Since we are drawing ever closer to the Midsummer Classic, it is becoming more commonplace to take stock of the season thus far.
It’s been a trying year for Brewers fans, to say the least, but that doesn’t mean that the season is without bright spots.
With that in mind, and due to a complete lack of motivation for writing another Recap on Tap detailing the intricacies that led to a Brewers loss in the series opening against the Diamondbacks, I have pushed forward our mid-season awards ceremony to today. So put on your fancy clothes and clap along politely as we present the Milwaukee Brewers and the rest of the National League with our very own awards.
Over the last week or so, I asked a few members of the staff to contribute to this idea. A consensus opinion was not necessary, but we certainly reached it on a few for both the Brewers as a team and the National League in general. The staff and I picked an MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Best Reliever, and one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger.
MVP: Ryan Braun and Zack Greinke
Ryan Braun is the obvious offensive choice here for Most Valuable Player, as his offensive numbers have continued to support the rest of the Brewers day in and day out in 2012. His .310 average, 52 RBI’s and 20 home runs are all in the running to lead the National League, and he remains a stalwart defender in left field.
There was, however, some dissenting opinion. Lou Olsen – Senior Staff Writer here at Reviewing the Brew - as well as staff writer Brad White, Put their votes for Zack Greinke. It makes sense. Greinke has nine wins on the year and has been dominating everyone who steps in against him. He has struck out 102 batters while only walking 22 all year. He has a 2.82 ERA in 16 starts, and has surrendered only 4 home runs on the season. It makes a very compelling argument, so much so that I felt uneasy about the giving the award to just one of them. They both are doing everything possible to keep Milwaukee in the race, and without either one fo them the Brewers would be in a far worse place.
(I know that it’s cheating, too, but it’s our awards – we can give them out however we would like)
Silver Slugger: Ryan Braun
The aforementioned co-MVP of the Milwaukee Brewers obviously nails the Silver Slugger as well. Lou also put in a vote for Corey Hart – he has had flashes of offensive productivity throughout the season, as well as hammering in 15 home runs in 2012. For a team-only award, Corey Hart makes a good argument on a team filled with lack-luster offense. On a league-wide level, there’s no way the right-fielder turned first baseman could compete with the rest of the league in the numbers.
Gold Glove: Jonathan Lucroy
I know he hasn’t played for nearly a month, but Lucroy transformed himself into a much better defensive catcher to go along with his impressive hitting numbers. He was also the only player that voted more than once in the staff vote, so he kind of gets it by default. Even though his back-ups (or replacements, if you prefer) Martin Maldonado and George Kottaras have had impressive performances of their own and made very strong arguments going into the voting, it was clear that everyone felt more comfortable with Lucroy as the backstop.
Rookie of the Year: Mike Fiers and Norichika Aoki
There was some question about whether or not Aoki actually qualified as a ‘rookie’, but we all collectively decided that he probably did as he has never played professional baseball in America, and
barring that, we just didn’t care. His consistency and enthusiasm for getting the little things done right has been one of a few bright spots this year, and watching him play has become a joy for Brewers fans. He’s hitting .289 right now, with four home runs (three of them just sailing over the wall, and one being inside-the-park) and 14 RBI’s. Not the most outlandish numbers in the game, but he is a consistent source of production in the top of the lineup and brings opportunities to Braun and Ramy at the plate.
The vote for ROTY split right down the middle in most cases, and truthfully we all kind of said “Can’t they both get it?” That’s because pitcher Mike Fiers has done so well as a starter it’s almost impossible to ignore the impact he’s had. To come in at the bottom of the rotation as a rookie and perform the way he has is a great achievement. Fiers has pitched 35 innings for Milwaukee this season, and during that time he has struck out 31 batters and walked only five. He has an ERA of 2.70 and a WHIP of 1.11. He consistenly pitches deep into games, and has no problem attacking hitters in the strike zone. He has great stuff and an attitude to match it on the mound. He deserves to share the award for the Brewers, and if he can keep improving he might be in the conversation for the whole league.
Cy Young: Zack Greinke.
We’re not even discussing this, because if I have to convince you of it, you obviously haven’t been watching at all this year.
Best Reliever: Kameron Loe
Somehow, someone got more than one vote. It was Kameron Loe. Kameron has been a popular scapegoat in the last few seasons, but this year he has proven to be dependable and effective out of the bullpen. His 4-2 record speaks to that (as well as to how bad the Brewers have been in holding up their starting rotation) as well as the fact that he has struck out 24 batters while only walking nine. It doesn’t seem too impressive until you see the rest of the ‘pen.
So Kam gets it, but the answers we got were too good not to share:
Colin: I’ll give it Kameron Loe by virtue his K/BB rate alone.
Lou: (sigh) John Axford, even with his struggles…there is no one I would rather have closing out a game (accept for maybe Kimbrel)
Brad: Best Reliever: Good one. For the heck of it, I’m going to say Livan Hernandez, because I absolutely hate everyone we have in the ‘pen right now.
Thanks for coming out the First Annual RtB Mid-season award show everybody, congratulations to our winners. Coming up next is the NL awards, so stay tuned. Drive home safe, and go Brewers!