It’s not every year the Arizona Diamondbacks have a pitcher seemingly come out of nowhere and succeed.
It just seems that way, with Chase Anderson the latest to take the mound and flourish.
From Omar Daal in 1998 to Brandon Webb in 2004 and Micah Owings in 2007, the franchise has had a knack for getting contributions from unlikely sources.
Amazingly, in each of the last five seasons the D-backs have had a young pitcher step into the rotation and provide the team a much needed shot in the arm. Sometimes they were heralded prospects, other times not so much. Often times they began their big league careers in the bullpen only to eventually be moved into the rotation.
The one thing they have in common is they took advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself.
2010: Daniel Hudson
When the Diamondbacks traded Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox in July 2010 for Hudson and David Holmberg, the thought was the right-hander was the key piece in the deal. Chicago’s number three prospect according to Baseball America, Hudson struggled in Chicago, and had posted a 1-1 record with a 6.32 ERA in three starts with the team in 2010.
Then he arrived in Arizona, and a different pitcher emerged.
Hudson started 11 games for Arizona in 2010, posting a 7-1 record to go along with a 1.69 ERA. He struck out 70 in 79.2 innings of work, and solidified his spot in the starting rotation heading into the following season.
2011: Josh Collmenter
Heading into the 2011 season, Collmenter’s name was nowhere to be seen on any of the top prospect lists. In fact, you’d have to scroll all the way down to number 16 on MinorLeagueBaseball.com’s list to find the righty with the unorthodox delivery.
But Collmenter began his D-backs career as a member of the bullpen, even earning his first career win in an extra-innings affair with the San Francisco Giants in his first big league appearance. He joined the rotation a few weeks later, tossing six shutout innings in a 1-0 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Collmenter started a total of 24 regular season games that season, going 9-10 with a 3.59 ERA. Then, facing a must-win situation in Game 3 of the NLDS, the rookie gave the D-backs seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out six in a 8-1 victory.
2012: Wade Miley
In November 2011, Wade Miley was ranked as the ninth-best prospect — and sixth-best pitcher — in the organization by Baseball America, sitting behind Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker and David Holmberg.
Though he was OK in eight games (seven starts) the previous season, there was little in the left-hander’s performance, which led to a 4-2 record with a 4.50 ERA, that suggested he’d be an All-Star the following summer.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Miley earned a win out of the bullpen in the team’s third game of the year, and then got his first start of the season a couple weeks later. He won that, too, and went on to post a 16-11 record to go along with a 3.33 ERA.
2013: Patrick Corbin
One of the team’s better pitching prospects, Corbin appeared in 22 games in 2012 with mixed results. He finished with a 6-8 record and a 4.54 ERA, leading to him participating in a spring training battle the following year for the team’s final rotation spot.
He won it, and the rest is history.
Corbin burst out of the gate pitching like an ace, posting an 11-1 record with a 2.35 on the way to earning a spot in the All-Star Game. The lefty sputtered a bit after that, and finished the season with a 14-8 record and a 3.41 ERA.
2014: Chase Anderson
Who is Chase Anderson? Entering this season, he wasn’t among the top 10 prospects in the organization, according to Baseball America. In fact, his claim to fame was having the “best changeup” in the organization.
But since being called up by the D-backs on May 6, Anderson has produced a franchise record 5-0 start. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his five starts, and posted an ERA of 3.14 while beating the White Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Rockies and Braves.