In the midst of the 2019 BBWAA awards, the writers at Bucs Dugout were asked to select their choices for several Pirates team awards. Below are the results of the seven categories we voted on.
BIGGEST PIRATES SURPRISE of the 2019 Season
This award is for the player that most surprised the BD staff writers with how they performed in 2019.
WINNER: KEVIN NEWMAN
Though Newman only played in 31 games during his first season with Pittsburgh, he broke out in 2019, posting a 2.4 WAR anchored by 12 home runs, an 11.4% K-rate, and a 110 wRC+.
BIGGEST PIRATES DISAPPOINTMENT of the 2019 Season
This award is given to the player who disappointed us the most on and/or off the field.
WINNER: TIE, FELIPE VAZQUEZ and CHRIS ARCHER
With the hard-to-swallow charges facing Vazquez, who was the leader in the bullpen, it was no surprise he made it on the ballot. As for Archer, he’s left a lot of fans reeling with his underwhelming first full season in Pittsburgh. His 0.7 WAR in 2019 was his worst since his first season in the major leagues.
On why Patricia chose Vazquez: “At his arraignment, Felipe Vazquez claimed that initially he tried to avoid his victim due to her age. He knew, but pursued her anyway. The Nightmare, indeed. One’s ability to throw a baseball hard should not overcome one’s ability to be a decent human being, in case anyone needed that reminder again.”
BEST PIRATES ROOKIE of the 2019 Season
WINNER: BRYAN REYNOLDS (unanimous)
You could make an argument that the 24-year-old Reynolds was the best player on the team in 2019, never mind rookie. His .371 wOBA and .189 ISO placed him atop most offensive categories for the Pirates.
BEST PIRATES RELIEVER of the 2019 Season
WINNER: KEONE KELA
It was slim pickings in this category but we decided that Kela was the best option out of the bullpen in 2019. Without considering Vazquez, Kela’s WAR, strand rate, WPA, and 10 shutdowns stood out for us.
Ethan: Nick Burdi
Michael: Nick Burdi
On why Frank chose Kela: “Not a whole lot to choose from in this category after Felipe Vasquez took himself out. Keone Kela certainly has some ability and he showed it on occasion, but I worry about his long-term viability, given his personality. It’s almost painful to think about some of the guys the club ran out there. Maybe they’ll consider moving Chad Kuhl to the ‘pen; he could be a fine late-inning option.”
BEST PIRATES STARTER of the 2019 Season
WINNER: JOE MUSGROVE (unanimous)
It was clear to everyone (and most Pirates fans, I’d presume) that no starter was more effective during the 2019 season than Musgrove. He lead the team in innings pitched, wins, K-BB%, and WAR
BEST PIRATES HITTER of the 2019 Season
WINNER: JOSH BELL
Bell absolutely dominated at the plate in 2019, hitting 37 home runs with 116 RBIs, lead the team with a .378 wOBA and in drawn-walk rate with 12.1%.
On why Ethan chose Reynolds: “Yes, Bell had the homers and the power. I did say his first-half tear was beyond impressive and worthy of MVP status. But in terms of pure hitting, Reynolds was unmatched. Beyond his consistency and season-long pursuit of the batting title, Reynolds demonstrated a knack for extra-base hits (it’s hard to forget about all of those doubles) and a willingness to take the ball to the opposite field. He certainly does not have the power of Bell, but he is the most complete hitter on this team (although fellow rookie Kevin Newman had something to say about that for lengths of the season).”
PIRATES TEAM MVP of the 2019 Season
WINNER: STARLING MARTE
Marte finished .2 wins behind Reynolds and wasn’t atop most offensive categories but his consistency at the plate and strong defense stood out for us as he received three of the five votes for team MVP.
On why Ethan chose Bell: “I don’t think it can be overstated just how good Bell was in the first half. Despite putting up sub-par numbers after the All-Star break, the reason the Pirates were even relevant at the midpoint of the season was because of Bell’s breakout year. There were points where I didn’t even know why opposing pitchers didn’t just walk him. That’s impressive enough for me to give him MVP honors, regardless of post-June performance.”
Tell us what you think of our votes in the comments!