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2011 Season in Review: Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted by beaston26 on 1st November 2011

The Arizona Diamondbacks were one of the biggest surprises of 2011 going from worst to first in one year. The 2010 version of the Diamondbacks featured sloppy defensive play, poor pitching, and a lot of strikeouts at the plate. Manager Kirk Gibson and former San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers instilled an entirely new attitude in his team that had them competing 9 innings every night. This led to a decrease in runs allowed by 152 runs! The organization has assembled a bunch of young players who will get to grow together alongside their manager in an organization with a clear direction so they will continue to be a team to watch out for years to come.

The makeup of the Arizona Diamondbacks team was constructed in a similar fashion to their NL West counterpart Los Angeles Dodgers. Starter Ian Kennedy, acquired in a 3-team deal last year, emerged as the team’s ace and a Cy Young contender. Kennedy led the team in strikeouts, wins, and ERA. During a stretch from July 8th through the end of the regular season Kennedy received winning decisions in 13 out of 15 starts. Joe Saunders and Daniel Hudson did a solid job backing up Kennedy to provide an adequate 1-2-3 rotation. The duo combined for a 28-25 record with a mid 3 ERA. Rookie Josh Collmenter also kept opponents off-balance with his unorthodox delivery. While Kennedy set the tone for the pitching staff, Justin Upton did most of the damage for the offense. Upton led the team in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, and is developing into one of the best outfielders in the major leagues. Miguel Montero was an all-around contributor from catcher. He provided excellent protection for Upton hitting behind him and played great defense as the backstop. Gerardo Parra,a defensive replacement most of his career, developed into a starting outfielder and led the team in batting average. Paul Goldschmidt, a late-season call up, looks to be the real deal at first base and should be a fixture in the heart of the order for years to come. Manager Kirk Gibson did an excellent job making the most out of his entire roster night in and night out to get the results he wanted. Gibson is a leading candidate for Manager of the Year.

If the Diamondbacks are truly going to be contenders for the foreseeable future they will have to further improve their infield. Veteran second basemen Aaron Hill did a nice job when acquired mid-season from Toronto and third basemen Ryan Roberts was a surprise, but neither is  a long-term answer. Shortstop Stephen Drew was hurt in July but has not lived up to his draft status. Willie Bloomquist did OK filling in for him, but is nothing more than a stopgap. Also the back end of the rotation needs to be shored up. Jason Marquis was acquired at the trading deadline, but got hurt in his first start with the team and was out for the year. Chris Young has underperformed almost every year and the organization would be wise to prepare a contingency plan if he continues to underwhelm.

Bright Spots: Ian Kennedy, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, Gerardo Parra, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter, J.J. Putz

Disappointments: Chris Young, Jason Marquis, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Aaron Heilman, Armando Galarraga

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