Announced earlier today, you all have spent enough of your time clicking on my various links to make me the 4th most read fan blog in the entire MLBlogs.com universe!
I’m humbled and honored each and every time my hit counter ticks up and am thrilled by the advances the blog made over the last couple of years.
In 2011, I really got into heavy use of social media sites for conversation and the blog slogged through a very low content year but still managed to finish 64th overall. With a renewed dedication from me in 2012 and response from you all in kind, I was able to finish all the way up in the 8th position. I maintained and built upon my work last year and you increased your support again.
There are some true juggernauts ahead of me in the fan rankings so 2014 will need to blow away 2013 if I’m to advance again. I’ll be here blogging and I’ll appreciate any time you spend reading (or at least clicking) throughout the calendar year.
Thank you so much!
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced plans for the creation of the “Brewers Wall of Honor” in 2014 at Miller Park. The Wall of Honor will commemorate Milwaukee Brewers players, coaches and executives who meet a set criteria based on service to the club and/or career accomplishments.
The Wall of Honor will be a permanent exhibit on an exterior Miller Park wall adjacent to the Hot Corner entrance. Honorees will be recognized with a bronze plaque affixed to the wall, with their image and a brief synopsis of their Milwaukee baseball career etched onto the marker. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, designers of the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“The Wall of Honor is designed to honor the many individuals who either spent a significant portion of their career with the Brewers, or have a significant legacy with the organization through various achievements,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “It’s designed as a complement to our Miller Park Walk of Fame, as well as our statues.”
Individuals who meet any of the following criteria during their time with the Milwaukee Brewers organization will be inducted into the Wall of Honor:
- 2,000 or more plate appearances
- 1,000 or more innings pitched
- 250 appearances as a pitcher
- Winner of a major award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Fireman of the Year)
- Manager of a pennant-winning team
- Individuals memorialized with statues on the Miller Park Plaza
- Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who played for or managed the Brewers
Currently, there are 58 persons who meet the above criteria. This group of 58 will be recognized on the Brewers Wall of Honor during the 2014 season with an induction ceremony at Miller Park, scheduled for Friday, June 13. Honorees and their guests (as well as representatives of those who are deceased) will be invited to attend the unveiling ceremonies, as well as recognized during a program on the field prior to the game.
In addition to the 58 members of the inaugural class, there are seven active players in Major League Baseball that meet the criteria. Upon retirement, players who meet the criteria will be added annually to the Wall of Honor.
The complete list of players, managers and executives who will grace the Brewers Wall of Honor at the unveiling ceremony in June of 2014 follows:
Allan H. (Bud) Selig
John Axford, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks are the seven active players who, as of today, qualify for induction into the Wall of Honor following their retirement. Other active players closing in on the thresholds include Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
Further details regarding the ceremony will be announced at a later date.
I finally got around to watching MLB Network’s Top 75 Defensive Plays of 2013. The Brewers were involved on the positive end of five (5) of them.
(That’s a robust 15% if you don’t do division that quickly. EDIT: Which is facetious, if you didn’t pick up on that.)
Here they are with brief descriptions of situation, players involved, and impact (if any).
#73 – Segura Flips to Gennett – September 11, 2013 – With runners on first and second, this double play off the bat of David Freese ended an early St. Louis threat. Unfortunately, the Brewers would eventually lose this game anyway.
#68 – GoGo Robs CarGo - April 3, 2013 – Carlos Gomez makes the first of his record five home run robbing grabs of his Gold Glove season, when he took one away from Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez.
#55 – Gomez Scales Tal’s Hill…In a Manner of Speaking – June 18, 2013 – In this catch in the Brewers first series with the American League version of the Houston Astros, Carlos Gomez proved that concentration and timing are paramount in making a spectacular catch, but a little bit of fortune doesn’t hurt. Notice the distance marker on the CF wall? I figure Gomez was about 430 or so away from home plate when he literally laid out to make the catch. That’s gone by plenty at Miller Park.
#30 – Gomez Does It Again to the Reds – September 15, 2013 – Gomez added another home run thievery to his collection when he scaled the wall in the top of the 9th at Miller Park with two on and two out. It kept the score knotted at five all after the Brewers scored once in the 7th and thrice in the 8th to tie the game. Gomez’s great catch allowed the Brewers to go on to win the contest when Sean Halton hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th off of Zach Duke. The win kicked off a modest four-game winning streak.
#20 – Gomez Catches Ball, Votto Demands Proof – July 8th, 2013 – In what I thought would be the top defensive play for the Brewers in 2013, Gomez leaped high to take away a home run from Joey Votto, one that would have given the Reds the lead in the top of the 9th. Instead, Gomez’s catch ended it in rare home walk-off defensive fashion.
#13 – Gomez (yes, again) Gives Dat Dude a Taste – August 15, 2013 – Is it something the Reds said? For whatever reason, the top three defensive plays of 2013 by the Brewers — and their defensive star Carlos Gomez — all came at the expense of the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately for the Brewers, this play cost Gomez
The National League Most Valuable Player voting results were revealed just now, live, on MLB Network.
Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen was the winner, and deservedly so, but he plays for Pittsburgh.
The top three finishers (or “finalists” as they’re ridiculously called) were announced last week as (in alphabetical order by last name): Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina. Full results below.
This is a Milwaukee Brewers blog and, as such, let’s talk about who was honored with votes by the 30 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who work in cities that are home to one of the NL ballclubs. That’s two voters per city, in case you didn’t know. This is the first time in quite a while (20 years, in fact) that the National League had only 15 teams and therefore only 30 voters.
Ballots allow for the inclusion of 10 names per voter. Votes are then tabulated and scored on a tiered value system where first place votes are worth 14 points with the rest following a reverse order from 9-1 respectively.
So, to brass tax.
With a total score of 43, Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder and 2013 NL Gold Glove award winner Carlos Gomez finished 9th overall in the National League.
Gomez received a total of 15 votes. Here’s how the individual votes breakdown:
1st Place Votes: 0 - 0 points
2nd Place Votes: 0 – 0 points
3rd: 0 – o points
4th: 0 – 0 points
5th: 1 – 6 points (Bill Brink – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
6th: 0 - 0 points
7th: 3 – 12 points
8th: 6 – 18 points
9th: 2 – 4 points
10th: 3 – 3 points
For the record, Milwaukee’s own Todd Rosiak and Tom Haudricourt voted the following ballots:
Rosiak: McCutchen, Goldschmidt, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Votto, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Bruce, Gomez
Haudricourt: McCutchen, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Bruce, Votto, Gonzalez, Kimbrel, Werth
Full results, voting breakdown, and voter’s ballots are available at the BBWAA’s official website page: http://bbwaa.com/13-nl-mvp/
Minor League Baseball™ announced today that it has selected Mike Guerrero, who managed the Nashville Sounds this season, as the winner of the sixth annual Mike Coolbaugh Award, presented to an individual who has shown an outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. The Coolbaugh Award will be presented during the Baseball Winter Meetings™ Banquet on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Guerrero completed his 18th year as a MiLB™ manager this season and his 17th in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization. His first job as a manager occurred in 1995, when he skippered Toronto’s affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. The following year, Guerrero joined the Brewers’ organization as the camp director and manager of their club in the Dominican Summer League. In 2003, after seven seasons in the DSL, he served as the hitting coach with the Beloit Snappers in the Midwest League.
Guerrero returned to managing in 2004 with Milwaukee’s club in the Arizona League. After two seasons in the AZL, he steadily progressed through the Brewers’ farm system, with managerial stints in Class A® West Virginia (2006-07) in the South Atlantic League; Class A Advanced™ Brevard County (2008-09) in the Florida State League; and Double-A® Huntsville (2010-11) in the Southern League, before taking over in Triple-A® Nashville in 2012.
Guerrero, who played nine seasons in the Milwaukee (1987-92, 1994-95) and Kansas City (1993) organizations as a middle infielder, was added to the Brewers’ Major League staff as a coach in late September. He is currently managing the Licey team in the Dominican Baseball League.
“Mike Guerrero has positively impacted the lives and development of many Milwaukee farmhands during his 17 years as a manager, which includes nearly every classification in their system,” Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball, stated. “His tenure with the Brewers is a testament to Mike’s work ethic and to the job that he has done in mentoring their players. The Brewers’ recent promotion of him to the Major League staff speaks highly of how much they value Mike’s coaching ability.”
“I am honored to be chosen as this year’s Mike Coolbaugh Award winner,” said Guerrero. “It is my passion to help develop young players as they strive to achieve their goals of reaching the Major Leagues. I want to thank the Brewers organization for their commitment to me and I thank Minor League Baseball for honoring me with this award.”
“On behalf of the Milwaukee Brewers, I congratulate Mike Guerrero as the recipient of the 2013 Mike Coolbaugh Award,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin. “Mike has been a loyal member of the Brewers family for nearly 30 years as a player, coach and manager. He is a consummate team player and has been accepting of any role that we have asked of him within our organization. Through his dedication and hard work, Mike has impacted the development of a number of Brewers players over the years, including Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, Jonathan Lucroy and Rickie Weeks. He has touched the lives of many players and has been a key contributor to the success of the organization.”
Previous winners of the Mike Coolbaugh Award include Johnny Goryl (2012), Mike Jirschele (2011), Woody Huyke (2010), Charlie Montoyo (2009) and Bobby Jones (2008).
Recorded on location last night, here is the latest Brewer Nation podcast.
Check the tags for some of the players mentioned during this hour-long clip.
Congratulations are in order.
A day after being announced as the best defensive center fielder in all of baseball during 2013 by the Fielding Bible, Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has also won the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence among National League center fielders.
I outlined the reasons I felt he should win the Rawlings Gold Glove Award here: “Will the Drought Finally End?“
So instead of rehashing all of that, here is what the official announcement had to say…
CARLOS GOMEZ NAMED NATIONAL LEAGUE RAWLINGS GOLD GLOVE AWARD WINNER IN CENTER FIELD
Becomes the First Brewer Since 1982 to Win a Gold Glove Award
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has been selected the winner of the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award in the National League at his position. Gomez was joined as a finalist by Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) and Denard Span (Nationals). The announcement was made tonight on ESPN2.
Gomez won the 10th Gold Glove Award in franchise history and became the fifth different Brewer to earn the honor, joining George Scott (first base: 1972-76), Cecil Cooper (first base: 1979-80), Sixto Lezcano (outfield: 1979) and Robin Yount (shortstop: 1982). The Brewers had gone 30 seasons without a Gold Glove winner, which was the longest streak in the 57-year history of the award.
Gomez recorded a career-high 12 assists this season, which trailed only the Mets’ Juan Lagares (14) for the Major League lead among center fielders. He also made five home run-saving catches and did not commit an error over his last 32 games.
Following tonight’s ESPN2 show, voting for the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award presented by SABR will begin at www.rawlings.com, allowing the general public to weigh in on “The Finest in the Field” in both the American League and National League. Fans can only select one player among the 2013 winners from each league. A combination of the international fan vote and the SABR Defensive Index will determine who takes home the honor of each league’s top defensive player. Voting concludes on Monday, November 4 at 11am CT.
The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners will be unveiled during the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Ceremony presented by Gold Sport Collectibles on Friday, November 8, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.
On the eve of the announcement of the finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (2013 edition), I wanted to take the time to properly trumpet the cause of Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez.
But first, the obligatory consternation which you’ll hear ad nauseum whenever a Brewers-centric look at the Gold Glove is written.
Did you know that no Milwaukee Brewer has won a Gold Glove award since Robin Yount last won it as an American League shortstop back in 1982?
It’s been a long and cold winter in terms of off-season defensive recognition in Milwaukee. And while Wisconsin tends to have some actual long and cold winters, it’s high time Rawlings ends theirs in the Badger state.
Here a sampling of some things that didn’t exist the last time a Milwaukee Brewers won a Gold Glove Award.
- Nationwide availability of the Chicken McNugget
- Mario Bros (the arcade game)
- Hooters restaurants
- The Disney Channel
- Care Bears
- And as irony would have it, since you’re reading an internet blog, the Internet (TCP/IP protocol)
Still, while the Brewers have not had a hardware-winning season in over 30 years, they have had a handful of worthy and even deserving contenders for the award. Just last year saw the Brewers with a pair of “finalists”, which is to say that they finished in the top three of balloting. However, Ryan Braun in left field and Aramis Ramirez at third base ultimately ended up just being the most recent runners up. (Not to digress too much from getting to Gomez, but we all agree that Ramirez was robbed in broad daylight last year, right? I mean, of the finalists announced only David Wright had a legitimate argument for winning over Ramirez but by way of his offensive breakout — which is another argument unto itself — San Diego’s Chase Headley won. Yeah…that makes sense.)
Despite all of the disappointment and near misses over the years, this year is the one that should end the drought. This year is the one that should bring the accolades showering down on a Milwaukee Brewers defender like confetti at the Super Bowl.
Why? Well, let’s give you a few bullet points to check off.
- Increased Profile
- New contract
- Starting job (no platoon)
- National Exposure
- 1st All-Star selection of his career
- Atlanta skirmish
- Hank Aaron Award nomination
- MLB Network profile (http://brewernation.mlblogs.com/2013/08/08/mlb-network-feature-video-carlos-gomez-elevating-his-game/)
- Offensive Breakout
- Career highs in multiple categories including home runs
- Spectacular Plays
- Walk off catch
- Five home run thefts
And, for the first time, ACTUAL DEFENSIVE METRICS IMPACT THE RESULTS!!!
You read that correctly. Back in March, Rawlings announced a partnership with the Society for American Baseball Research (“SABR”) to develop a metric called “SDI” or “SABR Defensive Index”.
From Rawlings’ website, they state that “the new sabermetric component in the selection process is just another example of how the iconic (Gold Glove) Award has evolved throughout history as the industry standard honoring defensive excellence at the highest level of baseball.”
You can read the full news item here (http://www.rawlings.com/NewsDetailLanding.aspx?id=1556), including the names of the seven-person “independent committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement to devise the SDI.” They are called the SABR Defensive Committee.
And when that committee or any National League manager or coach (hopefully actually) looks at the SDI and other available defensive metrics, Gomez is simply the best defensive center fielder in the National League. (He’d be the best in the American League too, but each league votes separately.) Pick your statistical flavor: runs saved, range factor, outfield assists, UZR, Out of Zone, etc. Gomez is at or near the top in all of them.
So why in the world are Brewers fan so nervous about this? Precedent.
It’s wonderful that the SDI is formally being included in the calculation but the Gold Glove has a reputation for being awarded to an offense-minded player and/or a player on a good team because that’s how it’s gone down so often.
Therefore, working against Carlos Gomez are two key things. The Brewers’ 2013 team record (74-88 if you’ve forgotten or blocked it) and Andrew McCutchen.
The first half is what it is. The team’s record isn’t changing (though it would have been worse without Gomez in centerfield and that’s a fact). What’s frustrating is that Andrew McCutchen isn’t even the second-best center fielder in the National League (FanGraphs rankings here: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0) but because his team made the playoffs and he’s a favorite for National League Most Valuable Player, he’s seen as Gomez’s closest competition for the Gold Glove. If that sounds ludicrous it’s because it is ludicrous.
Oh, and the other big thing working against Gomez because it is in McCutchen’s favor…the leader of the Pirates won the NL CF Gold Glove in 2012. The danger there, of course, is the managers and coaches around the NL who don’t put the time into this award that it deserves and simply handicap to previous winners.
So yes, Carlos Gomez certainly deserves the Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence by a center fielder in the National League for the 2013 season. But will he actually win the thing?
The sad reality is that all of these accolades; all of these metrics; everything working in Gomez’s favor…usually isn’t worth its weight in gold.
The Milwaukee Brewers announced their postseason award winners as voted by members of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). A total of eight ballots were cast for each award, assigning five points for first place, three for second and one for third.
Center fielder Carlos Gomez was voted Brewers Most Valuable Player as he received all eight first-place votes (40 points). He was followed by shortstop Jean Segura (18 points), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (13) and pitcher Kyle Lohse (1). Gomez, a first-time All-Star selection this season, batted .284 with 24 HR, 73 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 147 games. He was among the National League leaders in triples (T2nd, 10), stolen bases (4th), slugging percentage (7th, .506) and extra-base hits (T8th, 61). Gomez became the first player in franchise history to produce 20+ home runs and 40+ stolen bases in a season. He was the only player in the Major Leagues to accomplish that feat in 2013. The Gold Glove Award candidate also recorded 12 assists in center field, which ranked second in the Major Leagues from that position.
Kyle Lohse was voted Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher as he received all eight first-place votes (40 points). Jim Henderson (24 points), Brandon Kintzler (7) and Yovani Gallardo (1) also received consideration. Lohse, who signed with the Brewers as a free agent on March 25, went 11-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 32 starts during his first season in Milwaukee. He led the team in ERA, innings pitched (198.2) and quality starts (20). He ranked fifth in the National League in fewest walks per nine innings (1.6). Lohse went 10-4 with a 2.91 ERA over his last 22 starts, posting 16 quality starts (139ip, 45er).
Lohse (38 points) was also voted Brewers Top Newcomer, receiving seven first-place votes and one second-place vote. He was followed by second baseman Scooter Gennett (26 points – one first-place vote). Outfielder Khris Davis (7 points) and pitcher Tyler Thornburg (1) were also listed on ballots.
Outfielder Norichika Aoki (34 points) received five first-place votes and three second-place votes to edge pitcher Brandon Kintzler (27 points – three first place-votes, four second-place votes) and earn Brewers Unsung Hero honors. A total of eight players were listed on ballots for this award. Aoki batted .286 with 8 HR, 37 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 155 games. He ranked among the National League leaders in multi-hit games (T7th, 50) and hits (T10th, 171). He led the team in games, at-bats (597), on-base percentage (.356) and walks (55) while tying Carlos Gomez for the team lead in runs (80). Aoki struck out just 40 times in 674 plate appearances this season, the best ratio in the Major Leagues (16.9).
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (33 points) earned the Good Guy Award, receiving six first-place votes and one second-place vote. The other first-place votes went to center fielder Carlos Gomez, who finished second with 18 points, and shortstop Jean Segura. A total of nine players were listed on ballots for this honor, the most of any award this season.
Every year the writers who cover the Milwaukee Brewers all season long get together, so to speak, and cast ballots for five team awards.
The awards are under the following five categories:
- Team MVP (not limited to just hitters)
- Best Pitcher (in any role)
- Best Newcomer (someone not on the team last year)
- Unsung Hero (given to someone who didn’t necessarily get a lot of credit for the job that they did)
- Good Guy (a true “media” award because this is for someone who is good in the community, clubhouse, etc but also was very helpful and gracious with the media)
In each of the past two years I have taken part in a Brewers blogger balloting in which several of us who actively and consistently write about the Brewers voted for the same awards. I’m still not sure what it says about me, but my top choices in each category have matched the winners of the same as voted on by those voting media members.
We’re likely doing the same again this year, but as it was revealed that the official award winners will be announced tomorrow I figured I’d get my ballot posted here in advance. I also like the chance to explain my selections.
(Sidebar: I continue to hope that BBWAA members will do likewise one day on their personal league MVP and Hall of Fame ballots.)
The balloting is such that we choose three men for each award with more points being assigned for higher ballot position.
Team MVP: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura
I’m aware of two things right off the bat with my selection. I’ll disagree with many of the voters who will look at the season Carlos Gomez had and consider him to be the “best” player where that equates to “value.” I also know that my definition of value isn’t strictly based on best statistical performance and that clashes with many. My relatively succinct explanation though is that the edge that pushed Lucroy past Gomez for the top spot in this category was more than just his offensive contributions. Lucroy posted a .280/.340/.455, 114 OPS+ season with career highs in many of the ”counting” statistics (H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB BB) due in part to career highs in both games played and plate appearances. But it’s why Lucroy totaled 147 games played and bested his high in plate appearances by 112 that led to my pick for MVP. Lucroy caught four out of every five days, sometimes more, and later in the season got a crash course in playing first base in an attempt to keep his consistently good bat in the lineup. Numbers are nice, and Gomez got the better of Lucroy in many of them, but probably not as many as you think.
In what was an extremely close decision in my mind, I had to give Carlos Gomez a second place finish here. He and Lucroy played in the same number of games and Gomez’s WAR and defensive runs saved and other factors definitely made his case, but Gomez wasn’t a runaway winner by any means and I think Lucroy’s steady presence kept a lot of things on that necessary even keel. Gomez absolutely had his best season in the Majors in 2013 and with a different set of circumstances he maybe wins this award. The numbers speak for themselves though Gomez had a monster first half but then slumped in July and significantly moreso in August. He rebounded in September, and Lucroy’s massive increase in playing time finally caught up to the catcher in September, it seemed, but Lucroy was much more consistent over the long haul the season.
Finally, while pitchers do qualify for this award, I had to recognize the production, surprise, and efforts of Jean Segura with an MVP ballot spot. “Seggy” opened eyes with his powerful first half (really, two-thirds) in which he hit 12 home runs (11 before the All-Star break) and slugged .487 before the break. Despite his youthful exuberence and energy, fatigue eventually set in for Segura who limped to the finish line — literally with a bum hamstring — that saw his batting average dip below .300 and his league stolen base lead disappear in the final series of the season in New York. The Brewers have barred Segura from playing in Winter Ball this off-season so hopefully he can stay fresher longer in 2014. If he does and is able to be more of what we as fans were treated to in April and May, he could very well win this award next year when you consider his defense abilities as well.
Best Pitcher: Kyle Lohse, Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler
Coming in late in camp, not really facing the level of competition that he needed to ramp up properly for the season, and dealing with injuries throughout the hellacious month of May, Kyle Lohse still takes this crown going away. Peralta had his growing pains. Gallardo struggled throughout the season until late in the year. Estrada missed a ton of time. The fifth starter was all over the place. All that said, Lohse didn’t just win for me by default. He posted a very good season in spite of his awful May (.987 OPS against).
Second place goes to Jim Henderson. He was extremely good in 9th inning Save situations after being thrust into the role after John Axford’s early struggles and again taking over after Francisco Rodriguez was traded to Baltimore. In total Henderson amassed 28 Saves, an ERA+ of 146, and a K/9 ratio of 11.3. It was a promising first full-season performance for the veteran of 10 minor league seasons.
Brandon Kintzler did a remarkable job for the roles he was used in. He was consistently effective and only had a handful of very bad appearances. He also appeared in the second-most games for the team behind only Michael Gonzalez who was sometimes brought in to face just one batter. Kintzler is definitely deserving of this spot and if you find yourself questioning that or not having realized it from the beginning, then that just feeds the fire as to why Kintzler pulled a second-place finish in another award for me.
Best Newcomer: Kyle Lohse, Scooter Gennett, Khris Davis
Scooter Gennett gets second place because despite his relatively limited playing time he exceeded expectations on multiple levels and put in jeopardy the starting job of an injured veteran. Gennett demonstrated an enormous platoon split, so he’s certainly got plenty of room for improvement at the plate, but he still did enough in 2013 to warrant a significant look in Spring Training next year along with a second place finish for this award in my opinion.
Khris Davis was an obvious choice for this spot for me. He almost took the second place vote but Gennett did more for me. Davis struggled after initially making the 25-man roster out of spring training but certainly held his own once he came back up for the balance of the season after Braun’s suspension. Davis has even pressed the issue of getting his bat into the lineup that Doug Melvin admitted that they’ve had internal discussions about moving Ryan Braun to right field since Davis is a left-field-only defensive player. That could cause a domino effect that could include trading a productive and popular player in the incumbent right fielder, Nori Aoki.
Unsung Hero: Martin Maldonado, Brandon Kintzler, Kyle Lohse
As I stated last year when I gave Maldy the first place spot in this category, his receiving, throwing, and handling of the pitching staff were very good despite playing far less in 2013 than in 2012. And while he got a bit more acclaim this year, his impact on the developing Wily Peralta deserves the recognition that this award sheds at least some light on.
Second place goes to Brandon Kintzler in a somewhat subjective vote. Kintzler was often used as a fireman early in the season, a role in which he flourished. That success got him “promoted” to set-up man some time after the job came open in July. Kintzler had a very strong rate of stranded inherited runners for much of the year and bridged a gap that Ron Roenicke didn’t always know how he was going to fill. Kintzler recorded more than three outs on a number of occasions and was truly a bullpen utility man at times. Kintzler certainly isn’t unsung in the coaches’ room though, and he’ll be in the mix for the late innings of games from the jump in 2014.
Kyle Lohse was going to get second place here for his veteran leadership and helping the young pitchers on staff remain calm and steady, but that aspect of what he brought to the team got a decent amount of publicity late in the year. It definitely warrants inclusion on the list for me, but no longer that second place finish.
Good Guy: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jim Henderson
In the mold of why John Axford won this award in 2012, Jonathan Lucroy was as stand up a guy as there was in the locker room this year. It didn’t matter if it was a great win or a tough loss, if no other hitter wanted to talk to the media, Lucroy gave his time. He would break down pitchers’ stuff and tell you what he saw from his vantage. He would speak candidly about topics that other teammates avoided like Ryan Braun, struggles in the field and at the plate, losing streaks…you name it and he would give the media the quotes they needed. The other factors for this award speak to community involvement (Lucroy was the team’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee) and how they are in the clubhouse (Lucroy definitely emerged as a team leader this season, when it desperately needed one).
The other player who was available the most and would definitely tell you his opinion on any number of topics was Carlos Gomez. He had a flare in his description and provided many memorable quotes during the year. He was appropriately subdued when the situation called for it and was bouncing around and bringing energy when needed.
Another personal choice is Jim Henderson. Henderson was eager to speak when approached and didn’t just spit up cliches and the same thing over and over. He was thoughtful and well-spoken along with being willing and available.
So those are my choices. Let me hear yours either on social media or, preferably, in the comments.