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2023 SnakePit Awards: MVP - nominations

And then there were fiv... um, six

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

As noted in the open thread, the winners of the previous awards - Corbin Carrol (Rookie of the Year), Kevin Ginkel (Unsung Hero) and Merrill Kelly (Pitcher of the Year) - made it onto the final ballot automatically. But they will be joined here, by the three most rec'd candidates put forward in the thread. Those are Gabriel Moreno, Ketel Marte and Dave McKay. Yes, I know the last-named is nor a player (or, at least has not been one for more than forty years!). But I'm going to allow it, on the entirely convincing basis that I am allowed to make the rules up as I go along. Therefore, here are the six candidates, with a little blurb about each.

Corbin Carroll (Rookie of the Year)

  • Became the first Diamondback ever to win Rookie of the Year, and did so unanimously
  • Also won SnakePit Rookie of the Year unanimously, the first universal pick in the history of the awards.
  • Started the All-Star Game as a rookie, at the age of 22.
  • Hit 25 HR and stole 54 bases, the second-youngest member of the 25/59 club (César Cedeño, 1973)
  • Second-most SB in franchise history (Tony Womack, 73 in 1999).
  • Highest bWAR and fWAR ever by a rookie position player for Arizona.

Kevin Ginkel (Unsung Hero)

Can't think of many previous nominees who were sent to the minors during the same season. But that's testament to how strong Ginkel was after his (largely unwarranted) spell in Triple-A. Following his return, Kevin improved even further, with a 2.25 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 36 innings. He then peaked during a stellar post-season, where he pitched 11.2 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts. His Win Probability there of +97.3% was the highest by any pitcher in the 2023 playoffs. He's now the longest-serving member of Diamondbacks bullpen too.

Merrill Kelly (Pitcher of the Year)

Merrill the Mainstay proved exactly that, being the team's most reliable starting pitcher. He stepped up his game down the stretch, when Arizona needed him most, and then maintained that form into the postseason, with a 2.25 ERA across his four playoff starts. He had a 132 ERA+ this year, a career-high over a full season and is a legitimate candidate for Opening Day starte next year (our recent poll on that topic resulted in a tie with Zac Gallen).

Ketel Marte (Nominated by Justin27)

"Second on the team in WAR, with 4.9. Perhaps should have been an All-Star, he put up the second most HRs, RBI and hit totals in his career after 2019 (when he was an All-Star)." To which I will add, 2023 was a much-needed return, bothto form and health, Marte appearing in more games than any season since 2019 as well. His success was particularly welcome after the first year of his new contract was unimpressive. Ketel improved his OPS+ by 23 points, and reversed his dWAR from -0.6 to 0.6.

Dave McKay (Nominated by kilnborn)

Few teams were better at taking advantage of the new version of baseball in 2023, and McKay's coaching is a big part of that. While SB were up 41% across baseball, the D-backs increased their figure by 60% on last year, to a franchise-high 166. Even Christian Walker was 11-0. Their extra-base taken rate of 49% was second in the majors. Credit McKay also for his work on Arizona’s outfield defense, where their UZR of 24.7 was also second highest. Lourdes Gurriel in particular showed a sharp improvement after his arrival from Toronto under McKay's tutelage.

Gabriel Moreno (Nominated by EdTheRed99)

This year was supposed be a gentle easing-in to the role of everyday starter for Moreno. Fate had other plans, as the loss of Carson Kelly in spring made Gabriel the man from Opening Day. He rose to the challenge, despite being aged only 23 - the Mets' Francisco Alvarez was the only younger regular catcher. His 4 3 bWAR was the highest for over a decade by a D-backs catcher, and Moreno was a key component of Arizona's run to the World Series, with an .852 OPS through the Division Series. He also handled the pitching staff well: their ERA throwing to him almost a run lower than our other catchers.

This one will be interesting. While there may be a front-runner, it's definitely not clear-cut to me, and there are a few different ways this could end up going. The poll is embedded below, or is linked here. It'll stay open until some vague point on Friday, and the results will be announced on Saturday afternoon. So have at it, and feel free to explain your choice in the comments.