Diamondbacks Pitcher of the Year 2022: Zac Gallen

I could have started writing this article as soon as the survey was published as the result was more or less predictable. And lo and behold, it’s true: there haven’t been many instances where a single player has surpassed 90 percent in one of our Awards polls. So this is definitely one of the bigger landslides in SnakePit history. We’ll hear more about Gallen’s season when we get to him in our player ratings next week, and I don’t want to steal the thunder from ish95. But let me see if I can highlight any more obscure numbers that show how good a season has been in Gallen.

My guess is that the people who didn’t vote for Gallen probably just did so to acknowledge the contributions of the other pitchers, knowing that it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to the overall result. And I agree with that. Not only was For Gallen the top D-backs pitcher this year, he became only the second Arizona pitcher to surpass five bWARs in a season since 2009; the other was Zack Greinke in 2017. It could be argued that Gallen actually performed better, with a higher ERA+ and lower WHIP and FIP than Greinke, despite Zack-with-aK pitching eighteen more innings than Zac-without-aK . So you could say Gallen was Arizona’s best season since Dan Haren in 2009.

The focus was on Gallen’s franchise record streak without goals. For those of us who remember the run of former record holder Brandon Webb, we’d be forgiven if we thought we’d never see anything like it from a Diamondback in our lifetime. After all, in the 15 years since Webb’s 42 consecutive zeros, only one pitcher in all the majors had made it (oddly enough, Greinke, back in his Dodger days at 4523 scoreless innings during the 2015 season). But Gallen went further than Webb and threw 4413 innings, the seventh longest runless streak in American and National League history. Below are the seven starts that formed the heart of the streak and a post-streak interview with Zac.

He wasn’t exactly terrible for the rest of the season either. Gallen had by far the best starting pitching performance of the year on September 22, when he pitched eight innings of two-hit balls with 13 strikeouts and no walks. Oh, yeah: That was against the majors’ toughest offense this season, the LA Dodgers — they averaged 5.23 runs a game when no one else was even averaging five. He had two other starts with a game score of 80 or better, and this year delivered seven of the eight highest game scores from a D-backs starter (Merrill Kelly threw the other). His 61.5 average game score was a full five points higher than anyone else and the best by a qualified AZ starter since Randy Johnson’s 64.8 in 2004.

Gallen also threw a quality start in 61% of appearances, the highest number by a qualified AZ starter over an entire season since Greinke hit 64% in 2018. Before that, you have to go back to 2013 (Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley). Looking at these stats, it’s worth noting how unusual QS has become. In 2013, it was more common than not for a pitcher to throw a good start (53% of MLB games); It’s happened a little more than one in three starts this year (37%) – and that’s with the addition of DH in the National League, which should help starting pitchers get deeper into games. Zac’s above-league average so far is further testament to his spectacular performance in 2022.

It is Gallen’s second win in this category, joining Greinke (2016 + 2019), Patrick Corbin (2013 + 2018) and Brandon Webb (2007 + 2008) as repeat winners. Although Webby became MVP in 2006, the year before we created the Pitcher of the Year award, he really should be considered a three-time champion. I suspect that Gallen will challenge Webb before many more seasons have passed.

Previous Winners


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