Every year, the United Cardinal Bloggers publish their ballot for the previous season; it includes individual performances, games, and the UCB itself. My ballot is listed below.
Fans can get into the action as well; anyone can vote here. All the fan votes will be tallied up and the winner will be counted as a vote in the overall blogger voting.
I want to say this is an easy one, but it’s really not. DeJong came out of nowhere onto the scene and came in second for the Rookie of the Year voting. Jose Martinez was a surprise bat for the team. It comes down to who did the most overall, and it was Pham; he hit, he ran the bases, he fielded. There are questions about whether he’ll repeat next season or if he’ll even be on the team; whatever happens in 2018, he had an awesome 2017.
The team’s pitching was so up and down this season, it’s difficult to pick who was the best pitcher. Mike Leake had a strong start to the season, but fell off and was dealt before the end of the season. Martinez didn’t take the step forward that many expected; he had some really good starts but also struggled often. Weaver had some good starts down the stretch. And we won’t touch on the bullpen and their struggles. Lynn was the best pitcher overall for the team and probably the most consistent.
3) Game of the Year
–April 24 vs. Toronto (Carp walk off slam)
–May 14 vs. Chicago (Waino 7 scoreless, Yadi 2 HR)
–July 8 vs. New York (DeJong HR, 3 2B)
–July 21 at Chicago (9 run 8th inning)
–August 9 vs. Kansas City (Rally cat)
–September 22 vs. Pittsburgh (9th inning rally)
Looking back at these games, there were some really good moments. The Rally Cat was fun, seeing Wainwright pitch well was a welcome sight, and DeJong entrenching himself in the lineup was important to the team. I’m going July 21 just for the fact it was a big inning against the Cubs; while it didn’t change the momentum of the season, it was good to see them take a game back from their rival.
4) Surprise Player of the Year
To me, a surprise player is someone you never expected anything from. I was a huge Pham guy before he broke out, so I wasn’t completely surprised. Martinez and DeJong were both guys I expected to see in the Majors, but not as good as they were. Brebbia, on the other hand, was a guy that I never expected to see in the Majors with his background of Indy ball and Minor League Rule V selection.
There were a lot of players on this team that fit the bill for most disappointing. While Oh’s fall from grace was surprising, he had too little of a track record in the majors to be surprised by it, especially since relievers drop off so quickly. Piscotty got all of our hopes up after a good 2016 and contract extension, but we’re hopefully chalking that one up to his mother’s health. The biggest disappointment for me was Aledmys Diaz; everyone was convinced he was the shortstop of the future. Even with regression factored in, there was no one that expected what we saw and things only got worse with his demotion.
DeJong is the obvious choice here. His numbers were amazing and he was runner up for the NL Rookie of the Year. It’s hard to vote for anyone else.
As much as Nicasio did for the team after his acquisition, it’s hard to select a guy that was only with the team for about 3 weeks. In that time, he really didn’t do enough to get the Cardinals into the post-season. I think Fowler is the guy here. He didn’t set the world on fire, but his offensive numbers were better than most people realize. Unfortunately his health and defense cost him more recognition.
With his rapid trajectory through the system, Hudson seems like a legitimate option for the Cardinals rotation in the near future or a piece for a big trade. While there are questions about his long-term future in the rotation, he appears like a starter right now even if he ends up in the bullpen.
9) Best Individual Cardinal Blog
—Baseball Geek in Galveston
—C70 At The Bat
—Cardinal Red Baseball
—Pop Culture Abstract
—STL Cards ‘n Stuff
—View From The Cheap Seats
—Women Who Love Cardinal Baseball
I’m not the type to toot my own horn, so I’m voting for RetroSimba. It’s always fun to read about past Cardinal teams, especially in a season where there were some really rough patches. You can only read about bullpen meltdowns and Diaz struggles so much.
Viva El Birdos is my go to for Cardinal blogs; they have a lot of good writers that cover so many different topics.
11) Best Media Coverage
—Jose de Jesus Ortiz
When Goold writes, I’m reading. He’s got a very ground approach to covering the team and has a good grasp of the game he’s covering. His chats give very good insights to the team and the game.
12) Post of the Year
–“A Decade of C70 At The Bat”–Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat
–“Go Home Cardinals Fans, You’re Drunk”–Clay Beyersdorfer, The Redbird Daily
–“How Can Baseball Promote Itself To Women Without Being Sexist?”–Diane Schultz, Women Who Love Cardinal Baseball
–“The Miscasting of Dexter Fowler”–Eugene Tierney, The Pop Culture Abstract
–“St. Louis Cardinals: Extend Carlos Martinez”–Colin Garner, The Redbird Daily
–“St. Louis Cardinals Owe Fans a Yadier Molina Extension”–Kevin Reynolds, STL Cards ‘n Stuff
Again, I’m not going to vote for myself; instead, I’m voting for Daniel’s look back at the last 10 years of his blogging. He’s done a lot over 10 years, from articles to Star Wars mashups to podcasts; all of them have brought quality entertainment, which is what this is all about.
13) Best UCB Podcast
–11th Inning Stretch
–Bird Seeds (video)
–Conversations With C70
–The Double Birds Podcast
–Gateway To Baseball Heaven
–Meet Me At Musial
–Prospect to be Named Later
–Talking About Birds
–UCB Radio Hour
Due to the amount of podcasts I listen too, I’m don’t really listen to that many Cardinal specific ones; Meet Me At Musial is the lone UCB podcast I regularly listen too. Hopefully I can start listening to more and have my own on next year’s ballot.
14) Best Non-UCB Podcast
–Best Podcast in Baseball
–Cubs Cards Cast
–St. Louis Cardinals Extras (MLB.com)
–Two Birds on a Bat
–Viva El Birdos
Of these podcasts, there are 2 I listen too. My favorite is St. Louis Cardinals Extras. While it used to be short interviews with Langosch (which were good listens), it’s shifted away from stuff you can read online to more original content like Ozzie Smith conducting interviews with current and former players. They are still fairly short, so they are perfect to break up longform podcasts.
15) Best Podcaster
I’m going with Daniel Shoptaw again; he’s on his show every week and always available to be a guest on other podcasts (which I appreciate). You’ll also find a Star Wars podcast showing up in feed from time to time.
16) Best UCB Twitterer
One of the most active UCB members on Twitter is Dan Buffa. He’s always on Twitter and doesn’t limit it to Cardinals; he’s worth a follow if you are into the Blues, Movies, or St. Louis in general.