Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The BBA Ballot: Awarding the Year's Best in Baseball


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For those players who aren't fortunate to be playing October baseball, they're either out on the golf course or holding out to win some hardware.

While MLB's actual awards are yet to be handed out, as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance there are several votes to cast for the 2010 Awards. So without further adieu, I present to you by ballot for this year's BBA awards.

Connie Mack Award (Top Manager)

3.) Ron Washington
2.) Ron Gardenhire
1.) Joe Maddon

Simply put, you have to respect a manager who’s willing to do anything at anytime to win a ball game: whether it’s the first game of the season or the final game of the season. Joe Maddon puts it all on the line each and every game and strategically managed the Tampa Bay Rays to an AL East Division Title.

I also tip my cap to Ron Gardenhire, who minus his perennial MVP candidate Justin Morneau and lights-out closer Joe Nathan, guided the Minnesota Twins to their sixth post-season berth in the past nine seasons.

Willie Mays Award (Top Rookie)

3.) Brennan Boesch
2.) Austin Jackson
1.) Neftali Feliz

The Detroit Tigers really lucked out with rookies this year, having arguably two of the best rookies in the American League. However, they can’t quite top the season put forth by Neftali Feliz.

For the second straight season, another phenom rookie was thrust into the closer’s position and thrived under the pressure. Last year it was Andrew Bailey, and this year it’s Neftali Feliz.

Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)

3.) Matt Thornton
2.) Joaquin Benoit
1.) Rafael Soriano

Considering the very tight style of baseball the Tampa Bay Rays play, the margin for error is very slim. Joe Maddon had no problem handing the ball to Rafael Soriano in close games, as Soriano was successful in 45 of 48 save opportunities and made 64 appearances.

Lucky for the Rays, they also picked up a relative unknown in Joaquin Benoit and he turned out to be a stud setup man.

Matt Thornton put on one heck of an audition as possible closer of the future for the Chicago White Sox, fanning more hitters per nine innings than another other reliever in the league.

Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young)

5.) Jon Lester
4.) Clay Buchholz
3.) C.C. Sabathia
2.) David Price
1.) Felix Hernandez

If we toss win-loss record aside, Felix Hernandez wins this award hands down. Even though those coveted wins are for the most part out of the pitcher’s hands, I don’t think we can completely discount them.

I was ready to hand this award to David Price initially, but after having some time to think about it, I think it would be a crime for Felix Hernandez to not be recognized as the best pitcher in the league.
The Seattle Mariners scored the least amount of runs in the league and on average only contributed 2.53 runs in support per Felix Hernandez start, so it's easy to see why his 13-12 record is so deceiving.

When a pitcher like Felix Hernandez leads so many pitching categories aside from wins, it's very difficult to overlook that. King Felix lead the American League in ERA and innings pitched, and was second in strikeouts and WHIP.

Stan Musial Award (MVP)

10.) Felix Hernandez
9.) Joe Mauer
8.) Paul Konerko
7.) Evan Longoria
6.) Carl Crawford
5.) Adrian Belte
4.) Miguel Cabrera
3.) Robinson Cano
2.) Jose Bautista
1.) Josh Hamilton

As biased as I may be towards by beloved Toronto Blue Jays, my vote for for the Stan Musical Award is Josh Hamilton.

The fact that Hamilton only played 133 games this year doesn’t hold any merit in my mind because last year’s MVP Joe Mauer also missed significant time in 2009 and only played 137 games.

Plus, by the time Josh Hamilton went on the disabled list back on September 4th, the Texas Rangers basically had the AL West locked up with a 9 game lead anyway.

Whether or not you’re a Blue Jays fan, I think it’s a shame if Jose Bautista doesn’t place within at least the top 3 in MVP voting. Yes, he hit 54 home runs for what ultimately was a fourth place team, but at the end of the day he hit 54 home runs. You can’t overlook that kind of power in MVP voting.

Third and fourth place was a toss-up between Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera, those names could just have easily been flipped around. Cano gets the bronze medal because of his defensive contributions at a physically demanding position such as second base.

Finally, the fifth place ribbon goes to Adrian Beltre who stepped up under the big lights in Beantown. If the Red Sox made the playoffs, Beltre would have been a huge factor why they were playing October baseball.

12 comments:

  1. It takes a big man to pick Josh Hamilton over your favorite player. Well done to you.

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  2. Drew, thank you sir - I wanted to pick Bautista as #1 for MVP and it pained me to pick him as the bridesmaid to Hamilton.

    Nobody can argue either of those player's merits this season, but Hamilton's contributions both on the field and at the bat were just a little more IMO.

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  3. Something to consider, since the MVP is about who is the MOST valuable to a team, should this not be a factor in the decision:

    - Texas' record with Josh Hamilton, 71-62 (.534)

    - Texas' record without Josh Hamilton, 19-10 (.655)

    I know his season was great, but when he missed all those games and his team actually played better without him, I have a hard time justifying that he was the most valuable.

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  4. Peter, out of the top 5 candidates there, I'd say the only scenario that really applies to is Hamilton since Jose Bautista for example played 161 games.

    I'll be honest and will fully admit that some of those intangibles whether the team makes the playoffs or not definitely factors into the voting.

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  5. Maybe not the MVP but 54 HR's without PEDs deserves it's own award. Excuse my ignorance but I don't think there are many that are certifiably clean with those kind of power numbers.

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  6. Mattt, the great thing is that Jose Bautista was the 2010 Home Run King and absolutely nobody can take that away from him.

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  7. Hey Ian
    Just wanted to make a quick point on Hernandez. Excellent pick, of course. But regarding wins as: "I don’t think we can completely discount them."

    I have to say yes, yes we can, and we absolutely should as soon as possible. We have to stop giving them any value at all, stop counting them, stop pretending that they determine HoF qualification. We have to stop letting them play any role in our assessment of how good any individual pitcher actually is.

    Felix Hernandez does not have a W-L record. He has many, many innings in which he was far better overall than any other pitcher this year. If he played on a better team, it would have won more games, but he would have aided it just as much as he did his current team - he would not have been a better pitcher.

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  8. QJays, I totally agree - win/losses are a stat that are pretty much out of the pitcher's hands. It's just that they have been used as a benchmark for so long that I think traditionalists will have a tough time letting go of using win/loss to measure a player's worth.

    However, I think the movement is going in the right direction by awarding the Cy Young to Grienke last year and hopefully Hernandez places high in the voting this year.

    Noisyflowers, dually noted. Thanks!

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  9. i'm surprised no one even mentions Weaver in the Cy Young.
    I know he didn't have a great ERA, but his FIP was great and he had way more Ks than Felix in less innings.

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  10. now that i check again, his ERA is a lot lower than i thought. I wouldn't count him out too much for the CY

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  11. Anon, Weaver was definitely on my radar - he just as easily could have snagged a spot in the top five, but I agree with you that he probably won't get much discussion, unfortunately.

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