FanGraphs: Who are the all-time best D-backs in team history?
Jul 2, 2018, 1:39 PM
Through 20 seasons of Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, the franchise has gone through its fair share of roller coaster seasons.
From a World Series championship, to an 111-loss season and lots of in-between.
FanGraph’s Paul Moehringer used his pyramid model of evaluation to determine which players and coaches were the best during their time in a D-backs uniform.
As the youngest National League franchise they don’t have the same caliber of list that division rivals in Los Angeles and San Francisco possess, but there have been many notable players to wear the D-backs’ uniform.
Unsurprisingly, the best player to ever play for the D-backs is Randy Johnson. The four-time Cy Young award winner as a D-back was the most dominant pitcher in the league when he wore purple and teal as a key contributor to the 2001 World Series championship team.
The Snakes are far from the best team in the league, but regardless of who they are up against, whenever Randy Johnson is on the mound, they have a chance at winning. Among all National League starters, Johnson is rated the highest by the Pyramid Rating System. One look at his peak dominance period of 1999-2002 should be enough reason to see why.
Johnson led the National League in ERA in 1999, 2001 and 2002 while improving his win-loss record every season from 1998-2002.
As for the best position player, a current D-back is now on top.
Paul Goldschmidt has surpassed Luis Gonzalez as the best position player in D-backs history after five elite seasons manning first base and mashing big league pitching.
Not long ago this would have been Luis Gonzalez, but the last two seasons have been enough to put Goldschmidt ahead of him as the best position player in D-backs history. Since he first led the National League in OPS in 2013, Goldschmidt has established himself as one of the best first baseman in the majors. In what could be a golden age of National League first baseman, Goldschmidt’s name stands solidly alongside those of Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman and Joey Votto.
Goldschmidt has been a consistent superstar for a D-backs team that has never had a Hall of Fame position player. If Goldschmidt is able to continue his performance and stay with the D-backs longterm he could be in position to end up in Cooperstown, according to Moehringer.
Moehringer notes the strength of the D-backs as an all-time team would be starting pitching. Possessing a rotation of Johnson, Brandon Webb, Curt Schilling, Dan Haren and Ian Kennedy shows the strength the team has utilized in the past. (Zack Greinke wasn’t on the D-backs’ team, as he already was on the Royals’ all-time team.)
A weakness would be an infield consisting of Goldschmidt, Orlando Hudson, Stephen Drew and Chad Tracy, which doesn’t stack up as well compared to other counterparts.
Aside from Goldschmidt, this is the worst infield in this all-time league. A few teams, such as Houston, have present-day infields that may be better than this one.
Moehringer believes that the D-backs’ all-time team is far behind historic teams like the Dodgers and Giants, but he does think they’re a better team than similarly-aged rivals like the Rockies and Padres.