Since the season is over, we have decided to do a round-up of all the things that make going to see baseball at Nationals Park interesting and fun. First up is something fairly technical. Our blog is part of the Internet Baseball Writers Association DC Chapter, and as such, we vote on player awards. The results came out today, and we thought we would share how and why we voted the way we did. Votes are shown in (1st/2nd/3rd place).
MVP: Zimmerman/Dunn/Rodriguez. Zimmy was an obvious choice for first place – he’s the heart and soul of the team. Dunn puts up big offense (38 HR? 100+ RBI?), and can squeak one out for the Nast. We chose Pudge as our third place MVP, because he lent an air of validity, and provided a veteran presence behind the plate for the many young pitchers who came up this year.
Starting Pitcher: Hernandez/Strasburg/Lannan. We chose Livo for #1 because he provided a steady presence all season, winning games, and eating up innings. Strasburg was like a Roman candle – a few fantastic shots, but flaming out way too soon. Lannan had a rough start, but after going to AA for a while, he came back strong – better than we had seen him in the past.
Relief Pitcher: Capps/Storen/Clippard. Sure, Capps was traded at the end of July, but that doesn’t change the fact that he electrified any game he was in, and got a ridiculous number of saves. Storen stepped up to the plate in a big way, coming in to the Bigs in early May, and proving he had the stuff. Clippard had a fantastic beginning to the year, a bit of a slump in the summer, and came back strong at the end of the year, coming up when he needed to.
Hitter of the Year: Morgan/Zimmerman/Morse. Sure, Morgan had a tough year – but every time he gets on the bases (which was decently often enough for our tastes), he was a danger to steal; he’s got a bunch of work to do in the off-season, but dude is bursting with potential. Zimmerman is a solid hitter who does what he has to do, day in and day out. Morse came in to the year with a lot to prove, but based on how he came up big quite a few times – we like the way he hits.
Slugger of the Year: Dunn/Zimmerman/Willingham. Easiest vote of the year – choose your Home Run buddies, and it’s a straight ticket.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rodriguez/Zimmerman/Bernadina. We gave Pudge the first place nod because of his strong defensive catching skills. Runners trying to steal had a tough challenge when going up against Pudge. Zimmerman earned himself a Golden Glove last year, and definitely could do it again this year based on spectacular plays from third. Finally – as for Bernadina, they don’t call him the “Flying Dutchman” for nothing – dude made some spectacular diving catches this year, and played excellent outfield all year long.
Comeback Player of the Year: Hernandez/Bernadina/???. We had a hard time coming up with players, because it meant thinking back to last year. But we did know that Livo had been pulled from nowhere last fall to shore up the pathetic pitching staff, and then did an amazing job this past year to show that he was worth the risk. Bernadina broke his ankle last spring, and came back to a spectacular season. We couldn’t think of a third, but Jordan Zimmerman showed up on the group list, and we should have thought to put him on our list.
Humanitarian of the Year: Lannan/Zimmerman/Willingham. Lannan’s Cannons is an adorable philanthropic endeavor. We love seeing his banner hanging in the 200 level, and seeing footage of him working with child cancer patients! Zimmerman does a fantastic job with his ZiMS foundation to raise money and awareness for MS, a cause close to his heart since his mother has MS. Josh Willingham was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award for his foundation which gives opportunities to underserved kids in his hometown of Florence, Alabama.
Minor League Player of the Year: Espinosa/Tyler Moore/???. We chose Danny Espinosa as our top player in this category because he made such a big splash during his September call-up. We both had a chance to see Tyler Moore play in Potomac, and he did a fantastic job. Despite having gone to a number of minor league games this year, we couldn’t come up with a third player.
1) Who do you think will NOT be part of the organization next year:
Mench, Nieves, Olsen
2) How long will Dunn’s next contract be:
3 years (but we really hope that
3) Who was the biggest pleasant surprise:
Michael Morse (especially after he cut his hair and got rid of that ridiculous mullet!)
4) Who was the biggest disappointment:
5) Who is your favorite professional Nats writer:
Adam Kilgore (Maggie loves the Nationals Journal)
6) Favorite non-professional Nats blog/writer:
Nationals Inquisition (His irreverent humor about the team and the game made us laugh more than we would like to admit. He also said things we wish we had the guts to say.)
To see how everyone else voted, and to learn a little more about the DC-IBWA, please take a look at the results:
DC Internet Baseball Writers Association.