Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The BBA Ballot: Awarding the Year's Best in Baseball
By Ian Hunter
In an ideal world, voters would come to a consensus on voting for baseball's best. Sometimes, they even can't come to a majority. But regardless of whether or not they can agree, the writers have a vote.
After years of being outraged about how certain players were overlooked or overrated in the voting process, I've made my piece with it. Every writer is entitled to their opinion, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous it may be.
There's no sense in being upset that Evan Grant voted Michael Young as his first place MVP because that was his decision and his opinion. It might not be the correct one, but he's ultimately entitled to one according to the BBWAA.
In my life, I don't ever expect to have an official say in who receives baseball's most prestigious awards, but in the meantime here are my picks for the BBA Awards for the top manager, rookie, reliever, pitcher and position player.
Connie Mack Award (Top Manager)
1.) Bob Melvin
2.) Terry Francona
3.) John Farrell
Kudos to Bob Melvin for managing his Oakland Athletics to their second straight AL West division title. I'm not sure if it's Moneyball 2.0 or Melvin's tactics, but somehow the A's defied all logic and make it through to the postseason once again.
Some managers might think they'd be handicapped my a mere $60 million dollar payroll, but Bob Melvin took a roster that comprised baseball's fourth lowest payroll and parlayed it into yet another playoff appearance by the A's.
Willie Mayes Award (Top Rookie)
1.) Wil Myers
2.) Jose Iglesias
3.) Danny Farquar
So get this ... the Tampa Bay Rays trade away two of their starting pitchers to the Royals in James Shields and Wade Davis, and just like a shark loses a couple of teeth, the Rays regenerate those starting pitchers seemingly in no time.
Not only that, they receive the Kansas City Royals' top prospect in Wil Myers, and he puts up an incredible rookie campaign. I don't know how the Rays manage to do it, but they have perfected the art of trading away big league talent and getting players like Wil Myers in return.
Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)
1.) Koji Uehara
2.) Greg Holland
3.) Mariano Rivera
I suppose the fourth time was the charm for the Boston Red Sox when they were in search for a closer this season. They started off with Joel Hanrahan, then went to Andrew Bailey, then Junichi Tazaawa before finally settling on Koji Uehara as their closer.
Koji was a revelation for the Red Sox this season and had a season for the ages. He posted a .565 WHIP, which set a new record for pitchers who tossed at least 20 innings in a season. Koji faced a total of 245 batters this season, struck out 101 of them and walked only 9.
Walter Johnson Award (Top Starting Pitcher)
1.) Max Scherzer
2.) Bartolo Colon
3.) Anibal Sanchez
4.) Chris Sale
5.) Felix Hernandez
With a 21-3 record, one might assume Max Scherzer was hands down the best pitcher in the AL this year. But win-loss record aside, Scherzer still posted an incredible 2013 campaign and at least temporarily usurped Justin Verlander as the ace of the Detroit Tigers pitching staff.
Max Scherzer anchored the Tigers starting rotation which sported an American League-leading 3.44 ERA, and Scherzer himself topped 240 strikeouts and held opponents to a .198 batting average in 2013.
Stan Musial Award (Top Player)
1.) Mike Trout
2.) Miguel Cabrera
3.) Chris Davis
4.) Josh Donaldson
5.) Evan Longoria
6.) Robinson Cano
7.) Manny Machado
8.) Adrian Beltre
9.) Edwin Encarnacion
10.) Dustin Pedroia
Last year, not surprisingly the BBWAA selected Miguel Cabrera as the American League's Most Valuable Player. Fast forward to 2013, and once again it was a two horse race for who was the best player in the league between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.
But just when you thought Trout might have been an anomaly in his rookie campaign, he suffered no sophomore slump at all in 2013 ... in fact, he might have actually performed a little better this season.
Hopefully he will be rewarded handsomely with an MVP award, but it may very well boil down to the stat geeks vs. the baseball purists one again in the battle between Trout and Cabrera.
A late-season injury forced Cabrera to miss some games down the stretch, and that very well could be what gives the edge to Mike Trout in the MVP race. Trout was there from start to finish, and was every bit as impressive as he was in 2012 ... if not more.
Image courtesy of Yahoo