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All Time Arizona Diamondbacks: Right Field

My apologies for a lengthy break in this series. I've been snowed under at work for the last few weeks. In case anyone has forgotten the principle, I look at the five best seasons by different players at a given position in Diamondbacks history, and then we vote for the best. This installment in the series is the final defensive position: right field.

Wait, a minute, what do I do?
Wait, a minute, what do I do?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Compared to Center Field, where the Diamondbacks have an embarrassment of riches for a franchise of such a young age, Right Field looks somewhat barren. Sure, there have been plenty of really good players to man the position, but no one has stuck with it long-term. While only six different players have started opening day in CF in franchise history, 9 have done so in right. Danny Bautista and Justin Upton are tied for the lead, with four opening day starts each. Only second base (Orlando Hudson, Jay Bell, and Aaron Hill, 3 starts apiece) has a start leader with fewer opening day starts.

That's not to say that there haven't been some really good seasons by Diamondbacks in right field, though. But who had the best season? Here are the contenders:

Ender Inciarte, 2015

Inciarte wasn't supposed to be in right field. On opening day, and for two months after, the spot technically belonged to Mark Trumbo, who wasn't as terrible as we remember, but was solidly average at the plate and below-average with the glove. But when the dust was settled, Inciarte led the team in innings played in RF, and played there more than any other position.

For a player thought of as glove-first, he posted excellent offensive numbers. He slashed .303/.338/.408 for an OPS+ of 101. Sure, he doesn't have typical corner outfield power, but he did hit six home runs, including two in one game in San Diego, which was his first multi-homer game at any professional level. Although he didn't get on base as well as we would have liked, his OBP of .338 was 8 points above-average for NL leadoff hitters. His defense was great, as was expected. UZR didn't like him as much as DRS, though, which is why he was worth only 3.3 fWAR compared to 5.3 bWAR. Had he played CF, though, he likely would have posted All-Star level WAR by fWAR as well. Sadly, along with everyone else on this list, he is no longer with the Diamondbacks, being part of a little trade you might have heard of if you weren't on another planet during the offseason.

Quinton McCracken, 2002

Raise your hand if you suspected he would be on this list. Didn't think so. McCracken had multiple times in the desert, literally and figuratively, but he had a career year in 2002 that vaulted him onto this list, barely. He posted the highest batting average (.309) and second-highest OBP (.367) by any right fielder in Diamondbacks history. He posted a career-high OPS+ of 107. His defense was average. He was the King of BABIP for a year, posting a .372 BABIP. Regression hit him hard the next year, though, as he was almost as much below replacement in 2003 as he had been above replacement in 2002. He actually posted a respectable 4-for-11 in the NLDS, including a game-tying RBI double in the 8th inning of Game 2.

For the year, he was worth 2.3 fWAR and 1.8 bWAR.

Gerardo Parra, 2013

Continuing the theme of glove-first players playing what is traditionally a bat-first position, we find Gerardo Parra. Unlike Inciarte, he came into the season expected to play right field, and play it very well. He picked up four hits (three of them doubles) in a season-opening win over the Cardinals, then provided all the offense in a May 18th win over the Marlins, with his leadoff home run being enough run support for the best outing Brandon McCarthy ever had in a Diamondbacks uniform (Game Score: 84)

Defense was his best skill, though, playing lights-out defensively for the first few months of the season. Even though his defense fell off after being injured in New York around the All-Star break, he still saved 41 runs by DRS, and posted a UZR of 31.1 for the season (including about 300 innings in center and left.) This was easily the best defensive season by a Diamondbacks outfielder. Offensively he was just about average, with an OPS+ of 99, but he did hit a then-career-high 10 home runs. He was worth 4.5 fWAR and 6.1 bWAR.

Reggie Sanders, 2001

Sanders didn't get the opening day start in right field, but he did wind up starting the most games there. He was more than solid. For starters, he hit 33 home runs, still the most among Diamondback right fielders. His OPS+ of 117 was very good, and his defense was rated above-average by available metrics. It was a very good year, and his only season with the club, as he would move on to the Giants the next year. He was worth 3.0 fWAR and 3.2 bWAR.

Sanders was also one of the better hitters during the postseason. Although he didn't do well in the LCS, he hit .357 against the Cardinals in the LDS and .304 in the World Series. He homered off Matt Morris in Game 5 of the LDS for what was an important run, but was benched in favor of Bautista in the last game of the season, just as he was in the first.

Justin Upton, 2011

You knew he was on this list, of course. In the year where he made his second of three All Star appearances, Upton put together career-high offensive numbers. He hit 31 home runs, and stole a career-high 21 bases to go with them. He posted an OPS+ of 141. His career-high OBP of .369 is also the highest in Diamondbacks right field history. While Upton was never defensive whiz (certainly compared to others on this list) he was at his best in 2011.

He also knocked two home runs in what was otherwise a disappointing NLDS, one of which gave the Diamondbacks the lead in Game 5.

On the year, Upton posted 6.3 fWAR (highest by a right fielder in franchise history) and 6.1 bWAR. We all know what happened after this, and we can be grateful that Upton is now in the AL and can cease to terrorize Diamondbacks pitching. Randall Delgado and Josh Collmenter, in particular, as he has hit 5 home runs off of the two of them.

Conclusion and Poll

This looks like a pretty close battle between Parra, Inciarte, and Upton, each of whom posted great seasons. It comes down to whether you prefer offense or defense. So clearly, this article is better than the American political system, which seems guaranteed to give you only two bad choices. There's three good ones here, but you can always write-in Vermin Supreme if you wish.