In order to bring the prestige that should be associated with an award, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) recently named its awards after legends of baseball. These awards are as follows:
Connie Mack Award (manager of the year)
Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year)
Goose Gossage Award (top reliever)
Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young)
Stan Musial Award (MVP)
The names are the same in both the American League and National League. In fact, Goose Gossage himself gave the BBA permission to use his name for their top reliever award. We at the BBA appreciate it and thank him for it.
For my BBA Awards votes, I will vote for the top three in each award. The reason I vote for only three players is because I would not want my seventh place vote for a player to aid him in possibly leapfrogging over other more deserving players because some other writers may have placed my seventh vote as a third or second vote on their own ballots. In my eyes, if a player is not good enough to be in the top three, then he is not good enough to have a chance to win.
As a member of the BBA, here are my votes for the 2010 season:
Connie Mack Award (AL)
1. Ron Gardenhire (Minnesota Twins)
2. Ron Washington (Texas Rangers)
3. Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays)
During the preseason, opinions were divided on who would win the AL Central.
Some thought the Minnesota Twins would win it; others (such as myself) thought the Chicago White Sox would win it.
There were others who thought the Detroit Tigers would win the division.
Gardenhire did not have the star-studded lineup the Yankees, Rays or Red Sox have. He did not have $20 million pitchers to make wins come easier. Nevertheless, Gardenhire and the Twins managed to win the AL Central and 94 games (one short of the Yankees).
Connie Mack Award (NL)
1. Charlie Manuel (Philadelphia Phillies)
2. Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds)
3. Bobby Cox (Atlanta Braves)
The Phillies were expected to win the NL East and represent the NL in the World Series again in 2010.
The Phillies started out red-hot, then they cooled off terribly.
Star players such as Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins suffered long-term injuries and their bats started to disappear.
At one point, many began to wonder if the Phillies could reach the postseason at all. Eventually, the Phillies snapped out of it and got hot again. They overtook the Braves for first place in the NL East and finished the season with the best record in baseball. Surely, the manager played a part in the players’ resilience.
Willie Mays Award (AL)
1. Neftali Feliz (Texas Rangers)
2. Austin Jackson (Detroit Tigers)
3. Brennan Boesch (Detroit Tigers)
Feliz was one of the top relievers in the AL this season with 40 saves (a new rookie record), a 2.73 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.
Quite simply, anytime a player breaks a rookie record and plays a large role in his team reaching the postseason, he should win the Rookie of the Year by default.
Jackson proved to be a consistent hitter (.294 AVG) for the Tigers this season. Jackson was great for the Tigers at the top of the order, scoring 103 runs while hitting 34 doubles, 10 triples and stealing 27 bases.
Boesch had a solid rookie season for the Tigers, hitting .256 with 14 home runs and 67 RBIs. Frankly, his hot first half of the season is the only reason I’m giving him a third place vote. Prior to the All-Star Break, Boesch hit .342 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 65 games. Since the break, Boesch hit only .163 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 68 games.
Willie Mays Award (NL)
1. Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
2. Jaime Garcia (St. Louis Cardinals)
3. Starlin Castro (Chicago Cubs)
Despite only appearing in 107 games, Posey posted a .305 AVG, 18 home runs and 67 RBIs.
In the month of July, Posey greatly helped the Giants’ chances of winning the NL West as he hit .417 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 27 games.
Like fellow teammate Chris Carpenter, Garcia is proof that a pitcher can have Tommy John surgery and find success after it. Although the Cardinals failed to reach the postseason, it was not from a lack of effort on the pitchers’ part. Their offense was anemic and inconsistent for much of the season. Garcia had excellent numbers with 13 wins and a 2.70 ERA.
Castro gets my third place vote because he was the Cubs’ most consistent hitter this season. Castro hit .300 and demonstrated good power to the gaps, hitting 31 doubles and five triples.
Goose Gossage Award (AL)
1. Rafael Soriano (Tampa Bay Rays)
2. Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees)
3. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)
Soriano led the AL with 45 saves, followed by Soria’s 43. Soriano carried a 1.73 ERA and Soria carried a 1.78 ERA.
While Soria’s 71 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings is greater than Soriano’s 57 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings, Soriano gets my first place vote because his 0.80 WHIP is significantly better than Soria’s 1.05 WHIP.
A closer who allows fewer baserunners gives his manager fewer headaches.
Although several other pitchers had more saves than Rivera, Rivera gets the second place vote on my ballot. Rivera’s 1.80 ERA and 0.83 WHIP make his 33 saves more valuable than Soria’s 43 saves (1.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP). Save opportunities are the byproduct of the team one pitches for; the ERA and WHIP are testaments to a closer’s dominance.
Goose Gossage Award (NL)
1. Brian Wilson (San Francisco Giants)
2. Heath Bell (San Diego Padres)
3. Carlos Marmol (Chicago Cubs)
It was a proverbial coin toss between Wilson and Bell for this award. Wilson had 48 saves; Bell had 47 saves.
Wilson had 93 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings; Bell had 86 strikeouts in 70 innings. Wilson had a 1.18 WHIP; Bell had a 1.20 WHIP.
Because Wilson is ahead – albeit slightly – in these statistics, he gets the nod over Bell.
If not for his 2.55 ERA, Marmol would have an excellent chance of getting my top vote. Despite playing for the woeful Cubs, Marmol picked up 38 saves. More impressively, Marmol struck out 138 batters in only 77 2/3 innings. This amounts to a mind-blowing 16 strikeouts per nine innings! If Marmol had a greater ERA that was on par with Bell and/or Wilson, he would then get my top vote. His overpowering strikeout rate is also why he gets the nod over other closers with a better ERA and/or WHIP, such as the Atlanta Braves’ Billy Wagner.
Walter Johnson Award (AL)
1. Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners)
2. Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels)
3. David Price (Tampa Bay Rays)
4. C.C. Sabathia (New York Yankees)
5. Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
You might look at Hernandez’s 13 wins and ask why I vote for him.
I vote for him because he has been the most dominating starting pitcher in all of baseball this season. Frankly, I consider it a miracle he even approached 14 or 15 wins with the pathetic Seattle Mariners.
Hernandez had a 2.27 ERA and 1.06 WHIP; he was also the only pitcher in Major League Baseball to pitch 30 quality starts this season. His 232 strikeouts were second in the AL (Weaver led with 233). His six complete games were third in the AL (Carl Pavano and Cliff Lee each had seven). Hernandez is virtually atop all pitchers in nearly every category (with the exception of wins).
Weaver was second in the AL in quality starts and first in the AL in strikeouts. Although his 3.01 ERA is not on par with Price’s 2.72 ERA, Weaver walked far fewer batters (54 in 224 1/3 innings) than Price (79 in 208 2/3 innings). His 1.07 WHIP gives him a slight edge over Price and his 1.19 WHIP.
Walter Johnson Award (NL)
1. Roy Halladay (Philadelphia Phillies)
2. Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)
3. Tim Hudson (Atlanta Braves)
4. Josh Johnson (Florida Marlins)
5. Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado Rockies)
At 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA, Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the NL (if not all of baseball).
Halladay led the NL with 21 wins. If not for a lack of run support in quite a handful of games this season, Halladay could have reached 23-25 wins with ease.
Halladay had seven quality starts in which he received a loss or a no-decision; he had four starts in which he conceded two earned runs or less and received a loss or no-decision.
Halladay pitched the Phillies through their struggles and brought them back into the NL East division race when their bats were disappearing and star players were getting injured. He pitched a perfect game in a thrilling 1-0 victory against the Florida Marlins.
Halladay led the NL with 250 2/3 innings pitched, nine complete games, four shutouts and 25 quality starts. With 219 strikeouts and 30 walks in 250 2/3 innings, Halladay’s 7.30 K/BB ratio is tops in the NL. No other NL pitcher achieved a K/BB ratio of at least 4.00 in 2010.
To win a division title, a team must beat its division rivals. Against NL East rivals, Halladay was 14-1 with a 1.61 ERA, five complete games and four shutouts.
Also a 20-game winner, Wainwright was second in the NL in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts. Wainwright’s 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 25 quality starts are Halladay-like numbers. His 3.80 K/BB ratio is third in the NL behind Halladay (7.30) and Josh Johnson (3.88).
Some might be confused by my placing Tim Hudson higher than Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.30 ERA). Hudson had pitched well with Johnson-like numbers all season. Hudson’s numbers were on par with Wainwright until a very rough outing at the end of the season ballooned his ERA. Hudson’s 25 quality starts tie him with Halladay and Wainwright and his 17 wins and 2.83 ERA are fantastic. Unlike Johnson, Hudson was durable enough to pitch 200 innings (228 2/3 innings pitched).
Ubaldo Jimenez gets my fifth vote. My fifth vote was a proverbial coin toss between Jimenez and Mat Latos (San Diego Padres). Jimenez’s 2.88 ERA and 221 2/3 innings tops Latos’ 2.92 ERA and 184 2/3 innings.
Stan Musial Award (AL)
1. Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)
2. Robinson Cano (New York Yankees)
3. Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Rays)
4. Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
5. Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox)
6. Delmon Young (Minnsota Twins)
7. Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)
8. Vladimir Guerrero (Texas Rangers)
9. Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
10. Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees)
Hamilton won the AL batting title with a .359 AVG.
His 40 doubles, 32 home runs, 100 RBIs, .411 OBP, .633 slugging percentage and 1.044 OPS are amazing, especially when one factors in that Hamilton missed 29 games this season. If not for injuries, Hamilton could have been an AL triple crown candidate this season.
While nobody should be surprised to see the Yankees reach the postseason again, they should not overlook Cano’s value to the team. Cano’s .319 AVG, .381 OBP, 29 home runs and 109 RBIs were very important to the Yankees’ success. Derek Jeter was not Jeter-like, as he struggled with a .270 AVG this season. Alex Rodriguez slumped at times and had injuries. The Yankees needed the offensive numbers produced by Cano and Nick Swisher this season.
Carl Crawford gets my third place vote. It is not often you see a man batting second in the order and producing 90 RBIs. Crawford hit leadoff for one game, second for 101 games, third for 49 games, fourth for two games and eighth for one game. His .307 AVG, 19 home runs, 90 RBIs, 110 runs, 47 steals, 30 doubles and 13 triples are superb numbers across the board.
Stan Musial Award (NL)
1. Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds)
2. Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
3. Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)
4. Roy Halladay (Philadelphia Phillies)
5. Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)
6. Ryan Howard (Philadelphia Phillies)
7. Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego Padres)
8. Dan Uggla (Florida Marlins)
9. Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)
10. Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
Votto and Pujols have very similar numbers across the board.
Votto gets my first place vote for the following reasons: his AVG tops Pujols (.324 to .312), his OBP tops Pujols (.424 to .414) and he led the Reds to the postseason.
If the Cardinals had reached the postseason and if Pujols had been more consistent on a monthly basis, then Pujols would have received my first place vote.
Gonzalez had excellent numbers across the board with a .336 AVG, 34 home runs, 117 RBIs, 111 runs, 26 steals, 34 doubles and nine triples. For much of the second half of the season, Gonzalez was in a three-man race with Pujols and Votto for not only the MVP vote, but the NL triple crown (nobody won the triple crown this year).
Some might feel compelled to vote for Gonzalez (he does have incredible numbers). I found one glaring reason NOT to vote for Gonzalez: his .336 AVG is aided by Coors Field as he hit .380 at home and .289 on the road.