The November United Cardinal Bloggers project is one of my favorites as we get to look back at the highs and lows of the previous season, and more importantly, recognize some of the great contributors in the group. With great pleasure, here is my ballot for 2013.
1) Cardinal Position Player of the Year: Yadier Molina
Molina justified his contract extension by nearly matching his career season in 2012 while nursing a group of young pitchers all the way to the World Series. If we had to post our ballots in early September, I might have gone with Allen Craig. But when all of the dust finally settled on the 2013 season, Yadier Molina was the Cardinals most valuable player and probably should have won the award for the National League (no disrespect to Andrew McCutchen).
2) Cardinal Pitcher of the Year: Trevor Rosenthal
Adam Wainwright was every bit the ace of the staff that we expected him to be, and he will likely win the award. But Trevor Rosenthal gave us something truly special this season, as he transformed himself from curious hard throwing setup guy into a dominating closer that we have not seen since Todd Worrell wore the jersey. He was a lot of fun to watch in 2013 and I can’t wait to see what role he plays in 2014.
How can you possibly separate these two games ? If I had to pick just one, it would be Wainwright’s near no-hitter as he appeared to be on cruise control for most of the game. It was one of the most dominating games of his career, and I don’t think it will be the last time he flirts with a no-hitter.
4) Surprise Player of the Year: Kevin Siegrist
I totally get the Matt Carpenter votes in this category, but really ? OK, maybe all those doubles were a bit unexpected, but wasn’t pretty much everything else he did right on the line with what he had seen him do in the minors and previous spring trainings ?
Siegrist was the Trevor Rosenthal of last season, seemingly coming out of nowhere to dominate the league with high velocity, exceptional control and a composure that is rare in such a young player. He was brilliant as a starter, but the extra velocity from moving to the pen put him on a fast track, and boy, did he deliver (pun totally intended).
5) Disappointing Player of the Year: David Freese
Fernando Salas had some injury trouble and Pete Kozma was exactly the player we should have expected, so that leaves us with David Freese. An injury in spring training was probably a big factor in his disappointing year at the plate, which is unfortunate. It has also become something of a regular pattern. I wish him the best with the Angels and will fondly remember his heroics while in St. Louis.
6) Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller
Until running out of gas in the second half of the season, Shelby Miller was one of the best pitchers in the National League, rookie or not. A 20 win season is right around the corner for the young right hander and I just hope he will be in the Cardinals rotation when it happens.
7) Acquisition of the Year: Peter Bourjos. Too soon ???? OK, Randy Choate
Does that need an explanation ? We might look back at this next year and change it to John Axford, but for now, the veteran lefty did exactly what we expected him to do. Looking forward to seeing him again next year.
8) Most Anticipated Cardinal: Lee Stoppleman
I’m glad to see Stoppleman on the actual list as I would have written him in had he not been there. Stoppleman was just sensational in the closer role for Springfield and in a very brief time in Memphis, showed he could take on AAA hitters. Bud Selig might have to intervene should the Cardinals have a bullpen with Kevin Siegrist and Lee Stoppleman – gives me goosebumps to think about that.
For those of you that have not seen Stopplman, he will remind you a lot of Siegrist. His delivery is a bit more deceptive which makes his 93mph fastball look more like Siegrist’s 97. He has great control and can work both corners of the plate. If he can avoid the Eric Fornataro troubles next year, we could see him in St. Louis before the 2014 season comes to an end.
9) Best Individual Cardinal Blog: Retrosimba
I adore Cardinals history and nobody does it better than Mark Tomasik. I’ve said this many times, had I come across Mark’s writing before I started my own blog, I never would have started it. As I am preparing to shut mine down, I know that Cardinals history will continue to be taught by one of the best.
10) Best Team Cardinal Blog: Pitchers Hit Eighth
Even though they are now doing it over at Cardinals Conclave, Nick and Josh are two of my favorite writers and they continue to put out great content.
11) Best Media Coverage: Derrick Goold
12) Best Rookie Cardinal Blog: Cardinals Farm
This was a very difficult one as so many great new bloggers have started up this year, and love the new perspectives and enthusiasm. John’s writing at Cardinals Farm covers a very important area that is not well represented – the minor leagues. Like Daniel does for the Cardinals, John tries to do for the entire farm system. Truly a labor of love and I appreciate what it takes to do that.
13) Post of the Year: Matt Holliday: One Of The Most Cost Effective Players In Baseball (stlcupofjoe’s Sports Page)
14) Best UCB Project: Top 7 Prospects
I’m a big fan of the kids down in the minor leagues and this gives us a great chance to share our observations and expectations.
15) Best UCB Podcast: Conversations With C70
How can you not vote for a podcast that starts out with “You are listening to my daddy’s show” ?
16) Best UCB Twitterer; Dennis Lawson @gr33nazn
There are so many great members of the Cardinals Twitter Nation, but Dennis stands out with a rare combination of humor, insight and darn impressive baseball IQ. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t get a chuckle or two from something Dennis says.
That brings my ballot to a close. Make sure and check out other ballots over at the UCB Project page.