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Arizona Diamondbacks All-Time Top 50: Starting pitchers

You voted, we counted. Again. :)

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Earlier in the week, we asked you to decide which starting pitchers should qualify for our upcoming All-Time Arizona Diamondbacks Top 50. We provided 33 names, and asked you to select half of them to move into the ranking phase. Voting has now closed, and it was an interesting contrast to the position player results. In the latter, not one of the 50 players nominated was chosen on every ballot. Here, we had five of the 33 listed by everyone, and a further three were missing only once.

As with the position players, however, full results will not be provided, to avoid possibly contaminating the ranking phase. We will, instead, break down the results into various bands, and list the players in each category alphabetically.

The Unanimous and near-unanimous (over 95%)

  • Miguel Batista
  • Zack Greinke
  • Dan Haren
  • Randy Johnson
  • Ian Kennedy
  • Curt Schilling
  • Brandon Webb
  • Robbie Ray

Batista is probably the name which stands out here. For much of his time with Arizona (2001-03, and then back again in 2006), he was overshadowed by the big two of Schilling and Johnson. But over those four years, he had an ERA+ of 117, and averaged over 180 innings a year, even though he was a reliever for much of the first half in 2001. Let’s not forget he also had a better ERA in the 2001 World Series than RJ or Curt, tossing 7.2 shutout innings in Game 5, then providing the bridge between Schilling and Johnson in Game 7. Yeah, he deserves his spot in the top tier, I’d say.

Also probably qualifying (36-95%)

  • Brian Anderson
  • Archie Bradley
  • Josh Collmenter
  • Patrick Corbin
  • Doug Davis
  • Zack Godley
  • Wade Miley
  • Micah Owings
  • *Omar Daal

There’s a sharp drop-off in support from the highest tier, and the top-heavy nature of the voting there, means we have to go quite a way down to find the 16th starting pitcher, who is definitely qualified. Indeed, there was a tie for that final guaranteed spot, between Godley and Daal. I gave it to Godley, on the basis of him still having a good chance to add to his value going forward. Daal goes into the “wild-card” game - hence the asterisk! - where he will face off against the 9th-placed (thus highest non-automatic qualifier) relief pitcher. Whoever receives the highest percentage of mentions will become the 25th and last pitcher to move on to the rankings.

Honorable mentions (10-35%)

  • Chase Anderson
  • Andy Benes
  • Livan Hernandez
  • Joe Saunders
  • Max Scherzer
  • Todd Stottlemyre
  • Taijuan Walker

This section contains a number of pitchers with long and/or successful career, but who only stayed in Arizona for a small fraction of time. Hernandez is a good example, spending less than a season and a half of his 17 MLB years with the Diamondbacks. Benes (two seasons of 14), Saunders and Stottlemyre also fall into that category - and it seems likely that Scherzer and Anderson will eventually do so as well. Walker is the exception here, and we’ll see what the future brings for him: maybe he’ll make it come the 30th anniversary All-time Team...

Thanks for showing up (less than 10%)

  • Trevor Cahill
  • Elmer Dessens
  • Jon Garland
  • Rick Helling
  • Albie Lopez
  • Vidal Nuno
  • Armando Reynoso
  • Claudio Vargas
  • Javier Vazquez

Another clear gap separated the above. These are the players who should remember, it’s an honor simply to be nominated. They failed to trouble the ballots of most voters - though, that said, all but one of them did receive at least one vote. [I will spare the blushes of the pitcher who was entirely unloved, and withhold his name!] There are a number of trivia questions to be found here: you might forget Lopez getting a World Series decision in 2001, or Nuno managing the remarkable feat of starting 14 games for Arizona in his career here, without getting a single W. Indeed, with a 5-21 record, his career W% is the lowest by any pitcher with 25+ decisions since 1961.

Anyway, the above reveal the 16 (plus maybe or maybe not Daal) who will move on to the next phase. We’ll finish the first stage off with the relief pitchers next week!