My Ballot for the 2012 Brewers Blogosphere Awards went like this:
Braun was just off-the-charts awesome and was the heart and soul of the team. Ramirez, though he had me wondering over the first half of the season, really showed up in the second half and made a huge impact. Gallardo deserved a mention as well, because for me he was the workhorse of the rotation and he had a really nice year. Without Yo fronting the rotation, the starting pitching is somewhat headless.
Gallardo was a no-brainer for me as the top dog in the rotation; he was very consistent and performed exceptionally well, for the most part. I gave Fiers second mention because I think he really filled a void in the rotation that was mostly created by the absence of Shaun Marcum, along with the Greinke trade. Fiers really rose like a phoenix (from ashes to stratosphere, haha) and he really broke through to become a serious contender to stick in the rotation for years (though his last handful of starts were underwhelming). I gave Greinke the nod at number three just because in a year with a fair number of injuries to the starting staff and a terrible bullpen, there were slim pickings in general. Plus, he’s pretty good.
For the Newcomer category, I had to go with Aoki because not only was he a revelation (good leadoff hitter, bunting, fielding, hitting, stolen bases…) and better than most could have expected, he was also new to the United States and American baseball. Ramirez came to the Brewers and showed he has a helluva stick and can play third base for sure, but he is a veteran of MLB. I liked Segura at number three because the team started to play better baseball when he showed up and it seemed like having a good shortstop stabilized the club after it had been stumbling badly with Ransom, Izturis and Maysonet at the position. Segura is a guy who was badly needed by the organization. Nice job on that, Mr. Melvin.
This category was tough because one had to consider how much attention and credit the various heroes had received. I went with an unconventional, and maybe unwarranted, choice with Travis Ishikawa. When Mat Gamel got hurt and Corey Hart hadn’t yet cemented his place at first base, Ishikawa was there to pick up the slack, and even though his bat is very streaky, you could count on his defensive skills to keep the ship above water. He was also all right as a pinch hitter, and unlike Maldonado, Ishikawa rarely received much recognition for the things he did well. He did a good job keeping himself ready to play and was able to pitch in. Marco Estrada was definitely a hero for the 2012 Brewers, and to a large degree he was unsung. As Nick P. mentioned in his post, Estrada’s numbers overall were marred by the bullpen. I really liked Estrada’s ability to quietly and dependably cover holes in the starting rotation. I’m still not convinced he should be a regular starter in the major leagues, though. I think he’ll need to start pushing his outings to six or seven innings fairly regularly to achieve that. Maldonado gets a nod here at number three because of his amazing performance in making the club ‘hardly feel’ Lucroy’s absence. Even though Maldy did get a fair amount of credit, he still did a stellar job.
For the Good Guy award, I went with Lucroy because I think he’s a good guy. He could’ve gotten upset at the backlash to his injury or just generally handled it poorly, but he didn’t. Lucroy has proven that he’s a mature player at a young age and you can see the determination on his face when he’s being interviewed. He’s the rock of the club right now and I think the Brewers are lucky to have him. Morgan came in at number two because he didn’t go insane this year and didn’t pout about decreased playing time. He seemed to accept his role as the cheerleader of the club. I don’t want to see the club test his ‘good guy’ status by bringing him back next year, however. Tony Hush was the good cop this year and he deserves recognition for that.For number three I went with Gamel, because, you know, he’s not exactly riding the gravy train so far in his MLB career. After being a highly regarded prospect and then being blocked at the MLB level for years, he’s dealt with injuries and his own unpreparedness and then was injured early in 2012 after securing a starting job; he’s been through a lot. I, for one, really wanted to see Gamel succeed this year and I hope the Brewers can find a place for him next year. Maybe that means he’s a utility guy, I don’t know, but I hope he can get a significant number of at-bats somehow. I think he still could be successful if he gets the chance and I hope he succeeds for the Brewers, not some other team.
Thanks to Jaymes and Disciples of Uecker for organizing this, it was a pleasure to participate.
Go SF Giants!!!