Both have performed admirably and avoided the pitfuls — money, strippers, drugs, cars — that come with being a contender for the JMMA.
The only way to settle this is to go back through our Sacred Seven rules, one by one.
1. The award has to go to someone I’ve never heard of.
Check and check.
2. He must have at least an outside chance of making the team.
Both players are still in camp. At this point that signifies both are close to making the team, if not on opening day than as a call up. But Avery is competing for a reserve outfielder spot. Nesbitt is competing for a spot in the bullpen. The latter position is a bigger mess. Nesbitt might not only make the team, but play a bigger part in its success or failure.
It’s always more fun to have a guy make the team and contribute. Advantage: Nesbitt.
3. He has to be good.
They both started strong, but this category has turned into a rout. As MLB pitchers ramped up their innings and teams cut their stragglers Avery’s offensive production dropped. Like off a cliff.
Nesbitt remains solid but not dominant. Their stats so far this spring:
4. He can’t be a big-time prospect.
Nesbitt came into the spring as the Tigers’ No. 15 prospect according to MLB.com. If I had discovered DetroitTigers.com’s new policy of separating spring training invitees in a new tab from the outset, Nesbitt probably wouldn’t have qualified for the competition at the beginning.
I could have retroactively booted Nesbitt from the competition, but the fact that the Tigers have literally the worst farm system in Major League Baseball kept him around and he capitalized. Sometimes you need a break.