Morneau's stellar year leads Rockies' GIBBY nominations

Morneau's stellar year leads Rockies' GIBBY nominations

DENVER -- Fans have a chance to make Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau's 2014 comeback performance, outfielder Corey Dickerson's impressive offensive year and Nolan Arenado's defensive work even more special by helping them earn MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards.

By winning the National League batting title and earning a Rawlings Gold Glove Award nomination, Morneau was deemed worthy to be nominated the Bounceback Player, Dickerson is up for the Breakout Hitter award and Arenado is chasing the Defensive Player award as part of this year's GIBBY Awards.

These and many other awards -- for individual achievements as well as noteworthy or just plain strange one-time events in 25 categories -- will be determined by voting from fans at MLB.com, as well as by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 25 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment, postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play. Fans can watch these and more by accessing MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.

In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which is restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.

All 30 clubs are represented among the award candidates, a fact many consider to be a testament to the competitive balance around the game.

Fans can vote as many times as they want through Nov. 21 at 9:59 p.m. MT by visiting mlb.com/gibbys, and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.

Morneau stated his case by leading the NL with a .319 batting average, with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs. Morneau was the American League Most Valuable Player in 2006 while with the Twins, but injuries slowed him in recent years. He played in 152 games in 2013 with the Twins and the Pirates before signing a two-year contract with the Rockies and turning in a standout season.

In addition to his offense, Morneau shined defensively, leading NL first basemen with a .997 fielding percentage.

Dickerson debuted in 2013 and made the 2014 Opening Day roster as a reserve, but hit his way into regular playing time. By year's end he had a .312 batting average and a .931 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs. Dickerson would have been a contender for the batting title had he managed enough plate appearances, but still he solidified his place in the Rockies' future.

Arenado, a regular on the highlight reels because of his acrobatic play at third -- especially the throws from foul ground that nonetheless nail runners at first base -- won the NL Gold Glove for third basemen last year as a rookie. Now he is in a category that includes players from every MLB team at every position for the coveted GIBBY.

Rockies reserve outfielder Brandon Barnes is nominated for two GIBBY Awards with a pair of thrilling plays -- in the Walk-Off category for his triple in the bottom of the 10th to defeat the Dodgers at Coors Field on June 7, and in the Play category for a diving catch in the ninth inning of a June 25 game at Coors Field against the Cardinals.

The Rockies placed two nominees in the Hitting Performance category -- Charlie Blackmon for his six-hit performance against the D-backs in the season's home opener, and Michael Cuddyer for his cycle against the Reds on Aug. 17 in the second game of a doubleheader. Cuddyer played both ends of the twin-bill after missing the previous 60 games with a fractured left shoulder.

Carlos Gonzalez battled injuries that severely curtailed his participation, but he made the GIBBY nominees list in the Outfield Throw category. Making his first start in right field since 2011 on July 11, Gonzalez gunned down the Twins' Brian Dozier, who was trying to go from first to third. The throw arrived on the fly.

The Rockies also made the GIBBY list under Oddity for a squirrel delay during an April 20 home game against the Phillies, and for Cut4 Topic thanks to the dancing and exuberance of the "Rally Fan" during the Aug. 17 doubleheader against the Phillies.

Several categories -- Play, Oddity, Walk-Off and Cut4 Topic -- opened balloting with at least one nominee per club. After a week of voting, the four lists were trimmed to 10 finalists per group by a panel.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.