Major League Baseball announced Friday that Tampa Bay Rays’ Closer Fernando Rodney and San Francisco Giants‘ Catcher Buster Posey won their respective league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. The two took extremely different paths to the accolade that is bestowed upon them.
Rodney had a throughly mediocre 2011 with the Los Angeles Angels. He appeared in only 39 games to the tune of a 4.50 ERA. That’s not the ugly portion of his line. In 32 innings, the righty walked an astounding 28 batters and allowed 26 hits. Although he finished with 37 saves in 2009 for the Detroit Tigers, he compiled an ERA of 4.40. In fact, the previous five seasons before 2012, his lowest ERA was 4.24. And then like most downtrodden players that go to Tampa, Rodney’s career rebounded in a big way. The 48 saves, second in the AL told only part of the story. He appeared in 76 games, finishing 65 of them with get this, an ERA of 0.60. That is the lowest ERA in baseball history by a reliever. About the only not-so-great thing about his year was his arrow shooting after recording the last out of each of his games. One of those shots will come back to bite him.
Posey, the National League winner, was the 2010 Rookie of the Year as the Giants won the World Series. On May 25th, 2011 he suffered a broken ankle during one of the most horrific collisions at home plate you will see. There were questions about whether or not he would be the same player, let alone handle the demanding position of Catcher. Well, all the third-year player did was capture the batting title by hitting .336 to go along with 24 home runs and 103 RBI’s and is considered the front-runner for the MVP Award. In the deciding game of this year’s NLDS vs. the Cincinnati Reds, Posey clubbed a grand slam to lead the Giants to the NLCS. This 25-year-old star caught an amazing 114 games behind the dish, much more than anyone could possibly expect. There is one other thing you should know about him. He will have a career that mirrors that of Derek Jeter’s. He may not play as long because of his position but he will be every bit the performer. Posey is already a leader and he is every bit as clutch as the long-time New York Yankee. Too soon to make such a strong statement? A .300 World Series average, a ROY Award and a possible league MVP says differently.
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