The Washington, DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association is an organization composed of Internet writers, on-line media outlets, and bloggers.
In accordance with its stated goal of promoting the members of the association and increasing awareness and respect as active members of the media that cover the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club, the DC-IBWA is pleased to announce its member-voted winners of the 2013 Player Achievement Awards.
Since District Sports Page is one of the four credentialed independent sites that cover the team, we’re allowed up to three votes. This year Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief and Alyssa Wolice, Staff Writer, submitted votes.
Please feel free to leave your opinion on the votes in our comments section!
2013 WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Goose Goslin Most Valuable Player (Player most valuable to the success of the Washington Nationals):
1st: Jayson Werth (61 points, 7 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (39 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Jordan Zimmermann (23 points, 3 first place votes)
Others receiving votes: Ryan Zimmerman (8), Bryce Harper (4), Denard Span (3), Tyler Clippard (2).
Dave’s Vote: Werth-Zimmerman-Desmond. What Jayson Werth did this year was nothing short of phenominal.
Alyssa’s vote: Zimmermann-Werth-Clippard.
Walter Johnson Starting Pitcher of the Year (Excellent performance as a starting pitcher):
1st: Jordan Zimmermann (76 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Stephen Strasburg (42 points, 2 first place votes)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (18 points)
Others receiving votes: Tanner Roark (8).
Dave’s Vote: Zimmermann-Strasburg-Gonzalez. The stoic righty from Wisconsin opened some people’s eyes this season, both in-market and nationally. He’s every bit as accomplished a pitcher as the other two and does nothing but pound the strike zone. something the other two could pick up on.
Alyssa’s vote: Zimmermann-Strasburg-Roark.
Frederick “Firpo” Marberry Relief Pitcher of the Year (Excellent performance as a relief pitcher):
1st: Tyler Clippard (78 points, 13 first place votes)
2nd: Craig Stammen (30 points, 1 first place votes)
3rd: Rafael Soriano (28 points)
Others receiving votes: Tanner Roark (3), Drew Storen (2), Fernando Abad (1).
Dave’s Vote: Clippard-Soriano-Stammen. Clippard was unhittable almost all year. Unless, of course, when facing the Braves. Will have to get over that mental hurdle.
Alyssa’s vote: Clippard-Soriano-Stammen.
Sam Rice Hitter of the Year (Excellence in all-around hitting, situational hitting and baserunning):
1st: Jayson Werth (68 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (37 points, 3 first place votes)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (17 points)
Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (14), Denard Span (8).
Dave’s Vote: Desmond-Werth-Harper. Would you like to see Desmond work a few more walks? Sure. Would you like to see him not force the running game in certain situations? Yes. But his transformation from free-swinging hacker to party guy at the plate has been remarkable. If nothing else, this team can thank Davey Johnson for turning Desmond into the hitter everyone in the organization thought he was going to be. This, after Jim Riggleman almost ruined him.
Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Desmond-Zimmerman.
Frank Howard Slugger of the Year (Excellence in power hitting):
1st: Jayson Werth (76 points, 13 first place votes)
2nd: Bryce Harper (32 points, 1 first place vote)
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman (23 points, 1 first place vote)
Others receiving votes: Wilson Ramos (6), Ian Desmond (2), Adam LaRoche (1).
Dave’s Vote: Zimmerman-Werth-Ramos. The last two months of the season makes you wish Zimmerman had been at full strength from the get-go. He’s a complete power hitter in the prime of his career and hopefully an off-season of rest and normal strength training will have him primed again next season.
Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Zimmerman-Harper.
Joe Judge Defensive Player of the Year (Excellence in fielding):
1st: Denard Span (61 points, 12 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (34 points, 1 first place votes)
3rd: Wilson Ramos (18 points, 1 first place vote)
Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (7), Adam LaRoche (4), Ryan Zimmerman (3), Danny Espinosa (2), Jayson Werth (1), Kurt Suzuki (1).
Dave’s Vote: Span-Desmond-Ramos. Denard Span is a musician in center field. He never looks like he’s giving full effort because he knows how to play out there and make it look easy. But when he does makes a difficult catch, it’s that much more spectacular knowing how easy he makes the tough look routine.
Alyssa’s vote: Desmond-Span-Ramos.
Mickey Vernon Comeback Player of the Year (Player who overcame biggest obstacle in the preceding season to contribute on the field):
1st: Wilson Ramos (52 points, 8 first place votes)
2nd: Jayson Werth (12 points, 2 first place votes)
3rd: Ross Ohlendorf (11 points)
Others receiving votes: Stephen Strasburg (9, 1 first place vote), Drew Storen (6), Ryan Zimmerman (5, 1 first place vote), Taylor Jordan (5, 1 first place vote), Fernando Abad (1).
Dave’s Vote: Ram0s-Ohlendorf-Werth. Can we get a full healthy season from Wilson Ramos next season? Pretty please?
Alyssa’s vote: Werth-Ramos-Ohlendorf.
Josh Gibson Humanitarian Player of the Year (Player who meritoriously gave of himself to the community):
1st: Ryan Zimmerman (55 points, 10 first place votes)
2nd: Ian Desmond (28 points, 31 first place vote)
3rd: Gio Gonzalez (16 points, 1 first place vote)
Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper (9), Adam LaRoche (3), Denard Span (2).
DSP Vote: Zimmerman-Harper-Desmond. Zimmerman quietly goes about his philanthropic business just like he does on the field and the clubhouse.
Alyssa’s vote: Zimmerman-Span-Harper.
Minor League Player of the Year (Minor league player most destined for big league success):
1st: Lucas Giolito (20 points, 4 first place votes)
2nd: Anthony Rendon (15 points, 3 first place vote)
3rd: A.J. Cole (19 points, 1 first place vote); Brian Goodwin (19, 1 first place vote)
Others receiving votes: Taylor Jordan (17), Zach Walters (16, 3 first place votes), Billy Burns (13, 2 first place votes), Tanner Roark (6), Robby Ray (2), Nathan Karns (2), Danny Espinosa (1).
Dave’s Vote: Giolito-Cole-Goodwin. Giolito didn’t disappoint this season in his 11 starts between the Gulf League and Auburn. The 19-year old has a big fastball and two other pitches projected to be plus in the bigs.
Alyssa’s vote: Goodwin-Giolito-Cole.
SURVEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. Which players on the 40-man roster at the end of the season are least likely to return in 2010? Dan Haren (12), Chad Tracy (9), Xavier Cedeno (4), Ross Ohlendorf (4), Danny Espinosa (4), Ryan Mattheus (4), Scott Hairston (3), Fernando Abad (3), Tyler Robertson (3), Chris Marrero (2), Mauro Gomez (2), Drew Storen (2), Steve Lombardozzi (2), Rafael Soriano (2), Jeff Kobernus (1), Tyler Moore (1), Corey Brown (1), Adam LaRoche (1).
Dave’s Vote: Abad, Cedeno, Haren, Mattheus, Ohlendorf, Robertson, Marrero, Tracy, Hairston, Brown. Obviously, some of these are veterans whose time have run out. Some are failed prospects. Some are journeymen. None will be particularly missed.
Alyssa’s vote: I realize that many in Nats country will disagree with me, but I would still argue that if the Washington Nationals can move his contract elsewhere, Adam LaRoche’s days in the District may be over. Bear in mind, however, that could be quite the “if.” After all, LaRoche signed a two-year deal last winter for a guaranteed $12 million in 2014 and, at the very least, a $2 million buyout in 2015. LaRoche has contributed very little to the batting order – in fact, his peak batting average all season fell shy of .270. While everyone and their mother seemed to shake off LaRoche’s sluggish start to the season with an excuse along the lines of “That’s LaRoche being LaRoche,” his numbers never rebounded – he finished the season with a slash line of .237/.332/.403.
2. Will the Nats sign Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann to a long-term contracts extension before they reach free agency? Yes-both (9), No-both (0), Desmond only (3), Zimmermann only (2).
Dave’s Vote: Going out on a limb here, but I say they re-sign Zimmermann before he hits free agency, but Desmond waits and gets offers. If he has another big year in 2014, he’ll be poised to be one of the biggest free agents available at a very high-demand position.
Alyssa’s vote: Considering that Ian Desmond has two years left of arbitration, the Nationals are likely to do what it takes to come to terms on a contract extension before their shortstop hits free agency. Mike Rizzo has described Desmond as one of the team’s leaders and he has emphasized the importance of keeping home-grown talent in D.C. Desmond just missed the All-Star roster and finished up the season with 20 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .280/.331/.453 slash line. Keep in mind, there are few solid shortstops available on the market today and Desmond’s two 20-20 season seasons put him in elite company in the MLB history books.
Jordan Zimmermann could be a different story. While it is in the Nats’ best interest to secure a deal with this year’s 19-game-winner, Zimmermann’s strategy to hold off on a long-term deal last year could likely work again if he can boast similar numbers in 2014. With that said, the Nats can’t afford to let this year’s ace slip out of their grasp. Zimmermann finished off the season with a 3.25 ERA – a number that could have been significantly lower had it not been for a sloppy July. And, in many ways, he is getting better with time – he tossed the first two complete-game shutouts of his career – a one-hitter and a two-hitter – and his fastball consistently topped 95 in late September, while his slider reached 90.
3. What player was the biggest surprise for the Nats this season? Tanner Roark (7), Jayson Werth (6), Taylor Jordan (3), Ian Krol (1).
Dave’s Vote: Jayson Werth. I mean, seriously, who saw that coming. He put up the best season of his career and missed a month to boot. I had serious doubts the power would come back after yet another wrist injury last season. If he’s 80 percent of this next year the Nats will be in good shape.
Alyssa’s vote: This one is a bit of a no-brainer – the Nats’ biggest surprise this year has been 26-year-old right-hander, Tanner Roark. Roark finished the season with a 7-1 record and a 1.51 ERA over 53 ⅔ innings. In his short stint, he struck out 40 batters and kept the Nats close enough in the wild card hunt to keep things interesting through the late summer. Roark is certainly a candidate for a starter role next season, but it will be interesting to see if he can enjoy such success after facing opponents for a second and third time. After all, something doesn’t quite add up – this year, he recorded a 9-3 record with a 3.15 ERA at Triple A before his Aug. 9 promotion; however, in 2012, he was 6-17 with a 4.39 ERA. While that, of course, offers signs of development and improvement, it will be interesting to see whether his mid-80s slider continues to dazzle or players will figure out his pitching arsenal.
4. What player was the biggest disappointment for the Nats this season? Dan Haren (9), Danny Espinosa (6), Denard Span (2), Adam LaRoche (1).
Dave’s Vote: Espinosa. This is the second year in a row I’ve voted for Espinosa. It’s a damn shame he’s going to let pride ruin his baseball career. If he’d had the shoulder surgery last August the Nats would have gotten him back healthy at the All-Star break and he wouldn’t have broken his wrist. Now, he’s going to lose three seasons to what should have been a very fixable injury.
Alyssa’s vote: I think Denard Span takes home the title this year. Yes, his 29-game hitting streak brought fans back into the game at a time when the Nats weren’t playing meaningful baseball. And, yes, he had that fantastic catch against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 14. But, those are essentially the only noteworthy contributions Span made this year – a year in which he was expected to be an explosive add for the Nats’ batting order. It’s true, players often struggle when adjusting to a new league, but Span’s hitting woes – particularly against left-handers – has been a bit mind-boggling. That’s not to say his dismal season is enough to warrant a trade – after all, his fielding has helped make up for what his bat has been lacking – but his .327 OBP is hardly what the Nats expected when they slated Span to be their leadoff hitter. Span’s speed on the base paths saved him a bit – he recorded 11 triples and stole 20 bags. But now, it’s up to Span to prove 2013 an outlier as he enters his second full season in the National League next year.
5. Who is your favorite professional Nationals writer? Adam Kilgore (7), Amanda Comak (4), Mark Zuckerman (3), James Wagner (1).
Dave’s Vote: Zuckerman. I’ll just re-post what I said last year — Mark’s perspective having been with the team since Day One is invaluable. It’s obvious from the community he’s built at Nats Insider that D.C. baseball fans appreciate his style and openness in covering the team. Because of his unique situation, he can blend analysis, commentary and opinion in his game stories much easier than the other beat writers, and his work is better for it — and better for the fans.
Alyssa’s vote: Adam Kilgore, for sure. That’s not to say there aren’t other quality writers on the Nats beat – there certainly are – but no other writer brings out the Nats’ personalities quite like Kilgore.
6. Who is your favorite non-professional Nationals writer? Harper Gordek-Nationals Baseball (2), Patrick Reddington-Federal Baseball (2), Citizens of NatsTown (2), Dave Nichols-District Sports Page (1), Luke Erickson-Nationals Prospects (1), Joe Drugan-The Nats Blog (1), Luigi deGuzman-Natstradamus (1), Nationals Archive (1), Nationals 101 (1), Sharkadina (1), Nationals Arm Race (1).
Dave’s Vote: Patrick Reddington-Federal Baseball. Patrick chronicles the daily, hourly and really, up-to-the-minute dealings of the Nats in such excruciating detail that it’s hard to fathom how he does it. His daily links post alone must take two hours to produce, let alone transcribing EVERY SINGLE radio, tv or podcast spot that has anything to do with the Nats. Then he conducts a live Game Thread and still manages to get a recap out minutes after the game ends. He’s a true workhorse for the advancement of dialog about the Nationals.
Alyssa’s vote: It’s honestly terribly difficult to pick a favorite Nats blogger, but I’d have to say I really admire the work that everyone at The Nats Blog has done this season. Both Joe Drugan and Erin Flynn provide very well-crafted game recaps that do more than simply rehash big plays – their writing styles make it clear that they still have fun reporting on this team, even when the Nationals offered plenty of reasons to be frustrated beyond recovery.
I’ve also burnt many an hour on the Nationals Archive website – and all of their Twitter feeds – so they certainly deserve a mention.
Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats, Caps, and Wizards and covers college football and basketball for the Associated Press. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Nationals coverage on Twitter @NationalsDSP or @DaveNicholsDSP.
Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page, covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow her on Twitter @awolice.