It’s probably the least surprising news of the year, but Prince Fielder and Yovani Gallardo were announced as the team’s 2009 MVPs. According to Tom Haudricourt, Trevor Hoffman was elected Top Newcomer, Todd Coffey was named Unsung Hero, and Craig Counsell won the “Good Guy” award. Consider me among those who think it’s silly to hand out a “Good Guy” award…there were very few guys on the 2009 roster that I would think wouldn’t qualify.
Haudricourt has a couple interesting notes about Fielder, specifically that Prince now holds the top two spots on the Brewers’ single-season home run list, and he’s the first Brewer to post three straight 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons (Ryan Braun, who was 3 RBI short of 100 in his rookie year, could’ve done it this year as well, but seems likely to become the second Brewer with that honor next year).
Fielder also broke into the Top 10 in the all-time Brewers’ home run list, finishing the 2009 season tied for 8th with 160 longballs. In 2010, not only will Fielder break the tie with Brewers legend Paul Molitor, but seems likely to pass Jeromy Burnitz (165), Greg Vaughn (169), and Ben Oglivie (176). Cecil Cooper, whose single-season RBI mark Fielder shattered this year, could also be within striking distance. Fielder would move into 4th on the all-time list if he hits 42 home runs and surpasses Coop’s mark of 201.
I would have been more inclined to give Hoffman the “Most Valuable Pitcher” award, but that’s not taking anything away from Gallardo. He was, as Haudricourt notes, only the 4th pitcher in franchise history to notch 200 strikeouts. He seemed exhausted by the season’s final couple months, though, leading to some high walk totals and a higher-than-expected ERA of 3.73. Here’s to hoping that getting a full season of pitching under his belt and an offseason of rest will lead to an even better for Yo in 2010. Adding a pitching coach with Rick Peterson’s knowledge should only help him improve his pitch efficiency.
Hoffman was purely spectacular, though, and the fact that he was able to rack up 37 saves despite some shaky middle relief and even shakier outings by starters is all the more impressive. It was easy to be skeptical about him before the season started considering his downward-trending statistics during his finaly years in San Diego, but he proved the doubters wrong after returning from an early-season oblique injury.