The 2011 GIBBY Awards were awarded last night on MLB Network. The GIBBY Awards–or Greatness In BaseBall Yearly–are awarded for 19 different categories including Rookie of the Year, Play of the Year, etc. These awards are given to the winners based on votes by you the fans at MLB.com, media, front-office personnel and MLB alumni. I’ve included my prediction as well as the winner followed by my thoughts:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Matt Kemp.
Winner- Matt Kemp.
This was a fairly easy category to predict. Matt Kemp had the best season by far of any other player in MLB. He ended the season one home run shy of a 40/40. (40 home runs and 40 steals.) Although he didn’t reach that incredible mark, he did achieve a 30/30, as well as come through in some big spots for the Dodgers.
STARTING PITCHER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Justin Verlander.
Winner- Justin Verlander.
Another easily predicted category. Just Verlander had the best season of his career. He recorded 250 strike-outs and a 2.40 ERA–good enough to net him 24 Wins for the season. He also pitched a no-hitter and won the Cy Young and MVP awards for the AL this season. The award couldn’t of gone to a more deserving pitcher.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Craig Kimbrel.
Winner- Craig Kimbrel.
Craig Kimbrel completely dominated the ninth inning this season for the Atlanta Braves. He recorded 127 strike-outs off of 77 innings pitched. He also set the rookie record for saves, with 46. Although there were several other deserving candidates in this category, I feel that the rightful winner won.
CLOSER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Craig Kimbrel.
Winner- Jose Valverde.
Of the nominees, it came down to Craig Kimbrel and Jose Valverde when it came to making my prediction. I couldn’t decide which one to choose. I ended up picking Kimbrel after several minutes of mental debate. That was the wrong one however, as Valverde was awarded the GIBBY for Closer of the Year. Well deserved, too. Valverde, who went perfect, going 49 for 49 in save opportunities, was fantastic this year. No complaints from me.
SETUP MAN OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Johnny Venters.
Winner- David Robertson.
Again another hard one to predict. I went with my gut of Johnny Venters, considering the fact that he and Kimbrel were incredible this season. Venters would dominate the eighth, with Kimbrel dominating the ninth. But David Robertson was the setup man for Mariano Rivera, so I guess I can’t argue with his winning of the GIBBY.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Brandon Phillips.
Winner- Asdrubal Cabrera.
Extremely difficult isn’t a good enough statement when it comes to describing my attempt to predict the winner of this category. There were several deserving nominees. I predicted that Brandon Phillips would win given the fact that he basically had an incredible play every night, including the through the legs flip to first back in May. But it seemed as if Asdrubal Cabrera’s motto was “anything you can do I can do better”, as his incredible plays beat out Phillips for the GIBBY.
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Ian Kennedy.
Winner- Ian Kennedy.
Fairly easy to predict was this category. Ian Kennedy truly had a breakout year for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kennedy recorded 21 wins including a complete-game shutout. But when you think about it, the entire D-backs team had a breakout season. They went from finishing last in the 2010 season to coming in first this season. But the award isn’t for a team. It’s for a single player, thus Ian Kennedy was awarded the GIBBY.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Lance Berkman.
It came down to Jacoby Ellsbury and Lance Berman for me, but I ended up going with Berkman for my prediction. I’m glad I chose Berkman over Ellsbury, as he was awarded the GIBBY for Comeback Player of the Year. Berkman had an incredible season when compared to last year. Check out the stats for Berkman below:
2010- 100 hits, 167 total bases, 14 home runs, 58 RBI’s, and a .248 average.
2011- 147 hits, 267 total base, 31 home runs, 94 RBI’s, and a .301 average.
Totals- +47 hits, +100 total bases, +17 home runs, +36 RBI’s, and + .053 average.
I believe the stats speak for themselves.
WOW FACTOR OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Robinson Cano.
Winner- Robinson Cano.
Wow is pretty much the first word that comes to mind when you think of the season Robinson Cano had. He recorded 3 grand-slams off of 28 total home runs. If he came to the plate, and the bases were full of Yankees, you had to figure he’d come up big, as he did several times throughout this season. He truly exhibited the wow factor.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Kirk Gibson.
Winner- Kirk Gibson.
I didn’t have to think twice about my prediction. The moment I saw his name on the Manager of the Year nominee list, I wrote his name down. Although managers like Joe Maddon might be more entertaining, no other manager, including Maddon, helped his team succeed like Gibson did. Gibson helped to turn the team around, as they went from losing 97 games in 2010 to winning 94 this year. Truly remarkable. Remarkable enough to earn ‘Gibby’ a GIBBY.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Ruben Amaro Jr.
Winner- John Mozeliak.
I had NO idea who to pick for this category. I closed my eyes, pointed my finger and went with Ruben Amaro Jr. (That’s the name my finger landed on.) But my finger was wrong, as it was John Mozeliak winning the GIBBY. I guess that makes sense. His team, the St. Louis Cardinals, won the World Series this year. But I really could care less about this category, so lets move onto Postseason MVP.
My original prediction- David Freese.
Winner- David Freese.
While you had players like Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, and Albert Pujols coming through in big spots, NO ONE came through like David Freese did. He’s the reason the Cardinals forced a game seven and subsequently won the World Series. Had Freese not of come through with the game-tying triple, and then the game-winning home run, there would’ve been no game seven, and thus the Rangers would’ve won the World Series. No player was more valuable than Freese.
PLAY OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Lillibridge’s game-saving catches.
Winner- Ben Revere’s catch at the wall.
Ben Revere’s catch at the wall WAS incredible, however I made the prediction that I did due to the fact that Lillibridge made TWO game-saving catches in a row. But I’m not upset. I’m glad that Revere won. The catch was outstanding, and I’ll admit that I watched it about 20 times in a row when I was voting for this category.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Jeter goes deep for his 3,000th hit.
Winner- Dan Johnson’s game-tying home run.
I was surprised that Dan Johnson’s game-tying home run was the winner of this award. For me the most incredible moment of the year was DJ3K. I mean to reach a milestone of 3,000 hits in which NO other Yankees in their long history has accomplished, and to do it on a home run?! That to me should’ve won. This was the only category that I can’t be happy with who won. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel.
PREFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Jeter goes 5-5 and gets 3,000th hit.
Winner- Jeter goes 5-5 and gets 3,000th hit.
Although I think it should’ve won moment of the year as well, I’m glad that DJ3K won for this category. Jeter went 5-5 in the game in which he recorded his 3,000th hit on a home run. Two of his hits in the game were doubles, with the other two being singles, and of course the home run. This was by far the performance of the year.
ODDITY OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Mantis visits dugout.
Winner- Braun’s stumble around third.
I truly thought that Logan Morrison’s experience with the Mantis would’ve won for Oddity of the Year. It was hilarious what went down when the Mantis jumped onto Morrison’s shoulder, but I admit that I laughed for several minutes the first time I saw Braun’s stumble around third. So I’m glad that if Morrison’s Mantis incident didn’t win, that Braun’s stumbling did.
WALK-OFF OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Evan Longoria’s playoff clinching home run.
Winner- Evan Longoria’s playoff clinching home run.
The night in which Evan Longoria his the game-winning and play-off clinching home run was one of the best nights of baseball I’ve ever experienced. Although I wasn’t at the game physically, I felt it was just as incredible to be watching it all go down on TV. That night in baseball will stay in my mind for a long time to come.
FAN MOMENT OF THE YEAR
My original prediction- Fielder’s choice.
Winner- Fan shows maturity.
I thought it was awesome when Prince Fielder borrowed a fan’s pair of sunglasses. I mean, how often does that happen? But then again, how often does a kid show enough maturity to give up a baseball to the younger kid who he caught it in front of? It doesn’t happen everyday. When it originally happened I heard that he had been told by an usher to give the ball to the kid, but last night during the GIBBY cremony Mitch Williams stated that no one told him to. Either way, it was a nice gesture by the kid.
My original prediction- Pujols joins Babe and Reggie.
Winner- David Freese’s game-tying triple.
I chose Pujols’ joining of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in World Series history by hitting three home runs in a single game as my prediction, but it didn’t win,nor did it even come in second. The winner of the GIBBY for this category was the game-tying triple by David Freese. It was incredible. Had Freese of struck-out, the Rangers wouldn’ve won the World Series, and game seven never would’ve taken place.
I hope you enjoyed this blog entry. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below.