Sometime early next week the SweetSpot is going to run a post on the SweetSpot blogger’s awards. We are voting for the NL/AL MVP, NL/AL Cy Young, NL/AL ROY and the NL/AL Manager. I already posted who I think should win each award here. I need to put in a bit more work, however; as the SweetSpot is asking for top five for the MVP ballots and top three for the rest.
A quick review of my winners
My NL MVP was Ryan Braun with a slight edge over Matt Kemp. He was slightly better in most of the advanced batting statistics and as I have stated before if the vote is close I do go with the guy on a playoff contending team. This goes against the pure sabermetric view of the MVP award, but that’s how I roll.
For AL MVP I tried to make a case for someone other than Bautista simply because he wasn’t on a playoff team. I tried to argue for Jacoby Ellsbury or Miguel Cabrera but when you look at all the numbers Bautista was easily the MVP for the AL.
The Cy Young race in the NL is extremely close. Clayton Kershaw was dominant all year and posted a nice strikeout total but when I looked at how well Roy Halladay kept runners off of the base paths (ERA, FIP, xFIP, etc) he was better. He barely gets the edge in the Cy Young race over Kershaw.
In the AL it was a much easier vote: Justin Verlander was the best pitcher in the AL this year.
Rookie of the Year awards were pretty close in both leagues. In the AL I went with the kid who was ultra dominant at times this year (most of the first half) in Michael Pineda. I think his only competition was his teammate Dustin Ackley behind him at second base. In the NL I had to choose between two teammates, too. In Atlanta they had a star closer in Craig Kimbrel and a stud first basemen in Freddie Freeman. I choose Freeman over Kimbrel simply because he appears so much more often during a season than a closer who only appeared in 76 innings.
I didn’t pick my Manager of the Year mostly because I think the award is BS. But I will list who I would pick as my top three below.
That is who I would vote for to win the awards, but how would I round out my ballot?
1. Ryan Braun
2. Matt Kemp
3. Troy Tulowitzki
4. Joey Votto
5. Albert Pujols
Braun and Kemp were easily 1-2. I put Tulo third because of how valuable he is on defense and with his bat at short. Two power hitting first basemen round out my top five.
1. Jose Bautista
2. Jacob Ellsbury
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Dustin Pedroia
5. Adrian Gonzalez
How did the Red Sox not make the playoffs, again? I was tempted to put Evan Longoria in the fifth spot on my ballot due to his unbelievable September which culminated with that freaking home run to win the game and push the Tampa Bay Rays into the playoffs.
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Cliff Lee
I think the difference between first and second in the NL Cy Young award will be the smallest among all of the awards. If Kershaw was to win it I couldn’t argue.
AL Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander
2. Jared Weaver
3. C.C. Sabathia
The AL Cy Young isn’t as close. Verlander should win it unanimously.
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Freddie Freeman
2. Craig Kimbrel
3. Danny Espinosa
Espinosa rounds out my ballot for NL ROY. He hit 21 home runs and hardly anyone noticed. Sure his average wasn’t all that great but he looks like he might be the Dan Uggla of the Washington Nationals and is being surrounded by some crazy talent. If the Nats can get 20+ home runs out of second base for the next few seasons and Ryan Zimmerman and some of the other young guys produce like they should: watch out NL East.
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Michael Pineda
2. Dustin Ackley
3. Ivan Nova
Nova had a great year but picking the third place ROY in the AL is tough. Mark Trumbo had a great year with a ton of power for the Angels, Rickie Weeks little bro Jemile looks to be the real deal at second for the Athletics, Jeremy Hellickson is going to be a future Cy Young winner for the talent producing Rays and Jordan Walden did a nice job closing off games for the Angels. There are a lot of interesting options for the AL ROY, much more so than the NL.
NL Manager of the Year
1. Kirk Gibson
2. Tony La Russa
3. Fredi Gonzalez
Gibson took the Arizona Diamondbacks to the playoffs in a year in which most people picked the Diamondbacks to finish last or second to last in a not-so-good NL West. La Russa staged one of the biggest comebacks ever in baseball to take the Cardinals to the playoffs and edge off third place vote getter Gonzalez and the Atlanta Braves.
While I really don’t think managers make a lot of difference in a team’s wins and losses I will always vote MOY for teams that make the playoffs or come darn close. If the Diamondbacks had lost out on the playoffs during the last week of the season Gibson would still be my choice since his team won about 30 games more in 2011 than predicted by many.
AL Manager of the Year
1. Joe Maddon
2. Joe Girardi
3. Mike Scioscia
OK, maybe I won’t ALWAYS vote for a manger whose team almost went to the playoffs but there is no way I can vote for Ron Washington and Jim Leyland for MOY. I firmly believe that if the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers had no manager they would perform better than they do with their current “leader”. Maddon and Scioscia, however; are like the exact manager I would love for my favorite team. Girardi gets my vote for second place simply because the Yankees won so many games with only two quality starting pitchers. I understand they won so many based on an offense that would hit for any manager…but…I feel Girardi gets some of the credit.
That is the ballot I sent to Dave Schoefield at the SweetSpot for ESPN. Where did I go wrong?