Arizona Diamondbacks: 7 Ways the Franchise Built Itself into a Playoff Contender

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Arizona Diamondbacks: 7 Ways the Franchise Built Itself into a Playoff Contender
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrating yet another win

If before the 2011 MLB season started someone had told me that the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to be in first place at any point in September, I would have thought they were suffering from valley fever.

Looking at all the teams in the NL West on paper, it’s hard to make a case that the Diamondbacks had a chance.

The Giants had just come off of a championship season with the likes of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain leading the way, the Dodgers were led by Matt Kemp on offense and a young staff headed by Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, the Padres would be on a high from an unexpectedly great season in 2010 and the Rockies were a young, extremely talented team looking to make their mark in the division.

Even with all of these obstacles in their way, the Arizona Diamondbacks have managed to take an 8.5 game lead in the division with less than three weeks left to play in the season.

Looking back at the 2011 year, one can really see how the Diamondbacks have combined a multi-year plan formulated by general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, and play from individual players that have exceeded everyone’s expectations to become the cream of the crop in the NL West.

The 2011 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks has proved that you really cannot judge a book by its cover. 

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