Although I’m not a big fan of the BBWAA and their voting habits, (especially when it comes to the Hall of Fame) awards week can be a nice diversion as winter starts to sneak up on us. It gives us something to discuss, argue, and debate heading into the holidays and the overwhelming bombardment of football.
Just like those TV awards shows, baseball award season starts out slowly. First we have the Gold Glove Awards; which seem to be based on anything but fielding, as Chase Headley winning over David Wright should confirm. They’re sort of the equivalent to the award for “best audio technician for a TV miniseries or variety show.”
And then there are the Silver Slugger Awards. These are a little more legit.They rank up there with “best supporting actor in a daytime drama series.”
Earlier this week the awards started to get a bit more serious. On Monday Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were winners of the Rookie of the Year Award in the A.L. and N.L. respectively. Trout was the obvious choice and Harper was deserving. The thing I don’t like about this award is how a group of only three finalists is announced in each league. I think the voters should be allowed to vote for anyone that qualifies as a rookie if they so desire. Why limit it to only three per league?
Tuesday the winners of the Manager of the Year Award were announced. Davey Johnson took home the hardware in the National League and Oakland’s Bob Melvin was the winner in the American League. Johnson, who piloted the Nats to there first ever N.L. East title was a runaway winner. Melvin edged out Baltimore’s Buck Showalter by getting 16 of the 28 first-place votes. Showalter scored the other 12 first-place votes. Both managers did an amazing job, leading decided underdogs all the way to the playoffs.
Today the Cy Young Award winners will be announced for both leagues. I like this one because the voters have to rank their top ten pitchers. It’s also fun to play along by filling out a ballot of your own. Here’s my A.L. ballot.
I thought Verlander did enough to capture his second straight Cy. Verlander led the league in strikeouts (239), complete games (6), innings pitched (238.1), and WAR. Verlander finished second in ERA, trailing only David Price. The Rays 20-game winner is second on my ballot. Felix Hernandez had another exceptional season and Fernando Rodney‘s 0.60 ERA was simply amazing. Hurlers who almost cracked my top ten included Matt Harrison, Hiroki Kuroda, and Greg Holland.
The National League ballot was a little bit tougher for me. In the end I had to go with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the top spot. Dickey led the league in strikeouts and innings pitched while winning 20 games on a Mets team that finished well below .500. Gio Gonzalez made a smooth transition from the American League, winning 21 for the Nationals. Cole Hamels turned out to be the ace on a Phillies staff that included former Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Here’s a look at my complete N.L. ballot.
Craig Kimbrel and Kris Medlen played major roles in getting the Braves to the post-season. And who knows what Steven Strasburg could have done if he hadn’t been shut down early. N.L. pitchers who almost cracked my top ten included Madison Bumgarner, Yovani Gallardo, and Mat Latos. We’ll see later today who the “experts” choose. Who would you have voted for?