Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Obligatory Awards Post


I guess I should have seen this coming. A part of me still believed that Trout would pull through, but I was clearly only kidding myself. I really didn't know what to expect. I thought it would be anything from a slim Trout win to a Cabrera blowout but that was probably born more out of false hope than anything else. Part of the problem was probably that I try and read only baseball writers that I respect, and most of those writers heavily favoured Trout. By isolating myself to reading only the minority, I forgot how much of the baseball world still seems to be stuck in the past.

Miguel Cabrera had an awesome season. He won the Triple Crown. For that he more than deserved an award, the award is the Triple Crown. Why does there need to be an award on top of that?

Cabrera also won the Hank Aaron award though for the league's best hitter. I'm more than alright with that. Unfortunately that's where Cabrera's value ends. He provides negative value on the base paths and as a fielder, two areas where Trout is among the best, if not the best player in the league. Maybe it all comes down to team wins. Although the Angels won more games than Detroit, so I guess we can scratch that theory off the list.

I'm not going to deeper into the stats comparing the two, enough has been written about that. Suffice to say I'm disappointed that the real value of players isn't being properly recognized, even in the year 2012 where so much of this data is so easily available.

Some more award thoughts:
  • Price and Verlander had almost the same amount of votes for Cy Young, with Price essentially edging out Verlander by one first place vote. I don't have a problem with this, both of these guys were deserving and the voters were split. It confuses me then how Verlander picked up 58 MVP vote points, being listed on 12 ballots, while Price only picked up 26 MVP points, being listed on only 5 ballots. How did these two basically tie on the Cy Young vote but have such a difference on the MVP vote. Was it just a fluke due to the different voters for the different awards? Is there something about the word valuable that is completely different from determining who the best pitcher is? Someone needs to solve this.
  • Jared Weaver got two second place votes for Cy Young, both from the LA voters. What the hell is this? I realize Weaver pitched a no-hitter this year, but he was inferior to Verlander in almost every other way. This hometown bias needs to be eliminated. Maybe change the rules to disallow voting for a hometown player? I don't know, but this is ridiculous.
  • John Lowe gave Jim Johnson a third place MVP vote. That wasn't a typo. Look, Johnson was good this year. He had a 2.49 ERA, led the league in saves, and was a big contributor to Baltimore's unlikely record in close games. This is just insane though. Forget comparing him to the batters and starting pitchers on his team who obviously contributed more to Baltimore's season. Forget comparing him to other relievers in the league like Rodney who were clearly superior. Jim Johnson wasn't even the best reliever on the Orioles. Darren O'Day had a lower ERA, higher K rate, lower walk rate, a lower WHIP, and only pitched 1.2 less innings. Johnson got 51 saves though, so guess that makes him the third most valuable player in the AL.
  • Someone gave Raul Ibanez a 10th place MVP vote. Some of his 19 HRs were clutch, but he was a part time player, an absolute disaster when he played the field and outside of those few clutch homeruns, really did very little at the plate. His OBP was the worst of any regular player on the Yankees and his average beat out only Granderson and Russell Martin. To make this even funnier, the voter who gave Ibanez his vote was again John Lowe.
  • Ken Rosenthal gave Chipper Jones a 10th MVP place vote. It's hard to think of this as anything other than a token vote for his career work.
  • The two Mets voters gave Yadier Molina first place votes. So I guess only for catchers are MVP voters allowed to consider defense (and what I assume is only defense).
  • As a fan, I find it especially difficult to care at all about Manager of the Year awards. Managers seem to have very little influence and more often seem to hinder their team than help it. It's difficult to evaluate what goes on behind the scenes so this award just ends up going to the manager whose team vastly exceeds what their talent was on paper at the start of the season. Was the cause of that some great speech the manager gave that got his players to work together as a team? I don't know and since I really can't evaluate most of it, I don't care.
  • I was relieved to see that Trout unanimously won Rookie of the Year. With the current voter crop, you just never know what someone might do. I'll leave you with this memory: Michael Young got a first place MVP vote last season!

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