First Annual PBN Phillies Awards

With the season officially over - at least for the Phillies - it's time to unveil the awards for the top players and moments of the 2004 season. From the majors to the minors, we've got a look at who did what and who is deserving of being called "the best".

Major League MVP: Bobby Abreu
Like the Phillies, Bobby Abreu wasn't on fire to start the season. At the end of April, he was hitting just .256 with 5 homeruns and 13 RBI. From there though, the Phillies right-fielder turned it on. One month later, his average had ballooned to .287, thanks in part to a 12 game hitting streak. He had at least one hit in 20 of the 27 games that he played during May.

By the end of the year, Abreu was flirting with putting himself back into the 30/30 club for the second time in his career. He easily got the 30 steals and finished the season with a career high 40 stolen bases. It took him until the final day of the season to get homerun number 30, but he got it.

Abreu's defense certainly isn't gold glove caliber, but he showed a strong arm and had one of his better defensive seasons for the Phillies as well.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins
After a horrible start to his season, Rollins turned things around dramatically. His off-season work with Tony Gwynn didn't seem to pay any dividends and he was still trying to hit everything out of the ballpark early in the season. Once the Phillies demoted Marlon Byrd and made Jimmy Rollins their leadoff hitter, challenging him to produce, Rollins turned things around. While most of the club struggled with runners in scoring position, Rollins hit .312 in those key spots.

Rollins' defense could get him some consideration for a gold glove, which would get him the recognition that he deserves among National League shortstops.

Major League Pitcher of the Year: Ryan Madson
Ryan Madson wasn't even a lock to make the club out of spring training. With the starting rotation filled, Madson was forced to compete for a spot in the Phillies' bullpen, which was an unfamiliar place for him to be after working as a starter in the minors. The adjustment seemingly came with little or no difficulty and he was the most dependable pitcher out of the pen for the Phillies.

There were just two minor setbacks in Madson's season. The first was when he was called on to make a spot start against the White Sox. Madson lasted just 2/3 of an inning and gave up six earned runs. The outing shook young Madson slightly and his ERA went up to 2.87 with another shaky relief outing a few days later. From there though, the right-hander regrouped and started to pull his ERA down to 2.34 for the season. The second downfall was the fact that he was on the disabled list and missed the entire month of August. Without those two blemishes, Madson would likely get even more consideration for Rookie of the Year than he will already get.

Minor League Player of the Year: Ryan Howard
Sure, Ryan Howard put up huge power numbers in the minors, we know all of that. What has gone slightly overlooked is how Howard progressed with no seeming problem this season. After pounding AA pitchers, hitting .297 with 37 homeruns, he moved to AAA and hit .270 with 9 homeruns in 111 at bats. Then, arriving in Philly, Howard added two more homeruns and hit .282 in 39 at bats.

One of the big stories for the Phillies and their fans to follow this off-season will be how Howard performs in the Arizona Fall League. Not offensively, but defensively. He'll be learning to play the outfield and if he's successful, the Phillies could shift around their major league outfield to make room for the powerful left-hander. At the very least, Howard could become a big bat to bring off the bench and give both Jim Thome and Pat Burrell an occasional breather.

Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Scott Mitchinson
While Gavin Floyd is the big name among Phillies minor league pitchers, it's tough to ignore the season that Scott Mitchinson had in the Gulf Coast League. The big number for Mitchinson is "1"; as in the walks that he allowed in 61 2/3 innings. Mitchinson went 7-0, 1.75 in ten starts in the GCL, giving up just 40 hits and striking out 60.

Mitchinson will likely start 2005 at Class A Lakewood and should be on a pretty fast track towards the majors.

Single game performance of the season: David Bell hitting for the cycle.
It was June 28th and the Montreal Expos were in town. David Bell put on quite a show and needed just a triple to complete his cycle. He drove a ball into the gap and took off for first base; he was not going to stop until he reached third base. When he got there, he beat the ball and finished off a spectacular night. It had been two seasons since Bell tripled and certainly, no triple will be bigger in his career than this one. It had also been nine years since a Phillies' player had hit for the cycle.

Multi-game performance of the season: Cory Lidle's back-to-back complete game shutouts.
While Ed Wade isn't known for in-season trades that work out well, this one might be okay. Cory Lidle struggled when he first came over from Cincinnati, but before long, he put it all together. In back-to-back starts against Milwaukee (August 29) and the Mets (September 4), Lidle was awesome. He completed both games without allowing a run in either and gave up just seven hits in the 18 innings. He also walked just one hitter and struck out 12.

Don't look now, but Lidle finished the Phillies portion of his season 5-2, 3.90 and could well be back in a Phillies' uniform next season.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins' two inside the park homeruns. To hit one inside the park homerun in a season is an accomplishment; to hit two is truly a feat worth mentioning. It's kind of ironic that when Rollins stopped swinging for the fences, he wound up with two inside the parkers. Rollins has truly seen how he can help the club by doing the little things and simply trying to make things happen.

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