Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The season is just about in the books. What better time than the last day of the season to hand out the prestigious Marlins Diehards end of season awards?
Dontrelle Willis Out of Nowhere Award, given to the player who was completely off the radar in Spring Training that made a big impact on the team
Greg Dobbs was a non-roster invitee who only had a small chance of surviving as a left-handed bat off the bench. A strong spring won him a roster spot. Injuries early in the season meant he started many games and came through better than anyone could have expected. He finishes the season with over 400 plate appearances and though no stat jumps out as extraordinary, he was hitting over .300 for a fair share of the season and deserves plaudits for consistent production and helping keep the team afloat in April and May. I still don't believe he did it.
Jorge Julio Award, given to the new addition to team who completely flopped
Dave and I racked our brains but ultimately decided nobody deserves the awful comparison to Jorge Julio this year, although in the first few months of the season it was a tight three horse race. John Buck came the closest, but he did hit 16 home runs and his numbers overall were decent. He's overpaid, but no Julio. By May we were all counting the days until we could release Omar Infante, but he rebounded very well and has earned a new two-year contract. Javier Vazquez was looking like the second coming of the 2005 Al Leiter, but he too reversed course in impressive fashion.
Darren Daulton Deadline Dandy, given to the best midseason acquisition
For the second consecutive year, this award remains vacant as the team did no business at the trading deadine. In typical Fish fashion, several players were added via the waiver-wire, but none of them performed strongly enough to earn this honor.
Next Member of the Marlins Diaspora: self explanatory
Leo Nunez Juan Carlos Oviedo, at least we hope, will be long gone. Even before his recent identity/visa issues, it seemed unlikely the team would bring back a middling closer for a price exceeding $5 million. Even more, recent reports suggest the Marlins very well would have traded him during the season had they not known about his ongoing problem. It will be interesting to see if they decide to tender him or not and try to trade him. I'd imagine they'd just cut their losses and non-tender him.
Bret Barberie Bizarre Boo-Boo: given to the player with the weirdest injury of the season, named after the time former Marlin Bret Barberie missed a game due to a case of habanero juice in the eye:
Loafing and a lack of effort has always been a criticism of Hanley Ramirez, especially in the last 18 months. But what happens when you keep asking a guy to play harder and hustle? He gets hurt. This shoulder injury occured on August 2nd and caused Hanley to miss the rest of the year. Good going Marlins fans!
And now, the generic awards...
Most Valuable Player
The man, the myth, the legend, Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. Forget the numbers, simply put, Mr. Monsterdong was one of the few small reasons myself and other fans continued tuning into games after June. Now onto the numbers. The 22 year old slugger crushed 34 home runs and is third in all of MLB in isolated power behind only Jose Bautista and Curtis Granderson. His 4.5 WAR led the team by some margin.
Despite winning just eight games, Anibal Sanchez finishes the year with a solid 3.67 ERA and led Marlins pitchers with a 3.7 WAR. It was a down year for hurlers on the club (looking at you Ricky Nolasco) but after Josh Johnson went down at least Anibal stepped his game up and acted like an ace. The rest of the team even treated him like one deciding to give him poor run support and have the blowpen blow a bunch of his games. Nonetheless, it looks like his injury issues are behind him and he's a very solid big-leaguer.
Before the season, I had no idea what a Steve Cishek was. He arrived to the team in late May and turns out he's a flame-throwing reliever who's now a candidate to be the closer in 2012. He made 44 appearances this year and posted a 2.67 ERA. His good K-rate (basically one per inning) may give him the nod to in fact be the closer. If that's the case I just hope he learns how to throw the ball to first base properly, perhaps have Gaby Sanchez wear a catchers mask.
Once again coming into the year the Marlins starting pitching staff appeared as a strength that some writers were even calling underrated. They fell very short of expectations. The early injury to J.J., which turned into a lost season was devastating. As mentioned above, Anibal did his part, but it wasn't enough to mask the misfortunes of the others. Ricky Nolasco was up and down, mainly the latter. Javier Vazquez rebounded and had a great second half, but his first half was abysmal. And of course, everyone's favorite Chris Volstad perpetually had baserunners circling around him.
We'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge Emilio Bonifacio in some way. The perennial punching bag of MDH turned it around and had a great 2011. He posted a 3.3 WAR, second amongst Marlins position players. Despite our pleas, the club made him an everyday player and he made over 600 plate appearances. He responded by posting a career-best .367 on base percentage and even managed to hit five home runs (all out of the park!).