The 2008 Pitties: Most Valuable Player

Brandon Webb successfully retained his throne as the Diamondbacks Cy Young, with a comfortable victory, though the margin this year was palpably smaller: Webb got 68% of the vote this year - still a comfortable victory, but down from 80% in 2007, thanks to competition from both Haren and Johnson. Hopefully, Webb will maintain his high standard in 2009, and the rest of the pitching staff will step up their game and give him even more competition in the coming season.

We now hit the final category of the 2008 'Pitties - dammit, and still three months till spring training. There was I, hoping to stretch the awards out until the rebirth of baseball: I guess I'm going to have to find other things to write about: not exactly easy, given the complete lack of activity on the Diamondbacks front. At least, above the water - I trust this is a swan-like illusion, with a lot of activity going on below the waterline. And I do not mean the reported talks with Damion Easley.

Anyway, will Webb also be able to hang on to the MVP award which he won in the 2007 Pitties? Here are the five nominees: I think we've largely discussed most of their credentials before, so this will be relatively brief. Besides, I think there is still some honey-baked ham in need of my attention...

Stephen Drew. With an .835 OPS, Drew led the regular line-up, an outstanding accomplishment for a short-stop - among those with 250 PA's, only Hanley Ramirez had a higher figure in the entire majors. Over the second-half, Drew was particularly productive, batting .326, with a .928 OPS, and ended the year having hit 21 homers.

Adam Dunn. While our playoff push finished short, it wasn't the fault of Dunn, who came as advertised: walks (42 in 44 games), strikeouts (44) and plenty of power (a 29-homer pace), showing what effect a true slugger can have. His .417 OBP has been beaten only once by an AZ player with that many PAs [Gonzalez, .429 in 2001].

Dan Haren. Everything we wanted and more, Haren had career bests in K's (206) and ERA+ (138), making the All-Star Game. Would have been better than 16-8, but for dismal support (4.1 runs per game in his nine no-decisions). Also worth noting: Haren batted a very respectable .211 and played error-free baseball with his glove.

Conor Jackson. As noted previously, only two other major-leaguers since 1995 have played 50+ games in a season at both an outfield and an infield position, while hitting .300 overall. Jackson's flexibility dug the team out of a potentially deep hole after the loss of Byrnes, and he proved himself as a reliable outfielder.

Brandon Webb. Enough said. :-)

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