After two decades, there have been good, great and all-time giants of the game who have played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now that the book has been closed on the 20th season, I thought it might be a fun off-season project to look at these, and try to come up with the top 50 players to have pulled on a D-backs uniform. Having given some thought to how we’re going to handle it, I’ve come with the following, two-stage approach.
Stage one: getting the top 50 players
For the sake of balance, we will be dividing players up into hitters, starting pitchers (defined more than one-third of games pitched for Arizona, were as a starter) and relief pitchers. The final 50 will be evenly split between hitters and pitchers, with the latter divided, roughly 2:1, in favor of starting pitchers. That ratio roughly mirrors the ratio of innings pitched (last year, starters threw 65.3% of all innings for the D-backs).
We’ll have three selection polls in the coming weeks, one for each category. For example, on Tuesday, we’ll have the top 50 hitters, by bWAR (only production as a Diamondback will be considered), and there will be a simple yes/no vote for each, as to whether they show make the final 50. The 25 receiving the highest percentage of “yes” votes, go on to stage two. We then repeat the process for starting pitchers (33 enter, 16 go on) and relief pitchers (17 enter, 8 go on). The 50th and final spot will be a “wild card” and goes to the non-qualifying pitcher in either category, with the highest percentage of yes votes.
Stage two: ranking the top 50
Once we’ve got the list, then there will be a ranking phase over the festive period - it’ll give you something to do, other than eat and sleep! You’ll get the list and be able to drag and drop the players into the order you want before submitting your list. On January 1, we’ll then begin counting up the top fifty, in the same way we did our player reviews this year. With one player each day, we should get through them all by about the time the Diamondbacks have their first position player workout at Salt River Fields [no official date yet, but likely around February 19]
This should result in a well-balanced list, though I imagine it will be one which reflects only opinions at the current time - which will likely favor more recent players. Not least because a lot of people here won’t even remember the 1998 Diamondbacks [since I was living in London at the time, I’m more or less among them!]. There doesn’t seem to be any way around this, at least not a way which doesn’t involve replacing that bias with a different one. But I’m hoping it shouldn’t impact the overall results too much, especially towards the top of the chart.
This list will, of course, be utterly definitive, ending forever the question of who are the greatest Diamondbacks of all time. Oh, who am I trying to kid? It’s much more likely to start arguments than end them, but that’s part of the fun. I’m curious to see the results, and how people go about valuing the different contributions we’ve had over the years. All thoughts, etc. on the process are welcome, as it can still be tweaked with any suggestions you can convince me would be improvements, between now and the first stage one poll on Tuesday.