Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Awards Time

Yesterday, I asked you for your picks for the Nats Cy Young and MVP. I was interested to see how you guys viewed it, and I was surprised by the presence of Brian Schneider on most of the lists. A few weeks ago, I was talking about this issue with a few people, and he was my pick. Then, like so many others on this team, he got injured.

And that's the problem when trying to pick an MVP for the Nats. The good selections (Johnson, Schneider, Patterson) all missed time with injuries.

If I had to pick an MVP, I'd probably go
1. Cordero
2. Schneider
3. Johnson

Honorable mentions go to Luis Ayala, Livan Hernandez and Jose Guillen.

Cordero was the rock -- the constant throughout the year. He had a few letdowns towards the end, but for those first three months, he was as big a reason for our notable success in one-run games.

Schneider was quietly effective throughout the year. Early in the season he wasn't hitting much, but the few ones he had were clutch. Remember when he was ripping doubles to drive in a run, or to set himself up to be driven in? Unfortunately, the shoulder injury stole playing time away from him.

Nick Johnson is the team's best hitter. But he just didn't play enough. He finally started to show what it was that's tantalized scouts and statheads alike. He's still relatively young, despite seemingly being around forever (not to mention having goofy facial hair), and has a good chance to put up similar, or better, numbers next season. All together now.... As long as he stays healthy.

For the Cy Young, it's an easier call.
1. John Patterson
2. Chad Cordero
3. Livan Hernandez
Honorable Mention: Gary Majewski, Luis Ayala, Esteban Loaiza.

Patterson looks like he could be an ace. But he started fatiguing down the stretch, probably a result of pitching more innings than he had in his career. Throw in his propensity for letting nagging injuries get to him, and he's not quite an "Ace" yet. It could come in time. He benefited greatly from RFK's fences. He's one of the most extreme flyballers in the league, and the power alleys were pretty generous.

Chad Cordero was wonderful. He'd work himself into and out of jams. He, like Patterson, got a big assist from the fences. A flyballer as well, he had a number of long drives eaten up at the warning track -- balls that may have cleared the fences at other parks.

Livan was injured down the stretch. It's hard to remember now, but he had legitimate All-Star-quality numbers at the break. Still, he took the mound every day and gave it his best. Sometimes it was good enough to win. Sometimes not. Regardless, he gave the team a ton of innings, saving the bullpen from even more abuse.

Ayala and Majewski were the gruesome twosome (at least when it comes to arm injuries). Both were amazing when their arms were attached. And both deserve as much credit as Cordero for our first-half finish.

I worry about Ayala's ability to come back next year. He's had two straight years of a VERY heavy workload, and he pitched in the winter as well. I just have a strong hunch that he's going to be toast. Majewski didn't pitch a ton of innings this season, but after Ayala's injury, he pitched every freakin' day, win or lose. He'll appreciate the offseason!