It’s time for UCB awards! The UCB members will be posting their choices for awards on their sites over the next week or so. There are awards for the bloggers and players, eighteen in all. To see the awards (and vote!), please click here. Without further ado, here are my selections for the On-Field Awards..
1. Player of the Year– Matt Carpenter
Despite an ungodly three-month-long stretch, Matt Carpenter has my vote for player of the year. It’s pretty indubitable that he’s one of the team’s largest leaders, on and off of the field. Matt led the team in homers (28), RBI (84), and OPS (.871). He’s all but guaranteed to be a Cardinal until at least 2019. I think we can all smile in unison about that.
2. Pitcher of the Year– Carlos Martinez
After he served as a relief pitcher in 2013 and 2014, the Cardinals gave Carlos Martinez the opportunity to start games. I bet they’re glad they did. In his first full season of starting regularly, Martinez led the pitching staff in strikeouts (184) and allowed the fewest extra-base hits (48) among Cardinal pitchers who started a minimum of 25 games. He went through a series of “growing pains”, as did every other starting pitcher out there. His 2015 season was sliced a bit short due to a strained right shoulder. He should be ready to go come 2016 and dazzle us all again.
3. Game of the Year– 5/31 versus the Dodgers
On the one-year anniversary of his late friend Oscar Taveras’s first big league game and home run, 23-year-old Carlos Martinez emotionally took the Busch Stadium mound to face the stacked Los Angeles lineup. With 40,000+ fanatics on his side, Martinez shut down the Dodgers for seven innings and allowed just one hit. He struck out eight batters along the way. He guided the Cardinals to 3-1 victory and series win. The start continued a streak of games started by Martinez that lasted at least six innings. That streak wouldn’t snap until after the All-Star break.
4. Surprise Player of the Year– Stephen Piscotty
Mr. Piscotty was hatched from Triple-A in late July and almost immediately made his presence be known. In 63 games following his promotion, Piscotty batted .305 with seven homers and drove in 39 runs. His offensive skills are superb, but his defense is also worthy of mention. In 537 2/3 innings of fieldwork, Piscotty committed a mere two errors. Not to toot Stephen’s horn, but his postseason was very grand. Piscotty hit three homers in four postseason games. He also drove in six of the seventeen total runs and had an OPS of 1.444. How ’bout them apples?
5. Disappointing Player of the Year– Brandon Moss
This was complicated for me to decide, but I concluded that Brandon Moss was the most disappointing in 2015. Brandon was acquired from Cleveland via trade in July. Needless to say, he didn’t perform near like we expected. In 132 at-bats with St. Louis, Brandon batted .250 and had just eight RBI. Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos were disappointing, but they didn’t receive nearly the amount of chances to impress that Brandon did.
6. Cardinal Rookie of the Year– Stephen Piscotty
Go back and read my reasoning to number four again. Once completed, there should be no questioning as to why Stephen gets my vote for this award.
7. Acquisition of the Year– Jason Heyward
Hands down, Jason Heyward is the acquisition of the year. Even though he got off to a rocky start and Shelby Miller (the guy St. Louis traded to acquire Heyward) did not, Heyward kicked it in gear when the calendar flipped to May and ended up having a great season. He led the team in batting average (.293), stolen bases (23), and hits (160). He took home a Rawlings Gold Glove Award this offseason, the third of the 26-year-old’s career.
8. Most Anticipated Cardinal– Luke Weaver
Alex Reyes is very exciting in his own right, but I am personally looking most forward to Luke. Luke reminds me of Michael Wacha in so many ways. That’s a good thing. At 6’2″ and 170 pounds, Weaver, 22, posted a 1.62 ERA in 105 1/3 innings this season for High-A Palm Beach. Arguably, like Wacha, Weaver’s best pitch is his changeup. It registers about 10 MPH or so slower than his low-to-mid 90s fastball. With some successful work to further develop and perfect his curveball and slider, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Luke at Busch Stadium in September.
9. Biggest Cardinal Injury– Matt Adams
When Matt Adams went down in May, I didn’t think the effects of his absence would linger throughout the season. I thought Mark Reynolds would do alright and didn’t even take into consideration that he could be overexposed. Turns out, he was overexposed. The strikeouts mounted higher and faster than projected and homers weren’t plentiful. It’s not all Mark’s fault. He was asked to play daily when he was used to serving off of the bench. Brandon Moss came over, but his results were about like those of Mark. I wholeheartedly believe that Matt Adams has things to prove and deserves a chance to do so before we all label him as trade bait. It will be interesting to see how he gets playing time. He could play daily, which is unlikely. He may serve as a pinch-hitter, or he and Piscotty may platoon as first base..
Check back later in the week to see my choices for the Blogger Awards and read through my reasonings!
Thanks for reading.