Lackluster season had bright spots, improvement for D-Backs
The Arizona Diamondbacks had a losing season and are watching the playoffs from home for the fifth straight year.
Yes, but: There were some bright spots and cause for optimism.
The big picture: The D-Backs exceeded the low expectations they started the season with.
- They were projected to finish at the bottom of the National League West. Instead, they finished next to last (ahead of the Colorado Rockies) with 74 wins and 88 losses.
- Still Arizona won 22 more games than in 2021.
- The Diamondbacks were one of just seven teams since 1900 to win at least 70 games the season after losing at least 110 games, according to mlb.com.
Context: The D-Backs were in a stacked division, and their record wasn't as bad once you exclude the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, who are currently facing each other in the playoffs.
- Arizona's collective record against the Dodgers and Padres was 10-28.
- Against other teams, the D-Backs had a winning record, going 64-60.
What's good: Several players in particular stood out as bright spots this season.
Pitcher Zac Gallen: Gallen's fifth year in the majors was a solid one. He finished with a 12-4 record, 194 strikeouts and 2.54 ERA. But what made his season truly special was his pursuit of Orel Hersheisher's all-time record for most consecutive scoreless innings.
- Gallen threw 44 ⅓ straight shutout innings, which fell short of Hersheisher's historic mark of 59, but placed him seventh in the MLB's record books.
Left fielder Corbin Carroll: The D-Backs called up their rookie sensation from Triple A Reno on Aug. 29, and he immediately made a splash.
- In 104 at-bats over 32 games, he batted .260 with 14 RBI, four home runs and two stolen bases.
- The team is expecting big things from Carroll next season, and manager Torey Lovullo limited his at-bats so he'll be eligible to win Rookie of the Year, the Arizona Republic reported.
Go deeper: Carroll and Gallen justifiably got a lot of attention, but they weren't the only Diamondbacks who stood out this year.
- In his third year in the majors, outfielder Daulton Varsho established himself as an elite defensive player while hitting 27 homers and 74 RBI.
- First baseman Christian Walker had a career year, with 36 homers, the fourth most in the National League and seventh most in baseball, along with 94 RBI, despite a batting average of just .244.
What we're watching: The team's relief pitching is in need of improvement in the offseason. According to the Republic, the bullpen gave up losses after going into the sixth inning with leads or ties 42 times in 2022, and ranked just 27th in ERA.
The bottom line: With a roster of rising stars and promising young players, the Diamondbacks could be poised for a strong 2023 season, though the NL West is likely to still be a brutal division.
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