by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
December 16, 2009
The nomenclature of Alex Gonzalez just got a little more complex.
The easiest way to tell apart the two Alex Gonzali was to denote one
Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins and
Alex Gonzalez of the Blue Jays.
Both shortstops spent a decade with their respective original organizations
before finally departing into journeyman land, making it fairly easy to
associate player and team. But now the Blue Jays have gone and signed the
other Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal with a club option, disregarding both
journalistic ease and the fact that Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins really isn't
Thankfully, the term Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins still works as the title of
this award (which, by the way, goes to the player that collapses the most in the
second half of the season after a fluke of a first half), as only one of the
Alex Gonzali has played for the Fish. The question becomes, what do we now
call Alex S. Gonzalez? Alex Gonzalez of the Blue Jays won't work for
younger fans who don't remember that Alex S. Gonzalez was once grouped with
Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra as up-and-coming shortstops
by Sports Illustrated; they might associate Alex Non-S. Gonzalez with
Toronto. How about the Post-Bartman Alex Gonzalez
Anyway, enough babble. On to the good stuff.
American League Candidates
Scott initially looks like a prime candidate, but he wasn't actually that
good in the first half. He simply had an unreal month of May. How does a
1.000 slugging average sound? The craziest part is that he spent time on
the disabled list that month. Scott smashed eight homers and collected 18
RBI in his first 10 games back from the DL (extending into
June) for a 1.114 SLG in that span.
The rest of the season, Scott ranged from decent to bad, actually improving
in September from lousy months of July and August. I'm not sure what you
call what Scott did - perhaps the
Mike Benjamin Award - but he's no
Aaaand our long, exhaustive search is complete. To Dye's credit, he was
somehow able to draw exactly as many walks after the All-Star break as he did
beforehand despite the fact that he lost all credibility at the plate. I
mean, how do you compete with this? Dye was one of the bigger All-Star
snubs of my lifetime, but you would never know it to look at his final stat
line. Dye runs away with this award.
Past AL AGotM Winners
But let's pause to give Kenny Williams credit on the way that he handled
Jermaine Dye. He signed the big right-fielder at age 31 at a bargain.
Dye then proceeded to help the Sox win their first World Series since World War
I in 2005 and had one of the best offensive seasons by a Sox hitter not named
Frank Thomas in 2006. The following season, the entire Sox team fell apart, and Dye was
among a host of
Dave Kingman Award candidates
from his own team.
But Dye was the anti-Alex Gonzalez of 2007. He carried a .214/.271/.402
line into the All-Star break, then got hot for a month. Kenny Williams
shocked the baseball world by extending Dye's contract for two more years that August
18th. What the baseball world didn't realize is that Dye would be very
productive for another two years (he went .298/.368/.579 for the remainder of
2007 and .292/.344/.541 in 2008) before finally petering out. Well-played,
National League Candidates
Ibanez' season was most amusing, because as soon as people began
putting two and two together and
suspecting Ibanez of possible performance-enhancer use, Ibanez issued the
“You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool – anything you can
test. I’ll give you back every dime I’ve ever made [if the test
This was in mid-June, and Ibanez was hitting
.322/.380/.622 at the end of a 13-game hitting streak on June 13th. He
went .225/.316/.434 the rest of the way, although he did get some big hits in
the postseason. It's certainly plausible that Ibanez stopped using
whatever he was using as soon as he made his bodily excretion guarantee and that
precipitated his decline.
Plausible, but hardly conclusive. Ibanez
actually only had one month with a sub-.850 OPS, and anyone who began the year
the way he did would have suffered some decline. Combined with the fact
that Ibanez turned 37 on June 2nd, no longer had the benefit of a DH rule to
rest games, and may have been pressing due to the steroid
scrutiny in a spotlight-heavy market, a precipitous decline was almost a
guarantee. Overall, Raul Ibanez still had one of the best seasons of his
career by most statistical measurements and should not be seriously considered
for the Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award unless there is a dearth of worthy
Is Wright a worthy candidate? He is if you just look at his batting
average, but his power output held steady in the second half. Furthermore,
Wright went .239/.289/.367 after he got beaned in the helmet in August.
That is no way for someone to win an AGotM Award; Wright could have just sat out
the rest of the season with the Mets playing for absolutely nothing. If
someone is going to snatch away this award from Ibanez, it won't be Wright.
At first glance, O-Dog doesn't look like much of a candidate. But when
someone goes from being an All-Star to getting benched in favor of Ronnie
Belliard in the postseason, it prompts a closer examination of the stats.
As it happens, Hudson had a line of .347/.420/.495 upon the completion of a
three-game series in Coors Field. Ah, but the
Fountain of Coors was replaced by
a Humidor, so he went just .248/.321/.375 the rest of the way. Is that
dropoff enough to make Hudson the third Dodgers middle infielder in five years
to win the NL AGotM Award?
While Freddy Sanchez did miss time at the end of August and beginning of
September with an injury, his swoon had already begun in earnest. After
batting .333 over the first two months of the season, Sanchez hit .282 in June,
then .193 in July. His power was completely sapped, as he doubled only
twice in the second half after having done so 27 times before the break.
If you were puzzled as to why the San Francisco Giants would have traded a
decent pitching prospect for this aging, expensive player to begin with, you
must have been absolutely flummoxed when they signed him to a two-year extension
after his miserable second-half performance.
Past NL AGotM Winners
Don't buy into the "AT&T is a pitcher's park hype," either. Last
season, PNC depressed right-handed hitters' batting average and doubles while
AT&T improved them. Those are trends that have been consistent for years.
We should have expected a right-handed doubles-hitter like Sanchez to thrive
with the Giants, but he did not. Dodger infielders everywhere can breathe
a sigh of relief and the NL East can stand proud as the only division never to
have housed an Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award winner, ironically enough.
Sanchez is the man for 2009.
Also considered: Brad Hawpe and Mike Cameron
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at email@example.com.