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The Inaugural Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award
by Keith Glab,
November 22, 2005

Alex "M." Gonzalez
First of all, curses to you, Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins, for not having a middle name that would have made it easier to distinguish you from Alex Scott Gonzalez, formerly of the Devil Rays, Cubs, and Blue Jays. To make matters worse, you’re a free agent who has done nothing offensively for 2.5 seasons now, so the Marlins are unlikely to re-sign you, and we’ll have to find a new title for you. Maybe Alex Gonzalez of Venezuela.

The point being, we here at Baseball Evolution don’t want you to think of this award as having to do with terrible hitters who perform well in the clutch, or gold-glove caliber defenders who make unconscionably egregious postseason errors. Those would be Alex S. Gonzalez awards. The Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award, as we may have already hinted at, goes to the player in each league who begins the year on an uncharacteristic tear, and finished the year with a disappointing performance. Who better than Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins to illustrate how this award works with his baffling 2003 performance:

Pre-AS 316 12 53 288 332 509 0 4
Post-AS 212 6 24 208 285 344 0 0
Pre-June 178 9 34 331 360 618 0 4
Post-June 350 9 43 217 265 354 0 0

Ever since that 2003 season, AGotM has been the poster boy for second half collapses here at Baseball Evolution. And with a career OPS of .642 after the All-Star Break, we figured that we’d make it official, and hand out some hardware with his bulky, confusing name on it. Behold, the 2005 Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award Winners:

National League: Cesar Izturis, SS Los Angeles Dodgers

It’s only fitting that an award named after a no-hit/good-field NL shortstop go to a no-hit/good-field NL shortstop, isn’t it? Fortunately in this case no one is likely to confuse Cesar’s name with someone else’s, unless his brother Macier feels mischievous enough to change his name. Anyway, a season-ending injury in August mercifully ended Izturis’ decline, but when we split his season nearly down the middle, we see just how deserving he is of this award:

Pre-AS 305 1 20 275 322 338 5 6
Post-AS 139 1 11 216 257 288 3 2
Pre-June 219 1 20 342 382 425 4 6
Post-June 225 1 11 173 212 222 4 2

Wow. If you study that chart closely enough, you can see that Cesar had exactly zero RBIs between the end of May and the All-Star break. And the post-June batting average of .173 and slugging average of .222 kind of jump out at you. His baserunning did improve as the year went on, further associating himself with the Marlins’ Alex Gonzalez. In fact, this guy almost makes you wonder why we didn’t just wait until next year and call it the “Cesar Izturis Award,” thereby avoiding all of the confusion with the nomenclature. Well, if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to comment on something pretty special that took place across the country over in the American League.

American League: Brian Roberts, 2B Baltimore Orioles

Now Brian Roberts is a different kind of Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award winner. His second half, though still technically a collapse, was right about on par with his usual numbers. However, he started out the season on such a torrid, Brady Andersonesque pace that the dropoff was to steep to be ignored:

Pre-AS 313 15 49 345 416 591 18 5
Post-AS 248 3 24 274 351 419 9 5

If you’re scoring at home, Brian Roberts hit eight (8) homers in April, then proceeded to bop just three (3) in 248 post-break at bats. He was also 10/11 in his April stolen base attempts, going a so-so 17-for-26 (65.4%) afterwards. His post-All-Star dropoff in both OBP and SLG was larger than Gonzalez’s in his fabled 2003 season. Congratulations Brian, you had a fine season, and now you have a fine award. Enjoy them; I don’t think you’ll ever have another one of either again.

Honourable Mention: Matt Lawton, OF Pirates/Cubs/Yankees

Many people remember how in 1990 Willie McGee won the NL Batting title despite finishing that season with the Oakland A’s. Well, in a year with weaker candidates, Matt Lawton might have taken home an AGotM on such a technicality. But how can an outfielder hope to compete with middle infielders for an award such as this? Well, he’s more competitive than you might think:

Pre-AS 313 10 40 275 379 457 10 9
Post-AS 187 3 13 219 315 294 8 0
Pre-June 374 10 49 273 380 433 16 9
Post-June 126 3 9 198 263 286 2 0

Yup, Lawton went from being the NL’s premier leadoff hitter in the first half to someone who couldn’t slug .300 in the second half, to someone who couldn’t hit his weight after the trade deadline. And although we do appreciate Matt’s keeping with the tradition of improving his running game as his other numbers decline, we cannot help but believe that this collapse was the direct result of a ‘roid crash. Steroid test results are not made public until months after the positive result, so although we learned just this fall that Lawton had tested positive for horse steroids, the actual test must have been done…oh, I don’t know… around the July 31st trade deadline? It is entirely possible that someone tipped off the Pirates (and later, Cubs) organizations as to the fact that Lawton had tested positive for steroids. Whether that’s true or not, the vogue thing to do is deny steroid users any potential awards, so why should ours be any different? Sorry Matt, you just get an honorable mention. But thanks for fading.

Well, that’s all the mid-season collapsing we have time for this year. Stay tuned next year, when Baseball Evolution’s Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award (or something with a similar name) brings out its next wave of chokers.

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith Glab resides in Chicago, Illinois, and can be reached at

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