an impression on the 2018 Diamondbacks. Who was the best?"Yoshihisa Hirano While not the first Japanese-born pitcher to play for the Diamondbacks Dallas Keuchel Jersey , there’s no doubt Hirano is the best. His ERA+ of 178 was the best by any rookie-eligible reliever (min 60 IP) for the Diamondbacks since Oscar Villarreal’s 182 in 2003. Hirano went almost two months without allowing a run. From May 6-July 3, he set a franchise record with 26 consecutive scoreless appearances, covering 22.2 innings, breaking the old mark of 24 games (J.J. Putz in 2012 + Brandon Lyon in 2008). Hirano finished the season as the D-backs’ closer, taking over from Brad Boxberger. In the 2010’s, only Jake Barrett in 2016 has had more rookie saves for Arizona. Hirano was especially adept at rolling up the double-play, with his 14 ranking second on the team, behind only...Matt KochYou’d be forgiven for writing Koch off after he posted a literally infinite ERA in 2017, allowing three runs without retiring a batter. But he bounced back with a solid season, giving Arizona a much-needed 14 starts, taking over in the rotation after Taijuan Walker required Tommy John surgery. Six of those were quality starts, likely peaking with the outing shown above, where Koch tossed seven shutout innings of three-hit ball, walking none and striking out six, retiring 17 of the last 18 batters faced. Helped by all those double-plays, efficiency was Koch’s keyword: his average of 3.60 P/PA was best in the team by a pitcher. Those seven innings versus the Marlins needed only 84 pitches. Jimmie SherfyOver his first 26 regular-season appearances, Sherfy has a 1.00 ERA. That’s the best in franchise history, just edging out Doug Slaten’s 1.06 from 2006-07. This season http://www.astrosfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-verlander-jersey , he made fifteen appearances, and was scored up in just two, striking out more than a batter per inning (17 in 16.1 IP). Sherfy was particularly good as a September call-up. That month, he ha a 1.46 ERA, holding batters to a .143 average (6-for-42), with 14 K’s over 12.1 innings. His best game was probably at Coors Field on September 13, where he struck out four over two innings of scoreless relief. A bullpen spot seems assured for 2019, and he seems likely to see higher-leverage situations, and perhaps even save opportunities. Ildemaro VargasDespite making his MLB debut in June 2017, Vargas had to wait until rosters expanded in September before getting the call this season. He was initially put in the tough spot of pinch-hitting, but fared considerably better as a starter (3-for-7 with a home-run) than off the bench (1-for-12). He lived up to his reputation for putting the ball in play, not striking out at all over his last seven games, hitting .308 over that spell. Ildemaro saved the best for almost-last. He hit his first major-league home-run and drove in three key runs in Arizona’s penultimate game of the season, a 5-4 victory over the Padres in San Diego, and was rewarded the following day with the ol’ “bubble-gum on the cap” routine. Christian WalkerWalker is among the team’s best pinch-hitters of all-time. Among those with 10 or more PA this season, only Ketel Marte has a higher OPS in those situations than Christian’s .723. He was also the only Diamondback this year with more than one home-run in that role. Most remarkable of all, both of those came off the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the first Lance McCullers Jersey , on May 1 (above), was among the longest in franchise history, then Walker had another four months to the day later. Over the past decade, no Diamondback has hit more homers than Walker as a pinch-hitter - even though he didn’t make his debut until 2017. In team history, among the 53 men with 35+ PA as a PH, only Chad Tracy has a higher OPS than Christian. Here’s the poll. We have had... issues in the past with this category, so I reserve the right to declare the whole thing null and void, in the event of Florida-like shenanigans! SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — As a rule five draft selection, Brad Keller was a surprising success with Kansas City last season.The rebuilding Royals are hoping to do it again with Chris Ellis and Sam McWilliams.Kansas City plucked Keller from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the right-hander rewarded them with a stellar rookie season, going 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA while making 20 starts. He was named the organization’s pitcher of the year, and he’s going into 2019 as the team’s No. 2 starter behind Danny Duffy.Ellis and McWilliams are hoping to join them on that pitching staff. Rule five picks rarely make the kind of impact Keller did in 2018, but if the Royals can hit big in the draft once, their newest rule-five righties are hoping it may happen again.“It would be great if I could have a season like that,” Ellis said of Keller. “I was at the Royals’ FanFest when he got the award for pitcher of year for last year. It was pretty cool seeing that. I’m happy to see that worked out for him. I hope it works out for me and Sam both.”The 26-year-old Ellis was a third-round pick by the Angels in 2014 but has since been traded twice. St. Louis left him off its 40-man roster last fall, making him eligible for the rule five draft, and Kansas City traded up to select him with the seventh pick.The 23-year-old McWilliams has a similar story. He was drafted in 2014 in the eighth round by Philadelphia Mike Scott Jersey , and a year later, the Phillies shipped him to the Arizona, where he played with Keller in the minor leagues. Last May, McWilliams was sent to Tampa Bay as a player-to-be-named to complete a three-team deal for outfielder Steven Souza Jr. The Rays left him exposed in the rule five draft, and he was selected second overall.“I’m definitely used to being the new guy,” McWilliams said. “I definitely never expected getting traded twice. The first one, I was 19 at the time and had just gotten out of rookie ball. That was definitely a shocker.”Reunited with Keller, McWilliams is eager to follow a similar path.“I’m definitely picking his brain every day, kind of seeing where he’s at, what he’d do, kind of like follow him and do the same thing,” McWilliams said. “Obviously, he had a great year, and so try to mimic that.”McWilliams and Ellis must remain on the Royals’ 25-man roster all year or be offered back to the teams they were drafted from for $50,000, half the drafting price, after clearing waivers.