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2023 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews: The wrap-up

So, what have we learned?

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

All the way back on November 16, we started off this series with the lowest-ranked player - to no surprise, this was Madison Bumgarner. Yesterday, ish95 took us through the top scorer: equally unsurprisingly, it was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year, Corbin Carroll. It’s been an interesting series, charting unexpected successes (you’d have got long odds on Andrew Saalfrank making the top twenty at the start of the year), disappointing failures (hello, Zach Davies) and everything in between. I hope the series has been as interesting to read for you, as it has been for us (mostly!) to write, and has kept you going through these long-dark days without baseball.

I kinda figured it would be interesting to look at the overall picture, compare numbers to last year, and pick out a few players worth highlighting. Unsurprisingly, the average grade was higher this year, reflecting a team which went to the World Series, rather than one which fell short of .500. Unweighted for playing time, the mean 2023 grade was 5.22, almost a point higher than 2022’s figure of 4.32. However, that perhaps understates the magnitude of the change in total. Last year, there was a very long tail: almost two-thirds of the players (39 of 59) were below 5.00, and the median - half above, half below - was 3.81. This year, the split was 50-50, with a media exactly at 5.00.

Conversely, at the top end, fourteen of this season’s crop got a score of better than seven. That is more than twice the number (6) who did so in 2022. Only two came in that year higher than eight - Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Eight men were there in 2023, including both manager Torey Lovullo and GM Mike Hazen. Both saw their ratings increase by more than two and a half points, year-to-year. Speaking of which, twenty-seven players were rated in both 2022 and 2023, with an average increase in rating there of one quarter of a point. Here are the three who improved their rating by the largest amount, and also the trio who suffered the biggest drop in score.

  • Ketel Marte: +4.22
  • Kevin Ginkel: +3.77
  • Geraldo Perdomo: +2.94
    —————————————-
  • Carson Kelly: -2.14
  • Jake McCarthy: -2.63
  • Zach Davies: -2.99

I think McCarthy is probably the name who stands out. He was perhaps over-rated in 2022, finishing fifth at 7.93, though don’t forget, he was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting too. Still, the plummet in offensive production, his OPS+ dropping forty points from 117 to 77, was certainly disappointing. It may be no exaggeration to say that what seemed like a long-term solution in the outfield for the team, is no longer such a sure thing. He was barely above replacement by fWAR, and even bWAR gave him just half a win. At age 26, that’s not good enough. Kristian Robinson could end up competing next year against McCarthy, with Druw Jones likely coming up through the farm system at a rate of knots as well.

But more on that when I talk about the outfield depth situation, probably next week. Of those who weren’t around for evaluation in one year or the other, there are likely no great surprises. The highest “new entry” was Gabriel Moreno at #2, with Paul Sewald also arriving in the top ten at #10, despite only being here for less than half of the season. Daulton Varsho was the only member of last year’s top ten not to play for the D-backs in 2023, though the front-office should perhaps have listened to us about Stone Garrett, who was #12 in 2022. Allowed to walk, he ended up with a 120 OPS+ across 89 games for the Nationals. At 1.2 fWAR/1.9 bWAR, he was more productive than McCarthy.

Below, you’ll find a table listing all 54 players, plus Hazen and Lovullo, in descending order of rating, along with the 2022 ranking and score, for those who were with the D-backs that season as well.

2023 D-backs reviews

# Person Rating 2022# 2022 Rating Change
# Person Rating 2022# 2022 Rating Change
1 OF - Corbin Carroll 9.74 6 7.37 2.37
2 C - Gabriel Moreno 9.11
3 P - Merrill Kelly 8.95 2 8.70 0.25
4 2B - Ketel Marte 8.89 23 4.67 4.22
5 P - Kevin Ginkel 8.75 21 4.98 3.77
6 Mg - Torey Lovullo 8.70 11 6.15 2.56
7 P - Zac Gallen 8.54 1 9.44 -0.90
8 GM - Mike Hazen 8.49 13 5.81 2.68
9 1B - Christian Walker 7.89 3 8.00 -0.11
10 P - Paul Sewald 7.74
11 SS - Geraldo Perdomo 7.57 24 4.63 2.94
12 LF - Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 7.57
13 P - Ryan Thompson 7.44
14 P - Brandon Pfaadt 7.03
15 CF - Alek Thomas 6.97 16 5.63 1.34
16 DH - Tommy Pham 6.92
17 P - Andrew Saalfrank 6.67
18 P - Joe Mantiply 5.59 8 6.74 -1.15
19 P - Tommy Henry 5.54 19 5.22 0.32
20 P - Kyle Nelson 5.48 15 5.65 -0.17
21 P - Drey Jameson 5.38 7 7.00 -1.62
22 3B - Evan Longoria 5.33
23 RF - Jake McCarthy 5.30 5 7.93 -2.63
24 P - Ryne Nelson 5.25 10 6.65 -1.40
25 OF - Dominic Fletcher 5.21
26 3B - Emmanuel Rivera 5.20 14 5.69 -0.49
27 P - Luis Frías 5.18 38 3.19 2.00
28 P - Slade Cecconi 5.07
29 P - Bryce Jarvis 4.93
30 P - Scott McGough 4.89
31 C - Jose Herrera 4.64 34 3.57 1.07
32 DH - Dominic Canzone 4.56
33 3B - Josh Rojas 4.52 9 6.65 -2.12
34 P - Miguel Castro 4.51
35 SS - Jordan Lawlar 4.00
36 DH - Pavin Smith 3.89 30 3.81 0.07
37 SS - Nick Ahmed 3.80 48 2.46 1.34
38 P - Justin Martinez 3.75
39 P - Austin Adams 3.67
40 P - Andrew Chafin 3.61
41 P - José Ruiz 3.61
42 C - Seby Zavala 3.41
43 3B - Jace Peterson 3.34
44 P - Carlos Vargas 3.30
45 P - Tyler Gilbert 3.30 33 3.61 -0.32
46 P - Peter Strzelecki 3.18
47 3B - Buddy Kennedy 3.02 28 3.94 -0.93
48 P - Anthony Misiewicz 3.00
49 P - Nabil Crismatt 2.75
50 C - Carson Kelly 2.69 22 4.83 -2.14
51 P - Cole Sulser 2.64
52 P - Zach Davies 2.62 17 5.61 -2.99
53 UT - Diego Castillo 2.62
54 DH - Kyle Lewis 2.57
55 P - Peter Solomon 2.49
56 P - Madison Bumgarner 1.26 50 2.31 -1.05