- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 775 days ago
2011 Diamondback’s Year By The Numbers
- Updated: February 22, 2012
2011 was an amazing year for the Diamondbacks. After going 70-92 in 2009, and 65-97 in 2010, the D-Backs went 94-68 in 2011, finishing first place in the NL West for the first time since 2007. In 2010, Arizona had one of the worst pitching staffs in the league, with an ERA of 4.81 and losing 97 games. No pitcher on the team had more than nine wins. They also lost their ace, Dan Haren, in a trade with the Angels near the deadline for Joe Saunders. Saunders went 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA for the rest of the year, and Haren went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA with the Angels. It was a painful loss for the D-Backs, but in 2011, Arizona’s pitching staff had a 3.80 ERA, won 94 games while only losing 68, had four players win 10 games or more, and regained an ace, Ian Kennedy. Kennedy had an amazing breakout year, he won 21 games while losing only four, and had a 2.88 ERA while finishing with 222 innings pitched. Pretty solid for a guy who went 9-10 in the previous year. Kennedy finished 4th in the NL Cy Young award voting behind the Phillies’ Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and the winner, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.
The 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks were improved from their 2010 season at the plate. In 2011, Arizona had the same batting average as 2010 (.250) and hit eight less homers (172 in 2011 and 180 in 2010), along with nine less hits than in 2010. But in 2011, Arizona snagged 133 bags (7th in all of MLB), 47 more bases than in 2010 while being caught only 14 times more in 2011. They also cut their strikeouts down 280 less times than 2010, along with hitting into only 82 double plays (tied for 1st in MLB), 33 less than last year. The Diamondbacks young right fielder, Justin Upton, only 24 years old (played four seasons) had a great year at the plate, winning the Silver Slugger and being named to play the All-Star game. Last year, Upton set a new career high in runs (105), hits (171), doubles (39), home runs (31), and RBI (88). Upton also finished 4th in the NL MVP voting last season. One of the biggest surprises during the 2011 Diamondback’s season was the emergence of Ryan Roberts. Last season, Roberts helped Arizona’s playoff push with hitting 19 home runs while driving in 65 runs. He also stole 18 bases while scoring 86 runs.
The improvements made from the 2010 season had a major impact in the Diamondback’s season. Clinching the NL West on September 24th, Arizona returned to the playoffs. Arizona was set to face the NL MVP Ryan Braun and Milwaukee in the NLDS. After losing the first two games to Milwaukee on the road, Arizona won the next two at home, hitting grand slams in both of them. In game 5 of the match up, Arizona was down 2-1 to the Brewers on the road, until Willie Bloomquist hit an RBI bunt single to score Gerardo Parra, tying it in the 9th inning. The game went into extra innings, but Arizona was unable to score in the top of the 10th, when Nyjer Morgan hit a walk-off RBI single to score Carlos Gomez, advancing the Brewers to the NLCS for the first time since moving to the National League in 1998. The Brewers lost to what would be the World Series winner St. Louis Cardinals. This playoff loss ended what would have been an amazing run for the Diamondbacks, after losing 97 games their previous year. Now, it was time for the Diamondbacks to transition into the off-season.
On December 9th, 2011, the Diamondbacks acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill, and Craig Breslow from the Oakland A’s along with cash for Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook. Then on December 19th, Arizona signed outfielder Jason Kubel to a two year, $15 million dollar deal, with an option for a third year. Kubel, a career .271 hitter, has shown signs of power, hitting a career high 28 home runs in 2009 while driving in 103 with the Twins, but hasn’t reached those numbers since then. Kubel has the potential to reach these numbers once more in Arizona, with Chase Field being more of a hitters park than Kubel’s previous home, Target Field. Kubel is expected to be the starting left fielder for the Diamondbacks. The additions of Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow add depth to their rotation and bullpen. Arizona is hoping Cahill can come back from a down year. He had a 4.16 ERA last season, but the season before he had a 2.97 ERA as a 22 year old. Cahill has a high ceiling as he showed in 2010. The Diamondbacks hope he can reach that ceiling while he is with them. On February 9th, Arizona signed Breslow to a one year, $1,795,000 contract to avoid arbitration. Breslow has a career 3.06 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP and has been consistent throughout his career.
2011 was a shocking and successful year for the NL West champion Diamondbacks, and it seems like they have a possibility do even more in 2012.