Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Annual 'Under The Radar' Award To Nava

This year, FenwayNation is inaugurating a new award—the FN Under the Radar Award. Each year, we will name a Red Sox player who made significant contributions to the success of the team—but didn't get a lot of media and fan recognition for it. Obviously, the 2013 World Champions got a lot of key contributions that weren't necessarily expected—but most of the players involved got due recognition for their deeds. While we may not have expected a lot from John Lackey, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara—they certainly got a considerable amount of praise for their efforts. In our view, one player was a consistent contributor in multiple ways—but didn't really get a lot of ink. That player was Daniel Nava. Consider this: he played in 134 games, hitting .303 (eighth in the AL) with 12 HRs and 66 RBIs. His on-base percentage was .385 (fifth in the AL) and his OPS was .831. And, he gave manager John Farrell maximum flexibility by playing five positions (RF 69 games, LF 63 games, 1B 19 games, DH 5 games and CF 1 game). Nava never complained about his modified platoon role with Gomes—who was electrifying fans more off the bench with his MLB-leading four pinch-hit HRs. Nava played in the infamous World Series Game Three (ObstructionGate), but no one really noticed his two RBIs in the frustrating losing effort. On April 8th, he replaced a slumping Jackie Bradley, Jr. and delivered a three-run HR to pace Boston to a 3-1 win over Baltimore. And, of course, he hit another three-run HR on April 20, 2013—giving the Red Sox a win in the first home game after the Boston Marathon bombings. And this is a guy who was DFA'd from the 40-man roster in 2011. For all he did for The Carmine Hose in 2013, we bestow the 2013 FN Under the Radar Award to Daniel Nava.