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Feature
 
 
Season Wrap, Part 2: The Awards Ceremony

Harrmann
on 11/10/2001

 
Nick Neugebauer takes home the MVP and the Cy Young in the Brewerfan.com awards

While we here at Brewerfan.com can't furnish a red carpet, line up any supermodel dates or heck, even afford to buy these guys some White Castles, we wish to take some time to honor those who excelled for the Brewers' minor leagues during the 2001 season. Congratulations to all of you, and good luck in 2002. So, with no further ado, here are the Brewerfan.com Awards:

MVP: Nick Neugebauer
There are not enough superlatives in Webster's dictionary to describe what Neugebauer means to the Brewers' franchise. You can talk about his 100 MPH fastball. You can talk about his 90 MPH slider. You can talk about his burgeoning control. You can talk about his ability to strike out anyone and everyone. You can talk about his good character. Neugebauer IS the Milwaukee Brewers' franchise and future. Some pitchers might have had slightly better stats here or there, but none of them, even Ben Sheets or Ruben Quevedo, have the current promise and upside that Neugebauer does. If Nick can stay healthy, he will be the anchor in the Brewers' rotation for as long as he stays in Milwaukee, and that is why he is Brewefan.com's 2001 Minor League MVP.

Cy Young: Nick Neugebauer
Any thoughts of moving him to a closer's role vanished in the past year, as he drastically improved his control and though his walks allowed and pitch count were both high, they were at least manageable. Control combined with his arsenal of flamethrower pitches makes him the Brewerfan.com 2001 Minor League Cy Young Award winner. The most glamorous of his 2001 stats in the minors were his 175 punch outs in 131 innings pitched, or 12 strike outs per 9 innings of work, which is truly amazing. His combined ERA between Huntsville and Indianapolis was a career-low 3.09 and he also set a career low for walks, with 61. What makes that even more remarkable is that in 128 IP during the 2000 season he walked 134. Nick improved dramatically in 2001 and looks to get even better in 2002.

Silver Slugger: Jim Rushford
Rushford was one of the true success stories in all of minor league baseball last season, as he went from pizza delivery guy to batting champion of affiliated minor league baseball, as he batted .354/.438/.594 between Class A+ High Desert and Class AA Huntsville, which made him a shoe-in for Brewerfan.com's 2001 Silver Slugger award. Jim, who is 27, was signed as a free agent after playing in the independent leagues the past 2 seasons, as well as in 1996. This was his first season in affiliated ball, and he showed that he belonged, with 21 homers, 38 doubles, 91 RBIs, 61 walks (vs. 57 Ks) and only 7 errors in the field all season. He is also a strong team leader who can get guys together.

Rookie Of The Year: Ralph Santana
Although he was drafted in the 42nd round out of a community college, Santana showed a tremendous amount of skill at the plate and on the basepaths to make him the Brewerfan.com Rookie Of The Year. The 19 year old switch hitter tore up the Pioneer League after being drafted, hitting .337/.425/.379. Although he didn't produce much power, he got on base a lot (besides his 88 hits, he walked 37 times in 261 AB) and showed plus speed in -between the bases, stealing 30 bases in 42 attempts. The secondbaseman did commit 13 errors in 60 games, but showed very good range.

Comeback Player Of The Year: Tim Davis
After sitting out almost 2 seasons after Tommy John surgery, Tim Davis convinced the Brewers to sign him, and when he was out on the mound, he showed a knack for shutting opposing teams down and helped bolster Huntsville's bullpen during their Southern League Championship run. The lefty posted a sparkling 2.87 ERA in 37.2 innings of work, over 28 games. He is Brewerfan.com's 2001 Comeback Player Of The Year.

Leadership Award: Dave Gibralter
On a team that was limited offensively, Gibralter brought a bunch of hardworking guys together to compete for, and ultimately win, the first half title in the Western Division in the Southern League. Gibralter provided the offensive spark for the Stars most of the season and when things weren't going well at the plate for the team, he always seemed to lead them through those tough times and on to greener pastures. He batted around .300 for most of the season and only let up when the Stars were resupplied with offensive enforcement enough to compete at the plate. Steve was a the catalyst for creating a great clubhouse atmosphere and a sense of community on AA Championship club, and that is why he wins Brewerfan.com's 2001 Leadership Award.

Most Improved Player: Billy Hall
Hall turned around his career in 2001, after struggling mightily at the plate in 1999 and 2000. In the past, Hall had always shown hints of promise with some power or some speed, but in 2001, he exploded. In 2000, he posted a very modest .262/.287/.370 in Beloit, but in 2001 he improved that to an overall .289/.327/.480 (in 506 AB) between High Desert and Huntsville. He improved his speed, his power and his defense to the point that he is now one of the better shortstop prospects in baseball. He is Brewerfan.com's 2001 Most Improved Player.

Manager Of The Year: Ed Romero
Romero lead a solid, but not spectacularly talented, group of guys to the Southern League Championship in 2001, and that makes him Brewerfan.com's 2001 Manager Of The Year. The Stars had a lot of shortcomings offensively, which was epitomized by their 51 inning socreless streak in mid-May, but Romero refused to give up on the men, and while they never reached juggernaut status at the plate, Romero's leadership and determination with his players turned the team around offensively by the end of he season.

Team Of The Year: Huntsville Stars The Stars were the only team in the Brewers' system to win a Championship, so that made them the easy choice for being the Brewerfan.com Team Of The Year for 2001. The team won the Southern League's Western Division championship in the first half, which put them in the playoffs, where they advanced to the Championship round, which was sadly cut short due to the events of September 11th.

And to wrap up the awards ceremony, we give you the Brewerfan.com All-Minors Team and the Brewerfan.com All-Prospect Team for 2001. To keep the article short, we invite you to discuss both of these, at length, at the Brewerfan.com Fan Forum on the website.

All-Minors First Team:
Catcher: Lance Burkhart - A+/AA
First Base: Corey Hart - R+
Second Base: Marcos Scutaro - AAA
Third Base: Josh Klimek - AA/AAA
Shortstop: Billy Hall - A+/AA
Left Field: Jim Rushford - A+/AA
Center Field: Dave Krynzel - A/A+
Right Field: Jeff Deardorff - A+/AA
Utility: Florian Villenueva - R+
Right Handed Starter: Nick Neugebauer - AA/AAA
Left Handed Starter: Derek Lee - AA
Right Handed Reliever: Jason Childers - AA
Left Handed Reliever: Tim Davis - AA
Closer: Brian Mallette: AA/AAA

All-Minors Second Team:
Catcher: Kade Johnson - A+
First Base: Bucky Jacobsen - AA/AAA
Second Base: Ralph Santana - R+
Third Base: DJ Clark - A
Shortstop: Steve Scarborough - A+
Left Field: David Gibralter - AA/AAA
Center Field: Thomas Carrow - R+
Right Field: Micah Franklin - AAA
Utility: Jeff Kenney - A/A+
Right Handed Starter: Ben Hendrickson - A
Left Handed Starter: Pete Smart - R+/A
Right Handed Reliever: Mike Shwam - A
Left Handed Reliever: Matt Williams - AAA
Closer: Mike Adams - R+


All-Prospect Team:
Catcher: Jason Belcher - A
First Base: Corey Hart - R+
Second Base: Steve Scarborough - A+
Shortstop: Billy Hall - A+/AA
Third Base: DJ Clark - A
Left Field: Bill Scott - A+
Center Field: Dave Krynzel - A/A+
Right Field: Cristian Guerrero - A+
Utility: Florian Villenueva - R+
Right Handed Starter: Nick Neugebauer - AA/AAA/Majors
Left Handed Starter: Luis Martinez - A+/AA
Closer: Brian Mallette - AA/AAA

In the forthcoming third part of our Season Wrap, we will run through all the seasons of each of the eight teams in the organization. Keep tuning in to Brewerfan.com. Any questions or comments? Feel free to email Toby (toby@brewerfan.com) or Patrick (nightbee@brewerfan.com).

 




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