Cutch, Harrison highlight Pirates' GIBBY nods
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' relatively old reliable, and Josh Harrison, the new one, are double nominees for MLB.com's 2014 GIBBYs, the cream prizes of Major League Baseball's awards season.
McCutchen is once again up for top Hitter and Most Valuable Player after a typically great season in which he hit .314, scored 89 runs and included 69 extra base hits among his 172.
Topping the National League's reigning MVP Award winner with a .315 average while ranking second on the Bucs in hits (164) and extra-base hits (58) was Harrison, who is a candidate for the top Breakout Hitter GIBBY trophy.
Harrison is also nominated in the Oddity category, and technically is a triple GIBBY threat: The triple play he triggered against the Cubs on Sept. 14 is up for top Play.
All told, the Pirates boast several GIBBY nominations following another entertaining, accomplished season that led to a second postseason appearance in as many seasons.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2014 GIBBY trophies in 25 categories -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment, postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play. Fans can watch these and more by accessing MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
Since there isn't a GIBBY category for Escape, Harrison's second nomination is for Oddity -- his remarkable survivals of a pair of hopeless rundowns, by the Mets on June 27 and by the Rockies on July 27.
In both instances, Harrison was trapped between second and third and juked his way safely to third base. The second adventure began after he had slid past second base on a steal, and resulted in him getting credited with two stolen bases on one pitch.
"I was looking for a trap-door," manager Clint Hurdle described the play. "I thought he would pull a Max Patkin, where he would call a time out, point to the sky and try to go somewhere."
Hurdle has his own nomination as top Manager, while general manager Neal Huntington is nominated as top Executive.
Huntington is recognized for several shrewd moves, none more consequential than the offseason signing of free-agent right-hander Edinson Volquez.
After two trying seasons elsewhere, Volquez became the ace of the Bucs' 2014 staff, leading in wins (13), innings (192 2/3) and ERA (3.04). As a result, Volquez is up for a GIBBY as top Bounceback Player.
Tony Watson, the bullpen rock who superlatively maintained his role all season while the relief roles of others around him were changing, is nominated for top Setup Reliever.
The first left-handed reliever in club history to be named an All-Star, Watson went 10-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 78 appearances and even booked a pair of saves -- providing a sneak peak into his likely future.
"He's a power tool on the mound," Hurdle said of Watson.
In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which is restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.
All 30 clubs are represented among the award candidates, a fact many consider to be a testament to the competitive balance around the game.
The Bucs' Walk-Off nomination stands out as the first and still only one of its kind: In the May 6 game against the Giants, Starling Marte, after lacing a triple with two outs in the ninth, continued home on an errant relay throw and was originally called out at the plate to seemingly extend the game into extra innings; but the call was overturned on review, for a 2-1 win and a delayed -- but still enthusiastic -- celebration.
A Cut4 Topic nominee is a hybrid between the quick-thinking PNC Park fan who snagged a foul ball in his big tub of popcorn and a Braves fan who did the same.
Fans can vote as many times as they want through Nov. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.
Several categories -- Play, Oddity, Walk-Off and Cut4 Topic -- opened balloting with at least one nominee per club. After a week of voting, the four lists were trimmed to 10 finalists per group by a panel.