11-23-09: 2009 Baseball Awards Recap

Hello again everybody...

Back to the grind again! Only it's not much of a grind this week, is it? Yes, Thanksgiving week is upon us, and for me, like many of you, it's a short one. Mine's a bit skewed this year (Wednesday to Saturday, rather than Thursday to Sunday), but even my goofy schedule looks like it's going to be corrected in the near future. So what's not to be thankful for?!

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do column-wise this week. Right now I'm leaning towards taking Friday off. I know, I know, going without your weekly dosage of DFTU would be painful, but I'm sure you'll have enough to distract you from missing it too badly.

And who knows? The spirit may move me and I might crank one out anyway. But I wouldn't count on it.

Today though, I've got plenty for you. The AL MVP was just announced, which leaves the NL MVP as the only award not yet handed out. Since we all know who that's going to be (*cough* Pujols *cough*), I'll take time to remind you who I'd have voted for, who won, and what it all means.

Let's talk hardware!

”A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.”
- Robert Benchley (1885 - 1949), American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor.

This quote isn't really related to anything in the column, I just laughed when I read it. So I thought I'd pass it along.

«Read More...»

2009 Baseball Rewards in Review

Over the past week the Baseball Writers Association of America has been handing out its annual awards. I gave you my predictions in this column.

Today I compare my (fake) ballot to the actual results and break down the differences and similarities for you.

Sounds fun? I thought so...

AL Rookie of the Year: Andrew Bailey, Relief Pitcher, Oakland A's
Dan's Vote: Rick Porcello, Starting Pitcher, Detroit Tigers

Rookie of the Year was the category I had the least confidence in going into the awards and it turned out that I whiffed on both. That's understandable given that these awards go to guys who, by definition, don't have much of an established track record. But missing is still missing.

Bailey went 6-3 with a 1.29 ERA and 26 saves. Solid numbers for any player and being a rookie only makes them more impressive.

I'd try to come up with a legit excuse as to why Bailey wasn't even a Honorable Mention in my column, but the truth is I just flat whiffed on him. My pick Rick Porcello finished third in the voting behind Bailer and another player I should've been smart enough to mention, Texas SS Elvis Andrus. Sorry Elvis, my bad.

NL Rookie of the Year: Chris Coghlan, Outfielder, Florida Marlins
Dan's Vote: J.A. Happ, Starting Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies

I was at least closer on this one than I was on the AL. I at least had Coghlan on my ballot, though he was the second honorable mention. My pick, Happ, finished second in the balloting only 10 points behind Coghlan.

The Marlins rookie hit .321 with 9 home runs and 47 RBI. Moreover, he led the NL in hits in the second half of the season. Add those together, and you get yourself a trophy.

I can't argue too loudly with this pick, though I really did think that Happ deserved the award. When a rookie nails down the 3rd starter role on a defending champion squad early in the season and perform solidly throughout the season, that's impressive.

Unfortunately, only one player can win the award. So Coghlan's the guy.

So did I get any of these right? Yes, but you'll have have to wait for one more award...

AL Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels
Dan's Vote: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins

I'm declaring that I get a half-point on this one. While I voted for Gardenhire - who finished second in the balloting - I told you that Scioscia was going to win it.

I have a ton of respect for Scioscia in general. And certainly the job he did pulling a team together after the tragic loss of Nick Adenhart this year was deserving of consideration.

But as I argued initially, I thought Gardenhire had more hurdles to clear given the injuries he had to contend with, a complete lack of reliable starting pitching for much of the year, and I think you could argue that most people (not me) didn't expect the Twins to do what they did. The Angels? They were supposed to win.

This was Gardenhire's third second-place finish. And of the three, this is the one I'm least upset by. The previous two times, he got screwed over in favor of guys who went on to get fired within two years of winning the award. That won't be the case this time. So it's hard for me to work up a lot of ire.

But Gardy deserves to win one, and soon.

NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies
Dan's Vote: Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies

This one was a no-brainer. I said it in my original column, but when you take over a team that's 10-games under .500, and guide them to a finishing record of 22 games over .500, you win Manager of the Year. Hands down. No argument. Done.

Tracy finished with 29 of the 32 first place votes. That's about as dominant as you can get.

Tony LaRussa of the Cardinals and Joe Torre of the Dodgers finished second and third respectively. Were those my two honorable mentions in that exact order? You know they were!

Back-patting, fin.

AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
Dan's Vote: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

I was more happy to be right about this one than any other award. And not just because it's nice to see a guy on a crappy team overcome said crappiness and win a major award.

Greinke just about lost his career a few years back due to a severe bout of depression and social anxiety disorder. I admire anybody who can overcome those things and admit their problems publicly.

It's been a tough road for Zack, so it's nice to see an underdog win a big award like this.

Felix Hernandez of the Mariners finished second with Justin Verlander of the Tigers finishing a distant third.

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Dan's Vote: Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

I said in my initial column that this was a close call for me between Carpenter and Lincecum, and the voting bore that out. Lincecum finished only 6 points ahead of Carpenter. By comparison, Hernandez finished 54 points behind Greinke in the AL.

In an odd quirk of the voting, it was the Cardinals' Adam Wainright who actually got the most first place votes (12 to Lincecum's 11 - Carpenter got 9).

There was some drama surrounding one voter leaving Carpenter off their ballot and another dissing Wainright. I can't really get too worked up over either one. It was a tough race in the NL and Lincecum's as deserving as anyone.

AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Catcher, Minnesota Twins
Dan's Vote: Joe Mauer

This award was just announced today. Not much of a surprise. Once the Twins clinched their playoff spot, the MVP was Mauer's.

His numbers (.365, 28, 96) pretty much speak for themselves. But if you do that without getting your club into the post-season, you can't be guaranteed the recognition that you might deserve.

The final tally shows Mauer getting 27 of a possible 28 first place votes. Strangely, though he finished 4th in the balloting, the other first place vote went to Detroit's Miguel Cabrerra. Huh. I couldn't have called that.

The Yankees' Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter finished second and third in the balloting respectively.

Now if the Twins would just get him signed to an extension, it would be a truly happy off-season for all involved!

NL MVP: Coming tomorrow...
Dan's Vote: Albert Pujols, Infielder, St. Louis Cardinals

So why didn't I wait until Wednesday to do this column? Because I already have a column for Wednesday and every baseball fan on the planet knows who's going to win the NL MVP.

Pujols had yet another outstanding year full of eye-popping numbers - .327, 47 home runs, 135 RBI. Clearly he's deserving of the award.

I can see Prince Fielder getting a first-place vote or two, but I expect Pujols to win by a longshot.

Think that's all for baseball in 2009? Remember, we've got Winter Meetings heading our way in a couple of weeks. There's sure to be a big free agent signing or trade or two involved in those. Stay tuned!

That's going to do it for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with more college football nonsense. Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Bring on the Nonsense! The Huskers over the Buffaloes by 24!