Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Some Reflections On Awards Voting

Since we have been taking the BBRAA to task over some incredibly stupid arguments for or against various Hall of Fame candidates, let me take a moment to throw some credit over to the reporters for a change. Last year, the BBRAA made a complete hash of the MVP voting in both leagues, simply checking a list to see who the RBI leaders were and anointing Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau as the MVP of their respective leagues. This year they only missed on one of two, while correctly identifying the Cy Young award winner for each league. Kudus to you, good BBRAA!

The one they missed was the NL, and, to be fair, this was far from the worst selection they've ever made. The NL field this year was crowded with many almost equally deserving candidates. In retrospect, I missed the true winner myself. Here is how the reporters voted as they chose Jimmy Rollins as NL MVP, and this was my vote:

1. Chase Utley
2. Albert Pujols
3. David Wright
4. Prince Fielder
5. Matt Holliday
6. Hanley Ramirez
7. Chipper Jones
8. Jake Peavy
9. Miguel Cabrera
10. Brandon Webb

Not that I don't think that Rollins is a good player; he certainly is. I thought that the ten listed here were better. Rollins was pretty much equal in value in 2007 to anyone named on my list except for the number two and number thee guys. It was overlooked by most (myself included) but Albert Pujols had another incredible season in 2007. His offensive numbers were a disappointment only by his usual standards; they were still better than all but only two or three guys in the league. Add his incredible defense (possibly the best at first base since Keith Hernandez) and you have the best player in the league. David Wright was a strong candidate and probably did not win only due to his team's collapse, hardly Wright's fault as he hit .352 and slugged .602 in September. I should have had Pujols and Wright one-two on my ballot.

The AL MVP and both Cy Young award were correctly handed out. If you are bored, you can compare my votes with the BBRAA's.

AL MVP
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Grady Sizemore
3. Jorge Posada
4. David Ortiz
5. Magglio Ordonez
6. Vladimir Guerrero
7. C. C. Sabathia
8. Curtis Granderson
9. Ichiro Suzuki
10. Carlos Pena

NL Cy Young
1. Jake Peavy
2. Brandon Webb
3. Roy Oswalt
4. John Smoltz
5. Aaron Harang

AL Cy Young
1. C. C. Sabathia
2. Johan Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Josh Beckett
5. Eric Bedard

I also was not in agreement with either rookie of the year selection, although both choices are very defensible. In the NL, it was simply a matter of picking the awesome slugging of one candidate over the awesome defense of another; in the AL, they voters chose one media darling over another.

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Ryan Braun
3. Tim Lincecum
4. Hunter Pence
5. Josh Hamilton

Any of them would have been a winner in many other years.

AL Rookie of the Year
1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Rafael Perez
4. Travis Buck
5. Jeremy Guthrie

I remain skeptical of Pedroia's long-term chances for success, but I didn't expect this much out of him this year, either, so what do I know?

This is probably the last year I'll even comment on the Manager of the Year awards, because, frankly, I think that they are silly awards which illuminate nothing at all. So enjoy them one last time:

NL Manager of the Year
1. Charlie Manuel
2. Clint Hurdle
3. Bob Melvin

AL Manager of the Year
1. Eric Wedge
2. Terry Francona
3. Joe Madden

Most of those are pretty obvious: their teams won, so they must have done a great job, right? I wanted to put in a word for Madden. Quick, what team does he manage? No peeking! Madden did a very good job sorting out the abundance of raw talent he had, eventually finding the proper places for them all. He finally resolved the organization's unwillingness to move BJ Upton out of the infield, created a bargaining chip by letting Brendan Harris play shortstop, dealt well with the Elijah Dukes issue, and gave Carlos Pena a chance. He also handled his two outstanding young starting pitchers well, not letting either burn out just to try and win a couple of extra games. How he'll do when his team finally enters a pennant race in a year or so remains to be seen, but this was an impressive job. He didn't receive a single vote from the BBRAA.

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