Sporting News: AL and NL Comeback Players of the Year

Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

As noted in my pieces on the Sporting News’, AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu and NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, these awards differ from Major League Baseball’s version of these awards because they are not voted upon by the writers of the Baseball Writers Association of America(BBWAA), but of the players’ peers.

The Comeback Player of the Year awards were established by the Sporting News in 1965 and is voted on by the Sporting News editorial staff

There were 49 vote for the Seattle Mariners’ Chris Young, making him the clear winner. The runner up J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers got 22 votes and Oakland A’s southpaw Scott Kazmir ended up with 14 points.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Young was out of baseball in 2013, playing in the Washington Nationals minor league system and trying to recover from thoraic outlet syndrome surgery. The same kinda of rare surgery that Josh Beckett had in 2013, only to throw a no-hitter, injure his hip and retire from basebal.

Young, 35, did quite the opposite. He signed a one-year deal with the Mariners after being released by Washington and in 2014 became a crucial part of a Mariners team that was one win away from making the playoffs in a differen league and /or division.

Young an All-Star in 2007 had all the potenital in the world but for over a year that world collapsed into surgeries and rehabilitation but he’s a tough guy and competor and he ade it all the way back to have a name for himself again in the big leagues.

Young was fantastic for the Mariners. He went 12-9 in 29 starts and posted a 3,65 ERA. Pitching coach Rich Waits said of Young,

“He worked tirelessly and stuck to his routine to keep himself healthy and on the mound throughout the season.”

Young an All-Star in 2007 had all the potenital in the world but for over a year that world collapsed into surgeries and rehabilitation but he’s a tough guy and competor and he ade it all the way back to have a name for himself again in the big leagues.

“Chris was a big part of our success in 2014, really solidifying our rotation,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Sporting News. “To think he won as many games as he did, and made 29 starts, coming off the type of surgery and the injuries that he had, I think it’s just tremendous.

It was a tremendous season for Young making him very derserving of this honor.

Getty Images
Getty Images

In the National League the Comeback Player of the Year was to me no surprise at al, however, the race was much closer than I thought it would be. 33-year-old Casey McGehee of the Miami Marlins wasn’t even playing baseball in the U.S. in 2013. He was playing in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPA) league.

After coming up fifth in the voting for MLB’s Rookie of the Year in 2005, hitting .301 0n the year with the Milwaukee Brewers thing just began to go down hill for McGehee.

By 2011 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates who in turn traded him to the New York Yankees. With his batting average down to .217 in 2012 he found himself playing in Japan in 2013. The Marlins took a chance on the third baseman, signing him to a one-year, $1.1 million contract, and he absolutely delivered.

McGehee played stellar defesnse at the hot corner and his bat turned around looking almost as it had in the past. His slash line in 2014? .287/.355/.357. He isn’t the homerun hitter that he used to be but he puts the ball in play, can draw walks .

Marlins radio play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner told Sporting News,

“I don’t think anyone knew what to expect fom Casey at the beginning of the season. Certainly he’d had a couple of productive seasons with the Brewers in 2009 and especially 2010, but as he’d be the first to tell you, his phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook with big league opportunities the last couple of winters.”

He played in all but two regular season games and I find it very difficult to see the Marlins not extenededing McGehee’s contract after the year he had.

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