Discussion on the nominees mostly centered on the pitching side, particularly the starting pitching. Does a shorter, more dominant outing deserve a spot ahead of a longer one which relied on a low BABIP? Should the strength of the opponent be a factor? There is no definitive answer to these questions, and it’ll be interesting to see where the votes fall for the nominees. Voting will be open through midnight Thursday, with the winner being announced on Friday.
Rubby De La Rosa, April 28 vs. Cardinals
7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 10 K, Game Score 81. By OPS+, the Cardinals were the second-best team in the NL this year, trailing only the Cubs, so blanking them in such a dominant fashion for seven innings was no mean feat. Only one St. Louis batter got past first base against Rubby all night, and De La Rosa was quick and effective, taking only 94 pitches to go through the Cardinals’ order one batter short of three times. It was the best start, by Game Score, of his time with the Diamondbacks - and with the team now having cut ties with De La Rosa, largely due to concerns over his health, will not likely be surpassed.
Jake Lamb, July 16 vs. Dodgers
3-for-5, 3B, two 2B, WP +78.0%. Lamb had some huge, clutch hits for Arizona this year, but he was never clutchier than during this 2-1, 12 inning win over Los Angeles. It was the highest WP by a D-back since August 2013 (Paul Goldschmidt, +79.8%). After Brandon McCarthy and the LA ‘pen had blanked Arizona for 8.2 innings, Lamb doubled home the tying run when down to his last strike against Kenley Jansen. Then, leading off the 12th inning, Jake tripled down into the right-field corner. Two intentional walks later, Brandon Drury punched the ball through the infield, and Lamb ambled home to score the walk-off winning run.
Yasmany Tomas, Aug 17 vs. Mets
3-for-4, two HR, 3B, six RBI, 11 total bases. When Tomas was hot, he was en fuego. No hitter this year in the majors matched his number of multi-homer games. One of those seven came here, part of a month where he became the first D-back with 10+ homers in August since Mark Reynolds in 2009. Tomas had a solo home-run in the fourth, and a three-run shot in the eighth, sandwiching a two-run triple (his only one of the season). The last Arizona hitter with two homers and a triple in the same game was Kelly Johnson, in May 2011. The six runs driven in on the day by Tomas was the most by any Diamondback in over two years (Miguel Montero: June 4, 2014).
Robbie Ray, Aug 20 vs. Padres
7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 13 K, Game Score 83. Yeah, it was the Padres, so any performance likely deserves a 10% discount on results for strength of opponent. But the last time ANY Arizona pitcher fanned thirteen batters in a game was the Big Unit, two days less than eight years earlier. The last with 13 K’s and one or fewer hits? RJ’s perfect game in 2004. Ray struck out more than half the batters he faced (also last done by an AZ starter in 2008; some guy called Max Scherzer), and gave up just one hit, a fifth-inning home-run to Patrick Kivlehan, his first and still sole MLB homer. It was the kind of overwhelming performance we hope to see more of in 2017. Here are all 13 K’s:
Daniel Hudson, Aug 20 vs. Padres
Bases loaded, no out hold, WP +55.1%. But it took a major non-save situation save from Hudson to keep Ray in line for the win. Immediately after Ray left, the first three batters for San Diego reached base against Jake Barrett and Steve Hathaway. Enter Huddy, in the most unenviable of inherited positions: bases loaded, nobody out, and a one-run lead. Three infield pop-ups later, the D-backs were out of the inning, somehow still ahead and on the way to victory. The resulting Win Probability was the greatest ever by an Arizona reliever and the highest for any of our pitchers since Brandon McCarthy tossed a complete-game 1-0 win for the Diamondbacks in May 2013.
Jean Segura, Sep 14 vs. Rockies
5-for-6, two HR, 11 total bases. The D-Backs had two five-hit games this year. Both were by Segura: he had as many in a four-week period as any other hitter has managed in their career with Arizona. [The top four for hits in franchise history - Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero - do not have a five-hit game between them] It had been more than nine years since any Arizona hitter had a five-hit game including two home-runs (Mark Reynolds: May 25, 2007) and over eight seasons since a five-hit game with as many total bases (Stephen Drew’s cycle-plus: Sept 1, 2008). And this game against Colorado didn’t even take place at Coors Field.
Fun fact about this last one: in it, Braden Shipley became the first AZ reliever ever to get a W while allowing five earned runs. Anyway, I believe it's the first time we've had two Performance of the Year nominees from the same game. And odd how half of these are from players who are currently no longer with the Diamondbacks - Segura has been traded, De La Rosa non-tendered and Hudson is a free-agent. Will one of them win, and become what I think would make them the first former Diamondback to win a ‘Pittie? That’s what this poll will decide...