2021 Diamondbacks Opening Day Roster in Retrospect
By Jake Oliver
With the season soon coming to a close, what happened to the 2021 Diamondbacks Opening Day Roster?
The current roster of the Diamondbacks looks absolutely nothing like the Opening Day roster that debuted. There are hardly any of the same players whether it’s due to injury, ineffectiveness, or trade. The team has shed half of its opening day roster. If you include the taxi guys, then it’s exactly half of the team. That’s crazy.
Alas, the team that plays today is filled with young guys that are eager to prove their mettle. That’s the opposite of the Opening Day team which had mostly older players who were seeking to re-prove themselves this year.
With that, let’s look at the Starting Pitchers that started the year with the club. By the way, I am not including injured players since they didn’t debut with the team on Opening Day. They were earning service time, but they weren’t officially active.
Madison Bumgarner: Bumgarner has had such a roller coaster of a season. He started miserable allowing 6 runs in 4 innings against the Padres. The best moment of the season for him was his 7-inning No-Hitter against the Braves in late April. He’s been injured twice this year while mixing hot/cold streaks. Right now he’s on a cold streak but let’s hope he finishes the season strong. His overall stat line for the season is 7-10, 129.1 innings, 120 hits allowed, 36 walks, 112 K’s, 21 HRs allowed (insanely high), 4.66 ERA, and 4.63 FIP.
Merrill Kelly: Merrill Kelly was the workhorse of the rotation. He’s been the best and steadiest pitcher for the Dbacks all season. At least, until he contracted Covid and has been out since. Thankfully, he’s close to returning. Perhaps, even this week he could. A lot were expecting Kelly to be traded at the deadline. Thankfully he wasn’t. His stat line this year is 7-9, 24 games started, 142.1 innings, 143 hits, 18 HRs, 33 walks, 118 K’s, 4.30 ERA, and 3.91 FIP.
Caleb Smith: Well, he’s currently suspended after losing his appeal on substances being found in his glove. He started the year in the rotation until he got moved to the bullpen after one start. While in the bullpen, he excelled to the point the Dbacks put him back into the rotation. He fell apart in the rotation. He’s since been moved to the bullpen where he’s found some more success. His aggressive pitching and fastball dominant style play up in shorter stints of 1-3 innings out of the bullpen. He’s a solid weapon for sure if used right. His stat line for the year is a rather meh 4-9, 39 games, 13 starts, 105 innings, 87 hits, 18 HRs, 60 walks, 117 K’s, 5.06 ERA, and 5.05 FIP.
Luke Weaver: Luke started rough but then rounded into great form. He was pitching great until his shoulder injury. That caused him to miss from mid-May to early September. Since his return, he’s been relatively good. He’s avoided the big innings but still is rounding into shape. Luke needs to continue to build up his innings and pitching through the end of the season. Finish on a high note, Luke! Weaver’s stat line this year is 3-4, 10 games started, 51 innings, 43 hits, 15 walks, 45 K’s, 4.24 ERA, and 4.12 FIP.
Taylor Widener: Widener started the season in the rotation. It’s since been a roller-coaster of a season since of course. He got injured twice with a groin strain. When he came back in July-ish, he struggled to get going. He maintained a level of averageness by keeping the Diamondbacks in the game but not winning the game for them. As such, due to injuries, lack of innings last year, and just the Dbacks wanting to see other players, he’s now in the bullpen. Yep, 2/5 of our Opening Day rotation is in the bullpen. Taylor’s stat line for the year is 2-1, 16 games, 13 started, 63.1 innings, 57 hits allowed, 13 HRs, 34 walks, 66 K’s, 4.55 ERA, and 5.64 FIP (NOT GOOD).