Thanks to a whole host of contributions, the Arizona Diamondbacks sit one game back of first place in the National League West
After a disastrous 2016 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a whole host of changes last winter.
After ownership hired former Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen as the general manager, Hazen gave a fellow Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo his first managerial job.
Few expected the Diamondbacks to compete in 2017, but that did not stop Arizona’s reconstructed front office from adding veterans to the bullpen and the bench.
FanGraphs preseason playoff odds were not kind to Arizona. Entering play Friday, the Diamondbacks were given a 75.9 percent chance to make the playoffs with an expected record of 88-73. Unfortunately, the Rockies and Dodgers are playing just as well. However, the mediocrity of the N.L. has helped the Diamondbacks and Dodgers build an eight game lead over the Cubs for the first wild card.
A bounce back season from Zack Greinke, ace-like performances from Robbie Ray and all-star production from Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and Chris Owings have gone a long way, but some unsung heroes have contributed to a 41-26 start through the first 67 games.
One or two stars rarely carry a team to the playoffs. Plenty of role players have done their job and then some and it started with Lovullo’s great leadership.
Here are five players that have quietly helped turn the Diamondbacks into a contender.