It’s that time of year again. Well, a little past that time of year baseball-wise, but music just had the AMA’s and didn’t they have some kind of film awards recently? So, I’m still claiming it’s awards season. Every year, the bloggers put together a ballot mixed with moments from the season, and some for the bloggers themselves. Last year, my post might have been one of the longest out there at a few words over 2000, let’s see if I can keep this one shorter, but I make absolutely no promises!
1) Player of the year: Jhonny Peralta
This might be because he’s one of my personal favorites, but I really wanted to give Matt Carpenter this award. I was trying to think of ways to give it to him over Peralta, and the more I tried to find a way that Peralta wasn’t worth it, I just couldn’t find anything. Jhonny Peralta had a good year. In fact, a much better year than I had originally anticipated. The power was there in the beginning of the year, and the average eventually caught up, even if he didn’t get as high as I like. Ge had much better defense that I thought he would have, too. Depending on what metric you wanted to look at, possibly the best year defensively he’s ever had.
2) Pitcher of the year: Adam Wainwright
If this was a different category, the other two would have been a better fit. Lance Lynn and Pat Neshek (like Peralta above) were both very, very much better than I expected, but if you’re looking for the best pitcher on the staff, it’s still the ace. He had a bit of a dead-arm period that hurt his stats a bit, even though I don’t think anyone would have beaten the season that Clayton Kershaw had, Wainwright still was the third best pitcher in the NL according to the Cy Young vote….or second best according to the MVP vote…. That’s not confusing.
3) Game of the Year: NLDS Game 1
I really wanted to pick Oscar’s debut, as his tragic death is still fresh and raw in my mind and probably will be for a while, but it really came down to the NLDS games. It was hard to choose between the two, but I knew they were the ones mainly because it was when the Cardinals knocked down the NL MVP and Cy Young winner. I am choosing Game 1 over game 4 because two reasons. 1. They were down 6-1 before they came back on Kershaw, and 2. I can barely remember many games (if any) that the Cardinals scored 10 runs in any game, much less one against Kershaw.
4) Surprise Player of the Year: Pat Neshek
Neshek’s contract barely made me think it was much of anything at all when it was signed. The guy got a minor league contract, and I just assumed he would be insurance on the bullpen. Didn’t think his numbers were that impressive or anything. Then he goes out and has the year that he did. His end of the year numbers were great, but if you look at how he did for most of the year, it’s even better. Until August 25th, he had a 0.81 ERA and a WHIP of 0.596. That’s incredible.
5)Disappointing Player of the Year: Kevin Siegrist
This one was relatively easy because of the company that Siegrist was in with the other nominees. Justin Masterson was a terrible pitcher, but to say that he was disappointing is a small stretch because I already had such low expectations when he came over to the club. That was a HUGE head-scratcher because I didn’t think he was good before getting him and then he wasn’t doing good after, either. Peter Bourjos was pretty good when he was getting consistent playing time after his early-season woes. He was far from being utilized correctly, and it’s hard to say that the player who I consider to be the best center overall center fielder on the team really disappointing. I had big expectations for Siegrist going into the season and although he was injured, it was really disappointing to see his year be wasted.
6) Rookie of the Year: Kolten Wong
Wong is the clear choice here. Although he had a couple of times that he went to Memphis (once by injury and once by Matheny’s choice), he came back, and he came back strong. I did expect his average to be a bit higher, but I think that’ll come in time. He just finished his first full season as a major leaguer. There’s plenty of time to improve. 12 home runs was nothing to scoff at, and he was pretty solid defensively. Also, getting third in rookie of the year voting has to count for something here, too.
7) Acquisition of the Year: Pat Neshek
If you go look at two of the people on the nominees for this award – Peralta and Neshek – that I also voted for other awards in this ballot, then you’d think it comes down to those two. The reason I picked Neshek over Peralta is $$$$. Both had fantastic years, but Peralta was paid so much that he needed to have at least a marginally good year or he wouldn’t have been worth his contract. Neshek was paid little and played well above his contract. That’s a great acquisition!
8) Most Anticipated Cardinal: Stephen Piscotty
I am a huge fan of Piscotty. I liked him a ton in last year’s spring training. Part of it is his hitting, but much of it is having something out there that other than Beltran, we haven’t had much of in the outfield: a cannon for an arm. It’ll be great to have someone that people who are at least a little afraid to take the extra base on to tag up against. And other than a poor July where he hit .200 last year, he hit .308 the rest of the year in Memphis. With Heyward taking right field, it’s a bit more up in the air on when we’ll see him as Heyward will be a free agent in 2016, but they say they want to sign him to a long-term contract. Holliday won’t be a free agent until 2018 and has a no-trade clause, but they could see if he’d waive it. Piscotty is the team’s top-rated prospect, so I don’t know if they’ll just let him rot on the bench or in AAA, so let’s see what the plan is.
9) Cardinal Moment of the Year: “The Big City Leap”
I really, really wanted to vote for when Oscar brought the rain. It was the most iconic moment from his career that I will always cherish. That said, the knock-out blow to Kershaw in NLDS game 4 was a beauty of a moment. Not only that but it was the moment where he initially thought it was gone, but then started running a little thinking he hadn’t gotten all of it, and finally the euphoria of watching it go over the wall. I think it was the giddy jump and the big smile on his face that clinched it for him. A big man jumping around like a little kid with so much excitement was too fun not to smile along with him.
10) Best Individual Cardinal Blog: C70 at the Bat
It’s hard to vote against the Godfather. He’s a great writer and his passion comes through when he puts his pieces together. It’s hard to even try and live up to the gold standard that he sets. His blog is what my grandparents would call “an oldie but a goodie”. Or at least it’s an oldie in our realm.
11) Best Team Cardinal Blog: Redbird Rants
I still really enjoy the blog that got my vote last year – Aaron Miles’ Fastball – but now that Tara has branched out and gotten her own individual blog, it’s no longer a team blog. So, now my vote shifts to Redbird Rants. Daniel Solzman always does a great job over there, and his piece that was nominated for best post of the year on Piscotty was not only a great read, but a well-researched article. He’s really good about reaching out to people for his pieces as well. Adding on Miranda Remaklus and Doug Vollet is just adding to the good work they do over there. Definitely worth going and reading.
12) Best Media Coverage: Derrick Goold
I’m a big fan of Jennifer Langosch. She’s a great writer, and before I really branched out to the other people in the Cardinals Media, I got most or all of my news from the Cardinals website and her work. That said, when I followed Goold on Twitter, that all changed, and much of it has to do with the fact that he’s good about interacting with fans on Twitter. If I had a question, more times than not if I asked him, he’d at least give me a short reply. I also did have one extended discourse with him on Facebook over I can’t even remember what it was so long ago. That, along with the quality of his work, helps to put him over the top and get my vote.
13) Best Rookie Cardinal Blog: Baseball Geek in Galveston
There were alot of good blogs on here, including ones that I completely forgot that are only a year old. Red Cleat Diaries is one of my favorites. Cajun Cardinal and Gateway Sports Connection are run by a couple of young guys that have some great talent. Bird Tales and High Sock Sunday both seem like pillars of Cards Conclave in their short time there. If you don’t know me, though, then you don’t know that I’m always rooting for the underdog. This is one of those times. Doug Vollet may not be the most active guy on Twitter or the most social in general, but he puts out consistently good work. He’s worked his way from his own blog to Redbird Rants and onto the Cards Conclave as well in just these short few years.
14) Post of the Year: The Outfield Chronicles: A Conversation
As much as each one of the nominees were deserving, I felt this one kinda stood above the rest. You have a personal and moving story from Doug, the Piscotty article by Daniel Solzman that I alluded to earlier, and many others, each worth mentioning. This piece by Christine had it all, I thought. An interesting fantasy conversation that came from a candid moment in a baseball game that just seemed like it could have just been two guys hanging out. I loved it. Made me chuckle a little, and also pretty smart way to get your thoughts out there. I could never pull it off myself, but Christine did a great job with it.
15) Best UCB Project: Mailbag
I think that of all the projects, the mailbag was probably the best one because we got to ask some questions where you could get to know each other and some of the questions were able to get to know people as a person and not just what their thoughts are about Cardinals baseball. The Roundtables are great to find out what people think about specific questions about the team, but we don’t make the connection past their views on baseball and see there is a person behind those things, if we can do that, it can change your perspective completely.
16) Best UCB Podcast: UCB Radio
This is the only one that I’m on, and so that made me not want to vote for it because I don’t like voting for myself, but I like it for so many reasons. One of the biggest is that the rotation of hosts and guests can be nice to see the wide range of views within the blogosphere. There is no wrong vote here, though. All of the podcasts are great.
17) Best non-UCB Podcast: Best Podcast in Baseball
Goold and Bernie are two of the smartest minds in the Cardinals media-sphere (I mean if there’s a blogosphere, is there a media-0-sphere or something?). They have the access to the Cardinals that lets them have a unique perspective on the things that are happening on the inside as well. Goold has also been great with his weekly chats, but this takes it to a new level. I can’t say I listen every time, but I try to listen when I can.
18) Best UCB Twitterer – Wes Keene
Wes is one of the most active guys during the year, and especially during games. Although we may disagree sometimes, he’s a nice guy who understands me most of the time, has the same sense of humor, and just gives an all-around nice Twitter game.
And look at that, I was shorter-ish. Last year, you had to suffer through 2571 words, and this year you only get 2158. Good luck trying to get me to go much shorter than that. I can go on and on about pretty much anything.