Yesterday we saw Matt Shoemaker and Albert Pujols honored as the most outstanding Angels rookie and the most outstanding rebounder, respectively.
Today, we look at who the Halos Heaven Voting Board voted as the most undervalued and overvalued Angels of the 2014 season. We shall begin here by looking at the more pessimistic of the two, the award that no person wants to win...the Buttercup Award.
This year's Buttercupper did not quite seem like he was going to let us down this year; in fact, as the season began it looked as if he was going to carry us on through to finally reaching October. And while the team WOULD indeed reach October, it was for no reason due to this player's own doing. After the season's first handful of games he missed two months with a stupidly-received thumb injury, and upon his return, he did not nearly return to his early-season (albeit small sample size) form. He played only once in the season's final three weeks, and was then thrust into the playoffs and expected to be perfectly fine. What did he do? Go 0-for-13 and make Kansas City's feeble starting rotation appear platinum. Oh, and in case you didn't figure it out yet, he's the reigning Buttercup winner from last season. None other than...
2014 BUTTERCUP AWARD: JOSH HAMILTON (.263/.331/.414, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 89 games, 109 SO, 1.5 bWAR)
If you go back and look at Hamilton's statistics, his line from this season looks eerily similar to his injury-plagued 2009 season. Both saw him play just 89 games with an OPS in the .740s, a batting average in the .260s, 10 home runs and 43 runs scored, with other statistics seeing only minor differences (19 2Bs in 2009 to 21 in 2014; 54 RBI in 2009 to 44 RBI in 2014, etc.). If there's any encouragement to be taken from this, it's that after 2009, Hamilton went on a tear and posted his 8.7 bWAR 2010 season that garnered him the MVP award (although, true to Hamiltonian nature, he still hardly played in September). So maybe there's something encouraging to look forward to. Of course, we could be getting built up...just to be let down again. Voting was done on a 5-3-1 points scale; details are below. Players in italics were ineligible for voting, but received votes regardless.
Now, for a more optimistic close, the David Eckstein Award. Each year, the team's most underrated performer wins this award. Because the definition for "underrated" can be very broad in voting, this award typically sees the least agreeability; in both seasons, over 10 candidates have received votes. This year was no different. Thirteen different Angels received votes for this award, and standing at the top was a player whose underrated nature continued into the offseason, when his superiority on both sides of the ball was overlooked when he was snubbed for both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards at his position. At least he was an All-Star this season, for the first time in his career. Regardless, he's also a repeat winner of this award.
2014 DAVID ECKSTEIN AWARD: ERICK AYBAR (.278/.321/.379, 7 HR, 68 RBI, 3.9 bWAR, 156 games, first-time All-Star)
Fitting that the current Angels shortstop wins the award named for a past one. Twice. He was the inaugural winner in 2012, and continues to be the under-the-radar guy for the Angels, even with an All-Star nod. He had a better season this year defensively than he did in 2011 (his Gold Glove season), but failed to win, or even be nominated. He improved by 2.5 bWAR from 2013 to 2014, and guess what? He's got two more years on his contract and just finished his age-30 season. We've got prime years left. Voting was conduced on a 5-3-1 points scaled; details are below.