SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval was someone to hide last year. This season, he became something to behold.
Sandoval's excellence was legitimized Friday, when he was named the inaugural MLB.com Giants Player of the Year.
A year ago, Sandoval endured a precipitous offensive decline, hitting .268 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs after batting .330 with 25 homers and 90 RBIS in 2009. Sandoval also was such a defensive liability at third base that the Giants benched him for the postseason's final six games, except for a designated-hitting role in Game 3 of the World Series. His weight, which at the time hovered around 280 pounds, didn't allow him to man his position adequately.
Everything changed with Sandoval's well-documented weight loss. He began the 2011 season at approximately 240 pounds, a reduction that left him spry instead of sluggish. His footwork and quickness remained above average all season. So did his productivity at the plate, where he hit .315 with 23 homers and 70 RBIs in just 117 games.
"Watching him get back to who he is and who he wants to be is a lot of fun for all of us," right-hander Tim Lincecum said at midseason after Sandoval was named to his first National League All-Star team.
Lincecum, MLB.com's selection as Giants Pitcher of the Year, remained worth watching. His 13-14 record reflected the stunning lack of run support he received -- a Major League-low 2.94 runs per game, on average.
Remaining focused on his task, Lincecum ranked fifth in the NL in ERA (2.74), fourth in opponents' batting average (.222), eighth in innings (217) and tied for third in strikeouts (220).
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was beaten out by St. Louis' Lance Berkman in three separate Comeback Player of the Year votes, but earned MLB.com's distinction as Giants Breakout Player of the Year.
Vogelsong finished 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA, good enough for fourth in the NL. Originally selected by the Giants in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Vogelsong exceeded the victory total he compiled with Pittsburgh (10) from 2001-06 after he went to the Pirates in the Jason Schmidt trade. Vogelsong spent 2007-09 playing in Japan and pitched in Triple-A in 2010 with the Phillies and Angels organizations before the Giants invited him to Spring Training this year.
Vogelsong also captured the Giants' highest internal honor, the "Willie Mac" Award, which is given to the club's most inspirational player.
The Giants' San Jose affiliate, which finished 90-50, garnered MiLB.com's Class A Advanced Team of the Year honors. That was partly due to center fielder Gary Brown -- the California League's Rookie of the Year -- who hit .336 with 53 stolen bases while leading the league with 188 hits and 13 triples.
Infielder Joe Panik, San Francisco's No. 1 selection in June's First-Year Player Draft, quickly established his presence. Panik took Northwest League Most Valuable Player honors while amassing a league-best .341 batting average with 54 RBIs.
Rookie of the Year
Manager of the Year
Rawlings Gold Glove
1993, '97, 2000
1993-94, '96-97, 2000-04
Jose Cruz Jr.
'Willie Mac' Award
'Good Guy' Award
Mike Leiter, Mark Carreon
Mark Gardner, Benito Santiago
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.