YCPB Awards: NL MVP

AND THE NOMINEES ARE…

When you look back on the record it just looks bad, but honestly, the Florida Marlins had a weird year. They got off to a hot start, more or less keeping pace with the Phillies for first place in the NL East. Then, however, they had an absurdly disastrous 5-23 June that took them out of contention, and finished fifth in the division. A large part of the Marlins’ terrible season was Hanley Ramirez‘s performance. Prior to 2011, Ramirez was a shortstop with a career line of .313/.385/.521, a 136 OPS+. That’s great for just about every position, but when you’re a shortstop, it puts you in the conversation for one of the best players in the game. This year, though, his performance inexplicably collapsed; he only hit .243/.333/.379, all career lows by quite a lot. That’s a below league average stat line, and Hanley is a terrible defensive shortstop. That’s okay when he’s hitting well; it becomes a bigger problem when he’s not. The Marlins may have signed several big-name free agents over the 2011-2012 offseason, but Ramirez returning to his career numbers might be the biggest boost of them all.

On the other hand, the Marlins did have an unlikely offensive boon as well. In almost 1000 career PAs, Emilio Bonifacio had a career stat line of .251/.306/.317, which is a 65 OPS+. No matter what position you play, that’s terrible. In 2011, Bonifacio hit .296/.360/.393, which isn’t spectacular, but were all still career highs and good for a 107 OPS+ in this year’s poor offensive environment. He also had a 26-game hitting streak, second longest in Marlins franchise history. This year alone raised Bonifacio’s career OPS over fifteen points.

Aubrey Huff, who’d spent most of his career on awful teams like the Devil Rays and Orioles, played a major part in San Francisco’s championship season of 2010. He signed another contract with the Giants soon after that season ended, but his 2011 did not go nearly as well. He hit only .246/.306/.370, which isn’t great for anyone, but is downright terrible for a poor-fielding first baseman. Since 2008 Huff seems to be alternating good years and awful years, so maybe the Giants will get another solid season out of Huff in 2012, but for now, his rapid decline from World Series hero to goat gives him a nomination here. Just for kicks, let’s look at his Fangraphs WAR over the past three years: -1.5, 5.8, -0.9.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Before the 2011 season began, the Marlins traded second baseman Dan Uggla to the Braves, but apparently not before rubbing off some of the general weirdness of their 2011 on him. Uggla was a great offensive second baseman; he’d hit at least 30 home runs every year since and including 2007. He actually set a career high for home runs in 2011, with 36, but the rest of his year was very odd. His final stat line, .233/.311/.453, is below his career numbers but not horrible, but how he arrived at that stat line is odd, so to speak. As late as June 9, Uggla’s OPS was a paltry .539, thanks to a .170/.235/.304 line. From that point on, however, he hit .273/.356/.546, complete with a thirty-three game hitting streak that was the longest in the majors since 2006. Uggla’s final numbers might not look that odd, but he never stopped providing YCPB entertainment throughout the year. Just look at those month-by-month stats! Yowza. Congrats, Dan.

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