Results tagged ‘ Martin Maldonado ’
If you’re otherwise unable to keep up on news as it happens throughout the day (via social media, or however), allow me to catch you up on the all the roster news coming out of One Brewers Way over the past several days.
(I’ve tweeted all of this as it happened, but this is a quick summary so it’s all in one place.)
- October 27th
- 3B Luis Jiménez claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- October 30th
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- Zach Duke
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Lyle Overbay
- Mark Reynolds
- Francisco Rodriguez
- A report came out that the 2015 contract option on Yovani Gallardo had been exercised
- Five players filed for, and were granted, free agency
- October 31st
- Brewers confirm picking up Gallardo’s option
- Rickie Weeks officially became a free agent when the team declined the 2015 option on his contract
- Brewers officially exercised their half of the mutual 2015 option on the contract of Aramis Ramirez
- Ramirez officially has three (3) days — read Monday — to decide whether he will opt in as well or decline the option to become a free agent
- C Juan Centeno claimed off waivers from the New York Mets
Quick thoughts (because you can get a list anywhere):
Jiménez sounds like a great glove with some power who carries a higher average than Reynolds. Truly feels like Doug Melvin found a player worth replacing the veteran with.
Speaking of the free agents, the Brewers could look to bring back either Duke or Gorzelanny (though likely not both) but there’s certainly a tenable position that with Duke’s performance and Gorzelanny’s recent health concerns that they choose to let both sign contracts elsewhere. I’d lean toward them re-signing Duke of the two, though Gorzelanny could be cheaper. Overbay has said publicly that he’s leaning toward retirement. As for Reynolds, when he was simply passed over down the stretch last season, it felt like he dropped out of favor. He was streakier at the plate than I think the Brewers anticipated.
Gallardo’s option getting picked up makes all the sense in the world. I covered that move specifically here before it was confirmed Friday morning.
Rickie Weeks leaving Milwaukee is truly a notable moment. He’s been in the franchise for a long time, and was really the first of the high draft picks which ultimately led to winning seasons and playoff runs. While he never did realize the level of a #2 overall draft pick due mainly to injuries, he was the consummate professional in his time in Milwaukee. I wish him consistent success wherever his career takes him next.
Wanting to bring Ramirez back makes sense to a degree as the Brewers haven’t yet developed an internal replacement at third base. Should he decline his option to seek a multi-year deal elsewhere, the Brewers could turn to Jiménez or another internal option like Jason Rogers who played there in 2014 for the first time since college, or even, assuming he stays as has been rumored, Taylor Green? (Yes, that’s how thin the hot corner has been for the Brewers.)
Finally, as for Centeno, I haven’t had much of a chance to read up on him but I did see that he was a tremendous defensive season in 2013 in the minors though he reportedly regressed this past season. He hit pretty well in the minors in 2014 though. Without another catcher on the 40-man roster outside of the MLB level duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, it’s nice to have someone readily available who also has minor league options remaining.
Anyway, there’s your end of October round up of the Brewers roster moves over the past few days. Also noteworthy in roster news is that the Washington Nationals declined their option on 1B Adam LaRoche, making him a free agent. He could be a top target in free agency for Doug Melvin
When the discipline from the Easter Sunday incident in Pittsburgh was meted out on Tuesday, I had an apostrophe…lightning had just struck my brain.
In situations where teams play each other again in the same season, would suspending for the next time the teams play make sense?
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) April 22, 2014
The basic reason behind my idea?
Because, for example, Gomez “got in trouble” against the Pirates. So why should that benefit the Padres, Cubs, or anyone else?
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) April 22, 2014
So my premise is a simple one. Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado were suspended for an on-field altercation against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Travis Snider and Russell Martin (though somehow not Gerrit Cole) were suspended for the same on-field altercation against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the punishment(s) be served when the same two teams squared off again?
There are certainly problems with the idea, including the “what ifs” of the suspended player being traded or sent to the minors or somehow not with his team that next series. And you’d have to consider how (if at all) the punishment being delayed affects the effectiveness of it. Furthermore, if the teams don’t play again the same season, I don’t think works nearly as well.
But there are many reasons that this would be a good thing, in my opinion. Let’s explore some of them.
1. The punishment doesn’t benefit random opponents.
This is especially pertinent to the basis of the argument. The bottom line is that the Pirates and Brewers got into it and suspensions were the result. So why should the Brewers play short-handed against teams other than the Pirates? Shouldn’t Gomez and Maldonado’s absences hurt the Brewers against Pittsburgh since tempers flared at them? Likewise, why should anyone except the Brewers benefit from Pittsburgh being short Russell Martin and Travis Snider?
2. Players could still appeal length, but this would put an end to seemingly (at times) random scheduling of the hearings and give more of a definitive feel to the punishment, along with quicker decisions.
In the past (and possibly still today?) players would have the appeals heard the next time they played in New York, out of convenience. The Brewers play the New York Mets in Flushing in early June. Could the league really wait that long to decide on Gomez’s appeal? If so, he’ll have played in a lot of games between last Tuesday and then. In my opinion, if you don’t mind that he gets to appeal for weeks, then you shouldn’t mind waiting to serve the suspension until whenever the next time two teams play is.
3. The teams involved would know when the suspensions would be served.
This does benefit the teams to a degree. In our working example, both teams had catchers suspended. This would allow for some manipulation of off days to make sure the teams’ other catchers were rested for the known suspension days, but in circumstances like Maldonado’s whose suspension was for five games, he’d missed a full series and then part of the next one on top of that.
4. It also guarantees that suspension earned concurrently would be served concurrently.
Nothing seems more out of place to me than one guy appealing and one guy serving so that the suspensions don’t overlap. The actions certainly overlapped, so why shouldn’t the punishment? Want to curb some of the participation in these on-field altercations? Making players serve suspensions at the same time might give them pause…at least the next time if not the first time. And maybe that’s enough to avoid some of the physical fallout.
So again, I understand that there are holes in this idea, but few ideas were perfect at their concept.
What are some added benefits you foresee? What are some problems you can think of? Are any of them dealbreakers?
Respond in the comments and let’s have a fun discussion here. I’ll reply to any serious comments as they come in. (Comments are moderated to avoid spam, so if your comment doesn’t show up right away, it will once I reply/approve.)
Thanks for indulging me in this mental exercise.
Major League Baseball announced the following suspensions for players involved in the on-field incident in Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 20th.
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Pittsburgh Pirates
All players were fined as well.
Suspensions can be appealed or they are effective immediately. Carlos Gomez previously indicated that he would appeal any levied suspension.
Of note, Snider got fewer games than Gomez, which makes little sense to me. I’d also like to point out that Gerrit Cole, whose expressed feelings incited all of this, was not suspended.
As reminded by a couple of people on Twitter, players suspended for on-field incidents take their 25-man roster spot with them to suspension. What that means is that when Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado serve whatever suspensions they are (probably going to be) given, the Brewers will play without their roster spot for that length of time.
Carlos Gomez has already said that he’ll appeal any suspension levied against him and they can be staggered such that even if both players miss games, they won’t have to be missed concurrently.
That said, being that Maldonado is the team’s backup catcher the Brewers will likely want to have coverage available on the 25-man roster just in case the worst happens to the healthy catcher (*knocks on wood*) Jonathan Lucroy.
Since the Brewers don’t have a third catcher on the 40-man roster, any coverage would require a pair of moves. They’d need to open a 40-man roster spot and then move someone off the 25-man as well. Could that be accomplished by pushing the injured Tom Gorzelanny to the 60-day DL and then maybe optioning a relief pitcher or even Scooter Gennett down to Nashville for the length of the suspension? That would seem to make the most sense. It saves you from potentially losing an asset, and since you have several relief pitchers already making use of options this season, there’s plenty of flexibility.
As for losing Gomez, who in all likelihood will get less of a suspension than Maldonado, covering that all depends on how long it takes for his appeal to be heard. If it takes long enough that Logan Schafer could come back from the DL, then fine. However if it’s sooner than that, Elian Herrera would need to fill in as the starting CF and they’d only have three outfielders on the roster unless they again did a coupled move to get the other 40-man outfielder (Caleb Gindl) onto the 25-man roster.
Then again, if they can stagger the suspensions such that they’re only down one man at a given time, perhaps Elian Herrera’s versatility can cover the team well enough. After all, he was originally signed as a catching prospect when he was picked up as an amateur free agent by the Dodgers back in 2003.
Missing the players is bad enough, and we’ll have to wait to see how it all shakes out, but losing the ability to cover the games those players miss makes it an even tougher situation for the Brewers.
Here are the bench clearing lowlights
And Carlos Gomez discussing the situation during postgame…
Here are the three solo home runs that…
Tied the game in the 8th…
Tied the game in the 9th…
Won the game in the 14th…
Here is a listing of the MLB salaries of the 26* men earning MLB-level pay from the Milwaukee Brewers as of Opening Day.
Quick math: The figures below total $101,219,338.00
Aramis Ramirez $15,137,803
Matt Garza $12,209,424
Rickie Weeks $12,000,000
Yovani Gallardo $11,500,000
Ryan Braun $11,111,111
Kyle Lohse $11,000,000
Carlos Gomez $7,000,000
Marco Estrada $3,325,000
Francisco Rodriguez $3,250,000
Tom Gorzelanny* $3,150,000
Jonathan Lucroy $2,100,000
Mark Reynolds $2,000,000
Lyle Overbay $1,500,000
Zach Duke $850,000
Jean Segura $534,000
Wily Peralta $515,000
Jim Henderson $512,000
Brandon Kintzler $507,000
Logan Schafer $505,000
Tyler Thornburg $505,000
Scooter Gennett $504,000
Khris Davis $503,000
Jeff Bianchi $ 502,000
Martin Maldonado $ 502,000
Will Smith $502,000
Wei-Chung Wang $500,000
*Tom Gorzelanny is on the 15-day Disabled List to begin the season
Source: USA Today
Here is the breakdown of the Opening Day 25-man roster.
59 Zach Duke* – LHP
41 Marco Estrada – RHP
49 Yovani Gallardo – RHP
22 Matt Garza – RHP
29 Jim Henderson – RHP
53 Brandon Kintzler – RHP
26 Kyle Lohse – RHP
38 Wily Peralta – RHP
57 Francisco Rodriguez – RHP
13 Will Smith – LHP
30 Tyler Thornburg – RHP
51 Wei-Chung Wang – LHP
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado
14 Jeff Bianchi
2 Scooter Gennett
24 Lyle Overbay
16 Aramis Ramirez
7 Mark Reynolds
9 Jean Segura
23 Rickie Weeks
8 Ryan Braun
18 Khris Davis
27 Carlos Gomez
1 Logan Schafer
DISABLED LIST (1)
32 Tom Gorzelanny LHP (left shoulder)
10 Ron Roenicke – Manager
33 Mike Guerrero – Coach
35 Garth Iorg – 1B Coach
39 Rick Kranitz – Pitching Coach
36 Jerry Narron – Bench Coach
37 Johnny Narron – Hitting Coach
6 Ed Sedar – 3B Coach
31 John Shelby – Outfield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher
We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.
Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.
I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?
With that, to the list!
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Yovani Gallardo
- Kyle Lohse
- Marco Estrada
- Matt Garza
- Wily Peralta
I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.
The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.
Relief Pitchers (7)
(with one more starting on DL)
- Jim Henderson
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Will Smith*
- Brandon Kintzler
- Wei-Chung Wang*
- Rob Wooten
- Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
- Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)
Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.
For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.
Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.
As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.
- Mark Reynolds
- Rickie Weeks
- Jean Segura
- Aramis Ramirez
- Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
- Scooter Gennett**
- Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)
Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.
Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.
The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.
For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Ryan Braun
- Logan Schafer**
Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed ---
So there you have it.
I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.
Some awfully good things in this world come in dozens. A dozen eggs. A 12-pack of your favorite canned beverage. Your standard box of donuts (provided the baker doesn’t get generous).
Today’s entry in the Terrific 12s is how many days remain before we descend on Miller Park for Opening Day!
The man who’ll be wearing #12 (as is the point of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”) on Opening Day is none other than the backup catcher…
The backstop affectionately known as “Maldy” has been the primary backup for the Milwauke Brewers now for two seasons, although for a good chunk of 2012 he was starting while Jonathan Lucroy was rehabbing from basically a broken hand.
Not known for his offensive prowess, Maldonado’s calling card is his work behind the plate. He’s a very strong receiver, has a cannon for an arm, and is mechanically sound in all facets of catching. He’s maintained a strong caught stealing percentage and his framing is good.
Another benefit that Maldonado has brought is his seeming ability to connect with the pitching staff, particularly the more mentally unique starters. He pairs very well with the combustible Wily Peralta right now, almost taking a “big brother” approach with the young Dominican. He’s worked with the picky Randy Wolf and learned the way he liked to work through games.
Nobody has issues with Maldonado’s in-game prowess at pitch selection and knowledge of how to attack a team’s hitters. One of his idols is fellow Puerto Rican catcher Yadier Molina, and you can see aspects of his game present.
But the bottom line for Maldonado’s value is not in his batting average or RBIs or many other statistics, but rather in many of the advanced metrics that measure the parts of his game where he truly excells.
Maldonado, who is 6’0″ (and dropped over 20 pounds in the off-season through an altered diet) does offer a bit of versatility in being able to play first base in a pinch, but his value is truly in his primary skill set and role.
Whether it’s every fifth day like clockwork, being paired up with a particular pitcher again, or more traditionally subbing in day games after night games, Maldonado will bring a quality work ethic, be well-prepared, and add value in one or more ways.
Not bad for a guy who hit .169 last year in in 183 at-bats across 67 games.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #13 Will Smith
- #14 Jeff Bianchi
- #15 Caleb Gindl
- #16 Aramis Ramirez
- #18 Khris Davis
- #20 Jonathan Lucroy
- #21 Juan Francisco
- #22 Matt Garza
- #23 Rickie Weeks
- #24 Lyle Overbay
- #25 Hunter Morris
- #26 Kyle Lohse
- #27 Carlos Gomez
- #29 Jim Henderson
- #30 Tyler Thornburg
- #32 Tom Gorzelanny
- #38 Wily Peralta
- #40 Johnny Hellweg
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Alfredo Figaro
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez
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.