For the third year in a row, the D.C. Chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association announced their player achievement awards. It's worth a look to go over to the website and see how the group voted.
Here were my picks (winner in bold; my votes for first, second, third):
Goose Goslin MVP (Michael Morse): Morse, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard. With the dearth of offense this season, Michael Morse was a savior in spikes. He emerged as a legitimate clean-up hitter this season and was one of the most valuable hitters in the National League.
Walter Johnson starting pitcher (Jordan Zimmermann): Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler. Zimmermann punished the strike zone in his first full season after Tommy John surgery. He still had a few games where the swing-and-miss pitch was missing, but he was a machine in getting batters out while pitching in the strike zone.
Firpo Marberry relief pitcher (Tyler Clippard): Clippard, Storen, Todd Coffey. This in no way takes anything away from the excellent job that Storen did at the back of the bullpen, but Clippard was called upon in any number of situations, from starting innings clean to coming in with the bases loaded and no outs. He pitched the Nats' highest-leverage innings all season long and did so almost without fail.
Sam Rice hitter of the year (Morse): Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond. Hitter of the year award is supposed to take into consideration all-around hitting, situational hitting and base running. The Nats just don't have an all-around hitter better than Zimmerman, despite having been hurt for two months. Despite Werth's low average, his OBP and power ratios weren't too far off his career norms.
Frank Howard slugger of the year (Morse): Morse, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos. Morse was the unanimous winner in this category, and for good reason. He homered in his last three games to get over the 30-homer plateau and will be due a huge raise in arbitration this off-season.
Joe Judge defensive player (Danny Espinosa): Espinosa, Zimmerman, Ankiel. Espinosa might have trailed off on offense in the second half, but he never took it into the field with him. He was consistently excellent and give the Nats more range and arm at second than they've ever had before.
Mickey Vernon comeback player (Zimmermann): Stephen Strasburg, Chien-Ming Wang, Jesus Flores. There was no shortage of comeback players for the Nats this year, and most voters forgot that Jason Marquis was even on this team this season. But no story is bigger to the success of this franchise than the return of a healthy Stephen Strasburg. The season-ending 10-strikeout game will linger in the backs of Nats fans minds all winter long.
Josh Gibson humanitarian (Ian Desmond): Desmond, Storen, Zimmerman. No player gives more of his time in the community than Desmond, though Storen gives him a run for his money. Zimmerman's foundation's gala attracts a lot of attention too.
Minor League POY (Bryce Harper): Harper, David Freitas, Tom Milone. This voting was ridiculously close, with one point separating Harper and Brad Peacock, whom I did not vote for. Harper destroyed Single-A and struggled a bit to start at Double-A, but was seriously heating up when he pulled his hamstring, ending his season. Looking forward to the Arizona Fall League.
Biggest surprise? Ryan Mattheus. He over-performed what I expected in a big way.
Biggest disappointment? Jayson Werth.
Will Zim re-sign before end of 2012? No. I think this one goes the long route.
Which players on the 40-man won't be back? Cora, Pudge, Gomes, Nix, Slaten, Livo, Gorzy, Bixler, Balester, Ramirez, Bernadina, Severino.
Favorite Pro Writer: Mark Zuckerman. Facts, stats, opinions. Mark puts it all out there.
Favorite Non-Pro Writer: Patrick Reddington. His volume of work is unparalleled.