Today, we open the 2016 AZ SnakePit awards with the Play of the Year category. As previously discussed, and as last year, we will have a number of preliminary groups in this area. There’ll be one each day this week: the play receiving the most votes in each prelim poll, will go on to the final poll, which will take place after the winter meetings have finished at the end of next week.
4/15 - Ziegler game-ending double-play
Coming in for the bottom of the ninth to protect a one-run lead, Brad Ziegler got into trouble, back-to-back singles putting men on the corners and the tying run on third with no outs. But after a K and an intentional walk, Z did what Z does, dialing up a game-ending double-play.
4/16 - Ahmed stop and throw from hole
Ahmed’s 2016 season was derailed by injury, but he still showed flashes of brilliance, despite his limited playing time. Here, in extra innings, he ranges deep into the hole at shortstop to reach the ball, then makes a perfect, strong throw while off-balance, to retire the runner at first.
4/18 - Lamb last strike homer
The opening game against the Giants this year looked lost, after Arizona let San Francisco reclaim the lead in the bottom of the eighth. But, down to his last strike with two outs in the ninth, Jake Lamb homered off Santiago Casilla, tying things up, and the D-backs won in 11.
4/22 - Kirkpatrick bare-handed catch
Who? Yeah. For this is the first time we’ve ever considered a fan for our play of the year. Justin Kirkpatrick not only snared Welington Castillo’s home-run ball, he did it bare-handed, on the fly, despite other fans - and with his young son tucked in his other arm. Give that man a contract!
[Honorable mention in this category: the fan who filmed himself catching a homer]
5/3 - Corbin goes flat out
Napoleon once said that an army marches on its stomach. Sometimes a pitcher fields on his stomach too, as this play against the Miami Marlins shows. Patrick Corbin get a slow bouncer back to his left, dives to stop it from getting past the mound, then flips from his belly to first for the out.