2013 BBA Post Season Awards.
Every year, members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance vote for their organization’s post season awards. As a baseball fan with a great deal of respect for its history and traditions, I’ve put a lot of time, energy and thought into the selection process, and have something to say about everyone, with the exception of the relievers, who totally baffle me. Here are my choices for the just-completed season.
The National League Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher):
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers. The left hander was awesome this season, going 16-9, and posting a 1.83 ERA, 0.915 WHIP with 232 SO. Among the young pitchers I watch now, he is the one who is most on track for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
2. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins. National League batters, beware! This twenty-one year old Cuban import is a finished product that you will have to contend with for years. We’ll discuss his numbers a little later in this post.
3. Matt Harvey, New York Mets. Until his season ended in August due to a partial tear” of his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, Harvey was a top contender for this award as well as one of the best pitchers in major league baseball. I especially like his 0.931 WHIP and 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings pitched.
The American League Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher):
1. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers. It’s not just his 21 wins against 3 losses that does it for me. His 240 strikeouts, 0.970 WHIP, and the .198 opposing batters hit against him all cry out for recognition.
2. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox. I find myself wondering how much better Sale would have been if the White Sox were a better team. Hopefully, we’ll find out one day. For now, however, all Sale’s 3.07 ERA, 1.073 WHIP, 226 SO in 214.1 IP got him was 11 wins against 14 losses.
3. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers. More wondering, and in this case, it’s how much better the Rangers would have been if Darvish had pitched better down the stretch, when his team was in desperate need of victories. Still, 277 SO, a 2.83 ERA and a 1.073 WHIP are nothing to sneeze at. With his skills, however, Darvish has got to go better than 13 wins and 9 losses.
The National League Willie Mays Award (Top Rookie):
1. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins. The right hander leaped from good to very good to great in his first campaign. Want proof? After the all-star break, Fernandez made major-league hitters look like little league players, posting these numbers: 7 wins, 1 loss, 1.32 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .160 OBA, 84 K and 18 W.
2. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers. His numbers, which included a .319/.391/.534 slash line, 19 home runs and .925 OPS in 104 games, don’t begin to describe his spirited play or his significant impact on the Dodgers. He failed to adjust to opposing pitchers when they started jamming him inside and giving him soft stuff away, however, and tailed off as the season unfolded.
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers. The southpaw added depth to an already stunning Dodgers pitching staff, going 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 154 SO in 192 IP.
The American League Willie Mays Award (Top Rookie):
1. Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays. The right fielder gave the Rays a much needed productive bat, especially down the stretch, when they were securing their position in the tournament. In his 88 games played, Myers hit .293, with 13 HR and 53 RBI. In his nine at bats with the bases loaded, he hit .444.
2. Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers. The smooth-fielding shortstop was acquired from the Red Sox and performed admirably for the American League Central Division Champions. He totaled a .303 BA in his 109 games, and perhaps more importantly, immediately improved a defense that needed the help.
3. Martin Perez, Texas Rangers. The starting pitcher had an up and down season, debuting as a .500 guy, then reeling off six consecutive wins, and finally getting hit hard during several starts down the stretch. It all adds up to 124.1 IP, 10w, 6L, 3.62 ERA and a 1.335 WHIP. At the age of 22, he’s earned a spot in the Rangers rotation and has a chance to improve significantly as the seasons unfold.
The National League Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever):
1. Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals.
2. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves.
3. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals.
The American League Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever):
1. Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox.
2. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals.
3. Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics.
The National League Stan Musial Award (Top Player):
1. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates. Cutch is a five-tool guy and the unquestioned leader of his team. His numbers, including a .317/.408/.508 slash line, a .911 OPS, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 27 steals and 8.2 WAR were very good this season. The fact that he plays a dominant position, center field, exceedingly well, only adds to his value.
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks. The just-completed season was like a coming out party for the first baseman, as he fashioned a .302/.401/.551 slash line, clubbed 36 home runs and performed exceedingly well in the field.
3. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals. The five-time Gold Glove catcher has taken his game to a higher level over the past several seasons by becoming a significant offensive threat. This added dimension to his game, combined with his long established skill at calling a game, throwing out would-be base stealers and handling of young pitchers makes him one of the top players in the National League.
The American League Stan Musial Award (Top Player):
1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The most complete assemblage of talent in major league baseball today, Trout is a one-man highlight reel who can do it all, and almost always does.
2. Miguel Cabrera, Detriot Tigers. The best hitter in baseball.
3. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees. This top performer had another terrific season.
The National League Manager of the Year:
1. Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s tempting to say that Hurdle’s Pirates should be winning now, because they finally have a roster talented enough to play deep into the tournament. Hurdle, however, deserves a great deal of the credit for the Pirates emergence as a serious title contender because of his patience in creating a winning culture and his infectious optimism.
2. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers. “Donnie Baseball” makes this list by getting in touch with his inner Frank Sinatra. He finally started doing things “his way.” The result: a N.L Western Division Championship.
3. Terry Collins, New York Mets. If there was ever a man for whom it can be said “he gets the most out of the talent on hand,” it’s the Skipper of the Metropolitans.
The American League Manager of the Year:
1. John Ferrell, Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox turn around from the disaster of 2012 to a championship caliber team this year is the result of many factors, including a solid core of existing players such as Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury, the addition of a supporting cast of blue-collar players who want to be there including Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, and the steady hand of skipper Ferrell.
2. Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians. He came within one game of the division-leading Tigers and did it with a lot less talent. It was a great year for both Francona and the Tribe, who have some more work to do to take the next step up the ladder. If the front office will bring in the talent, Francona will weave it into a winning tapestry.
3. Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics. This stabilizing force has quietly become one of the league’s best managers by making excellent in-game decisions, utilizing his entire roster and staying flexible. If you want to see a team win with a large variety of lineups, this is the team for you.