Each year, the DC-Internet Baseball Writers Association polls all the DC baseball bloggers and various online media outlets for their thoughts on awards from that Washington Nationals season. Here are the final results of the voting with my answers and some reasoning (if you can call it that) in following each category.
2012 WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player
(Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals):
1st: Adam LaRoche (68 points, 9 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (47 points, 5 first place votes)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (32 points, 53 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Ryan Zimmerman (18), Bryce Harper (9-one first place vote), Stephen Strasburg (4).
--My vote: Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond. Adam LaRoche posted career-best numbers following an extremely disappointing 2011 season due to injury. He easily fit the cleanup role for the Nats in most circumstances, and his defense at first base was greatly underrated all season. Ryan Zimmerman bests Ian Desmond for me because of his numbers from June 23rd (the day of the cortisone shot on. Combined with his insane defense all year, Zimmerman edged Desmond in my ballot, but just barely.
Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year
(Excellent performance as a starting pitcher):
1st: Gio Gonzalez (100 points, 205 first place votes)
2nd: Stephen Strasburg (47 points)
3rd: Jordan Zimmermann (16 points)
Others receiving votes: Ross Detwiler (3).
--My vote: Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann. I matched my fellow internet writers on this one, and for me, this was a bit of a no-brainer. Gio is a leading Cy Young candidate, and had to win the category. Period.
Frederick "Firpo" Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year
(Excellent performance as a relief pitcher):
1st: Tyler Clippard (94 points, 16 first place votes)
2nd: Craig Stammen (38 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Sean Burnett (24 points)
Others receiving votes: Drew Storen (17), Michael Gonzalez (2), Ryan Mattheus (2), Tom Gorzelanny (1), Christian Garcia (1).
--My vote: Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Drew Storen. Tyler Clippard, despite his end-of-season struggles, was a major reason for the Nats 98 wins this season. He stepped into a role that no one could fill following Drew Storen's surgery, and he did it extremely well. Sean Burnett went through a brief rough patch with his elbow inflammation, but with a 2.38 ERA and 2.79 FIP, this was an easy call for me. Finally, I struggled with Stammen vs. Storen for the third spot. Ultimately, Storen stepped in to late inning spots and locked it down consistently once he was fully healthy and just barely got the edge.
Sam Rice Hitter of the Year
(Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning):
1st: Ian Desmond (51 points, 7 first place votes)
2nd: Adam LaRoche (47 points, 5 first place votes)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (33 points, 4 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (28-three first place votes), Jayson Werth (18-one first place vote), Danny Espinosa (2).
--My vote: Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman. Desmond took the number one spot not only because of his stats, but his drastic improvement from the previous season. He was an all-around hitter all season, and lead the Nats in stolen bases despite having hamstring issues and missing time with his oblique injury. Harper could have won here because he does everything, hits for contact and power and steals bases, exceptionally well. I believe he could win this category next year.
Frank Howard Slugger of the Year
(Excellence in power hitting):
1st: Adam LaRoche (90 points, 18 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (30 points)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (19 points)
Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (14), Michael Morse (10-one first place vote), Danny Espinosa (2).
--My vote: Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman. LaRoche led the Nats in homers and RBI. It's not as simple as that, but LaRoche simply had some monster shots and was a force in the cleanup spot all season. Bryce Harper hit 22 homers and missed almost 4 weeks of the season before he was called up. He just started to get into his power stroke, and it's no wonder people expect him to be a 40 HR guy in his career. Zimmerman got his power stroke after his cortisone shot, and he still has power to all fields.
Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year
(Excellence in fielding):
1st: Ryan Zimmerman (53 points, 7 first place votes)
2nd: Danny Espinosa (38 points, 5 first place votes)
3rd: Ian Desmond (37 points, 4 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Adam LaRoche (19--two first place votes), Bryce Harper (20--two first place votes), Roger Bernadina (7), Kurt Suzuki (3).
--My vote: Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond. Really, there aren't enough spots for this category. Adam La Roche, Bryce Harper, and Kurt Suzuki could all easily be on this list. Ultimately, I chose the three I did because I believe all three could win NL Gold Glove Awards at their position this year.
Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year
(Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field):
1st: Adam LaRoche (75 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Stephen Strasburg (46 points, 4 first place votes)
3rd: Jayson Werth (29 points, 3 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Ian Desmond (6), Ross Detwiler (5--one first place vote), Ryan Zimmerman (3), Chad Tracy (2), Jesus Flores (1), Michael Morse (1), Roger Bernadina (1), John Lannan (1), Sean Burnett (1), Christian Garcia (1).
--My vote: Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth. Here's another category where I'm not sure there were enough spots. LaRoche was an easy pick for me, Ian Desmond came out of nowhere to have an excellent offensive season, and Jayson Werth recovered in a huge way from his inaugural DC season. Stephen Strasburg probably could have replaced any one of these guys, and Christian Garcia certainly deserves honorable mention in returning from two Tommy John surgeries.
Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year
(Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community):
1st: Ryan Zimmerman (89 points, 16 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (12 points, 1 first place vote)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (9 points, 1 first place vote)
Others receiving votes: Drew Storen (9), Wilson Ramos (5--one first place vote), Bryce Harper (5), Stephen Strasburg (3), Tyler Moore (1).
--My vote: Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond. I voted for two in this category because Zimmerman and Desmond are the guys you always see going to community events and doing outreach. There are certainly other guys who are, and I expect this list to grow as people get more interested in having DC baseball players come out to their events.
Minor League Player of the Year
(Minor league player most destined for big league success):
1st: Matt Skole (30 points, 3 first place votes)
2nd: Nathan Karns (24 points, 3 first place vote)
3rd: Eury Perez (15 points, 1 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Brian Goodwin (13--two first place votes), Alex Meyer (12--one first place vote), Danny Rosenbaum (11--two first place votes), Christian Garcia (11--two first place votes), Corey Brown (7--one first place vote), Anthony Rendon (4), Jhonatan Solano (3), John Lannan (2).
--My vote: Nathan Karns, Matt Skole, Alex Meyer. Both Karns and Skole earned Nats minor league system pitcher and player of the year, respectively. Alex Meyer was the Nats representative at the Futures Game this year, helping earn him a spot in the top three, too.
SURVEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What player was the biggest surprise for the Nats this season? Adam LaRoche (11), Ian Desmond (5), Ross Detwiler (3), Craig Stammen (1), Bryce Harper (1), Jayson Werth (1), Win/Loss Record (1).
--My vote: Split LaRoche and Desmond. These guys were in the top of my Comeback Players, too.
2. What player was the biggest disappointment for the Nats this season? Chien-Ming Wang (5), Wilson Ramos injury (2), Brad Lidge (2), Jesus Flores (2), Henry Rodriguez (2), Danny Espinosa (2), Mark DeRosa (1), Drew Storen injury (1), Strasburg Shutdown (1).
--My vote: Chien-Ming Wang. Wang is a guy that was in the Opening Day rotation and had a deplorable season. People expected a lot from him and didn't get anything.
3. Will the Nats sign Adam LaRoche and/or Edwin Jackson to a long-term contract extension before they reach free agency?Yes-both (2), No-both (7), LaRoche (8), Jackson (0), One or the other (1).
--My vote: Neither. LaRoche had a breakout year, and there's a chance the team will sign him to a new contract. There's no way the mutual option for 2013 gets picked up. Jackson had a good year and served a purpose, but he has a new agent, not Scott Boras any longer, and I expect him to test the free agent market. For his performance this year, the Nats aren't likely to pay more than $10 million/year for him.
4. Which players on the 40-man roster at the end of the season are least likely to return in 2010? Chien-Ming Wang (11), Mark DeRosa (10), Edwin Jackson (7), Jesus Flores (6), Adam LaRoche (5), Michael Gonzalez (5), Tom Gorzelanny (4), Zach Duke (3), Chad Tracy (3), Henry Rodriguez (1), Michael Morse (1), Tyler Clippard (1).
--My vote: Jesus Flores, Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa. I thought I was picking just three guys to not be on the team next year. For the purposes of this posting, I also believe that Wang and Jackson won't be back, but I've essentially already said that here.