While there were plenty of rookies used by the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, their overall performance left quite a lot to be desired. The 19 who played for Arizona tied the franchise record, set previously in both 2004 and 2014. But the overall production of 0.4 bWAR was the lowest from a rookie crop for the Diamondbacks since 2005’s batch failed to reach replacement level. [I’ve dug further into this, and there’ll be a piece next week, comparing all our rookie classes, going back to 1998] Still, chewing through the comments and over the stats, here are the five men who deserve mention. Poll below, feel free to comment with your pick and why. The result will be announced on Friday.
A stellar spring - 0.79 ERA, 15:1 K:BB ratio in 11.1 innings - got Barrett onto the Opening Day roster. Apart from close to the minimum ten days in Reno during the second half of April (Apr 17-28), he spent the entire season with the major-league team. Only Daniel Hudson and Randall Delgado pitched in more games, and of the 19 men to throw 20+ innings, only Brad Ziegler had a better ERA. Barrett was Arizona’s first rookie reliever since Tony Peña in 2007 to be used as often, and post an ERA below 3.50. The only younger reliever with more appearances for the D-backs in a season was Oscar Villarreal in 2003.
Bradley’s 141.2 innings of work were the most by any Diamondbacks rookie since Josh Collmenter in 2011 (154.1). The only player in franchise history, who was Bradley’s age to throw as many frames, was Patrick Corbin in 2013 (208.1). Archie’s FIP of 4.10 trailed just Robbie Ray among our regularly-used starters (yes: better than Greinke at 4.12), and he allowed home-runs at the lowest rate. Greinke was the only pitcher to throw more quality starts for the Diamondbacks in 2016. Archie also trailed only Zack in team winning percentage among regular starters, being the two men in our everyday rotation where Arizona were at or above .500 when they pitched.
Hi, Drury. Welcome to the 2016 Opening Day roster. Oh, FYI: you’re going to spent 70% of the season in the outfield, at positions you’ve never played since turning professional. Go get ‘em, kid... Yeah, given this, hard to blame Drury for being at or below replacement level, by both bWAR and fWAR, a situation unsurprisingly largely down to defense (-1.7 dWAR, -18.5 Def). He racked up more PAs (499) than any Arizona rookie since Chris Young in 2007, and had the best OPS (.786, min 300 PA) by any Arizona rookie since Mark Reynolds, also in 2007. As Michael documented earlier today, moving Drury back to the infield next year could help key a breakout season.
Despite appearing in only 34 games, Haniger led all our rookie position players in both bWAR and fWAR. Both metrics agree that his value was almost entirely due to Mitch’s defense: even in limited playing time, his 5.4 Def finished the year third on the team, trailing Nick Ahmed and Welington Castillo. While the major-league numbers at the plate fell short of what he achieved in the minors, here’s an eyebrow raising stat: "In the majors, in terms of average exit velocity, last year Haniger ranked in the 95th percentile." Put another way, only one in 20 major-leaguers hit the ball harder than Mitch. It will be interesting to see what he achieves for the Mariners in 2017.
Koch only threw 18 innings for us. But they were so good [and, admittedly, the rest of our pitching was so bad], that he still ended up in the top five for bWAR on the 2016 Diamondbacks, putting up more value by that metric than Robbie Ray. Even averaging bWAR and fWAR, his 0.6 figure was behind only Bradley’s 1.4, and Archie threw close to eight times as many innings at Matt. He got a four-inning scoreless save in his second major-league appearance, then won his third, putting up a 12th-inning zero against the Dodgers. Throw in a 3.09 ERA over seven starts in the pitcher’s hell which is the PCL, and a 1.19 ERA during five Dominican League outings this winter: not a bad year.