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    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    The Great 2011 Awards Cheat Sheet

    Well, Award Season has more or less wrapped up. So, for some reason, I decided to create a giant summary of the winners, listed by awards and voting block. No, I don’t understand how my mind works either.

    In any case, the results in question are from myself, the General Chapter voting of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, the full Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and the Baseball Writers Association of America (aka, “The Official Awards”). As an added bonus, I’ll throw in some commentary on the results, because what good is an awards summary without remarks containing varying degrees of sarcasm?

    American League MVP
    Hot Corner Harbor: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
    General Chapter, BBA: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
    BBA: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
    BBWAA: Justin Verlander, Tigers

    National League MVP
    Hot Corner Harbor: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
    General Chapter, BBA: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
    BBA: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
    BBWAA: Ryan Braun, Brewers.

    Notes on the results: Well, isn’t this interesting. Granted, I know there’s some overlap in the voting between the first three groups, but still. I think this says something about the BBWAA, particularly about their desire to have the winner come from a playoff team. None of these picks were outright bad, but in each case, there was a clear split between “best player” and “best player from a playoff team”.

    That’s the other interesting thing; Ellsbury was not helped by playing on a contender. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the Writers were more concerned now with whether the team was in contention, rather than making the playoffs (ie; as long as your team was a few games out of playoff spot, they’d vote for you). The Red Sox finished one game out despite Jacoby’s best efforts, but because they FELL to one game out rather than hold steady just below a playoff spot, he probably lost some voters.

    On a related note, I saw someone describe the voting for these along the lines of “You’ll do a better job predicting the winners if you know the voters rather than the candidates”. That seems very true.

    American League Cy Young
    Hot Corner Harbor: Justin Verlander, Tigers
    General Chapter, BBA: Justin Verlander, Tigers
    BBA: Justin Verlander, Tigers
    BBWAA: Justin Verlander, Tigers

    Notes on the results: Probably the least surprising award. So, rather than commenting on the voting, I will comment on some of the general discussions I heard running up to the elections. My favorite argument I saw when discussing pitchers (AL or NL) was the whole “Starter Y won X games, so if we take away X wins, the team doesn’t make the playoffs”. Putting aside the whole over-reliance on pitching wins: I’m legitimately confused as to whether these people think teams would would have just totally forfeited the games if they didn’t have Starter Y specifically. No team is dumb enough to just give up because they “only” have four starters, they go find someone, somewhere to serve as a warm body. And even Brett “No TomkosTomko could luck his way into some wins.

    On a related note, I need to stop reading comment sections at certain sites. I will probably be an overall happier person.

    National League Cy Young
    Hot Corner Harbor: Roy Halladay, Phillies
    General Chapter, BBA: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
    BBA: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
    BBWAA: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

    Notes on the results: A very close race, and both were deserving candidates. Halladay already has some awards love, though, so I am especially ambivalent about him finishing runner-up. On a side note, I have been trying to find a good excuse to use the phrase “especially ambivalent”.

    American League Rookie of the Year
    Hot Corner Harbor: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
    General Chapter, BBA: Eric Hosmer, Royals
    BBA: Eric Hosmer, Royals
    BBWAA: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

    Notes on the results: The AL had a really good crop of rookies this year, and none of these choices is particularly bad. I liked Ackley, but I can see why people would think he didn’t play enough. Eric Hosmer fell further to the “More Playing Time” side of the “Playing Time vs. Dominance” spectrum. And Hellickson was successful, but with some luck. But either of those two could go on to multiple All-Star games. And we haven’t even mentioned the likes of Matt Moore, Desmond Jennings, Brett Lawrie, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, etc..

    Also, I was considering throwing the Sporting News Awards onto this list as well. I didn’t because they only give out an MLB MVP (as opposed to an AL and NL). But their Rookie of the Year pick of Mark Trumbo certainly did nothing to help. There are so many good choices this year that I would say there’s so such thing as a wrong pick, but picking the guy with a sub-.300 OBP (while playing first base, no less) has to come pretty close.

    National League Rookie of the Year
    Hot Corner Harbor: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    General Chapter, BBA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    BBA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    BBWAA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves

    Notes on the results: Almost as much of a shocker as Verlander. As a side note, the Braves and Nationals kind of dominated this category this year, between Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Brandon Beachy, Danny Espinosa, and Wilson Ramos. Between those two and the Marlins, the NL East looks to have some young powerhouses in the next few years.

    American League Reliever of the Year
    Hot Corner Harbor: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
    General Chapter, BBA: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
    BBA: Jose Valverde, Tigers
    BBWAA: *

    Notes on the results: Jose Valverde had that whole “no-blown saves” thing going for him this year. I don’t expect to see him continue that into next year, but I highly doubt a full-on Lidgean implosion.

    National League Reliever of the Year
    Hot Corner Harbor: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    General Chapter, BBA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    BBA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
    BBWAA: *

    Notes on the results: Yeah, everyone really loves Craig Kimbrel. He was pretty darn good.
    *There is no BBWAA award for relievers. The closest comparison is either the Delivery Man Award (Jose Valverde this year) or the Rolaid’s Relief Man Award (John Axford in the NL, Jose Valverde in the AL).

    American League Manager of the Year 
    Hot Corner Harbor: Joe Maddon, Rays
    General Chapter, BBA: Joe Maddon, Rays
    BBA: Joe Maddon, Rays
    BBWAA: Joe Maddon, Rays

    National League Manager of the Year
    Hot Corner Harbor: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
    General Chapter, BBA: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
    BBA: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
    BBWAA: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

    Notes on the results: Despite the fact that we really don’t have a good way to measure managers, there was a pretty clear consensus on who was the best. Yay for groupthink!

    Look for more to come on the awards.

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