The time is back to posture for end of the season awards in Major League Baseball. The fun thing about it, is that I have a vote. No not for the Baseball Writers Association official votes for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, or Manager of the Year awards. Those guys always pick the wrong people anyway. My vote is for the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, a group of bloggers who come together to decide some of the same things the writers decide on.
We vote for manager, rookie, reliever, pitcher, and best overall player. We have names for each award after players who represent that award the best.
Here is my ballot this year. I only vote for the American League as a member of the Cleveland Chapter. I will share the results when they are announced in a few weeks. Feel free to argue, because you probably think I'm wrong somewhere.
Connie Mack Award (Best Manager)
3. Bob Melvin, OAK
2. John Farrell, BOS
1. Terry Francona, CLE
Yeah yeah, but if I don't vote for him in first, who will? Let's be honest, this should be a two-horse race this year between the former Red Sox manager and the guy who was pretty much groomed under him for a few years as Terry Francona's pitching coach. Farrell, also with Cleveland ties, took over a Red Sox team that was laid to waste after last year's debacle. The cupboard was not bare when he took over, but the rotation was a question and there was some doubt as to how quickly the Red Sox can swing back upwards. Farrell accelerated that and most importantly, infused that clubhouse with a much needed ounce of accountability and respect.
But no one brought as much respect as Tito Francona did to Cleveland and if you can't get behind Tito's job as a manager in Cleveland, look at his influence. He's a reason half of the people that signed with Cleveland, actually signed with Cleveland, and he was the driving force in a team actually going after some of the guys they went after. Tito is the pick, because he made more of a difference in Cleveland than Farrell did in Boston, even though they made a heck of a difference in their new roles. Melvin is bringing up the rear because, once again Oakland was downed again in terms of winning the division, and they did just that.
Willie Mays Award (Best Rookie)
3. Jose Iglesias, DET
2. Cody Allen, CLE
1. Wil Myers, TB
This was a down year for Rookies in the American League, a year after Mike Trout and Yoenis Cespedes put on a war for the award and Trout even contended for some MVP votes. Myers was the best rookie offensive player, by miles. No on knocked in more runs and only Oswaldo Arcia hit more home runs and only J.B. Shuck scored more runs. Myers hit .293 with a .354 on-base percentage in 335 at-bats for the Rays. You can't really argue that there was a better offensive rookie. You also have to appreciate the throwback no-batting glove approach.
Give it up though for Ohio's own David Lough, who was quietly an asset to the Kansas City Royals. He filled in with injuries to key players like Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain and eventually was someone Ned Yost couldn't keep out of the lineup. The former Green Bulldog hit .286 for the Royals with 33 RBI and 35 runs scored.
There were some pitchers, Chris Archer, Martin Perez to name a few, but no Jose Fernandez. Which is why I'm giving a vote to Cody Allen who was with the Indians from the very start. Allen eventually took on more of an important role as the season progressed. He's the guy. He struck out more hitters than any other rookie reliever, and to step it up one further, only four other relievers struck out more hitters than him in the American League, and of those five relievers, only two of them had better ERAs.
3. Joe Nathan, TEX
2. Koji Uehara, BOS
1. Greg Holland, KC
I'm not sure how many votes the top two guys I voted for are going to get. I'm also not sure how many people are going to just give it to Mariano Rivera because he was somewhere in the ballpark of best relievers in the American League with the third most saves and an ERA in the low 2's. But let's not kid anything, Greg Holland was not just the best closer, he was the best reliever in the game. Holland had the second most saves, but he had a tiny ERA of 1.21 and led all relievers in strikeouts. He gave up nine, yes, nine earned runs.
Similiarly, Koji Huehara, who is gaining a lot of praise for his work as Boston's closer in the playoffs, was nails all year. He too gave up nine earned in seven more innings as Holland and struck out two less than Holland did. They're really close in terms of how awesome they were this year, but I'd give Holland the nod for being the closer all year and acquiring 47 saves on a team that didn't have as many wins as Uehara's.
Nathan had a renaissance year in Texas and was back to being the Joe Nathan we remember when he was untouchable with the Twins. He blew three saves and had a WHIP under 1.00.
Walter Johnson Award (Best Pitcher)
5. Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA
4. Anibal Sanchez, DET
3. Yu Darvish, TEX
2. Bartolo Colon, OAK
1. Max Scherzer, DET
There wasn't anyone really that presented an overwhelming case for Pitcher of the Year other than Max Scherzer. He didn't have the best ERA, four people topped him, including his teammate, but for the first half of the year there was no one better than Scherzer and he was at least able to carry that into the second half. More than the 21 wins, there was the three losses, which means he rarely was bad enough to lose a game. In fact, two of this losses came in September, in a row, and he gave up four and two earned runs respectively. The other loss was in July and he again, gave up four earned runs.
And let's be honest, who else am I going to pick over him? Bartolo Colon. Jimenez Christmas! What happened to the AL? Last year it was King Felix, Jered Weaver, David Price, and Justin Verlander, a true battle of Aces. Not saying Scherzer isn't an Ace, but look what he had to contend with. Ubaldo would have received a vote if this was top 10, just saying!
Stan Musial Award (Best Overall Player)
10. Jason Kipnis, CLE
9. Manny Machado, BAL
8. Adrian Beltre, TEX
Dustin Pedroia, BOS
6. Evan Longoria, TB
5. Robinson Cano, NYY
4. Josh Donaldson, OAK
3. Chris Davis, BAL
2. Miguel Cabrera, DET
1. Mike Trout, LAA
Best overall player? This is always a "Well, he isn't the MVP!" type of debate, but really, we are picking the best overall player. That's what we are doing. Not Most Valuable, just simply, the best around. Miguel Cabrera probably would have been a slam dunk for the second year in a row for me, but quite frankly, the injuries hurt his end result numbers. Still great, he comes in second for me.
I'm going with the guy who just dose it all. Defensively, offensively, on the base paths. You take the mammoth RBI numbers, I'll take the guy who creates and despite not being the feared slugger Cabrera is, walks more than anyone in the universe. Mike Trout hit 27 home runs, almost had 100 RBI, scored over 100 runs, stole over 30 bases, and walked over 100 times. Not to mention, Trout is a star in the outfield and his defense saves plenty of runs to make up for whatever he doesn't knock in. Mind you, he plays in a lineup that does not have the producers others have, despite Pujols, Hamilton, etc. that Angels team was riddled with injuries and ineffectiveness.
Other than that, the votes fall to guys like Chris Davis who put up monster numbers, Robinson Cano who's always around this vote, Josh Donaldson who has one of the better years from someone you've never heard of, and yes, Cleveland's own Jason Kipnis. It's a 10th place vote, I can do what I want with it.