Fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks will remember the 2012 season as one of disappointment, if they remember it at all. However, 2012 should not be forgotten. It was not without its good moments or positives. Heck, even 2004 with its 111 losses had a perfect game to remember. So, before we decide to just sweep the memory of underachieving under the rug, so to say, let us look back at some of what went well.
Wade Miley seemingly coming out of nowhere
The one surprise to the Opening Day roster was the young left-hander that made a handful of starts at the end of 2011. The team needed a long man in relief and, thanks to the injury to Takashi Saito, there was a spot open. Little did we know that he would do more than play the role of long reliever.
Miley became the staff ace, winning 16 games with an ERA of 3.33. He was the team's lone All-Star and should be the NL Rookie of the Year. At age 25, good location and a 90+ mph fastball, he is in line to be a starter for some time.
Along with Miley, the D-backs have a talented, young core of starting pitching
Ian Kennedy, at age 27, is the senior member of the pitching staff. Daniel Hudson is recovering from elbow surgery and Trevor Cahill is only 24, but that is not it. Miley has proven himself in the majors with his first full season and Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer all lay in wait for their chance at the rotation. And that does not even include Josh Collmenter, who had a successful rookie year and made contributions both as a starter and as a reliever this season. The future is bright for the D-backs and their starting pitching.
Minor league domination
The club's farm system was a weakness for a while. It is no longer that way. The minors have been stocked with a lot of talent and they are learning to not only play baseball the Diamondbacks way, they are experiencing how to win. The minor league system won four championships, and at all levels. Young players like Adam Eaton, Ryan Wheeler and A.J. Pollock, in addition to pitchers Bauer, Corbin and Skaggs all also experienced life in the majors.
Outfield depth was actually a good thing
When Arizona signed outfielder Jason Kubel in the offseason, it raised some eyebrows. The team already had three starting outfielders. But that depth was tested early when Chris Young went down with his shoulder injury and he was ineffective late in the season. Jason Kubel, who was at times the team's best hitter, also struggled down the stretch, so having Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton, Eaton and Pollock around made it much better and did not cause too much of a drop off.
The relief pitching was solid
Overall, Arizona's bullpen ERA was 10th in all of baseball at 3.28. After a brief rough patch, closer J.J. Putz continued where he left off in 2011 -- being superb with a lead. He had another 32 saves. David Hernandez showed he could be a closer and Brad Ziegler had a historic year with ground balls. Josh Collmenter had an ERA of under one and a half. The team did not do well in close games, but that was more often a case of the offense being unable to rally.
The individual seasons of Miguel Montero, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt
Montero signed his big contract extension and then became one of the best catchers in baseball. After a slow start, he finished with a .286 batting average and 88 RBI. Montero also threw out over 41 percent of potential basestealers, becoming probably the second best full time catcher in the game. Aaron Hill should be considered the favorite to win the Silver Slugger award for second basemen. He hit over .300, hit 26 homers, drove in 82 runs and had an OPS of .882. Goldschmidt hit .286 and homered 20 times to go along with 43 doubles and 82 RBI. Additionally, they played the game the right way.