In participation with a United Cardinal Bloggers project, my ballot for the 2011 Cardinal Blogger Awards:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Yadier Molina. The catcher was the only Cardinal to win a Gold Glove Award and he led the team in batting with a .305 average. Molina also had 32 doubles, 65 RBI and hit .306 with runners in scoring position.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Fernando Salas. The right-hander, who wasn’t even on the Opening Day roster, emerged to become the Cardinals closer for most of the season. His 24 saves were 15 more than the reliever with the next-best total (Jason Motte). In 68 games, Salas had a 2.28 ERA, struck out 75 in 75 innings and held opponents to a .186 batting average.
GAME OF THE YEAR (Regular Season)
Cardinals 2, Cubs 1, Sept. 24 at St. Louis: The Cardinals entered the season’s final Saturday three games behind wild-card leader Atlanta with five to play. The Cardinals had lost two in a row and looked listless, trailing 1-0 heading to the last of the ninth. With two out and one on, the Cardinals rallied to score twice without a hit off closer Carlos Marmol and won, 2-1. St. Louis went on to win three of the last four and surpass Atlanta for the wild-card spot. Boxscore
GAME OF THE YEAR (Post-season)
Cardinals 10, Rangers 9, Oct. 27 at St. Louis: Game 6 of the World Series rates as a true classic. The Cardinals twice were within a strike of elimination and rallied from two runs down in the ninth and two runs down in the 10th before winning on a David Freese home run in the 11th. Boxscore
SURPRISE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Descalso. The reserve infielder hit .264 with 20 doubles in 326 at-bats. His .967 fielding percentage at third base rated No. 3 among all National League third basemen.
DISAPPOINTING PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ryan Franklin. The veteran closer was 1-4 with an 8.46 ERA and blew four of five save chances before the Cardinals dropped him off the roster. Opponents batted .389 against him in save situations.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Fernando Salas. Because he pitched fewer than 50 innings in 2010, his debut year with St. Louis, Salas qualified as a rookie in 2011.
ACQUISITION OF THE YEAR (Before season)
Lance Berkman. He fooled many by thriving as the everyday right fielder and batting .301 with 31 home runs, 94 RBI and 90 runs scored.
ACQUISITION OF THE YEAR (During season)
Edwin Jackson. He rescued a slumping starting rotation and was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA. The Cardinals needed every win.
MOST ANTICIPATED CARDINAL
Shelby Miller. The right-handed starting pitcher appears to be the real deal.
BEST INDIVIDUAL CARDINAL BLOG
Fungoes Always refreshingly original. Does his homework, true to self and doesn’t follow the pack.
BEST TEAM CARDINAL BLOG
The Cardinal Nation Timely, topical. Deals in facts, not baseless opinion.
BEST MEDIA BLOG
Bird Land Consistent and smart.
BEST ROOKIE CARDINAL BLOG
Aaron Miles’ Fastball Looking forward to seeing how this continues to morph and grow.
POST OF THE YEAR
Exclusive interview with Bill White
BEST UCB PROJECT
Top 7 Prospects. Usually informative.