Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

2009 Cardinal Blogger Awards

[Note: The United Cardinal Bloggers are conducting their third-annual Cardinal Blogger Awards. Following are our ballot and explanations. If you have any questions or complaints, please contact our agent, Keith Law.]

1. Cardinal Player of the Year

  • Matt Holliday
  • Albert Pujols
  • Brendan Ryan
  • Write-in: __________

All three had outstanding campaigns in their own rights. But only one was the best player in baseball last year.

2. Cardinal Pitcher of the Year

  • Chris Carpenter
  • Ryan Franklin
  • Adam Wainwright
  • Write-in: __________

We named Wainwright third on our Baseball Bloggers Alliance Cy Young ballot, and Carpenter would’ve been fourth. Franklin, well, he was a bit further down the list.

3. Game of the Year

As microcosms of their respective seasons, Carpenter’s one-hitter on Sept. 6 and Wainwright’s division-clinching 11-strikeout outing on Sept. 26 were hard to pass up. We wrote in the Aug. 18 game for both individual performances and team significance. After having already won the first two games of the series against the Padres, sitting through a pair of rain delays totaling two hours and 19 minutes and being down 5-4 heading into the ninth with a mere 15.2% chance of winning, the Cardinals could’ve mailed it in (not to mention they were facing the normally impenetrable Heath Bell). Instead, their unsung heroes — Blake Hawksworth and the bottom of the order — scratched their way back, and Colby Rasmus capped the comeback with a walkoff home run. The win solidified their lead in the Central and, combined with late-inning rallies against Francisco Rodriguez and Matt Capps a few days earlier, gave the team a confidence that they were going to go the distance.

4. Surprise Player of the Year

  • Ryan Franklin
  • Brendan Ryan
  • Skip Schumaker
  • Write-in: _____________

As impressive as Skip Schumaker’s 2009 campaign was — "Remember Howie Shanks!" — Brendan Ryan was the Surprise Player of the Year. For someone who was esteemed so lowly that the team traded for the likes of Khalil Greene (who, let’s rememeber, wasn’t exactly on the top of his game to begin with), the Flyin’ Irishman finished third among the team’s position players with a 3.2 WAR and fifth in the league at his position, ahead of such highly compensated names such as Miguel Tejada, Jimmy Rollins and Edgar Renteria. Chris Carpenter, whom few expected to make enough starts to qualify for a league lead in anything, makes a defensible write-in candidate.

5. Disappointing Player of the Year

  • Rick Ankiel
  • Khalil Greene
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Write-in: Troy Glaus

Using our methodology from last year, Greene would seem to have this one locked up. Some preseason predictions proposed that he might actually provide surplus value — one Fangraphs article saluted the Cardinals for having "picked up a +2 win player for 2009 … a bargain for their money." But his actual $-3.6 million value makes him an easy target here. At least Ankiel and Lohse were in the black. But Troy Glaus is our write-in candidate, doing even more than Greene to bring down Cardinal nation. Given that his unexpected January surgery left the team high and dry at third base (after an initial anticipated only 12 weeks missed time), which forced the team into an unhelpful chain of moves to fill the spot, and that he played only 14 games (very badly at that), after a 5.3-WAR season in 2008, Glaus represented a 5.5 dropoff in WAR at the position ($24.6 million).

6. Cardinal Rookie of the Year

  • Mitchell Boggs
  • Blake Hawksworth
  • Colby Rasmus
  • Write-in: ____________

Rasmus should’ve received more consideration for NL Rookie of the Year. As nobly as Hawksworth performed, Rasmus began to soar, under the weight of some great expections, to boot.

7. Off-Season Acquisition of the Year

  • Khalil Greene
  • Trever Miller
  • Dennys Reyes
  • Write-in: ____________

Miller was the best move in a decidedly mediocre offseason for John Mozeliak and the Cardinals.

8. Midseason Acquisition of the Year

  • Mark DeRosa
  • Matt Holliday
  • John Smoltz
  • Write-in: _________

Strictly in terms of performance, Holliday wins this hands-down. But, as we wrote earlier this month, that the acquisition didn’t come without a significant cost knocks it down a peg. We gave the Smoltz signing a grade of A (DeRosa was a C; Holliday a B). We also gave the Julio Lugo acquisition an A.

9. Most Anticipated Cardinal

  • Allen Craig
  • Daryl Jones
  • Shelby Miller
  • Write-in: __________

Miller compensated for the gutting of the farm system in 2009 and appears to have the highest ceiling of the team’s minor leaguers.

10. Best Individual Blog

  • Write-in: C70 at the Bat

The UCB has many outstanding writers to choose among, each with his or her own specialty and point-of-view; it’s kind of like Baskin Robbins 31 flavors. We’re most in the habit of reading the always-enjoyable C70 at the Bat. Why? In additions to the reasons we gave last year, Daniel exhibits an important quality in blogging today: a pleasant blend of authority and humility. He defies labeling and isn’t afraid to talk Sabermetrics or share his heartfelt feelings, sometimes even in the same post.

11. Best Team Blog

  • Write-in: Pitchers Hit Eighth

Nick and Josh are the Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter (or is it the other way around?) of the UCB: Together they are a formidable duo, turning in an impressive performance just about every outing. Now if only Tony La Russa would legitimize their title again …

12. Best Media Blog

  • Bird Land
  • Cardinal Beat
  • Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
  • Write-in: __________

As we did last year, we’re going to abstain (courteously), out of professional courtesy. They’re professionals, so we try to be courteous (well, sometimes). Truly, though, Derrick Goold and Matthew Leach (along with the slew of writers who contribute to Cardinal Beat) are as dedicated as they are different from each other in their content and takes. All are invaluable to Cardinal fans.

13. Best UCB Project

The progressive game blog takes blogging to a new level and squeezes value out of every inning of a single game. There’s no better way to recapture a game and sample the UCB’s diverse writing like it.

14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog

  • Write-in: C70 at the Bat

Daniel walks the line between optimism and homerism, but never falls over it. Well, too far, anyway!

15. Funniest Cardinal Blog

Though they’re new on the block (just began in November), every day is April Fool’s Day for the Follys.

16. Rookie Blog of the Year

Talk about a midseason acquisition: Cardinal fans got a huge boost when Steve Sommer, with the sublimely titled St. Louis Sports Scene, joined the fray in July. And now that he has teamed with another Sabermetric tour-de-force in Erik Manning at the newly revived Play a Hard Nine (hey, love that logo, guys!), the St. Louis blog scene is in its best shape ever. As for Joe McBrayer at the McBrayer-Baseball Blog, we’re looking forward to getting to know his material and hopefully a long tenure in the UCB.

2 Responses to “2009 Cardinal Blogger Awards”

  1. The 2009 Cardinal Blogger Awards — United Cardinal Bloggers Says:

    [...] Best News Links Cardinal Nation Globe CardinalsGM C70 At The Bat Fredbird Follys Fungoes Inside Pulse Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer Pitchers Hit Eighth Play A Hard 9 Stan [...]

  2. 2009 Cardinal Blogger Award Winners — United Cardinal Bloggers Says:

    [...] The winner: Brendan Ryan the Flyin’ Irishman finished third among the team’s position players with a 3.2 WAR and fifth in the league at his position, ahead of such highly compensated names such as Miguel Tejada, Jimmy Rollins and Edgar Renteria.–Fungoes [...]

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