Well, that was certainly an interesting discussion! To describe the thinking therein as “outside the box” would be disrespectful to things that are outside the box, I feel. But I can certainly see why, in a severely truncated season - and especially one as underwhelming as the 2020 one was for the Diamondbacks - we might be looking outside the base-lines for those whose contributions went under the radar.
However, I will be excluding some of the candidates put forward, even though they turned Sedona Red. Including either writers or any posters here seems a bit... self-aggrandizing. Of course, both are very much appreciated. But we’re not quite flexible enough to pat ourselves on the back while simultaneously blowing our own trumpets. So, sorry to AzDbackfanInDc. I am sure you would have won in a landslide.
Thus, below we have the six nominees, along with the justification provided by those who nominated them. Matters were complicated by ‘hacks nominating two people in a single comment, making it unclear which one (or both?) people were rec’ing, but I’ve thrown both onto the final ballot.
- “I am going to start with an off-the-board nomination. The D-backs Grounds Crew, and here’s my reason why. They made the last part of the season fun, as being the only entertaining part of the stands. During the games they started participating in the games didn’t seem to be played in as an empty stadium than there was.” — GuruB
- “Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly, and the Fox Broadcast crew. While we couldn’t go to games, when the games did begin, it was comforting to hear their voices calling the games. They also did a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances. The way they handled the road games in particular, working from monitors and once they got the hang of it, you really weren’t aware they were calling the game from an empty stadium unless they mentioned it. It’s harder than it looks, and I think they did a great job this year, as did all the broadcast team.” — Jack Sommers
- “Mike Leake was the first major leaguer (not just the first Dback) to opt out, and forfeited about $5m doing so. I think that required courage and principle, even in the pursuit of his family’s best interest.” — Diamondhacks
- “On the other side of the covid dialectic is someone like Dave McKay, who turned 70 before Opening Day. He opted in, which required faith in the process and likely some courage as well.” — Diamondhacks
- “I think the unsung hero is Taylor Clarke. I think Keegan explained it really well: ‘Behold my favorite replacement level player on the 2020 Arizona Diamondbacks, Taylor Clarke. While most of the pitching staff, bullpen and starters alike, brought with them an overwhelming sense of dread upon entering the game this season, Taylor arguably performed better than most would have expected. Behind Merrill Kelly he would be my top choice for most improved player on the D’backs this past season.’ Not that I think the other options mentioned here aren’t good ones, but I’ll stick to a player.” — DBacksEurope
- “Tim Locastro was the sixth-best hitter on the D-Backs, and the fifth-best on a per-game basis. A lot of this was the HBP and the walks, but did you know he slugged .464? That’s higher than any other player on the D-Backs except Kole Calhoun. Yep, “light-hitting” Timmy out-slugged both Martes, Christian Walker, and David Peralta. Pro-rated to a full season, he would have been worth 1.6 WAR playing in center field. Not bad for a quad-A fourth outfielder the D-Backs got for nothing. He’s a big reason (along with Varsho and maybe Ketel Marte) that the team is looking for an outfielder this winter and not a center fielder.” — Jeremy C. Young
The form is below, along with a “no award” option as an alternative - it’s linked here if you prefer. As before, usernames will be required, but will only be checked in the event of egregious ballot-manipulation. Do not make me go there, people. :)