2011 SnakePit Awards: Diamondbacks Most Valuable Player + Person

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Justin Upton #10 after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 19, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Pirates 1-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Earlier in the month we opened the polls to decide the final, ultimate award in the 2011 'Pitties: that for Most Valuable Player. In a change from previous voting, we presented a ballot of ten nominees and asked you to rank them from 1-10. The polls have now closed, and one thing is certain beyond all doubt: no matter how large you write it, some people will still be unclear on the meaning of "Please rank the ten candidates in order of "most valuableness", from first to last. "1" is most valuable, "10" is the least valuable."

Quietly muttering to ourselves, we have adjusted the results for those who didn't quite grasp this idea, and the overall standings - and thus, the winner - can be found after the jump. Did Kennedy's Cy Young caliber performance beat out Upton's MVP credentials? And was the Most Valuable Person on the 2011 Diamondbacks the same as the Most Valuable Player or not?

Cutting straight to the chase, the table below ranks the ten finalists, in order of average mark given to them across all the ballots. The second column lists what grade received the highest number of votes for them, e.g. for both Montero and Hudson, #3 was the most popular grade. And the final column is the number of #1 votes received by that player. All clear? Here's the results:

Avg Most #1 votes
1. Justin Upton 1.64 1 76
2. Ian Kennedy 1.86 2 37
3. Miguel Montero 3.40 3 8
4. Daniel Hudson 4.44 3 0
5. J.J. Putz 4.88 4 4
6. Ryan Roberts 6.04 7 2
7. Chris Young 6.28 6 0
8. Josh Collmenter 6.53 8 0
9. Gerardo Parra 6.62 6 3
10. Joe Saunders 8.84 10 0

So, by less than one-quarter of a point in average grade, Justin Upton managed to beat out Ian Kennedy. It was very close: while J-Up had about a 2-1 advantage in first-place ballots, almost no-one had Kennedy anywhere outside the top three - just five grades of four or below, with no-one below #6. Those who opted not to give Upton the top spot were a little more spread out, which allowed Kennedy to narrow the overall gap. Between them, however, they dominated the top spot, receiving 113 of the 130 first-place selections.

About a point and a half back, came Montero, who received about half of the remaining first-place votes, with the remainder scattered among Putz, Roberts and Parra. Curiously, Daniel Hudson managed to come fourth, ahead of the last three named, despite not being listed #1 by anyone. Instead, he had a solid showing in the top half of the ballot, 72% putting him between somewhere between third and fifth. That allowed him to pip Putz, even though our closer had twice as many mentions as Hudson in the top two positions.

Spots six through nine were very close, separated by barely half a point, and generally showcasing a wide breadth of opinions. Parra and Roberts, along with Putz, were the only nominees to receive votes at every spot on the ballot from first to tenth. Saunders meandered in some way at the back of the pack in tenth, but remember, it's an honor simply to be nominated [though one wonders if David Hernandez might have scored a little higher with the panel of judges...]

It was an unusual year for the Diamondbacks, in that off-field changes perhaps had more impact than those who appeared between the lines. GM Kevin Towers reconstructed much of the roster - in particular the bullpen - and manager Kirk Gibson instilled a culture of winning in the clubhouse, both of which were instrumental in turning the team around from close to a hundred losses to division champions. So, along with pitching coach Charles Nagy plus Kennedy and Upton, we asked an additional question, "Who was the Most Valuable Person on the Diamondbacks this year?" And the envelope please...

  1. Kirk Gibson: 56%
  2. Justin Upton: 26%
  3. Ian Kennedy: 11%
  4. Kevin Towers: 3%
  5. Charles Nagy: 3%

I am not startled by the result, but am quite surprised by the margin of Captain Kirk's victory - over twice as many as Justin Upton, and more votes than all other candidates put together. I also suspect that, while you might have predicted Upton for MVPl, not many expected Gibson for MVPe by a landslide, given the team went 34-49 under him in 2010. What a truly amazing year. So, for the first time in SnakePit history, we will have not just a most valuable player for the season, but an additional award for most valuable person also goes into the annals of SnakePit history.

Most Valuable Person
Kirk Gibson

Most Valuable Player
Justin Upton

Pitcher of the Year
Ian Kennedy

Unsung Hero
Ryan Roberts
Honorable mentions: Chris Young, Micah Owings

Rookie of the Year
Josh Collmenter

Game of the Year
September 27th vs. Dodgers: 10th-inning resurrection
Honorable mention: September 23rd: How the West was won

Performance of the Year
April 25th vs. Phillies: Ian Kennedy complete-game against Philadelphia

Play of the Year
September 27th vs. Dodgers: Ryan Roberts' walk-off grand-slam.

What will happen in the 2012 version of the awards? Feel free to make your predictions in the comments. As for me, I've no idea. Come back in a year and I'll tell you...

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