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Place Your Bets on the 2021 Diamondbacks: The Reckoning

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Sell! Sell! SELL!

Nov 1983 - Race slips litter the floor of the betting window at Suffolk Downs. Boston Herald staff photo Photo by Staff/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

In case you missed it, before the season we continued a long tradition of opening the doors to the SnakePit Casino. There, we gave people $1,500 SnakePit Dollars, and invited them to wager on a series of over/under lines, for D-backs player and team performance this season. We capped each individual bet at $500, so you had to make at least three bets. For each bet below, you’ll first get the line. Then, in brackets, the amount wagered over and under by the 29 participating gamblers, rounded to the nearest dollar. Finally, we have the end-of-year figure. Obviously, this was not the year where fan optimism was the way to turn a profit at the sports book...

The lines

  • Diamondbacks Wins - 75.5 (3000-3500) - 52 UNDER
    At 2312 games below the expected line, the D-backs were the season’s biggest underachievers, and it wasn’t even close. Next worst were our divisional rivals, the Padres, who fell 1612 games short of expectations, and the Twins who under-performed by 1512 games. Unsurprisingly, the Giants were the year’s biggest over-achievers: the sports-book at BetOnline.ag had them projected at just 7512 win on Opening Day, so they ended up 3112 over, which has to be close to an all-time record.
  • Ketel Marte BA - .287 (3600-0) - .318 OVER
    Ketel Marte HR’s - 21.5 (1800-500) - 14 UNDER
    Ketel Marte RBI’s - 76.5 (1450-900) - 50 UNDER
    Injury was key here in keeping the counting stats below the line. Marte managed to appear in only 90 games. If you pro-rate HR and RBI to, say, 150 games you get 23 HR and 83 RBI which would have been good enough to pay the over on both. However, the unanimous wagers on the over for batting average were more than enough to balance out the losses in the other two categories. Marte joins Gonzo as the only D-backs with two seasons hitting .318 or better, over 350+ PA. Even Goldy only got there once, in 2015.
  • Eduardo Escobar HR’s - 22.5 (1100-550) - 28 OVER
    Eduardo Escobar RBI’s - 79.5 (300-1000) - 90 OVER
    Like Marte, Escobar had a bounceback season after a disappointing 2020 campaign. However, he did some of the bouncing elsewhere, being traded to the Brewers at the deadline: as per casino rules, the numbers all count regardless of for whom he was playing. His pace did slow in these two categories after going to Milwaukee, but he crossed the line for homers in his first game as a Brewer, on July 30, and then for runs batted in on September 12, so neither ended up being particularly close.
  • Christian Walker HR’s - 23.5 (2650-550) - 10 UNDER
    Christian Walker RBI’s - 74.5 (2150-200) - 46 UNDER
    One of the team’s off-season decision will be whether or not to tender Walker a contract, as his production fell off a cliff. He ended the year with an OPS four points below .700, and although injury certainly played a part (he managed only 115 games), he would still have come up short for HR and RBI, even pro-rated to every single game. He’s arbitration eligible for the first time next year, so should be fairly cheap - but shoulder permitting, there’s a case that Seth Beer could be both better and cheaper.
  • Nick Ahmed HR’s - 17 (0-2600) - 5 UNDER
    Nick Ahmed RBI’s - 68.5 (500-2100) - 38 UNDER
    Ahmed is another who poses an issue for Mike Hazen. He’ll earn $7.9 million again next year, before a bump to $10.4 in 2023, the final year of his contract. But his offense dropped by 27 OPS+ points, compared to the 2019-20 average, going from 94 to 67. With Geraldo Perdomo looking increasingly like the face of the future, the team may look to move Ahmed this winter. The downturn does not appear to have comes as a great surprise to the punters here, who feasted on the under, especially with regard to Nick’s home-run total. He did miss some time through injury, but even that wouldn’t have helped.
  • Kole Calhoun HR’s - 22.5 (300-400) - 5 UNDER
    Kole Calhoun RBI’s - 62.5 (1600-699) - 17 UNDER
    Swing and a miss... probably followed by some sort of nagging injury, suffered on the follow through. Calhoun managed just 51 appearances for the Diamondbacks this year, and there have to be real questions [okay: it seems incredibly unlikely] about whether the team will exercise the $9 million option for 2022. The $2 million buyout seems more likely: even if he stayed fully healthy, a $9 outfielder is a needless luxury on a team coming off 110 losses.
  • Carson Kelly HR’s - 16.5 (500-2551) - 13 UNDER
    This comes as a surprise, since it looked an easy over after Kelly hit six home-runs in the team’s first 23 contests. However, a broken wrist then sidelined the catcher for six weeks, and the 31 games missed as a result were perhaps decisive - they certainly robbed Kelly of a shot at the line. He may have come back before fully healthy: over his first 19 games back, his slugging was way down, with no homers and only three hits for extra-bases. Hopefully, he will be back to full power next year.
  • Madison Bumgarner Wins - 8 (3550-1500) - 7 UNDER [was PUSH]
    Madison Bumgarner Strikeouts - 132.5 (3050-800) 124 UNDER
    The only change since we last checked in - at the half-way mark, where I all but lost the will to baseball life - was Bumgarner falling short of wins. He notched win #7 as early as August 19, but the eighth eluded him for the rest of the season, despite MadBum making seven starts thereafter. However, he really only has himself to blame, with just one quality start among those outings, and an ERA of 6.30 across them.

Standings

That change does not affect the overall champion, gzimmerm going a perfect +S$1,500. They wagered on team wins, Kelly HR, Walker HR, Marte RBI and MadBum K’s, getting all five in the correct direction. Which would be “under” in each, proving the financial wisdom of pessimism as far as the 2021 Diamondbacks were concerned. piratedan7 moved one step up on the podium, thanks to his wager of the under on Bumgarner wins coming through in the clutch. He ended the year at +S$1,000, just edging out Keegan Thompson (+S$900). At the other end, misery loves company: Schilling2001 and GuruB both bet S$500 on the same MadBum wins bet, ended on the wrong side, and sunk to -S$1,500 as a result.

Here are the full final rankings for this year.

Player - Balance

  1. gzimmerm: S$1,500
  2. piratedan7: S$1,000
  3. Keegan Thompson: S$900
  4. DBacksEurope: S$500
  5. NikT77: S$500
  6. EdTheRed99: S$500
  7. Hannibal4467: S$500
  8. Jack Sommers: S$500
  9. kilnborn: S$500
  10. Diamondhacks: S$500
  11. JoeCB1991: S$300
  12. MrMrrbi: S$300
  13. Preston Salisbury: S$300
  14. SpencerSpice: S$100
  15. VinceJ_138: S$100
  16. SenSurround: S$0
  17. bklapes32: -S$100
  18. Makakilo: -S$300
  19. Imstillhungry95: -S$300
  20. Justin27: -S$300
  21. makattack71: -S$300
  22. Dschumac: -S$500
  23. Michael McDermott: -S$500
  24. Xerostomia: -S$500
  25. Steven Burt: -S$500
  26. ryeandi: -S$500
  27. Schilling2001: -S$1,500
    AzDbackfanInDc: -S$1,500
    GuruB: -S$1,500

Thanks to Madison Bumgarner’s inability to get the eighth win, the SnakePit Casino was able to turn a small profit this year, coming out ahead, albeit by a mere S$300. So, more of a nice meal for myself and Mrs. SnakePit, rather than an off-season in Tahiti. Thanks to all for taking part, and we’ll be back for another season next spring! Except, now sports betting is legal in Arizona, so maybe we can use real money? :)