Every year the group known as the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) come together to vote for a bevy or year-end awards. In the interest of transparency each member posts their ballot live to the masses with explanations for their choices. What follows is i70baseball’s entry in the 2012 awards voting.
Player Of The Year
Nominated: Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday
The nod from i70 goes to Yadier Molina. Not only a presence behind the plate as the field general for the team, but his offense has steadily increased and this year was no exception. He became a middle of the order hitter that more teams feared while continuing to be the catcher that baserunners refused to steal against.
Pitcher Of The Year
Nominated: Kyle Lohse, Lance Lynn, Jason Motte
I am going with Jason Motte here. For the first time in years, there was confidence at the end of the game. With Motte locking down the ninth inning, this team was able to shorten the starters and have clear, defined roles for the bullpen guys. Motte at the back end of ball games improved the entire pitching staff.
Game Of The Year
Nominated: 6/13 vs. White Sox (1-0 Lynn win), 7/16 vs. Brewers (9th inning rally), 7/21 vs. Cubs (12-run inning)
I’m going with the 7/16 contest with the Brewers. It’s not that the other games were not impressive, but this team needed a come-from-behind victory against a legitimate foe in a big way. The team proved that it could win games even when trailing, that it could pick up a pitcher from a loss, and that it could do so against a team that seemed to have their number.
Performance Of The Year
Nominated: Chris Carpenter’s five innings against Chicago, Adam Wainwright’s shutout of San Diego, Shelby Miller’s first start vs. Cincinnati, Carlos Beltran 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI vs. Washington
I want to go with Carp, I mean the guy did give a rib for this season. But, I cannot deny my excitement watching rookie Shelby Miller take a no-no five innings deep in his first start in The Bigs. The future with this kid looks bright and that game, though utterly meaningless, gave us just a small glimpse.
Surprise Player Of The Year
Nominated: David Freese, Jon Jay, Pete Kozma, Lance Lynn
Personally, I have to go with Jon Jay. I really felt this guy was destined to continue to be a fourth outfielder and not quite able to grab the opportunity in front of him. For the first time, Jay solidified himself as a legitimate starter in this lineup. It was something I didn’t think he was capable of.
Disappointing Player Of The Year
Nominated: Lance Berkman, Daniel Descalso, Rafael Furcal, Marc Rzepczynski
I don’t know that I was really disappointed with any of the Cardinals this year. Honestly, most of them performed as I anticipated. If I was forced to choose, and in this case I am, I would have to go with Lance Berkman simply due to his extended injury time this year. He remained a positive influence on the youth of this team and a refreshingly honest product of the game, but the team would have been much better if he would have remained on the field throughout the season.
Rookie Of The Year
Nominated: Matt Adams, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal
This is a close race between Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal, but my vote goes to Kelly. He had a greater impact on the team for a longer period of time. Otherwise, I don’t think Rosenthal even lost his rookie status this year, so I hold off to include him next year with a full season under his belt.
Acquisition Of The Year
Nominated: Carlos Beltran, Edward Mujica
I was surprised that the team was as quiet as it was this year. Given his production, his leadership, and the amount of pressure put on him to produce in the wake of Albert Pujols leaving the franchise, Carlos Beltran has to be the acquisition of the year. If he produces well in the second year of his contract and avoids being the next Berkman, he will quickly become one of the best moves that John Mozeliak has made for this team.
Most Anticipated Cardinal
Nominated: Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong
The future Cardinals may be one of the most exciting things in Cardinal baseball right now. The two that jump out at me are Taveras and Wong, both for different reasons.
First of all, Wong is a player that this franchise needs. The second base position has been a merry go round of sorts that has featured players from all over the diamond in the last few years. If Wong can become a solid option at second for many years to come, he has a profound impact.
That being said, the most exciting of these options and my pick for Most Anticipated Cardinal is Oscar Taveras. He projects as a corner outfielder with speed and a middle of the order presence. He could give the team the flexibility to deal from a core of talent that shows some power to supplement the team in other places. If he is as good as the hype, St. Louis will have a new star to fall in love with very soon.
The rest of the ballot is devoted to our fellow blogs around the United Cardinal Bloggers, recognizing the hard work that we all put into the sites that you enjoy. The passion among this group for baseball, for the Cardinals, and for sharing those thoughts is nothing short of extraordinary. I am proud to share my thoughts on some of my contemporaries.
Best Individual Blog
My vote has to go to The Godfather himself and C70 At The Bat. While it can easily be brushed off as being an easy choice to pick the leader of our group, it truly is the best choice out there.
Over the last few years, Daniel Shoptaw and I have joined forces on multiple projects and have changed places in the “leadership” chair more than once. When it comes down to it, the content, the frequency, the passion and the quality of Daniel’s work inspires me on a regular basis to continue doing what I love and to do it to the best of my ability.
Best Team Blog
If Daniel has inspired me individually as a writer, the group of guys at Pitchers Hit Eighth inspired the creation of i70baseball in the first place. They continue to produce funny, informative, and on-point content on a regular basis utilizing some of the best voices of all of baseball writing.
Best Cardinal Media Blog
The fine work by Derrick Goold at Bird Land for the St. Louis Post Dispatch is funny, personal, and informative. He finds a way to connect with his audience on a personal level, something very rarely seen in today’s media.
Best Cardinal Rookie Blog
Though I personally don’t delve into the subject matter often, advanced statistics are a big part of the game of baseball. The guys at StanGraphs have brought advanced statistics and “Sabermetrics” to the Cardinal corner of the internet in a fresh and fun way.
Post Of The Year
I strive to connect with my audience, to let them see into my life and to utilize the bridge of baseball to bring it all together. When I look for a “post of the year”, I want that special something that jumps out from the normal posts and transcends into life and baseball. To me, “We Don’t Get To Write The Endings” from C70 At The Bat was precisely this type of post.
Best UCB Project
It is a mainstay for years now and happens before and after the season, but I personally enjoy the roundtable discussions that circulate through multiple blogs, polling the “pulse” of so many of us on everything from the stadium to the jerseys to the prospects and veterans on the field.
Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
Throughout the season, as discussions and frustrations reach their highest points, we are consistently reminded of the history of the game and how this franchise has overcome situations of surprising similarity in the past. Our resident historian is quick to spin a Twitter tale or a quick post and for that, I give the most Optimistic Blog to Bob Netherton at On The Outside Corner.
Best UCB Podcast
It almost comes across as a “cop-out”, but the UCB Radio Hour pulls together a large amount of bloggers from the UCB and puts a high-quality discussion together consistently every week.
Best UCB Twitterer
This was a tough one for me. What goes into this decision? Talking great baseball? Of course. Humor and being able to back up your arguments is another quality I admire. Being able to get your point across in the briefest of settings is another.
All things considered, Dennis Lawson, better known as gr33nazn on Twitter is a good follow that has become a good friend over the years.