Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The DNR 2011 MLB Award Winners

Since there’s a day off here before Game 5 of the Tigers/Yankees series, I thought today would be a good day to name my choices for the big awards in Major League Baseball. You can only analyze this series so much before your brain feels like it’s going to explode, you know? Plus, I wanted to get these out of the way before the actual winners are announced.

So below, you’ll see what my choices would be if I had a say in the voting for the MVP, Cy Young, and Manager of the Year voting with the runners up, along with who I think the voters will actually name as the winners. I decided to skip Rookie of the Year just because I haven’t seen enough of those guys to feel comfortable making a choice. Sue me. After that, I’ll give my Tiger awards, too.

Keep in mind, I don’t subscribe to the idea that the award winners have to be on a playoff team. I feel that the best man deserves the award and shouldn’t be punished for how poorly his teammates may have played. That’s how they jobbed Miguel Cabrera out of the MVP last year.



AL Most Valuable Player

My Choice: Jose Bautista, Toronto

If Bautista played on a better team, I think he would walk away with this award. He led the AL in WAR, slugging, OPS, homers, and walks. He also hit .302 and was second in OBP by .001 to Cabrera. He tied Big Mig for the AL lead in OPS+ and runs created. Most impressively, Jose did all this with very little protection at all in that Jays lineup. Amazing season.

Runners Up
1. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
2. Justin Verlander, Detroit
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston
4. Curtis Granderson, New York
5. Adrian Gonzalez, Boston

Note: When I really looked over Mig’s numbers, I couldn’t feel comfortable putting JV ahead of him despite saying I would a couple weeks ago. Cabrera’s been under the radar in the shadow of Verlander’s spectacular year and he deserves more MVP consideration than he’s been receiving. He led the AL in batting average, OBP, games played, and doubles. Amazing year, but I felt Bautista was just a hair better when considering all factors.

Who I Think Will Win: Ellsbury…the media loves their SAWX and I think Boston won just enough this year for them to feel justified in giving it to him. Granderson has a chance, but I think too many will hold it against JV for not being an everyday player for him to have a decent shot at it.

NL Most Valuable Player

My Choice: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles

Kemp led the NL (and all of baseball) in WAR in 2011. He was also tops in his league in runs, total bases, homers, RBI, OPS+, and runs created, all the while playing amazing defense. It’s too bad all the negative headlines with the LA ownership took the headlines away from him.

Runners Up
1. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
2. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
3. Joey Votto, Cincinnati
4. Lance Berkman, St. Louis
5. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles

Who I Think Will Win: Braun. Many in the voting group will hold it against Kemp that LA didn’t make the playoffs.

AL Cy Young Award

My Choice: Justin Verlander, Detroit

Duh. JV led the AL pitchers in WAR, ERA, wins, WHIP, innings, strikeouts, and ERA+. He also tossed a no-hitter, and just missed a second. The man was a cyborg and there’s no debate on this, as far as I’m concerned.

Runners Up
1. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles
2. CC Sabathia, New York
3. James Shields, Tampa Bay (11 complete games!)
4. Dan Haren, Los Angeles
5. Josh Beckett, Boston

Who I Think Will Win: Verlander. Or else.

NL Cy Young Award

My Choice: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles

Like Verlander, Kershaw won the pitching Triple Crown in the NL by leading the league in ERA, strikeouts and wins (tied with Ian Kennedy). He also had the best WHIP and Tiger fans got to witness how awesome the lefty is, too, when he beat Detroit earlier in the year.

Runners Up
1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
2. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia
3. Ian Kennedy, Arizona
4. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
5. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia

Who I Think Will Win: Halladay. He’s the familiar name to voters and like Kemp, I think not making the playoffs may hurt Kershaw. This is one of many reasons why I despise so many in the mainstream baseball media.

AL Manager of the Year

My Choice: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay

Tampa lost Carl Crawford, Joaquin Benoit, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, and Grant Balfour from last year’s squad. All were key contributors and Crawford, the face of the franchise. Then Manny Ramirez, signed as a free agent, retired after testing positive for PEDs again. The Rays were written off early, yet Maddon steered the ship as only he can and led them to 91 wins and an impressive late season charge into the AL Wild Card. Losing to Texas in the ALDS doesn’t take away from the amazing job that Joe did this year.

Runners Up
1. Joe Girardi, New York
2. Jim Leyland, Detroit
3. Ron Washington, Texas
4. Manny Acta, Cleveland
5. John Farrell, Toronto

Who I Think Will Win: Maddon. There’s no other sane choice.

NL Manager of the Year

My Choice: Kirk Gibson, Arizona

The D-Backs won 65 games last year. This year they jumped to 94. I knew Gibby would turn out to be a hellova manager someday. I only would have been with the Tigers.

Runners Up
1. Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee
2. Tony LaRussa, St. Louis
3. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia
4. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles
5. Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta

Who I Think Will Win: Gibson. No one expected anything from Arizona and Gibby will get recognized for his efforts.

TIGER AWARDS

Rookie of the Year: Al Alburquerque. Who saw this kid coming?

Breakout Player of the Year: Alex Avila. For the 30th time, I’m sorry I doubted you in April, kid.

Most Underappreciated Tiger: Jhonny Peralta. Amazing year that no one expected and few in the media have noticed.

Defensive Player of the Year: Austiin Jackson. Oh, Jackson! Indeed, Rod. Indeed.

Pitcher of the Year
1. Verlander
2. Jose Valverde
3. Doug Fister

Hitter of the Year
1. Cabrera
2. Victor Martinez
3. Alex Avila

Tiger of the Year: Justin Verlander. He owned Detroit in 2011 and gained the franchise more exposure from the major media than I can remember in a long, long time.

And there you have it. Time for me to go back to fretting about tomorrow. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue…

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