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Well, we've had a month to nominate, vote, ruminate and compile ... and the list of 10 pre-season nominees for the prestigious first annual Batter's Box Andujar Award -- the ceremony soon to be recognized worldwide as the "YouNeverKnows" -- is now complete.

Here's the click-for-more teaser: A Jay finished second. The 10 nominees play for 10 different teams; six hitters, four pitchers. Eight different players received first-place votes, but nobody received more than one first-place vote. Oh, and you'll find a much-requested rules clarification.

Okay, first the rules clarification. Originally, the extremely fuzzy and poorly-defined rules said this: To be eligible for pre-season Andujar consideration, a player must have signed as a free agent -- either a major or minor league contract is acceptable -- with a new team in the off-season; players who have been traded are not eligible. No player who has been a legitimate All-Star -- paving the way for dozens of former Brewers, Pirates, Devil Rays and Royals to still be considered -- can ever win an Andujar.

The new, clarified (we hope) rules now read: To win an Andujar, a player must have signed as a free agent -- either a major or minor league contract is acceptable -- with a new team in the previous off-season. Players who have been traded are not eligible. A player shall not be eligible for an Andujar if he (A) has ever been named to a major league All-Star Game roster; or (B) has never appeared in a major league game prior to his free agent signing.

Unfortunately, six players who received votes in this year's pre-season balloting were retroactively disqualified. Those removed under exception (A) were Colorado SS Jose Hernandez, Atlanta 1B Robert Fick and Pittsburgh SP Rolando Arrojo. Those removed under exception (B) were Oakland OF Rontrez Johnson, Toronto RP Aquilino Lopez and Baltimore RP Mike Garcia.

Now, your 2003 Pre-Season Andujar Nominees:

The Top 10
Point totals in parentheses
1. John Halama (19), SP/RP Oakland
2. Frank Catalanotto (12), OF/DH/2B Toronto
3T. Greg Colbrunn (10), DH-type Seattle
3T. David Ortiz (10), 1B/DH Boston
3T. Todd Ritchie (10), SP Milwaukee
3T. Jeff Suppan (10), SP Pittsburgh
7T. Tyler Houston (7), Util. Philadelphia
7T. Shane Spencer (7), OF Cleveland
7T. John Thomson (7), SP Texas
10. Desi Relaford (6), Util. Kansas City
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Chad Fox (5); John VanderWal (3); Brian Daubach (2); Dave Burba (1).

As mentioned at the outset, eight different players received first-place ballots. Only two players -- Halama and Relaford -- were named on more than three ballots overall.

We will revisit the YouNeverKnows for a mid-season update over the All-Star Break. Any player on the current ballot who actually makes an All-Star roster will receive an automatic bye onto the post-season ballot.

Your further comments are, of course, welcome.
Pre-Season Andujar Nominations Complete | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Jordan - Monday, March 10 2003 @ 01:27 PM EST (#13132) #
The more I think about it, the more I think Ortiz will have a major breakout for the Sox this year --- if they give him a lot of playing time and don't try platooning him (Epstein hopefully will know better). Send this lineup out on the field every day,

Damon CF
Nixon RF
Garciaparra SS
Ramirez LF
Giambi DH
Ortiz 1B
Varitek C
Hillenbrand 3B
Walker 2B

and you are going to score a lot of runs, especially with Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller on the bench. Throw in Pedro, Lowe and Wakefield on top of that, and the Yankees should be very worried.
Coach - Monday, March 10 2003 @ 01:36 PM EST (#13133) #
I'm disappointed to have Hernandez and Lopez DQ'ed, so I'll tab Relaford as a guy who might have a career year. If he plays every day and gets on base, with Beltran still around, Sweeney healthy, and Ibanez proving he's for real, K.C. will score plenty of runs. Cat is still my man, whether he hits second or sixth. It's been an interesting spring for Halama: 1-1, 18.69, 4.1 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K. Opponents are hitting .478 off him, but it's early; he was my second choice a month ago.

Jordan, I'd give the edge to Kevin Millar over Ortiz, based on versatility and spring performance, but since he had a signed contract in Japan, he wasn't nominated for this prestigious award. Serves him right.
_Jonny German - Monday, March 10 2003 @ 02:21 PM EST (#13134) #
I'd like a clarification on the rationale behind exception B), wherein a player is not eligible if he's never played a major league game. Is this related to the underlying principle of the award, namely that these are free agents not widely expected to do well, therefore they require a track record of major league mediocrity? Or perhaps it is simply that the discussion is more interesting if we're talking about players that most of us know, rather the Morgan Burqharts of the world.

I wonder if a salary cap would be good - something like "The player must have signed for less than the major league average salary, before bonuses". As much as I'd like to see a Blue Jay win this or any other award, the Cat is a good example of how the current selection criteria can be abused. While Richard Griffin or Ed Wade or Peter Angelos are easily fooled into thinking that a guy like Cruz Jr. is superior to Cat, most every stat-head recognizes that he may be great while Jose will continue to be mediocre.

I didn't vote, so I'll say now that I like Jeremy Giambi for this award.

You're being too generous Coach, I think rotting on the bench would serve Millar right.
Gitz - Monday, March 10 2003 @ 06:01 PM EST (#13135) #
Wow. That lineup is awesome. Everyone knows how much I loathe Jeremy Giambi, but they don't even need him. If Wakefield doesn't revert to his inconsistent ways, we're looking at the AL East champs this year.

Ah, speaking of my favorite dead horse: nobody gets to root for Jeremy Giambi. As part of my contract for writing for BB, any dissenting opinion from mine about Little G. -- that is, he's an overrated clod, fraud, and wilted sod -- will be stricken from the record. Any questions? Send 'em to Coach.
_Jonny German - Monday, March 10 2003 @ 06:17 PM EST (#13136) #
Actually Gitz, apparently I haven't been surfing this site long enough, I wasn't aware of your opinions on Little G. Care to post some links where I can read up on the subject? Seriously, I'm curious... I don't know anything about him that can't be expressed in numbers and acronyms.

I'm working on my chant on the assumption I'll agree with you...
"Fraud! Clod! Wilted sod!
Fraud! Clod! Wilted sod!
Fraud! Clod! Wilted sod!"
Coach - Tuesday, March 11 2003 @ 08:20 AM EST (#13137) #
Jonny, the "best of Gizzi" -- his brilliant work as ESPN's fantasy correspondent on the Oakland A's beat -- was full of Jeremy putdowns last year. I don't know if Gitz has a column archive, but there's room on the BB server and John, you're welcome to link to them from your under-construction bio page.

Not to cast the first (or second, or 2,947th) stone, but Little G has yet to prove that "lifestyle" issues aren't going to derail his career. Word is that he worked out hard this winter, but he's at .091 in 22 spring AB, and at his best position (DH) the Sox are loaded. It's an uphill road to an Andujar from there, but youneverknow.
Pre-Season Andujar Nominations Complete | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.