clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 AZ Snake Pit Awards: Newcomer of the Year

Which Diamondback may the biggest impact for his new team?

MLB: NL Wildcard-Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks don’t necessarily have a great rookie class for 2017, which is why the award will instead be a newcomer of the year. The qualifications for the award is someone that was acquired prior to the start of the 2017 season, which effectively eliminates J.D. Martinez from the running. The Diamondbacks made a lot of changes to the bottom half of the MLB depth chart, signing scrap-heap veterans to play bench and bullpen roles. They did also swing a major trade in the acquisition of RHP Taijuan Walker, which cost them a very talented middle infielder and a budding OF prospect to land. Overall, these guys helped push the Diamondbacks to a 93 win season and a spot in the NLDS. Here are the candidates:

RHP Taijuan Walker: The Diamondbacks traded for Walker to add young and important depth to a starting rotation that had very little. Walker battled a blister problem during the month of May, but overall had his first taste of extended success at the MLB level. He overall pitched to a 9-9 record with a 3.49 ERA in 157 13 IP, accumulating 2.7 bWAR on the mound. His last start of the 2017 season shouldn’t be held against him in the balloting, considering the team could very as well not have been able to reach the playoffs without Walker because it stabilized the rotation with a quality middle of the rotation starter at worst and allowed manager Torey Lovullo to use Archie Bradley in the bullpen where he solidified the 8th inning all year.

INF Daniel Descalso: The Diamondbacks added Descalso close to the start of Spring Training as a utility infielder that could back up multiple spots and fill in for a week if there was an injury. Due to injuries in the outfield, Descalso ended up starting 32 games in left field and 83 starts overall. Descalso’s numbers weren’t that special overall with a .233/.332/.395 slash (88 wRC+), but continued to show his ability to deliver big hits in big situations in big games for the team all year. For instance, Descalso put up a 214 wRC+ in high leverage situations and 98 with runners in scoring position.

RHP Fernando Rodney: The Diamondbacks brought in Rodney as a bargain bin closer to help strengthen a bullpen that had a lot of inconsistent at best players in 2016. Rodney wasn’t elite by any means, but was mostly effective in the 9th inning for the Diamondbacks. Rodney converted 39 of 45 save opportunities although some games he left us hanging onto the edge of our seats. Rodney pitched to a 4.23 ERA, although advanced metrics thought he performed better (1.4 fWAR vs. 0.4 bWAR) with a 3.03 FIP and 3.61 SIERA. Rodney posted a strong ground ball rate of 52.2% and his 2nd best strikeout rate at 28.1% (career best 16.9 K-BB%). Strikeouts and ground balls are a good combination to have although the walks are a bit off-putting and lead him into poor outings if he has poor batted ball luck after those walks.

C Chris Iannetta: Iannetta was signed to a cheap contract as part of a 3-catcher tandem, which worked reasonably well because Iannetta posted the best offensive season of his career. The Diamondbacks brought in Iannetta into the lineup as a guy who can draw walks and add power to the bottom part of the lineup although he ended up playing his way to the 2nd spot in the order by the end of the season. Defensively, Iannetta fared decently behind the plate as he was close to average in terms of runs saved through pitch framing. Add that with an offensive season where he hit .254/.354/.511 (120 wRC+) with a ton of extra base hits, Iannetta turned out to be one of the best value signings for 2017.


Which Diamondback newcomer provided the best value to the team?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Taijuan Walker
    (29 votes)
  • 11%
    Daniel Descalso
    (11 votes)
  • 13%
    Fernando Rodney
    (13 votes)
  • 34%
    Chris Iannetta
    (33 votes)
  • 9%
    Other (State in comments, J.D. Martinez is not an acceptable answer)
    (9 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now