The Diamondbacks saw notable breakout performances on the team, especially from their pitching staff. Those breakout performances helped the team boast one of the top rotations in major league baseball, especially with the emergence of two younger pitchers over the course of the year. The strong pitching allowed for the Diamondbacks to win 93 games with an offense that rated as average (101 wRC+ for non-pitchers) during the season.
LHP Robbie Ray: Ray finally was able to find a 3rd reliable pitch and developed more consistency on the mound overall, finally showing the potential the Diamondbacks gambled on 2 years ago when they traded Didi Gregorius. Ray pitched to a 2.89 ERA in 162 innings, striking out 218 and walking 71 for the 2nd consecutive season. Ray had more games where he came in and completely shut down the opposition for 6-7 innings with 10+ strikeouts when the team needed a big game from him. Ray made his first All-Star team, which I have bought a jersey of, and arguably was a more effective pitcher than Zack Greinke all season. A direct shot from a line drive to the head in July threatened not only his season, but his career. In typical Robbie Ray fashion, he shrugged it off and posted the best 5-start run of his career with video game-like numbers.
RHP Zack Godley: Godley is the best story of the group. He wasn’t deemed good enough to make the bullpen at the start of the season, but after losing Shelby Miller to a torn elbow ligament and the subsequent Tommy John surgery Godley became the savior of the rotation. His command improved enough to the point where he was able to jump ahead in counts and lead hitters out of the strike zone with his assortment of nasty pitches, particulary his knuckle-curve that drops anchor. Overall, he posted career bests in ground ball rate (55.3%) and strikeout rate (26.3%). The lethal combination of ground balls and strikeouts gave the Diamondbacks arguably the best #5 starter in baseball in 2017.
RHP Archie Bradley: Bradley initially made the team a long reliever, but his role evolved into the back-end of the bullpen when the team realized how dominant his stuff was in April. Bradley’s upper 90s fastball and devastating knuckle-curve played well in the bullpen as he eventually became the reliever that set the game up for Fernando Rodney. His season numbers were extraordinary with a 1.73 ERA, 79/21 strikeout/walk ratio, 3.7 bWAR, and perhaps the most exciting play of the 2017 season. His beard and intense demeanor on the mound has elevated to a fan favorite.
Which Diamondback had the best breakout performance?
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