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AZ SnakePit 2018 Awards: Rookie of the year nominations

The five young (and not-so-young!) players all made an impression on the 2018 Diamondbacks. Who was the best?

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Yoshihisa Hirano

While not the first Japanese-born pitcher to play for the Diamondbacks, there’s no doubt Hirano is the best. His ERA+ of 178 was the best by any rookie-eligible reliever (min 60 IP) for the Diamondbacks since Oscar Villarreal’s 182 in 2003. Hirano went almost two months without allowing a run. From May 6-July 3, he set a franchise record with 26 consecutive scoreless appearances, covering 22.2 innings, breaking the old mark of 24 games (J.J. Putz in 2012 + Brandon Lyon in 2008). Hirano finished the season as the D-backs’ closer, taking over from Brad Boxberger. In the 2010’s, only Jake Barrett in 2016 has had more rookie saves for Arizona. Hirano was especially adept at rolling up the double-play, with his 14 ranking second on the team, behind only...

Matt Koch

You’d be forgiven for writing Koch off after he posted a literally infinite ERA in 2017, allowing three runs without retiring a batter. But he bounced back with a solid season, giving Arizona a much-needed 14 starts, taking over in the rotation after Taijuan Walker required Tommy John surgery. Six of those were quality starts, likely peaking with the outing shown above, where Koch tossed seven shutout innings of three-hit ball, walking none and striking out six, retiring 17 of the last 18 batters faced. Helped by all those double-plays, efficiency was Koch’s keyword: his average of 3.60 P/PA was best in the team by a pitcher. Those seven innings versus the Marlins needed only 84 pitches.

Jimmie Sherfy

Over his first 26 regular-season appearances, Sherfy has a 1.00 ERA. That’s the best in franchise history, just edging out Doug Slaten’s 1.06 from 2006-07. This season, he made fifteen appearances, and was scored up in just two, striking out more than a batter per inning (17 in 16.1 IP). Sherfy was particularly good as a September call-up. That month, he ha a 1.46 ERA, holding batters to a .143 average (6-for-42), with 14 K’s over 12.1 innings. His best game was probably at Coors Field on September 13, where he struck out four over two innings of scoreless relief. A bullpen spot seems assured for 2019, and he seems likely to see higher-leverage situations, and perhaps even save opportunities.

Ildemaro Vargas

Despite making his MLB debut in June 2017, Vargas had to wait until rosters expanded in September before getting the call this season. He was initially put in the tough spot of pinch-hitting, but fared considerably better as a starter (3-for-7 with a home-run) than off the bench (1-for-12). He lived up to his reputation for putting the ball in play, not striking out at all over his last seven games, hitting .308 over that spell. Ildemaro saved the best for almost-last. He hit his first major-league home-run and drove in three key runs in Arizona’s penultimate game of the season, a 5-4 victory over the Padres in San Diego, and was rewarded the following day with the ol’ “bubble-gum on the cap” routine.

Christian Walker

Walker is among the team’s best pinch-hitters of all-time. Among those with 10 or more PA this season, only Ketel Marte has a higher OPS in those situations than Christian’s .723. He was also the only Diamondback this year with more than one home-run in that role. Most remarkable of all, both of those came off the DodgersClayton Kershaw, the first, on May 1 (above), was among the longest in franchise history, then Walker had another four months to the day later. Over the past decade, no Diamondback has hit more homers than Walker as a pinch-hitter - even though he didn’t make his debut until 2017. In team history, among the 53 men with 35+ PA as a PH, only Chad Tracy has a higher OPS than Christian.

Here’s the poll. We have had... issues in the past with this category, so I reserve the right to declare the whole thing null and void, in the event of Florida-like shenanigans!


Who was the 2019 D-backs rookie of the year?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yoshihisa Hirano
    (114 votes)
  • 5%
    Matt Koch
    (10 votes)
  • 25%
    Jimmie Sherfy
    (45 votes)
  • 1%
    Ildemaro Vargas
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Christian Walker
    (5 votes)
176 votes total Vote Now