Our buddies at MiLB.com are putting out their annual MiLBY’s this week, for best performances (take a look here). So before you put up a new calendar, let’s take a look back at 2009 and pass out some hardware, BlueClaws-style!
Willie Mays Hayes Award
Anthony Gose, OF…the 2nd year pro stole 76 bases to lead all of professional baseball. He also obliterated the BlueClaws team record of 59, set six years ago by Chris Roberson. The fan favorite certainly did a good job mimicking the man who he described as his favorite player, and was an easy choice for this award.
Kyra Sedgwick Award
BJ Rosenberg, RHP…for best closer…Rosenberg had a 0.89 ERA (and was 7-2) before an August promotion to Reading. He did not allow an earned run over his last 28.2 innings with the BlueClaws, and is likely the only candidate who could win a MiLBY (in the not as creative “Best Reliever” category).
What the Heck Was That Game Award
August 27th, 2009…This would be the strangest, by far, game of the 2009 season. The BlueClaws scored four unearned runs in the first inning at Hagerstown, led comfortably into the 4th, when the lights went out, causing a 22 minute delay (and legitimately threatening completion). Eventually, of course, they came back on. In this game, Trevor May gave up three hits over five innings, but walked six. In this game, Troy Hanzawa, getting a day off, entered the game in the bottom of the 1st when Harold Garcia was ejected. In this game, Jordan Ellis allowed a run over two innings (8th/9th) on no hits, three walks, two hit batsman, and four wild pitches. Lakewood won the game 7-2. O, and Vladimir de los Santos came up to the plate with a broken bat (which he realized was broken when, ready to hit, he tapped the bat on the plate). All in a good 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Jeanmar Gomez Award
Jason Knapp, RHP…Gomez won the MiLBY for best performance of the year (he threw a perfect game at Trenton). Knapp gets the Gomez Award for his performance on April 21st, when he threw seven shutout innings, on hit, one walk, 14 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he left in a 0-0 game and Lakewood lost 2-0. But Knapp was unhittable. 14 strikeouts tied Robinson Tejeda (2001) for the single-game franchise record.
Gorm Heimueller Award
Jesus Sanchez, RHP…Gorm is the Phillies minor league pitching coordinator and was behind the conversion of Jesus Sanchez from .206 hitter and catcher to 10-6, 3.44 pitcher. Sanchez went 9-2 from the second week of June with a 2.4 ERA, earning a spot on the 40-man roster in one of the biggest surprises / great stories of the 2009 season. Remember, Easter Sunday, the fourth game of the year, he didn’t get out of the first inning against Delmarva, and had a 5+ ERA in mid-May.
Dan Quisenberry Award
Jacob Diekman, LHP…for pitching sidearm…Diekman, in the first half of the season, threw overhand and had a 7.09 ERA. But at the break, he decided to switch to sidearm, and saved his season, maybe his career. He had a 1.24 ERA after the break, and opponents hit .186 against him (compared to .333 in the first half). He only allowed one earned run in his first 22 innings as a sidearm pitcher.
Jim Brown Award
Steve Susdorf, OF…not here that long, but he made it count…Susdorf hit .333 with the BlueClaws from Memorial Day through the end of the first half, hitting safely in 15 of the 21 games he played with Lakewood. He was then promoted to Clearwater and ended the year with Reading. While he was only here for a month, hitting coach Greg Legg said that they might not win the first half without him, a half they ended up winning by six games.
Better Late Than Never Award
Trevor May, RHP & Matthew Way, LHP…Neither one was with the BlueClaws when the season opened (Way was still in college at Washington State), but these were certainly two of the biggest reasons the team had the success it did in the playoffs. May only allowed three earned runs in his last 36 innings while Way went 4-1, 3.11 with the BlueClaws after an August promotion from Williamsport. He threw seven great innings in the game one division series win at Kannapolis.
Human Vacuum/Good Guy Award
Travis “Moose” Mattair, 3B…Moose made his last season with Lakewood a special one, as he was arguably the league’s best 3B defensively and was a team leader on a championship ballclub. Absolutely one of the best guys you’ll ever meet, we wish Moose the best as he tackles Clearwater in 2010.
I Left My Heart in Greensboro Award
Travis d’Arnaud, C…The BlueClaws catcher was hitting .189 with four home runs when the BlueClaws got to Greensboro on May 30th. He homered in three straight games, hit .300 the rest of the way, and led the BlueClaws offensively to a championship. d’Arnaud had an amazing total of 29 doubles in the second half, hit 14 home runs on the year, and would have hit 20+ if he played in a more hitter-friendly ballpark. Now, he’s a Blue Jay, sent over in the Roy Halladay deal.
Thank God It Wasn’t April Award
Mike Morvay, assistant groundskeeper…for the photo that appears on the right. This took place on August 24th when it was about 93 degrees, as opposed to the mid-40s that you usually get in April. Good job Mike.
Nice Knowing You Award
Lake County Captains…Yes, we jumped away from just the BlueClaws for this one, but after seven years of playing 20 games a year (which would be one full season), Lake County (and Bowling Green) head to the Midwest League. Good luck folks. The BlueClaws by the way sent them off on their Midwest League life by falling 8-2 at LCO in their final Sally home game.
That’s What It’s About Award
Anthony Gose, OF…During a charity jersey auction at the end of the year to benefit the American Cancer Society, Gose bought four of his teammates’ jerseys donating over $600 to charity. He then gave all the jerseys to children.