Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The BBA Ballot: Awarding the Year's Best in Baseball
By Ian Hunter
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.