-Alfonso Soriano: .262/.322/.499, .821 OPS.
Say what you will about Sori, but this was his best all-around season with Chicago. Despite a nagging knee injury, Soriano played in 151-games, hit 32 HR and drove in a career-high 108 RBI, leading the club in both categories, with little protection in the lineup.
He may not win the Gold Glove, but his fielding was the best it’s ever been and the guy earned every penny of his contract setting a positive example for the youthful Cubs both on and off the field.
Now it’s a matter of whether or not the Cubs should trade him this offseason? If so, how do the Cubs replace Soriano’s offensive production, or is it best to keep him for another season?
Honorable mentions: Darwin Barney (clutch fielding, leadership), David DeJesus (gamer, leadership), Anthony Rizzo (sparked lineup, solid defense), Shawn Camp (because Sveum says so!).
Here’s my regular season awards ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. As a member of the Cubs chapter I have a vote for the National League awards.
Below I’ve listed my selections and the date at which the awards will be announced by the BBA. Agree or disagree? Let me know!
October 15: Connie Mack Award (manager of the year)
-Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals: Many thought the Nationals would play above .500. Some even felt the Nats had an outside shot at contending. But no one figured Washington would win the most games in the majors (98). Not to mention, if Davey Johnson wasn’t already a HOF manager, having led his fourth different organization to the postseason makes him a lock for Cooperstown. Honorable mentions: Bruce Bochy, Giants – Dusty Baker, Reds – Ozzie Guillen, Marlins (JK!)
October 16: Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year)
-Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds: .270/.331/.498, .817 OPS. Frazier doesn’t lead any offensive categories among rookies. He didn’t play in the most games or receive the most national attention. But none of that keeps him from being the best rookie ballplayer in the National League. He played a huge role for Dusty Baker by filling in for long stretches for an injured Scott Rolen and later an injured Joey Votto. He played solid defense at multiple positions. He hit well enough to bat from the middle of the lineup. And while Frazier may not lead any one particular category offensively, he is near the top in just about all of them for rookies. He’s definitely not the flashy pick of a Bryce Harper, but he is the best rookie for my money. Honorable mentions: Wade Miley, Diamondbacks – Bryce Harper, Nationals – Wilson Rosario, Rockies.
October 17: Goose Gossage Award (top reliever)
-Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves: (3-1, 1.01 ERA) 42/45 saves. Seven earned runs allowed in 62.2 innings, including 116 strikeouts. Three home runs allowed and a .126 average against. A 0.65 WHIP. These are just ridiculous numbers. Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman is a close second despite pitching 10 more innings than Kimbrel. But Atlanta’s fireballer allowed half the number of runs and walks than Chapman did closing for the Reds. Honorable mentions: Chapman, Reds – Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies – Tyler Clippard, Nationals.
October 18: Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young)
-RA Dickey, New York Mets: (20-6, 2.67 ERA). Dickey pitched the most innings (232.2) with the most strikeouts (230) and tied for the most starts (33) of any NL starter. He won 20-games on a (74-88) Mets team. Good enough for me. Honorable mentions: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – Johnny Cueto, Reds – Matt Cain, Giants.
October 19: Stan Musial Award (MVP)
-Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: .336/.408/.549, .957 OPS. Posey carried the Giants to the postseason in the wake of Melky Carbrera’s PEDs suspension by winning the batting title and sporting a sparkling .957 OPS, second only to cheater Ryan Braun’s .987 OPS, while playing in 114-games at the most demanding position. Honorable mentions: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates – Yadier Molina, Cardinals – David Wright, Mets – Aramis Ramirez, Brewers.
Congratulations to Therese M. on winning Brian’s Super Bowl Bash XII!
And a pat on the back for all who tabbed the Giants as Super Bowl champions.
A big thank you to everyone who participated. It’s always a pleasure catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
Let’s do it again next year!
~AS FOR THE GAME…
Adrian Beltre has become this October’s version of Edgar Renteria–an accomplished veteran making the most of the postseason.
With all due respect to Ian Kinsler, who I tabbed as the early favorite to win the World Series MVP Award, Mike Napoli has earned top honors should Texas go on to win it all.
The bearded slugger remains a surprise thorn in the Cardinals side delivering clutch hits throughout the series, including his tiebreaking two-run double in the eight giving the Rangers a 3-2 series advantage in Game 5 Monday night.
Napoli is hitting .308 with 2 HR and a series leading 9 RBI, which nearly matches the offensive output from the rest of the Rangers’ lineup (12 RBI).
As a Cubs fan it’s easy to dislike Albert Pujols, but you have to respect the guy, even as a rival Cardinal.
Take a look at Pujols’ 162-game averages for his career and tell me there’s not a better player in the game:
.334/.427/.628 with 42 home runs, 129 RBIs, 94 walks, 124 runs scored, a 1.055 OPS and 374 total bases.
That from a guy who was taken in the 13th round of the 1999 draft…and just another reason I love the game of baseball.
Ted Keith of Sports Illustrated wrote a terrific article on Albert Pujols’ third MVP Award. He sums up Pujols best with this line…
Affectionately known as “The Hawk,” Andre Dawson cut his teeth with the Montreal Expos playing in 24 games during 1976.
The following campaign Dawson made a name for himself winning Rookie of the Year honors after batting .282 avg., 19 HRs and 65 RBIs.
Dawson played 10 seasons north of the boarder using a unique blend of raw power and speed to collect more than 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases with the Expos.
In his fourth season The Hawk began a streak of eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1980-1988) in center field while also twice finishing second in the NL MVP voting: 1981 Mike Schmidt and 1983 Dale Murphy.
However, Dawson jettisoned Montreal’s Astroturf for the grass surface of Wrigley Field in 1987; his ageing knees holding up long enough for the right fielded to finally claim the NL’s MVP Award (.287 avg., 49 HRs and 137 RBIs) despite Chicago’s last place finish in the division.
The memorable 1987 season made Dawson a fan favorite in Chicago; he stayed five more seasons in the Windy City before departing for Boston after 1992.
Two years later the Miami, Florida native returned home to wrap up his 21-year playing career with the Marlins.
While only managing to play in 121 games over two seasons with Florida, Dawson put the finishing touches on a career that made him one of only six players ever to club more than 300 home runs (438) and steal more than 300 bases (314).
Furthermore, Dawson is also part of the elite 400 homers and 300 steals club; only Willie Mays (660 HR, 338 SB) and Barry Bonds (762 HR, 514 SB) have achieved such numbers.
That being said, Andre’s best bid at the Hall of Fame came during 2005 when he received 61 percent of the 75 percent needed for induction into the Hall.
See Dawson’s career statistics at baseball-reference.com.
Read more articles like this at the Baseball Legends blog.