In participation with a United Cardinal Bloggers project, my ballot for the 2012 Cardinal Blogger Awards:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
_ Yadier Molina. For the second consecutive year, Molina gets our vote for this honor. It again validates the smart decision by Cardinals management, primarily principal owner Bill DeWitt and general manager John Mozeliak, to invest in Molina rather than in Albert Pujols.
In 2012, Molina had the best production by a Cardinals catcher since Ted Simmons and consistently provided stellar defense at the game’s most demanding position. Molina joined Simmons as the only catchers in Cardinals history to hit 20 or more home runs in a season.
Fourth in the National League in batting at .315, Molina collected 159 hits in 138 games. He had 22 home runs, 76 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a .373 on-base percentage.
Molina ranked first among National League catchers in assists (a career-high 88) and second in fielding percentage (.997). He threw out 48 percent of the baserunners who attempted to steal against him (second-best in the league).
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
_ Kyle Lohse. Posting a 16-3 regular-season record for the Cardinals, Lohse led the National League in winning percentage at .842. It’s the best winning percentage ever recorded by a Cardinals pitcher who qualified to be among the league leaders.
GAME OF THE YEAR
_ Cardinals 9, Nationals 7, Oct. 12, 2012, at Washington: In the finale of the National League Division Series, St. Louis trailed 6-0 after three innings and 7-5 after eight, but rallied to win, scoring four times in the ninth with two out. Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma capped a magical September-October stretch by snapping a 7-7 tie with a two-run single. In a gritty display of determination, Kozma and second baseman Daniel Descalso improbably drove in five of the Cardinals’ runs against the astonished Nationals. Boxscore
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
_ Carlos Beltran. The clean-up hitter had a career-high seven RBI on four hits, including a pair of three-run home runs off starter A.J. Burnett, in a 12-3 Cardinals victory over the Pirates on May 2, 2012, at St. Louis. Boxscore
SURPRISE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
_ Lance Lynn. Projected as a reliever, Lynn saved the Cardinals by filling in magnificently for injured starter Chris Carpenter. Lynn, 25, posted an 18-7 record and 3.78 ERA. He was 17-5 as a starter. Lynn ranked fourth in the National League in wins. His record was 8-1 after two months. His 5-2 record in September was significant in enabling the Cardinals to secure the second wild-card spot in the postseason.
DISAPPOINTING PLAYER OF THE YEAR
_ Jaime Garcia. After back-to-back 13-win seasons in 2010 and 2011, Garcia was 7-7 in an injury-plagued and inconsistent 2012 performance.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
_ Matt Carpenter. Improving throughout the season, Carpenter batted .294 with a .365 on-base percentage. He had 11 pinch-hit RBI, the most by a Cardinals rookie since Joe Frazier, with 15, in 1954.
ACQUISITION OF THE YEAR
_ Carlos Beltran. With 32 home runs, the most by a Cardinals switch-hitter since Rip Collins in 1934, and 97 RBI, Beltran, 35, was a surprisingly capable replacement for Albert Pujols in the batting order.
MOST ANTICIPATED CARDINAL
_ Oscar Taveras. With Class AA Springfield in 2012, Taveras, 20, had 37 doubles and 23 home runs. In a radio interview with columnist Bernie Miklasz, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said of Taveras, “He doesn’t walk a lot, but that’s because he hits a lot.”
BEST INDIVIDUAL CARDINAL BLOG
_ Fungoes. High marks for originality and thought-provoking information.
BEST TEAM CARDINAL BLOG
_ Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Lively, fun, fresh.
BEST MEDIA CARDINAL BLOG
_ Bird Land. Good information with strong respect for franchise history.
BEST ROOKIE CARDINAL BLOG
_ Keene on MLB. Blog is informative and easy to navigate.
BEST UCB PROJECT
_ Top 5 iconic Cardinals moments: Fun to research. Stan Musial and the Cardinals most iconic moment
BEST UCB PODCAST
_ Conversations with C70. Consistently interesting.
BEST UCB TWITTERER
_ Bob Netherton. As Carly Simon sang, nobody does it better.