Now with Spring Training games just around the corner, we all get a bit jumpy and nervous. It’s that time of the year again when the season starts. It’s D-Backs time.
This weekend the kids will have to feed themselves. But not out of our fridge, because that one is full with our favourite drink. Our partner rather makes plans with his or her friends alone. And not in our house. The dog is kept outside day and night. The baby handed over to the grandparents. And we have the AZSnakePit on our side to find out WTF is the NRI with #60.
A lot of unanswered questions:
Will Madison Bumgarner show glimpses of greatness?
Is The Sheriff back in town?
Will we gaze in awe at Longoria?
Will you Carroll on, please?
Then it turns out that the Diamondbacks aren’t that good in Spring Training. Or are really good. Or are terribly bad. However it may be most commenters and writers will say “it is just Spring Training”.
It is not just Spring Training, man.
Shoutout to the Baseball Cube for offering these stats since 2006.
410 is the number of unique batters that have appeared in Spring Training games for the Diamondbacks since 2006 and 390 the number of pitchers. It shows that most nobodies that are offered an opportunity to show themselves are the guys with the baseball bat, albeit just a few more.
Special shout out here to Roidany Aguila (2011), Tyler Kuhn (2013) and Henry Castillo (2016): they never had an official at bat in Spring Training. Kuhn and Castillo both got a walk in their lone appearance for the Diamondbacks in Spring Training. Kuhn got a stolen base as well. Aguila got a sac fly scoring whoever knows who.
On the pitching side every pitcher got at least one batter out, although Blake Rogers (2022), Brad Goldberg (2019), Cole Stapler (2020), Derek Eitel (2015), Jeremy Bleich (2017), Mark Serrano (2014), Matt Brill (2020), Paul Smyth (2016), Reid Mahon (2008), Scott Maine (2009), Scott Rice (2016), Tyler Pill (2018) and Vinny Nittoli (2019) didn’t get the opportunity to do much more despite being spotless with a 0.00 ERA. Imagine especially the look on the faces of Serrano, Bleich and Nittoli who each punched out their opponent only to never be offered another opportunity with the Diamondbacks in Spring Training.
Spring Training is tough!
The youngest batters to have appeared in Spring Training were Justin Upton (2006), Chris Owings (2010), Sergio Alcantara (2015) and Jose Fernandez (2022), all at 18 years of age. If the first three are players that have reached the major leagues, the stars are aligning for young Fernandez. On the pitching side the late Tyler Skaggs was the youngest star to have shone in Spring Training at just 19 years of age, in 2011.
There is no such things as a veteran though! Randy Johnson has been the oldest pitcher to appear in Diamondbacks’ Spring Training since 2006 at 44 years of age, in 2008.
Catcher Henry Blanco is with 42 years the oldest batter to have appeared, in 2014. At the end of Spring Training the Diamondbacks decided he was better suited as a coach and got a job in the staff.
Spring Training is for everyone!
That is a great triple slash line, which was achieved by Gerardo Parra in Spring Training 2008, at just 21 years of age, in 9 games. It shows that real talent is able to present itself in Spring Training, albeit with a ridiculous batting stat.
On the other hand, we also have Rey Fuentes who came close to Parra with a 0.579/0.619/0.947 in 15 games in 2017. And he wasn’t all that.
Both players enjoyed a huge 0.643 BABIP but can proclaim themselves Spring Training batting leaders in Diamondbacks’ history anyhow.
On the other side of the spectre we have Marland Williams who couldn’t achieve more than a 0.000/0.250/0.000 in 11 games in 2006 and thus is the worst hitter in Diamondbacks’ Spring Training history (since 2006). His BB wasn’t even that bad with 20%, his SO alarmingly high with 55%. In Tucson he’d hit for a .550 OPS later that season and was consequently released after 10 games.
However it may be, Spring Training remembers everyone!
0.00 vs 108.00
169 times a player achieved a 0.00 ERA in Spring Training. Yes, I admit, quite some guys that didn’t pitch much more than a few innings, so if we take a somewhat stronger cut we get to two outstanding performances from Josh Collmenter in 2014 and 2015 (12.2 and 13.0 innings), but also JJ Hoover in 2017 did fine over 10.0 innings. A bit further away the performances of Juan Cruz (2006) and Juan Gutierrez (2010) also stand out. But does anyone remember Jensen Lewis in 2012? A 0.00 ERA wasn’t enough to get a shot at the first team, nor a 3.65 ERA in Reno over 56.2 innings.
Being absolutely stainless in your pitching performance is possible as well. 29 times did a player achieve an 0.00 ERA and a 0.00 WHIP. In that regard, the best performances in team history should go to Silvino Bracho (2015) and Evan Marshall (2014) who pitched 3.0 and 4.0 innings respectively, with Marshall getting the higher SO/9 (11.25 vs 9.00).
For starting pitchers noone beats Collmenter’s 2015 performance, but Luke Weaver showed he was on the right track in 2019 with a 1.04 ERA in 17.1 innings (4 starts). He’d continue that good trend during the season until injuries put a halt to his season then and to better results afterwards.
Abysmal pitching obviously exists in Spring Training as well. The worst performance in Diamondbacks’ Spring Training history since 2006 is of Kevin Munson in 2013. In 0.1 innings of work he gave up 4 earned runs, 3 hits and 2 walks. His 108.00 ERA has never been matched, with Jimmy (James) Sherfy’s 2014 coming in second with an 81.00 ERA. Munson’s 15.00 WHIP is number one on the charts as well. Munson would float around in Reno for 3 seasons before getting released.
Amongst starting pitchers Luke Weaver is not only the best performer, but also the worst with a 27.00 ERA, but in just two innings of work in 2020. If we become a bit more selective, Taylor Clarke’s 13.50 ERA in 10.0 innings also stand out in a negative way, but maybe not as bad as Joe Saunder’s 2011 performance when he pitched to a 12.46 ERA and 2.31 WHIP in 17.1 innings of work (6 starts).
Spring Training isn’t something to be light about!
All Time records
- Most Spring Trainings: 8, Archie Bradley, from 2013 to 2020.
- Most Spring Training innings pitched: 117.1, Patrick Corbin, from 2011 to 2018.
- Most Spring Training games started: Robbie Ray, from 2015 to 2020.
- Most Spring Training wins: 10, Archie Bradley and Robbie Ray.
- Most Spring Training losses: 8, Archie Bradley.
- Most runs, hits, walks, homeruns allowed and strikeouts: Robbie Ray (54, 86, 47, 16 and 116).
Single season records
- Most innings pitched: Dan Haren (2009) with 30.2 innings of work.
- Most punchouts: Dan Haren (2009) with 34.
- Most hits allowed: Rubby de la Rosa (2016) with 35.
- Most runs allowed: Joe Saunders (2011) with 27.
- Most homeruns allowed: Luke Weaver (2021) with 8 (14.2 innings).
- Most walks allowed: Micah Owings (2008) with 13 (15.2 innings).
- Most wins: Edgar Gonzalez (2007) with 5 (6 games).
- Most losses: Jon Garland (2009) and Josh Collmenter (2012) with 4.
- Most appearances: Esmerling Vasquez and Joe Paterson (both 2011) with 13.
All Time records
- Most Spring Trainings: 10, Nick Ahmed, from 2013 to 2022.
- Most Spring Training at bats: 409, Paul Goldschmidt, from 2011 to 2018. Good chance Nick Ahmed becomes the all time leader.
- Most Spring Training homeruns: 19, Chris Young, from 2007 to 2012.
- Most Spring Training RBI: 78, Paul Goldschmidt.
- Most Spring Training stolen bases: 19, Chris Owings, from 2010 to 2018.
- Most walks: 52, Justin Upton, from 2006 to 2012.
- Most strikeouts: 105, Paul Goldschmidt.
Single season records
- Most games: Josh Wilson and Ryan Roberts (both 2009) with 31.
- Most at bats: A.J. Pollock (2013) and Gerardo Parra (2012) with 76.
- Most runs: Jeff DaVanon (2006) with 20.
- Most hits: Jean Segura (2016) with 30.
- Most RBI: Russell Branyan (2011) with 21.
- Most stolen bases: Chris Owings (2006) with 8.
- Most caught stealing: Justin Upton (2011) with 6.
- Most walks: Jake Lamb (2016) with 14.
- Most strikeouts: Trayce Thompson (2021) with 25.
- Most hit-by-pitch: Rickie Weeks (2016) and, of course, Tim Locastro (2021) with 5.
That 24-8 win-loss record, 0,750, was the best record the Diamondbacks have achieved since 2006. It was one hell of a Spring Training. It was the second best team performance in OPS (0.910), and the same for homeruns, RBI, stolen bases...you name it. We were the best.
On the pitching side it wasn’t terrific but still one of the better pitching performances in Diamondbacks’ Spring Training history.
It was the year 2016 and the Diamondbacks went on to one of their worst season records ever with 69 wins and 93 losses.
On the other hand, their second best Spring Training performance in history was in 2007 when they went 20-12 and finished the regular season with a 90-72 record. Conclusion? There isn’t one!
And you can’t make anything out of a bad Spring Training record either: in 2011 a 12-25 (0.324) Spring Training record ended in a 94-68 regular season. The other worst performance ever, in 2009 (11-23, 0.324 as well), resulted in a 70-92 season.
Spring Training confuses a lot!
Well, with all this written, and just like the article tries to tell you: just enjoy (the start of) Spring Training and make sure those drinks are ice cold this weekend.
And, please, when you listen and watch our Diamondbacks let no one tell you “it is just a Spring Training game”. Spring Training writes history as well, folks!