Sunday, September 1, 2019

All-Time Teams: Diamondbacks

Major League Baseball is celebrating 150 years of professional baseball. All 30 franchises have over two decades of history and so I'm creating an All-Time Team series. Every day in September, The Collector will list the best players by position in every MLB team's history. 

 Our first All-Time Team is the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manager: Bob Brenly     Home: Chase Field

Leading off for the Diamondbacks.. the Center Fielder.. Steve Finley

A 19 year-veteran with over 2,500 career hits, Steve Finley was a bit of a late bloomer. Both of his All-Star Game nods and all five of his Gold Gloves were awarded after he turned 30. Finley played 5+ seasons in Arizona (including their championship season of 2001) and places in the Diamondbacks' all-time top three in several categories, including hits, home runs, total bases, and OPS.


Batting second for Arizona.. the Designated Hitter.. David Peralta

The Diamondbacks' current left fielder, David Peralta has been a designated hitter only three times in his six-year career. Regardless, he's already one of the top ten hitters in the D-backs' short history and his primary position is occupied by a franchise icon. Peralta won a Silver Slugger in 2018 after a career high in home runs (30), RBI (87) and total bases (289).


Batting third.. the First Baseman.. Paul Goldschmidt

A frequent contender for NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt is the Diamondbacks' career standard-bearer in a slew of offensive categories including WAR and OPS. He's second all-time in many other categories including home runs, batting average, and stolen bases. "Goldy" won three Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards in his eight years in Arizona. His career numbers are so superior to every other first baseman in team history that this All-Time team is one of the only rosters without a backup at the position.


Batting fourth.. the Left Fielder.. Luis Gonzalez

The hero of the 2001 World Series, Luis Gonzalez is Arizona's all-time leader in home runs, total bases, runs scored, games played and doubles, and he has a slim .001 lead over Goldschmidt in career batting average. The first D-Backs player to have his number retired, "Gonzo" bats cleanup for their All-Time team due to his five consecutive 100+ RBI seasons. His 57 home runs in 2001 were the 15th-most in a single season ever.. and third-most in the NL that year.


Batting fifth.. the Right Fielder.. Justin Upton

The #1 overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, Justin Upton debuted for the D-Backs just two years later at age 19. He quickly overcame some early struggles, making his All-Star Game debut at 21 and winning his first of three Silver Slugger awards at age 23. "J-Up" has bounced around a bit since leaving the Diamondbacks after the 2012 season, but he's carved out a nice career as a power-hitting corner outfielder.


Batting sixth.. the Catcher.. Miguel Montero

Only Gonzalez and Goldschmidt have played more games with Arizona than Miguel Montero, and he did more than just show up. The two-time All-Star smacked 172 doubles (5th in franchise history) and slammed 10 or more home runs in six of his eight full seasons with the Snakes.


Batting seventh.. the Third Baseman.. Chad Tracy

Initially I had Matt Williams in this slot, but Williams is a better fit in San Francisco. Chad Tracy is a solid, if underwhelming second choice. Both Tracy and Jake Lamb had two standout seasons as Arizona's third basemen. Tracy was a bit better overall, slashing .274/.333/.439 to Lamb's .243/.332/.442.


 Batting eighth.. the Second Baseman.. Aaron Hill

This was another razor-thin decision. Second base is a little bit deeper in Arizona, and Aaron Hill gets the nod over the more versatile Jay Bell. Hill won two Silver Slugger awards - one with Toronto and one with the D-Backs. His overall numbers in five seasons with the Diamondbacks were an improvement over his seven seasons with the Blue Jays.


Batting ninth.. the Shortstop.. Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew never became the franchise player many expected him to be when the D-Backs selected him in the 1st round of the 2004 draft. Baseball America ranked Drew the #5 prospect in all of baseball before his debut season of 2006. Though he never made an All-Star team, Stephen Drew makes Arizona's All-Time team on the strength of three above-average years in Arizona.


The Starting Pitcher for the Diamondbacks.. Randy Johnson
Randy Johnson is Arizona's all-time leader in career WAR and the first Diamondbacks player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The "Big Unit" made more starts and pitched more innings as a Mariner, but his best seasons - including a run of four consecutive Cy Young awards - were with the D-Backs. An astounding 1,417 of Johnson's 4,875 career strikeouts (2nd all-time) were compiled in those four seasons alone.

Now let's look at the Diamondbacks' bench and bullpen:

Catcher - Damian Miller
Infielder - Jay Bell
Infielder - Craig Counsell

Outfield - A.J. Pollock
Outfield - Chris Young

It was a very tough call leaving Bell out of the starting lineup. Young almost didn't make the team at all, despite playing the fourth-most games in D-Backs history.

#2 starter - Zack Greinke
#3 starter - Brandon Webb
#4 starter - Patrick Corbin
#5 starter - Robbie Ray 

Greinke barely qualifies here, and should probably be assigned to Kansas City. He was a much better pitcher in the desert - and the Royals have more starting pitcher depth. I figured it was better than adding Brian Anderson or Miguel Batista to this rotation.

RH Reliever - Byung-Hyun Kim
RH Reliever - Archie Bradley
LH Reliever - Andrew Chafin
RH Reliever - Brad Ziegler
RH Reliever - Matt Mantei
RH Reliever - Jose Valverde

This is a surprisingly solid group for the NL's newest team (just don't let Kim anywhere near the Yankees!) "Papa Grande" is the team's career leader in saves with a whopping 98.

Come back tomorrow for our next All-Time Team, the Atlanta Braves.

Thanks for reading! 




  1. A great start! Hard to argue with any of those choices!

  2. I'm already getting into this series. It's cool to hear both about the players and see some cards from your collection. The Gonzalez Five Star auto is gorgeous.

  3. Ewww, such a gross team. Everything about them, except Randy Johnson.

  4. I do think of the D-Backs first when I think of Matt Williams--it surprises me how much longer he played with SF. Similar situation with Curt Schilling--he was a Phillie much longer, although the Phillies also have a much longer history to draw from and probably wouldn't miss him as much.

    1. I assumed Shill would be a better fit here, too. But Philly wasn't as deep as I thought..

  5. Cool to see Peralta deservedly on your list. Hopefully he'll be back on pace next year. Give Eduardo Escobar another year, dude's a stud.

  6. This is going to be a really fun series. That lineup is loaded for only being a franchise with 20 years to pull history from.

  7. I like Greinke as a Dback in this case. Good choice.

  8. I don't really associate Greinke with the Royals anymore. These days it's usually the Diamondbacks or even the Dodgers. Maybe even the Astros... if he can lead them to another World Series title.