In the last of the awards series we look at the big show. Our two major league award winners have differing ties to the Bluegrass State. One was born in Eastern Kentucky, but spent most of his adolescence in Virginia, the other was born in Tennessee but graduated from a Kentucky high school and college.
Player of the Year — 3B Mark Reynolds Diamondbacks
- Pikeville-native Reynolds batted .260 with 44 home runs and 102 RBI while breaking his own major league record for strikeout with 223. Despite the strikeouts, Mark was far-and-away the most productive Kentucky native at the plate this season. His 44 home runs tied Jay Buhner’s record for a Bluegrass native, and Reynolds was named a ESPN.com Fantasy All-Star and the SportingNews’ postseason NL All-Star team.
- The other candidates for the award included Louisville-native and Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who slugged 31 home runs, and Bowling Green-native and Brewers’ outfielder Corey Hart who posted a .335 on-base percentage in 115 games.
Pitcher of the Year — RHP Joe Blanton — Philadelphia Phillies
- Franklin-Simpson and UK alum Joe Blanton helped lead his Phillies teammates to the World Series for the second consecutive season posting above average numbers along the way. Blanton was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 195.1 innings pitched, providing a stalwart in a volatile Phillies’ rotation. Blanton did everything manager Charlie Manuel asked of him, evidenced by his fluctuating role between the rotation and bullpen in the playoffs.
- Blanton’s competition for the award came from Fort Campbell-native Aaron Cook who was 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA for the Rockies. Relievers Tyler Clippard (4-2, 2.69 ERA), Jon Rauch (7-3, 3.60 ERA) and Scott Downs (1-3, 3.09 ERA, 9 saves) also posted good seasons.