Boston’s Best Tools 2012: Round Up

Well, we have reached the end of our Best Tools series. We have laughed, we have cried, we got to watch that GIF of Daniel Bard bending the laws of physics. Most importantly, in this election year, everyone got to exercise their right to vote. Here are the results for the entire series, just think of it as an Over the Monster clip show-

OTM Readers

My Pick

Marc Normandin

Ben Buchanan

Matthew Kory

lone1c

Brendan O'Toole

Cee Angi

Best Power

David Ortiz (46%)

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Best Fastball

Daniel Bard (69%)

Daniel Bard

Daniel Bard

Josh Beckett

Daniel Bard

Best Contact

Dustin Pedroia (47%)

Dustin Pedroia

Adrian Gonzalez

Best Batting Eye

Kevin Youkilis (40%)

Dustin Pedroia

Youk/Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Best Control

Jon Lester (41%)

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett

Jon Lester

Josh Beckett

Best Hitter

Adrian Gonzalez (67%)

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Best Off-Speed Pitch

Buchholz's Change (39%)

Buchholz's Change

Buchholz's Change

This

Beckett's Curve

Best Defense

Dustin Pedroia (76%)

Not Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

Best Stuff

Jon Lester (46%)

Jon Lester

Clay Buchholz

Jon Lester

Josh Beckett

Clay Buchholz

Several categories were remarkably uncontroversial. David Ortiz didn’t quite manage a majority with his Best Power win, but with 46% of the vote and all of the writers behind him, it is a solid win. The Best Fastball vote went to Daniel Bard in a landslide, though Josh Beckett won over Matthew Kory. Another big win went to Adrian Gonzalez in the Best Hitter vote, where Gonzo got 67% of the vote and a unanimous vote from the writers.

The biggest win of all, however, goes to Dustin Pedroia in the Best Defense category, where he beat out my pick, not Dustin Pedroia (so prove me wrong, Pedey) and other, with a whopping 78%. In all fairness, I may have overly influenced that one by not including any other names in the poll. It is amazing just how little power can go to my head. Still, Dustin Pedroia is an incredible defender.

The most controversial vote was for Best Batting Eye. Here Kevin Youkilis, who is rumored to be some kind of strike recognizing deity, took the reader’s poll by a slim margin over my pick, Dustin Pedroia. The other writers were quite divided with Mr. Normandin declaring it a tie between Youkilis and David Ortiz, who won over Ben Buchanan and Brendan O’Toole. Ortiz got just 3% in the poll, however, so clearly his new approach has yet to make everyone forget the days of 20% strike outs.

Perhaps my favorite piece to prepare each year is the Best Off-Speed pitch article. It is a difficult thing to put together, but it is a great chance to look at the many just ridiculous ways that professional pitchers have devised to get hitters out. My personal favorite here, Buchholz’s change, convinced enough people to give it the lead in the vote, but Beckett’s knee-buckling curve got some well deserved love as well, netting 25% of the vote. Lester’s curve and Bard’s slider also did well. With Bard moving into the rotation, his slider will get some extra work this season and could be the top pitch next year.

With spring training here and actual baseball being played, we can now move on from these debates and turn our attention to the here and now. Next season, many of these awards will go to different players. Things we never imagined may forever alter our view of the team’s best tools, but for now, this has been Boston's Best Tools 2012.

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