The final installment of the 2017 Snake Pit Awards will be the most valuable player for the Diamondbacks. While J.D. Martinez took the top rank for most outstanding player, this now turns value into question in addition to performance. You can make your argument on total production, best surplus value, or in your eyes the most irreplaceable player on the team. Here are the candidates, in a much larger field.
1B Paul Goldschmidt: The face of the franchise since 2013, Paul Goldschmidt had a solid season overall and made his 5th consecutive All Star team. Finishing 3rd in the NL MVP ballot behind Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto, Goldy picked up another Silver Slugger and Gold Glove (must be an odd year) as he helped the Diamondbacks reach the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season. Overall he contributed 5.8 bWAR off a .297/.404/.563 slash at the plate, while also providing excellent value on the basepaths and on the field.
RHP Zack Greinke: Once again the Opening Day starter, the $200M ace turned in a solid season with solid numbers across the board. Greinke pitched over 200 innings, struck out 215, pitching to a 3.20 ERA (149 ERA+) in a tough environment to pitch in. That earned him his first All Star appearance as a Diamondback. He finished the year with 17 wins and 6.0 bWAR overall, utilizing a hitter’s overaggressive approach against them often. Greinke was particularly great following up a loss by the team, which was why they were able to avoid long losing streaks all season.
LHP Robbie Ray: Greinke’s pitching style is more of an art, which contrasts to the overpowering style that Ray uses. Ray made his first All Star appearance of his career and was generally more dominant than Greinke in his best starts, even though Greinke was more consistent for most of the year. Ray had two 5-start runs where he was flat out untouchable, the first coming in May after I noted his breakout season was finally happening and the second coming back from being hit in the head by a line drive. That injury could have been disastrous for Ray and the Diamondbacks, but ultimately it was a foot note as Ray continued where he left off and got even better. That injury prevented him from reaching the 200 inning plateau, which hurt his Cy Young chances on the season. Ray finished with 5.0 bWAR despite only pitching 162 innings, striking out 218 and walking 71.
RF J.D. Martinez: Martinez only played 60 games, but he finished 3rd on the team in bWAR (2.6) behind Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock when counting position players. The Diamondbacks gave up 3 C+ prospects to get Martinez for that duration only, but no one could have predicted what would happen next. Martinez after escaping a hand injury put on a show, swatting 29 homers and driving in 60 while hitting an obscene .302/.366/.741. He also added a 4 homer game, which will be this year’s performance of the year given the rarity of such an event. I only wanted to include Martinez because of how insane his performance in Arizona was, but I personally wouldn’t consider him as the team MVP given he only played in 40% of the team’s games.
RHP Zack Godley: Perhaps the savior of the rotation, Godley went from organization filler to big time contributor in the course of one season. Stuff was never the issue, but Godley’s command was terrible before 2017. Godley ended up contributing 4.4 WAR despite only pitching in 155 innings at the MLB level, which is very impressive considering preseason expectations. Godley’s ability to miss bats and generate ground ball contact sets his floor as a high-end #3 and possibly an ace if he continues to improve his command and avoid walks. Given the circumstances, I thought Godley deserved a mention.
RHP Archie Bradley: Going from a rotation prospect to the bullpen can be a tough transition for a lot of young pitchers, but then again most young pitchers aren’t Archie Bradley. Begging the team to find a spot, they settled on using him as a long/middle reliever and he eventually pitched his way into the 8th inning role. Bradley was dominant out of the bullpen, in a year that had dominant closer play from guys like Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel. In addition to his lock down relieving in the 8th inning, Bradley developed into the emotional leader of the team due to his flamboyant nature and bulldog mentality on the mound. He also delivered arguably the most unlikely play in postseason history with a 2-run triple against the Rockies (below), that at the time gave the team breathing room.
Who is the Diamondbacks MVP
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