The Milwaukee Brewers lost Sunday, wrapping their season up with a 77-85 record. Let's take a look at the team awards.
MVP: Rickie Weeks
This was a lot easier for me than most would think. Sure Corey Hart had a higher batting average, more home runs and more RBI's, but this argument isn't even close. Weeks plays second base, while Corey Hart plays in right field. Second base tends to be a much lighter hitting position than the average right fielder would produce. Secondly, Weeks plays average defense, while Hart is an absolute hack in the field. This season, advanced fielding statistics said Weeks's defense saved the Brewers 1.6 this season. Hart's troubles ended up costing the Brewers 5.9 runs in the same measure.
Anyway, Weeks posted an incredible 6.0 WAR on the season. That was the highest on the club by far. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder finished tied for second with a 4.3 WAR each. Rickie Weeks is a very good player who deserved a healthy season to show what he could do. He got that in 2010 and didn't disappoint.
Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo
Yovani, much like in 2009, was a lone wolf this season. The pitching struggles that cost the Brewers this season had little to do with their ace. Here's what you need to know:
31 Games Started
185 Innings Pitched
That 3.84 ERA doesn't do justice to just how good Yovani was this season. Anytime a pitcher nears 10 K/9, that's a very impressive season. For the year, Yovani was able to rack up a WAR of 4.6. He's an absolute run away for Cy Young of the staff considering the next closest pitcher in term of value was John Axford at 2.0. If Yovani is able to limit his walks a bit next season, the sky is the limit for him.
Comeback Player of the Year: Corey Hart
This a no brainer. The difference between 2009 Corey Hart and this season's version was astronomical. His ISO (isolated power) jumped nearly .100 points. His slugging percentage was raised by .105 points. Although his OBP stayed pretty much the same (.003 higher), he was a great #2 hitter. Betting behind Rickie Weeks led to a ton of RBI opportunities this season and Hart cashed in. He was one of three Brewers to reach the 100 RBI plateau. Pretty incredible for a guy who was nearly cut at the beginning of the season. Hopefully he is able to keep up this level of production after signing his healthy contract extension. If I were the Brewers, I would strongly consider moving Hart to first base to cover up his horrid defensive prowess (-5.9 UZR this season). Despite his struggles in the field, Hart still had a 3.3 WAR, or 2.6 wins better than 2009.
Rookie of the Year: John Axford
Talk about coming out of nowhere. Axford burst onto the scene in a mop up role after being promoted mid-season. With the struggles only increasing in the 'pen, Axford soon got his chance to pitch in meaningful games. That responsibility only increased after Trevor Hoffman lost his ability to close ball games. Axford recorded his first save of 2010 in Minnesota on May 23rd. He would go onto to close out 24 games, while blowing just three saves. In 58 big league innings, Axford struck out a ridiculous 76 batters, while walking 27. Those are impressive numbers for a pitcher who came out of nowhere. He had a 2.0 WAR in 2010 and looks to be a mainstay in the bullpen for years to come.
Surprise of the Year: Lorenzo Cain
In 2009, Lorenzo Cain had a tough season. After being diagnosed with a knee injury early in the season, Cain really never recovered. He played injured the entire season and his numbers suffered greatly. That year, Cain had an OBP under .300, while playing between A and AA. In 2010, Cain regained his top prospect form. While playing between AA and AAA, Cain was able to post an OBP of .402 in 331 at bats. After seeing the terrible play of Carlos Gomez and an injury, the Brewers were left with a void in centerfield. Cain grabbed the bull by the horns. In 144 at bats, Cain hit .306 for the Brewers. His walk rate took a slight dip, resulting in a lower OBP of .344. However, Cain was able to slug .417 in his big league at bats. He also played tremendous defense. In limited playing time, advanced fielding statistics pegged Cain at a 2.7 UZR. All that added up to a 1.1 WAR, despite playing just 20% of the season. Pretty impressive after Cain's 2009.