As we continue with our year in review, it brings us to the Pittsburgh Pirates season ending award winners. Some of these were easy calls and some not so much, but to continue a yearly tradition, we at City of Champions Sports will hand out our Buccos, to recognize excellent and poor performances throughout a long season.
However disappointing the season ended, there were still plenty of good moments and some good performances worth reliving.
With that being said, let’s take a minute to hand out the 2012 Buccos.
MVP: Andrew McCutchen -There’s no real explanation needed here as Cutch continues to ascend to being an elite major league player. He led the Pirates in every major statistical category and turned in a near MVP-type of season. Imagine how bad this team would have been without him
Cy Young: A.J. Burnett- This was actually a tougher call then it probably should have been because Joel Hanrahan’s season deserves some recognition, but at the end of the day Burnett pitched liked an ace should most times out, something the Bucs haven’t had in a long time.
Rookie of the Year: Jared Hughes- You started to see some of the Pirates future make their way to the big club this season and while a guy like Starling Marte opened up some eyes, Hughes had a very good freshman campaign and was a big part of why the Pirates’ bullpen was outstanding most of the season.
Unsung Hero: Jason Grilli- While he hit a couple bumps in the road in September, you can’t say enough about the season Grilli turned in.
Most Improved Player: Pedro Alvarez- After a very rough start to the season, Alvarez showed signs of becoming the legitimate run producer everyone thinks he can become. A 30 homer season with close to 90 RBI gives Pirates’ fans a lot of hope for the future.
Least Valuable Player: Rod Barajas- There were plenty of candidates for this honor, but while I like Barajas, you simply can’t ignore how bad of a season he had both with the stick and throwing runners out.
Least Valuable Pitcher: Erik Bedard- Bedard gets the nod here after a close battle with Chad Qualls. Bedard pitched well early on and was a tough luck loser early on in the season, but he never recovered after an early season injury and posted a 7-14 record with an ERA over five.
Best Catch: Travis Snider’s remarkable grab vs. Mets- Words don’t describe this effort.
Best Homer: Starling Marte’s first MLB at bat- There were several big bombs this season as the Pirates turned into a power hitting team, but none brought the excitement as Marte’s long awaited debut.
Best Win: July 3, 2012 vs. Houston Astros- This was a game early in the season that the Pirates had no business winning. But they did and did it in incredible fashion- on a Drew Sutton walk-off homer.
Worst Loss: August 10 vs. San Diego Padres and September 16 vs. Chicago Cubs (tie) - Both were equally crushing as the Bucs had a big lead in both and imploded.
Best Moment: Pedro Alvarez homer vs. St Louis Cardinals to break 3-3 tie in 19th inning- At the time, this was huge. Who knew what would transpire afterwards?
Lowlight of the Season: Seven error debacle vs. Chicago Cubs- Perhaps the ugliest game of the season as the Pirates looked like a little league team.