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Feature
 
 
2005 Milwaukee Brewers Award Winners

Staff
on 10/03/2005

 

Congratulations are in order for the Milwaukee Brewers by finishing with a non-losing record in 2005 for the first time since the 1992 season. They accomplished this feat on Friday, the last day of September, during the first game of a three game series with the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately they were unable to ensure a winning record during the final two games against the pesky Pirates. The Brewers did finish 8-5 over their final two weeks of the season, posting a 16-11 record in September. Most importantly the Brewers will no longer be lumped with the Pirates to hold the dubious distinction of not finishing at or above .500 since the 1992 season.

It is especially exciting since many fans wrote off the possibilities to finish the season at or above .500 when Ben Sheets went on the disabled list for the second time this season in late August. Given their amazing season, I think it is equally amazing that they accomplished these feats without their best player, who posted dominant numbers for the second consecutive year.

In past years some players have won the team's player, pitcher and rookie of the year awards by default, winning the awards because they were merely the best of a bunch of bad players. This year is different, as there were several candidates that qualified for each of the Brewerfan.net's season awards: Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and the Jack Voigt Memorial Unsung Hero Award. The awards were determined by the collective decision of the Brewerfan.net staff.

Player of the Year: Bill Hall
This award was definitely the hardest decision to make. Carlos Lee and Geoff Jenkins each were extremely productive hitters, even if they did most of their damage in two separate halves of the season. Lee led the team in home runs (32) and RBIs (114) while Jenkins finished second in those categories (25 and 86 respectively) and led the team in doubles (42), slugging percentage (.513) and OPS (.888). Brady Clark had an extremely productive season hitting atop the Brewers lineup, leading the team in batting average (.306), hits (183) and runs (94). But Bill Hall won the heart of Brewerfan.net's staff with his overall versatility and knack for the big hit. Hall entered the season as a backup infielder, and didn't expect to receive nearly as much playing time he did. When J.J. Hardy started the season extremely slow, Hall received more and more playing time at shortstop and responded well at the plate. He hit the ball extremely well in May and June, and then again in September to help lead the team to it's exciting finish. He finished first on the team in stolen bases (18), second on the team in slugging percentage (.495) and third in OPS (.837) and extra-base hits (62). Hall accomplished this starting 58 games at shortstop, 49 games at third base and 21 games at second base. Because of his versatility, improvement and overall production, Billy Hall is Brewerfan.net's Player of the Year.

Pitcher of the Year: Derrick Turnbow
There were three players in the running for the team's Pitcher of the Year Award, as starting pitchers Chris Capuano and Doug Davis also received consideration. Capuano became the first pitcher to win as many as 18 games since Teddy Higuera accomplished that feat in 1987, and in fact it was the first time a Brewers pitcher had more than 13 wins since 1993 (Cal Eldred, 16). Davis didn't get the same kind of run support to accumulate a higher win total, but his peripheral numbers were even more impressive. His 208 strikeouts place him fourth on the Brewers' all-time single season strikeout list, and he is only the third Brewer to accomplish that feat (Sheets, Higuera). However, Turnbow's season was absolutely dominant, and his year as a closer as a Brewer is right up there with Rollie Fingers' 1981 season, Dan Plesac in 1988 and Doug Jones in 1997. His 39 saves tied the single-season Brewers' save record set by Dan Kolb last year. 10 of those saves came in September, with eight more coming in August. Batters hit only .199 off of Turnbow, and he posted a 1.74 ERA. Making Turnbow's season all the more impressive is the fact that he was a waiver wire pickup, following in the footsteps of other reclamation projects such as Scott Podsednik and Dan Kolb. Due to his dominance closing out games for the Milwaukee Brewers, Derrick Turnbow is Brewerfan.net's Pitcher of the Year.

Rookie of the Year: J.J. Hardy
Many Brewer fans hoped to see Hardy begin the season at AAA Nashville since he spent most of last season on the disabled list after having surgery in late May to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. At first it looked as though those fans were right, as Hardy looked over-matched at the big-league level. He hit .187 prior to the All-Star break, but he still walked (28) more than he struck out (25) which hinted that he may be able to make the proper adjustments during the second half. And Hardy did just that, hitting .297 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage after the All-Star break, providing steady defense at shortstop all the while. Rickie Weeks hit the ball extremely well upon being called up to Milwaukee in June, but cooled off considerably as the season wore on and at some point sustained a thumb injury in which ligament damage occurred. Unlike Hardy, Weeks wasn't reliable defensively, and didn't manage the strike zone nearly as well. Both Weeks and Hardy gave the Brewers and their fans reason to be excited about the team's future as they anchor the middle of the infield for years to come. Due to his second half production at the plate and reliability on the infield, J.J. Hardy is Brewerfan.net's Rookie of the Year.

Jack Voigt Memorial Award: Wes Helms
The Jack Voigt Memorial Award, handed out to the team's unsung hero, came down to Helms and relief pitcher Matt Wise. While Wise was nearly unhittable, and did a great job handing late, close games off to Turnbow, Helms had an extremely productive year as a reserve, showing his prowess hitting against left-handed pitchers throughout the season largely as a pinch-hitter. Ever since losing considerable playing time at third base last year when the team acquired Russell Branyan, Helms handled and embraced his new role very well. Overall he hit .298 in 95 games, and as a pinch hitter he hit .390 with a .469 on-base percentage and a .634 slugging percentage. Due to his productivity as a reserve player and willingness to take on such a role in stride, Wes Helms is the recipient of Brewerfan.net's Jack Voigt Memorial Award.

Please visit the Fan Forum to discuss this story in greater detail.

 




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