I had intended to string out this series somewhat longer, covering a starting pitcher and a reliever as well. But Spring Training has come around, so this will be the final part, and I'll just pick the pitchers myself, in true All Star Game fashion. I've also decided to increase the number of pitchers by two, so there are three starters and three relievers. Where I picked someone not on the ballot, I justify my selection.
Catcher: Miguel Montero, 2012
Montero won with 103 votes, which was 61% of the vote. Damian Miller's 2000 was a distant second, with 35 votes. Welington Castillo picked up 23 votes, with Chris Snyder's 2008 and Kelly Stinnett's 1998 filling out the ballot, with not even 10 votes between them. In order to have a representative from each season on the team, Snyder's 2008 is the backup.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, 2015
But I didn't have the vote for the starting spot, as this was unquestioned. Instead, the vote was for the backup spot, and Mark Grace's 2001 won handily, with 60% of the vote. Also on the ballot were Tony Clark (2005), Conor Jackson (2008), Greg Colbrunn (2000), and Chad Tracy (2005).
Second Base: Jay Bell, 1999
There were a decent number of votes for second base, more than for first base. And Jay Bell's 1999 picked up 67% of the vote. Aaron Hill's 2012 came in second, with 15%. Kelly Johnson's 2010, which was the most valuable season by a Diamondbacks second baseman according to Fangraphs, got only 4 votes, and finished last. This was the only case of that happening, but he misses out on being the backup too.
For backup second baseman, I picked Orlando Hudson, 2007. He was shown a lot of love in the comments, but beyond that, he was a key player (probably the key position player) on a team that won the NL West and posted the best record in the National League. In a sense, O-dog epitomized the team that year. Never particularly highly regarded, he played solid defense but was about average with the bat for much of his career. In 2007, though, he posted All-Star level numbers (and made the All Star team) while winning a gold glove. But beyond that, he had a great year for clutch hitting. (Yes, I know clutch hitting is largely luck. But clutch hitting is what made a team that was outscored over the course of the year have the best record in the league. It's not a real thing, except when it happens.) With a runner on third and less than two outs, Hudson drove the runner in 67% of the time (league average is 51%) and in his two pinch hit appearances, he got a hit both times, one a three run home run in Baltimore that turned a 3-2 deficit in the 8th inning into a 5-3 lead, and eventual 7-3 win. Sadly, his torn thumb ligaments ended his season almost a month early, and likely hurt the Diamondbacks chances. One more win against the Rockies in the final series of the season, and the Diamondbacks would have faced the Padres in the NLCS, a team they went 10-8 against in the regular season.
Third Base: Matt Williams, 1999
He got 69% of the vote, and just like the 1999 MLB All Star Game, Jay Bell and Matt Williams are the starters of this team. Chad Tracy, who led the 2004 team in position-player WAR, gets the nod for backup. Yes, Tracy's 2004 season wasn't on the ballot, but I was trying to get as many seasons represented as possible, and Tracy's 2004 did stand out, one of a very few bright spots in what was a bad season.
Tracy may not have had the highest expectations of the baby 'backs, but he did well almost from the start. After striking out in his debut (a pinch hit appearance) his first career start was a 15 inning marathon in Milwaukee, and he went 4-for-8 and drove in the second run in the 15th. He didn't have his best season offensively, finishing with an OPS+ of 90, but was good with the glove at both corners, primarily playing third.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew, 2010
Drew got 51% of the vote. Craig Counsell's 2001 came in second, with 24% of the vote. I picked Counsell as the backup, even though I wanted to find a way to include another season, there simply wasn't any player who was good enough to justify selection. Counsell was really a utility guy, but played more at shortstop than anywhere, although he would play second base during the postseason. He wound up being NLCS MVP, and even though he posted only a .083 average during the World Series, he put the Diamondbacks on the board with a home run in the first inning of Game 1, and was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the ninth inning of Game 7. Counsell is almost certainly the only player to be on base for two walk-off Game 7 wins, as he scored the winning run in Game 7 in 1997. (He may be the only player to be on base for two walk-off World Series deciders; Devon White batted in the final inning in 1993, but made an out. Matt Williams, Jim Eisenreich, Darren Daulton, and Chuck Knoblauch were all on the field for two walk-off World Series deciders, but each won once and lost once.)
Left Field: Luis Gonzalez, 2001
Once again, though, the vote was for the backup. And the vote was close, with three players getting at least 20% of the vote. David Peralta's 2015 won, with 44%. Shortly behind was Gerardo Parra's 2011, with 33%, and Eric Byrnes' 2007 picked up 20%. Two people voted for Cody Ross, or Ross voted from two different computers.
Center Field: Steve Finley, 1999
I expected this to be a bit closer of a two-horse race between Finley and A.J. Pollock, but Finley picked up 54% to Pollock's 38%. Devon White, the All Star representative for the Diamondbacks in 1998, gets the backup spot. This may be one of the few articles in SnakePit history where Devon White is mentioned in two different contexts.
Right Field: Justin Upton, 2011
Upton got 51% of the vote, with Parra, Inciarte, and Reggie Sanders all getting a decent amount of votes. As one of the bright spots in 2013, I'll award the backup spot to Gerardo Parra.
Starting Pitcher: Randy Johnson, 2001
Curt Schilling, of course, is the backup, but for his 2002, not his 2001. While he was good both years, 2002 was arguably the best year of his career, and was every bit the equal of 2001. While he narrowly missed out on his career-high for strikeouts, he still fanned 316, and posted a K/BB ratio considerably better than any other year, leading the major leagues in that category, as well as in walk rate. He also led the NL in FIP and WHIP while winning a career-high 23 games.
Johnson, in 2001, only challenged Nolan Ryan's single-season strikeout record and was joint-MVP of the World Series. No big deal.
Brandon Webb is clearly the third starting pitcher. While 2006 may not have been his best season (really, you couldn't go wrong with any season from 2006-2008) Webb won the Cy Young award in 2006, while pitching five complete games and leading the league in wins, HR rate, FIP, and ERA+. His three complete game shutouts led all of baseball. This, in a time when offense was still a bit inflated.
As with actual All Star game selections, I used the relief pitcher spots partly to fill spots from seasons that didn't have a representative, but I did still manage to hit three of the better seasons out of the bullpen in Diamondbacks history.
First, Byung-Hyun Kim's 2002 was a great season by a closer. It was amazing that he could bounce back from his struggles in the World Series, but he came back considerably better. He saved 36 games in 42 opportunities. His ERA+ was 223, and his FIP was 2.69.
I was going to put Brad Ziegler's 2014 season here to give 2014 a representative, but I just can't do it. He was so much better in 2015. The numbers were all the equal of Kim's, except for his FIP, which was 3.44. But he saved 28 games in a row to end the season, and earned the closer role going into 2016.
On the list of best bullpen performances by the Diamondbacks, Oscar Villarreal doesn't make the list, most likely. But he does still hold the Diamondbacks record for the most appearances in a single season, thanks to his 86 appearances in 2003. He did technically make one start, part of a bullpen outing in Los Angeles. He managed a 10-7 record despite being in the bullpen, with a 2.57 ERA in 98 innings. His ERA+ was 182. He never was nearly as good after that, last appearing in the major leagues with Houston in 2008. He last appeared in affiliated ball in 2013 with the Red Sox organization, but still plays in the Mexican League. (And now comes the obligatory mention that Karim Garcia does as well.)
So here is the roster:
C: Miguel Montero, 2012
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, 2015
2B: Jay Bell, 1999
3B: Matt Williams, 1999
SS: Stephen Drew, 2010
LF: Luis Gonzalez, 2001
CF: Steve Finley, 1999
RF: Justin Upton, 2011
C: Chris Snyder, 2008
1B: Mark Grace, 2001
2B: Orlando Hudson, 2007
3B: Chad Tracy, 2004
SS: Craig Counsell, 2001
LF: David Peralta, 2015
CF: Devon White, 1998
RF: Gerardo Parra, 2013
SP: Randy Johnson, 2001
SP: Curt Schilling, 2002
SP: Brandon Webb, 2006
RP: Byung-Hyun Kim, 2002
RP: Brad Ziegler, 2015
RP: Oscar Villarreal, 2003
Feel free to post any thoughts below.