18 69 47 41 .315 .409 .595
3 Jayson Werth .986 279 238 47 75 14 47 32 57 .315 .398 .588
4 Carlos Gonzalez .954 324 293 55 89 19 49 29 78 .304 .367 .587
5 Adrian Gonzalez .925 616 522 97 157 31 102 82 104 .301 .397 .529

Some surprising names there: I've got a shiny quarter for anyone who predicted the trifecta of Peralta, Freeman and Beltran as the leaders in each category. However, there are also some names listed, which probably should not come as anything of a surprise: why, yes, Justin Upton does appear to hold something of a grudge, doesn't he? [and, perhaps, not unreasonably...] But I think Adrian Gonzalez perhaps deserves the title of D-back Enemy #1. That's an entire season's worth of playing time, and just Todd Helton all-time has driven in more runs against us; not even Barry Bonds had more. It's especially impressive, given A-Gon has played much of that in Petco,

Before we get to the current top killers for each franchise, let's just mention briefly the top five, setting the cut-off at a minimum of 100 PA. Encarnacion and Freeman are there, in fifth and second place respectively. Between them, tied for third with an OPS of 1.192 are Bonds and, maybe another surprise, the Rockies' Dante Bichette; obviously, Bazza produced that (including a .499 OBP!) in a lot more playing time, and without the benefits of altitude and a pre-humidor Denver. But blowing well past everyone is the much-despised Manny Ramirez. In 37 games and 157 PA, he had a line against Arizona of .411/.522/.782. I think we were all delighted to see the back of him.

So, here is the official list of the Diamondbacks killers for each team. With a cutoff of 100 PA against the D-backs, there were no players currently with the Minnesota Twins found, so they'll have to do with a designated murderer. Teams have been allocated on the basis of the last major-league appearance by the active player in question, even if they are now outside the majors with another franchise or not currently signed. Basically, there's only a couple of those, and we'll mention them more after the list. Note: using the term "Diamondbacks killer" for a player not on the list is unsanctioned, and may result in a visit from the SB Nation drone.

  • ATL - Freddie Freeman
  • BAL - J.J. Hardy
  • BOS - Pablo Sandoval
  • CHC - Chris Denorfia
  • CHW - Emilio Bonifacio
  • CIN - Joey Votto
  • CLE - Michael Bourn
  • COL - Wilin Rosario
  • DET - Miguel Cabrera
  • HOU - José Castillo
  • KCR - Omar Infante
  • LAA - Albert Pujols
  • LAD - Yasmani Grandal
  • MIA - Giancarlo Stanton
  • MIL - Jonathan Lucroy
  • MIN - No award
  • NYM - Michael Cuddyer
  • NYY - Carlos Beltrán
  • OAK - Cody Ross
  • PHI - Carlos Ruiz
  • PIT - Andrew McCutchen
  • SDP - Justin Upton
  • SEA - Seth Smith
  • SFG - Buster Posey
  • STL - Matt Holliday
  • TBR - David DeJesus
  • TEX - Prince Fielder
  • TOR - Edwin Encarnación
  • WSN - Jayson Werth

Notes: In case you're wondering, our "suicide player" e.g. the D-back with the best numbers against us, would be Mike Jacobs, who played here earlier this year, but is now with the Guerreros de Oaxaca in the Mexican League. He has a solid .940 career OPS vs. ARI. Also note who leads the A's, as the last stopping place of Ross, who was at one time a much feared hitter versus Arizona. I dunno what Cody is doing these days: still cashing the checks, presumably. And if you don't recognize the Astros' player, that's because he last played for them in 2008. However, Castillo is still "active", with the Olmecas de Tabasco in Mexico - playing alongside, incidentally, Karim Garcia!

Oh, and the non-pitcher who fares worst against us? That would be the Giants', Joaquin Arias who has a career line against the Diamondbacks of .147/.154/.155, for a .309 OPS.  But, not all killers are equal. Here is the same list of players, ordered in descending OPS, from Freeman all the way down to Castillo. I suspect the Astros' shortcomings are down to their struggles when we last played against them as fellow National Leaguers: in 2011-12, we were 12-1 versus Houston, though they did take three of four from us last year. Be interesting to see if the upcoming series will lead to anyone displacing the long-absent Castillo as their best "Diamondbacks killer"!

Player Team
OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Freddie Freeman ATL 1.197 120 110 26 44 9 32 8 17 .400 .433 .764
Edwin Encarnacion TOR
1.142 102 88 18 26 11 25 12 19 .295 .392 .750
Miguel Cabrera DET 1.104 174 148 29 53 11 39 24 40 .358 .448 .655
Justin Upton SDP 1.041 111 92 19 30 7 19 17 27 .326 .432 .609
Wilin Rosario COL
1.038 172 160 25 58 10 29 11 31 .363 .407 .631
Carlos Beltran NYY 1.031 280 243 46 83 16 55 32 36 .342 .418 .613
Joey Votto CIN
1.026 118 102 11 38 4 16 15 18 .373 .458 .569
Carlos Ruiz PHI
1.007 144 124 21 46 4 22 18 12 .371 .458 .548
Albert Pujols LAA 1.005 342 289 64 91 18 69 47 41 .315 .409 .595
Jayson Werth WSN
.986 279 238 47 75 14 47 32 57 .315 .398 .588
J.J. Hardy BAL .984 117 109 22 38 6 13 7 13 .349 .388 .596
Giancarlo Stanton MIA .981 134 119 21 33 11 32 14 33 .277 .351 .630
Yasmani Grandal LAD .954 152 131 27 38 10 25 19 38 .290 .382 .573
Andrew McCutchen PIT .927 183 145 33 48 4 19 31 30 .331 .437 .490
Prince Fielder TEX .923 189 166 29 49 11 26 18 39 .295 .381 .542
Cody Ross OAK .909 168 146 22 42 7 30 18 37 .288 .375 .534
Chris Denorfia CHC
.903 210 194 48 62 9 22 15 22 .320 .367 .536
David DeJesus TBR .887 104 94 22 28 3 18 9 17 .298 .365 .521
Buster Posey SFG .886 340 306 42 99 13 66 28 30 .324 .376 .510
Michael Cuddyer NYM .885 195 185 27 54 11 27 10 41 .292 .328 .557
Michael Bourn CLE
.884 153 135 28 45 2 10 15 31 .333 .395 .489
Pablo Sandoval BOS .884 429 385 55 125 11 62 36 55 .325 .382 .501
Matt Holliday STL .868 462 407 59 122 14 66 45 82 .300 .374 .494
Jonathan Lucroy MIL
.844 105 95 12 30 4 13 8 12 .316 .381 .463
Seth Smith SEA .810 263 236 33 61 10 35 23 42 .258 .331 .479
Emilio Bonifacio CHW
.803 107 94 12 29 0 5 11 25 .309 .377 .426
Omar Infante KCR
.780 146 133 22 42 2 14 10 18 .316 .359 .421
Jose Castillo HOU
.773 131 126 12 37 2 14 5 20 .294 .321 .452