Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images
These are the most commonly-seen faces from the bullpen over the years.
Last week’s results
We asked you to name the 45 players who appeared for the 2020 Diamondbacks. Even though the season finished only a few weeks ago, this was not an easy test. Indeed, the average score across the 74 participants was only 27, a 60% hit-rate. In other words, the typical fan has already forgotten eighteen players from the season. Congratulations to the four people who went 45/45 – but only if they did so without recourse to the Internet! No prizes for guessing that most well-known were Nick Ahmed, and the Marte boys, who were successfully named on all but two of the attempts. At the other end? Relievers Matt Grace, Artie Lewick and Joe Mantiply were mentioned by fewer than 20%.
This week’s Sporcle
The above got me wondering how well we remember the rather more familiar relievers used by the Diamondbacks over the years. So this week’s Sporcle is designed to test your recall of the “steady Eddies” in the Arizona bullpen. I’ve defined that (fairly arbitrarily, it must be admitted!) at those who appeared in 40% or more of the team’s regular season games. That’s 65 appearances or higher in a “normal” campaign, but obviously, for 2020 the bar has been set considerably lower, at 24 games. Interestingly, no-one reached it at all over the first three years of franchise history. Even the 1999 D-backs, who won a hundred games, capped out at Greg Swindell’s 63.
This is quite likely a reflection of the increasing trend of relief usage. Those first three years all saw the D-backs have fewer than four hundred relief appearances all told. It has been over five hundred each of the last five full seasons (2015-2019), peaking at 575 in 2016. More appearances = more chances to reach the 40% cutoff, obviously. But it’s also interesting to see the volatility of relievers. Over the 23-year history of the team, only seven men have done the needful in more than one season with the Diamondbacks, while twenty have been one and done. Be interesting to see how the two players to have reached the 40% mark during this abbreviated season perform over a (hopefully) longer campaign in 2021.
Quiz is embedded below, or linked here for those on mobile: