BSB’s 2011 MLB Awards

Well, while BSB has been dark for a while, as major life changes has thrust themselves upon our fearless Believers, but we may be back up and running here, just in time to mourn a crushing end to the Phillies season and a throw the last bit of dirt on a nearly as demoralizing season for the Eagles.  But, first, let us catch up on some less depressing business, as we will unveil the results of our 2011 MLB Awards balloting.  We had seven really good, knowledgeable, and relatively objective submissions for this year’s awards, so we have a nice collection of opinions depicted in these awards efforts on these awards.  So, without further ado, let’s get to it, starting with…

(NOTE: Points are 5 for 1st-place vote, 4 for 2nd, etc.  The two numbers in parentheses indicate, first, the number of ballots on which the player appeared, followed by the number of first-place votes they received, if any.)

Most Valuable Player – National League

We always knew he had the talent, but before this season, it looked as if he might never find "it"
  1. Matt Kemp – 31 (7/5)
    Despite a very disappointing year out in LA, Matt Kemp put up a season for the ages, coming up 1 HR shy of 40/40.  He also had a legitimate shot at a Triple Crown up until the season’s final weekend.  Also, for all of you condescending, weak-minded Sabermetric-obsessed people who discount any analysis that doesn’t include WAR, Kemp blew away the competition in that stat, as he was, according to baseball-reference, worth 10 wins to the Dodgers this year (a full 2.3 wins better than anyone else in the league).  Kemp received 5 of the 7 first-place votes and appeared on all 7 ballots.
  2. Ryan Braun – 27 (7/1)
    While Kemp seemed to dominate the voting, he did not win by the landslide you might expect, as another 30-30 guy, Ryan Braun finished a somewhat close second place, despite only receiving a single first-place vote.  Unlike Kemp, who did receive a 4th-place vote, Braun was in the top 3 on every ballot.  Braun’s first-place vote came from BSB’s own, Doogan, who had Kemp 2nd.
  3. Prince Fielder – 18 (7)
    Braun’s teammate, Prince Fielder and his .415 OBP, finished 3rd on our list, as he also appeared on all 5 ballots, though did not receive a single first-place vote.
  4. Troy Tulowitzki – 9 (4)
    Tulo did receive a second-place vote from Yours Truly, but I am (and always will be) quite partial to anyone who plays the most important position on the diamond.
  5. Justin Upton – 9 (4)
    The surprise team of the National League was the Diamondbacks, so it’s no surprise to see their offensive leader make a top 5 MVP showing.
  6. Albert Pujols – 8 (4/1)
    King Albert did enough to draw a 1st-place vote, but not enough to get any higher than 5th-place on any of the other 6 ballots.  While I think he has suffered from the Shaq ailment (should have been MVP every single year if not for boredom of the voters), but this year was an admitted down year for the Best Player of All-Time.
  7. Joey Votto – 3 (2)
    The defending MVP had, quietly, another outstanding year and was actually put ahead of Prince Fielder on Bry’s ballot.
  8. Lance Berkman – 1
    What a comeback year for the Puma.  It’s a nasty little secret, but he actually had a better year than that teammate of his that finished 6th on this list.

Most Valuable Player – American League

Last season he was just Brady Anderson; but add this year to the mix and he's closer to Babe Ruth
  1. Jose Bautista – 24 (6/3)
    In a very close vote, the winner goes to the only guy on the list that doesn’t play in New York, Boston, or Detroit.  Though he was left completely off one ballot, and received first-place votes on fewer than half, Jose Bautista wins our vote by the same margin that Matt Kemp won the NL award.  Bautista led the league in home runs and had an OBP just shy of .450.  Wow.
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury – 20 (7/1)
    The only AL player to appear on all 7 MVP ballots, Ellsbury just had too many 4th- and 5th-place votes to challenge Bautista.  Ellsbury sure did put up some incredible numbers this year, finishing with a .928 OPS, 39 stolen bases, and stellar defense in centerfield.
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 20 (6/1)
    Another incredible season was put in by the Tigers firstbaseman, Miguel Cabrera, who won the batting title, with 30 HRs, 48 doubles, and 108 BBs.  Again, BSB’s Doogan took the contrarian route, taking Cabrera (and Ellsbury) over Bautista here.
  4. Justin Verlander – 17 (5/1)
    One of the game’s most timeless (and meaningless) debates:  can a pitcher be the Most Valuable Player?  Well, if this is any indication, the majority of voters here believe that not only should a pitcher be eligible, but that this pitcher was worthy of at least mentioning on the list.  He even received a first-place vote from loyal reader, GregDoc.  For the record, I am an ardent opponent (with misplaced and irrational passion) of pitchers being voted MVP and would have left Verlander off my list if I had to make 20 choices.
  5. Curtis Granderson – 7 (2/1)
    If you listen to talk radio in the Big Apple, you would think that Granderson is the guy to beat in this race.  But, apparently, 5 of the 7 voters here disagree so much that he didn’t even make their ballots.  In Granderson’s defense (and RyanDoc’s, who voted him #1), I think runs scored is a very underrated statistic (yes, may the Sabermetic holier-than-thous strike me down), and Granderson had 15 more runs scored than anyone else in the league.
  6. Dustin Pedroia – 6 (3)
    With a 3rd- (from me), a 4th-, and a 5th-place vote, the diminutive Red Sox secondbaseman finishes in 6th place on our list.  Need we be reminded that he plays elite defense at a premium position?  Or, do we all feel the backlash against the guy for already winning one?  Or, am I just way too protective of middle infielders?
  7. Adrian Gonzalez – 5 (3)
    If September had never happened, A-Gon might win this award going away.  But, the Red Sox collapse and the media backlash against its media darling put a black mark upon an otherwise excellent inaugural season in Beantown for Mr. Gonzalez.
  8. Robinson Cano – 4 (1)
    While I would absolutely take Robinson Cano ahead of all but a handful of players in the league to start my franchise with, I am not so sure his 2011 season justified his receiving a 2nd-place vote here.  But, that being said, it is nice to see a middle-infielder with a TON of talent get some due.  Lord knows, he needs it playing in the media exile of New York City.

Cy Young Award – National League

Simply the best...
  1. Roy Halladay – 31 (7/4)
    Before we start screaming about the homerism of this blog, let us stop and think for a second about all the outside factors that could work against a starting pitcher, from a statistical standpoint.  The most prominent of things that could be underlying factors to inflating pitchers’ stats are ballpark effects and level of competition.  And, in an argument between Halladay and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, it is rather inarguable that both of these factors work for Kershaw and against Halladay.  For this reason, I (and, presumably the other 3 that went this way, including Doogan) voted Halladay #1.
  2. Clayton Kershaw – 29 (7/3)
    Don’t worry, Clayton, you are probably going to win the actual award because everyone loves a good story and, most of all, because people get fatigued with back-to-back winners.  That being said, Kershaw is very deserving, as he had a lights-out season, including being one of only 2 starters (Cole Hamels, the other) to have a WHIP under 1.00.
  3. Cliff Lee – 18 (6)
    Lost in the brilliance that is Roy Halladay and the subpar April, Cliff Lee had a pretty incredible season for the Phightins’.  I just wish he was able to hold a 4-0 lead in his biggest start of the year.  Lee was left off of one ballot, but that ballot only felt three pitchers were deserving of votes.
  4. Ian Kennedy – 14 (7)
    Kennedy – the real surprise in the desert – appeared on all 7 ballots, most likely because of his 21 wins and sparkling 2.88 ERA.
  5. Cole Hamels – 9 (5)
    Hamels and his sub-1.00 WHIP made a pretty strong case for being the best #3 starter in the history of baseball (and this from a man who is still enamored by the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz era Braves teams).  It’s hard to believe that Hamels finished 14-9 on the season.
  6. Chris Carpenter – 1
    Not sure if this was a bit of a “lifetime achievement” vote or a “valuable to his team” kind of vote from longtime BSB reader, Boot, but I definitely respect it.
  7. Matt Cain – 1
    I had both Cain and Kennedy as my #5 choices because I think that, despite not receiving the recognition or run support, Cain may have had the better year.  Either way, the numbers are too similar to speak so highly of Kennedy and not at all of Cain.

Cy Young Award – American League

It's unanimous
  1.  Justin Verlander – 35 (7/7)
    Our only unanimous winner of any award is, to no one’s surprise, Justin Verlander.  Verlander was dominant in any way you want to judge it, be it “traditionally” or “Sabermetrically.”  This one was easy – everyone else was just playing for second-place.
  2. Jered Weaver – 22 (6)
    A pretty solid season in SoCal for the laid-back Weaver, who was inked for a team-friendly long-term deal because he loves the way of life out there.  Don’t mistake it, though, he’s a bulldog on the mound.  One ballot only had Verlander, so Weaver did make every other ballot.
  3. James Shields – 15 (5)
    While he will never live up to his absurd nickname of “Big Game James” (there is only one Big Game James, and he played a different sport), Shields was sensational this year, including an amazing FOUR compete-game shutouts.  Shields was on 5 ballots, but the ones he missed only had Verlander and Weaver, so he made every ballot with more than 2 names.
  4. C.C. Sabathia – 8 (3)
    Unlike the first three, who were on every ballot that went that deep, Sabathia was left off of 2 ballots that filled out 5 names.  Another outstanding year for Carston Charles, who did receive a pair of 3rd-place votes (including mine) and a 4th-place vote from Doogan.
  5. Josh Beckett – 3 (2)
    The bottom four were sort of also-rans in this race, but it is worth mentioning because they all had outstanding years, including the ever loveable Josh Beckett.  I will refrain from making a Popeye’s Chicken joke here, for fear of overkill.
  6. C.J. Wilson – 3 (2)
    Introducing the next vastly overpaid starting pitcher:  C.J. Wilson.  But, hey, he picked a great year to have a great year.
  7. Dan Haren – 2 (2)
    On a list of a outstanding pitchers that do (or are about to) get plenty of public recognition, Dan Haren doesn’t quite fit.  Quite possibly the most underrated pitcher in a decade, Haren continues to dazzle without nearly enough fanfare, and he put up yet another quietly excellent season in 2011.
  8. Felix Hernandez – 1
    At 14-14, it was the greatest follow-up season for this award’s defending champ…but, then again, he was only 13-12 last year when he won it.  However, the other numbers weren’t nearly as overwhelming this year.  That being said, it’s hard to quibble with a guy this good.

Rookie of the Year – National League

This decision won't get near the controversy and debate that it possibly deserves
  1. Craig Kimbrel – 26 (7/4)
    In the closest race of any award, the Braves closer, Craig Kimbrel takes the BSB NL Rookie of the Year award, ny the narrowest of margins over two others.  Like everyone, I did have Kimbrel on my ballot (in 4th-place, though), but I am not too keen on voting closers for any award (other the the Rolaids Relief Man Award) because the guy only pitched 77 innings.  Would you vote a guy MVP if he only logged 306 plate appearances?  Well, Kimbrel only faced 306 hitters this year.  I wish his numbers weren’t so staggering or I would have left him off completely, and the award would have went to…
  2. Vance Worley – 25 (6/2)
    Out of nowhere came a mohawked, bespectacled kid to break an all-time Phillies record when the team won 14 consecutive games started by the Vanimal (I don’t remember who held the record, but I think he just went by the moniker “Lefty”).  Worley received two first-place votes and was in the top 2 on 5 of the 7 ballots.  But, being left off of one probably cost him the award.
  3. Freddie Freeman – 25 (7/1)
    The third horse in the three-horse race was Braves firstbaseman, Freddie Freeman, who put together a really solid rookie campaign (.795 OPS over 635 PAs).  Freeman, who appeared on all 7 ballots, only received 1 first-place vote, which slips him into 3rd place on this tally, despite being a single point behind the winner.
  4. Brandon Beachy – 10 (3)
    And, the Braves make it 3 of the top 4 on this list, as starting pitcher Brandon Beachy finishes fourth.  Only appearing on 3 ballots, Beachy was bolstered by a pair of 2nd-place votes, including mine.  Just to reiterate, Beachy pitched twice as many innings as Kimbrel – so, again, who was more valuable to his team?
  5. Josh Collmenter – 7 (4)
    Quite a season for the converted reliever out in the desert.  Kirk Gibson’s got these guys playing to their full potentials, huh?  Collmenter appeared on more than half of the ballots.
  6. Cory Luebke – 5 (2)
    While possibly aided by the expansive PetCo Park, there isn’t much negative to say about the season turned in by Padres rookie starter, Cory Luebke (1.07 WHIP, 3.29 ERA over 139.2 IP).
  7. Lucas Duda – 2 (2)
    Apparently a favorite of the website, Lucas Duda received 5th-place votes from both of the BSB writers.
  8. Danny Espinosa – 1
    While struggling, at times, during his rookie season, I have to commend RyanDoc for putting Espinosa on his ballot, as the kid showed real flashes this year, and was a pretty important piece to a Nationals team that nearly finished .500.

Rookie of the Year – American League

It appears as if stud starting pitching prospects grow on trees down in Tampa
  1. Jeremy Hellickson – 28 (7/3)
    Despite receiving fewer than half of the first-place votes, this Tampa starter won this award by a considerable margin.  Appearing in the top 3 on all 7 ballots made this an easy choice.  Yet another star Tampa pitcher on the horizon – how do they do it?
  2. Eric Hosmer – 18 (4/2)
    This guy is going to be really good, and may be the cornerstone of a pretty good Royals team in the not-so-distant future.  Hosmer collected 27 doubles and 19 home runs this year, as he looked ready for The Show from day one.
  3. Ivan Nova – 16 (6)
    An impressive rookie campaign for the Yanks hurler led to his being chosen as the Bombers #2 starter in the playoffs.  While Nova was very good – that is a bad sign for a team with a $200 million payroll.  Nova appeared on all 6 ballots that submitted more than 2 names.
  4. Mark Trumbo – 15 (5/1)
    An interesting finish for the Angels slugging thirdbaseman, as he registered one 1st-, one 2nd-, one 3rd-, one 4th-, and one 5th-place vote among our voters.  And, there can be an argument made that he had a considerably better season (31 doubles, 29 HRs) than our runner-up, Eric Hosmer.
  5. Michael Pineda – 10 (3/1)
    If 13-12 can win you the Cy Young while pitching for the Mariners, why can’t 9-10 win you the Rookie of the Year in the Great Northwest?  Apparently I am the only one who believes that, as not only was I the only first-place vote Pineda received here, but he only made two other ballots.  At least J agreed with me somewhat, as he had Pineda in second-place, behind only Hellickson.
  6. Jordan Walden – 5 (2)
    Apparently Walden’s season as a closer, which admittedly wasn’t quite as impressive, did not strike people in quite the same way as Kimbrel’s did in the NL, as Walden only found himself on two ballots, despite 32 saves and a very low WHIP and ERA.
  7. Dustin Ackley – 3 (2)
    The Mariners have a good one in Ackley, who probably came up just a little too late to really make a push for this award.
  8. Desmond Jennings – 2 (1)
    Speaking of coming up too late, Jennings was even 100 PAs behind Ackley, but what he did in a little less than half a season was good enough for me to put him #4 on my list…but I was the only one.
  9. Jemile Weeks – 1
    Have I mentioned my affinity for middle-infielders?  Well, Weeks played a decent secondbase, stole 22 bags, and hit over .300.  That, to me, is good enough for a spot on my ballot.

Manager of the Year – National League

Do you think winning the NL Manager of the Year will be the greatest moment of Kirk Gibson's life?
  1. Kirk Gibson – 17 (6/5)
    In a runaway, Kirk Gibson wins this award with 5 first-place votes and appearing on 6 of the 7 ballots.  A well-deserved honor, as Gibson was terrific this year for the D’backs.
  2. Charlie Manuel – 9 (4/1)
    People never think that managers on talented teams should win this award, but that makes no sense to me.  Charlie dealt with a ton of adversity and injuries to still guide this team to the best record in baseball and in franchise history.  Give the man his due.
  3. Tony LaRussa (2/1)
    A Hall of Famer with a championship as his swan song…not bad.  But, what he may cherish the most is the first-place vote from J in the 2011 BSB awards.  I agreed with my bro, as he also made my list for leading a team that lost a Cy Young-caliber pitcher in spring training to a terrific come-from-behind playoff appearance.
  4. Clint Hurdle – 3 (2)
    At one point this season, it looked like they might rename this award after Hurdle for the job he was doing in the ‘Burgh.  But, the wheels fell off and they lost 90 games again.  That being said, it looks like he’s got the Buckos going in the right direction for the first time…in a very long time.
  5. Ron Roenicke – 2 (2)
    Roenicke led his Brewers to 96 wins and a division title.  Yes, he had a nice rotation and a duo of absolute studs in the middle of his lineup, but the team did seem a lot different this year than in th past.  BSB writer, Doogan, was one of the two that tipped his cap to the job Roenicke did this year.
  6. Freddie Gonzalez – 2 (1)
    I guess all is not lost on RyanDoc after the Braves collapse, as he recognizes Gonzalez for taking over for a legend and leading a team that is not very talented (at least offensively) to the brink of the playoffs.
  7. Don Mattingly – 1
    I can only guess that T-Bone put Mattingly because of the commitment to the team he showed in the face of an unearthly number of distractions all year in LA.  I have to say, I don’t fully disagree.  Donny Baseball – in his first year as a ML manager – dealt with more “crap” than anyone else in the game.

Manager of the Year – American League

Well, I'll tell you one person who definitely agrees with Joe Maddon being named Manager of the Year - Joe Maddon
  1. Joe Maddon – 13 (5/4)
    I will save my opinion of Joe Maddon (mostly because he gives enough opinion of himself for the both of us…want to know how smart he is?  Just ask him, he’ll be sure to tell you…).  I will say, however, that he probably wouldn’t be the first choice of manager is BSB had a baseball team, as the only two voters to leave him off the ballot were Doogan and me.
  2. Jim Leyland – 9 (4/1)
    Leyland, Doogan’s pick for Manager of the Year, did another terrific job in MoTown, leading the Tigers to an AL Central title, despite a top-heavy roster.
  3. Joe Girardi – 5 (2/1)
    See my comments above about Charlie Manuel.  While I don’t like him much at all (pretty much for the exact same reasons I don’t like Maddon), I think he deals with more pressure, more scrutiny, and more prima donnas than anyone else except maybe Boston.  And, he just keeps on winning.  I know, I know, everyone will cite the ridiculous payroll he’s got, but the guy did win 97 games with a rotation of Sabathia, an old washed-up guy, another old washed-up guy, an unheralded rookie, and a $20 million guy with an ERA hovering around 6.00.
  4. Manny Acta – 4 (2/1)
    Great to see a good guy like Acta bring some promise to a good sports town like Cleveland.  Acta even got a first-place vote for his efforts this season.
  5. Ron Washington – 3 (2)
    A surprisingly low finish for a guy who, I would say, had quite the successful season.
  6. Ned Yost – 1
    I guess when the Royals don’t finish in last place, someone has to take the credit, right?  Yost may have proven enough to still be around when this team gets good.

Pleasant Surprise – National League

Because there was no award for Best Physical Stature, Michael Morse will have to settle for Biggest Surprise
  1. Michael Morse – 10 (4)
    Despite not receiving a single first-place vote, Morse is the only one to appear on more than two ballots, and he was on all four that submitted players (some went outside the box on this one).
  2. Lance Berkman – 9 (2/1)
  3. Justin Vogelsong – 7 (2/1)
  4. Jeff Karstens – 6 (2/1)
  5. Matt Kemp – 5 (1/1)
  6. R.A. Dickey – 4 (2)
  7. Javier Vazquez – 4 (1)
  8. Miguel Montero – 3 (2)
  9. Emilio Bonifacio – 1
  10. Johnny Cueto – 1
  11. Pedro Sandoval – 1
  12. Mike Stanton – 1
  13. Shane Victorino – 1

Further, as several people thought outside the box (which we love), I have to mention that the Arizona Diamondbacks received two 1st-place votes and the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up a 2nd-place vote.

Pleasant Surprise – American League

The future of the Royals is so bright that they might actually hit 75 wins in the next couple of seasons
  1. Alex Gordon – 13 (4/1)
    An absolutely huge year for the future star of the Royals, Gordon pretty much ran away with this award.
  2. J.J. Hardy – 10 (3/1)
  3. Doug Fister – 9 (2/1)
  4. Bruce Chen – 5 (1/1)
  5. Miguel Cabrera – 5 (2)
  6. Bartolo Colon – 5 (2)
  7. Curtis Granderson – 5 (2)
  8. Alex Avila – 3 (2)
  9. Brandon McCarthy – 3 (1)
  10. James Shields – 3 (1)
  11. Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (1)
  12. Elvis Andrus – 1
  13. Kyle Farnsworth – 1
  14. Jeff Francoeur – 1
  15. Freddy Garcia – 1
  16. Ian Kinsler – 1
  17. Justin Masterson – 1

And, from our out-of-the-boxers, we have a 1st-place vote for the Tampa Bay Rays and a 2nd-place vote for the Cleveland Indians.  And, my personal favorite is a first-place vote for most pleasant surprise for the collapse of the Boston Red Sox.

Biggest Disappoinment – National League

I hope the money is greener on the other side because the grass sure ain't...
  1. Jayson Werth – 14 (4/1)
    On every list that submitted players for this category, the big free agent signing wasn’t exactly worth the money.
  2. Hanley Ramirez – 10 (2/2)
    The only guy that got multiple first-place votes for this category was the enigmatic (aka…lazy) Marlins shortstop was really bad this year.
  3. Jason Heyward – 4 (2)
  4. David Wright – 4 (1)
  5. Carlos Zambrano – 4 (1)
  6. Ubaldo Jimenez – 3 (2)
  7. Derek Lowe – 3 (2)
  8. Miguel Tejada – 3 (1)
  9. Pedro Alvarez – 1
  10. Jason Bay – 1
  11. Ian Desmond – 1
  12. JA Happ – 1
  13. Casey McGehee – 1
  14. Brett Myers – 1
  15. Ricky Nolasco – 1
  16. Mike Pelfrey – 1
  17. Scott Rolen – 1
  18. Ian Stewart – 1
  19. Drew Stubbs – 1
  20. Edinson Volquez – 1

The collapse of the Atlanta Braves received a first-place vote, while the Diamondbacks bullpen took a second-place vote.  And, again, Boot comes in with my favorite disappointment by pegging the Dodger fans as the National League’s biggest disappointment.  And, he makes an eloquent explanation why:

“No, I’m not opposed to them bailing on their sorry excuse for a franchise.  And I’m not even talking about the shameful opening day violence of a few idiots (just imagine what they’d say if that happened in oh, say, Philadelphia?).  No, I’m talking about them booing Kirk Gibson.  Dodger “fans” booed Kirk Gibson!  How quickly they forget!  In contrast, Diamondbacks fans cheered Craig Counsell in the playoffs!  This isn’t to overly praise the Diamondback fans – they did the right thing.  But if Diamondback fans know the right way to appreciate Craig Counsell, surely those in LA should know how to treat Gibson.”
 

Biggest Disappointment – American League

A funny thing happened on the way to the Hall of Fame...
  1. Carl Crawford – 16 (4)
    Despite not getting a single first-place vote, the Red Sox high-priced leftfielder was pretty terrible all season.
  2. Adam Dunn – 12 (3/2)
    There are really only two numbers that should explain the season that Adam Dunn just submitted to the record books:  .074 (his slugging percentage against left-handed pitching in 2011) and 15,000,000 (the size of his contract).
  3. Alex Rodriguez – 6 (2/1)
  4. Joe Mauer – 5 (1/1)
  5. Chone Figgins – 4 (3)
  6. J.D. Drew – 4 (2)
  7. John Lackey – 4 (2)
  8. Justin Morneau – 4 (2)
  9. Francisco Liriano – 3 (1)
  10. Magglio Ordonez – 2 (1)
  11. A.J. Burnett – 1
  12. Shin-Soo Choo – 1
  13. Kyle Drabek – 1
  14. Jorge Posada – 1
  15. Grady Sizemore – 1
  16. Ichiro Suzuki – 1
  17. Vernon Wells – 1

The Boston Red Sox did receive a first-place vote in this category, as did the prosecutors in the Roger Clemens trial, which is a fantastic call.

So, that’s that.  Thank you to the seven amazing submissions.  Hopefully, this post can take a little bit of your mind off the misery that is Philadelphia sports right now.  Then again…who needs football when we’ve got TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF COLLEGE HOOPS TODAY!  Expect some serious college hoops coverage coming up on the blog over the next couple of months, starting this week, when I am going to try and get out some conference previews.

The BSB Decade Awards: Baseball

Well, the decade of the aughts or 00’s or whatever you want to call it has come to an end.  (Yes, I know there are sticklers for this stuff saying that, technically, 2000 is the last year of the 90’s, but as sports fans, our decades are different.)  We, at BSB, have put a lot of hours (WAY too many, as a matter of fact) into trying to come up with our various “Decade Awards.”  In this, the first installment, we are going to focus on baseball.  Both Doogan and I have submitted our ballots, answering many questions about the best/worst and most memorable players, teams, and moments of the past decade.  Below are the questions asked and then the answers given by Doogan and myself, followed by some justification, comments, or just random facts to go along with the picks.  And, for the record, Doogan and I did not confer, at all, on our picks, so there are some big differences in some of the categories.

[NOTE:  As this is a pretty big project, we will be updating this periodically.  If you are still reading this note, then you know that we have not completely finished our comments, so check back for more.  But, we wanted to get this up on the site for perusal of the choices.  Thank you, Management]

Best Franchise:

DOOGAN:

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels
  5. St. Louis Cardinals

Bry makes a logical argument for the Yankees below, but for me this comes down to what the fans of these teams will think about when they look back on this decade.  For Yankee fans, it was really a decade of frustration, bookended by titles.  For Sox fans, this was the decade they broke the curse, became a powerhouse, and followed up the amazing ’04 run with another title in ’07.  I don’t put as much weight on division titles as Bry does, because I think getting in as a Wild Card is really just as good. 

BRY:

  1. New York Yankees
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels
  5. Philadelphia Phillies
  6. Atlanta Braves

Doogan and I both had the exact same top 5, just in slightly different orders.  Most notably was our choice of #1.  For me, The Yankees were the easy choice.  They won more games (965), won more division titles (8), and made more playoff appearances (9) than any other team in baseball, all while playing in the game’s toughest division.  And, they bookended the decade with championships, so no one won more titles.  I struggled with #2, but went with the Cardinals because they won 6 times as many division titles as the Red Sox.  Granted, the Sox play in the same division as the Yanks, but I bet it would surprise even ardent Red Sox supporters to know that their team may have won 2 World Series in the decade, but they only won one division title.  The Cardinals had 913 wins, 6 division titles, and a championship.  The Sox won 920 games, 1 division title, and 2 championships.  It’s close, but I went with St. Louis.  The Angels came it at #4, winning 5 division titles (plus a wild card), and joined only the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals in averaging at least 90 wins per season for the entire decade.  They also took a title.  The Phightins were #5 on my list, with 850 wins, three division titles, and a championship.  And, only the Yankees won more pennants than the Phillies during this decade.  I wanted to include Atlanta and their 6 division titles and 892 wins, but they never even made the World Series this decade, so it was hard.  The White Sox were right on the brink, with 881 wins and a World Series, but they only made the playoffs three times.

Best Individual Team:

DOOGAN:

  1. 2009 Yankees
  2. 2004 Red Sox
  3. 2008 Phillies
  4. 2007 Red Sox
  5. 2000 Yankees

BRY:

  1. 2004 Red Sox
  2. 2008 Phillies
  3. 2009 Yankees
  4. 2001 Mariners
  5. 2005 White Sox

86 years and about 86,000 media stories about a “curse” were erased with one crazy 3-0 comeback.  I hate the Red Sox and their ridiculously hypocritical fan base, but the 2004 team was fun, talented, and incredibly historic.  The 2008 Phils broke a streak of 100 professional sports seasons without a title for my town, so they’re a close second.  The 2009 Yankees were just really, really good.  The 2001 Mariners had the best regular season of all-time, so they’re #4.  And, as everyone talks about the “drought” and the “curse” that was erased in 2004, no one talks about a longer drought and a more probable “curse” (the Black Sox) that was ended the very next year.  If it hadn’t been such a forgettable season and postseason, the 2005 White Sox would have been higher on this list.  I do not think that the 2007 Red Sox and 2000 Yankees were nearly as good as most people will remember them to be, which is why I left them off my list.

Worst Franchise:

DOOGAN:

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates
  2. Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos
  3. Kansas City Royals
  4. New York Mets
  5. Baltimore Orioles

I put the Mets on here for two reasons.  One, I just like seeing them there.  The other reason goes back to why I put the Red Sox over the Yankees as best franchise.  When Mets fans look back on this decade, it will almost all bad memories.

BRY:

  1. Kansas City Royals
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Milwaukee Brewers
  6. Cincinnati Reds

There were seven teams in the decade that never made the playoffs.  I left the Blue Jays off this list because they were only 10 games under .500 and play in the AL East.  I also left the Rangers off the list because the AL West was pretty good all decade also, and Texas won 776 games.  The Royals and Pirates were clearly 1-2 for me because both teams had just abysmal decades.  I went with KC as #1 because they had 9 fewer wins and play in, arguably, an easier division.  The Orioles joined the Pirates and Royals (and Devil Rays) as the only four teams to win fewer than 700 games this decade, which is pretty sad for such a hard-core baseball town, so they’re #3.  The Expos were pretty bad; the Nats are atrocious, so they’re #4.  People may think that the Brewers had a good decade…they’re wrong, they did not.  And, the Reds, despite always being the “trendy pick,” went the entire decade without one single playoff appearance.  Oh, and by the way, I love that Doogan put the Mets on the worst franchise list.  Like I said before, we didn’t confer, but if we had, I could have easily be convinced to add them to my list, as well.

Worst Individual Team:

DOOGAN:

  1. 2003 Tigers
  2. 2004 Diamondbacks
  3. 2008 Nationals
  4. 2009 Nationals

Pretty amazing that the Tigers went from the worst team of the decade in ’03 to AL champs in ’06.

BRY:

  1. 2003 Tigers
  2. 2002 Brewers
  3. 2002 Devil Rays
  4. 2005 Royals
  5. 2001 Devil Rays

Most Underrated Franchise:

DOOGAN:

  1. Minnesota Twins
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Houston Astros
  4. Florida Marlins

The Twins only won one playoff series in the decade, but 5 division titles is really impressive.  You think of the Astros as mediocre at best for the decade, but they had 7 winning seasons, 3 playoff appearances, and won the ’05 NL pennant.

BRY:

  1. Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels
  2. Chicago White Sox
  3. Minnesota Twins
  4. St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Atlanta Braves

Most Overrated Franchise:

DOOGAN:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Chicago Cubs
  3. New York Mets
  4. Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays

Bry has the Marlins as overrated, I have them as underrated.  It’s often a fine line and all depends on the person deciding thinks that other people think about a team.  I would argue that your average baseball fan would be surprised to learn that the Marlins won more games than they lost in the decade, but I could be wrong.  Interesting that we both put Detroit #1 here.  They had some decent teams in the second-half of the decade, but ’06 was their lone playoff berth, and they had 7 losing seasons, including 106 losses in ’02 and an obscene 119 losses in ’03.

BRY:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Florida Marlins
  3. New York Mets
  4. Chicago Cubs
  5. Milwaukee Brewers
  6. Boston Red Sox

Best Position Player:

DOOGAN:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Alex Rodriguez
  3. Barry Bonds
  4. Manny Ramirez
  5. Ichiro Suzuki

I’m not in the camp that thinks anyone that used steroids should have their careers erased from the record books, but I also can’t completely separate Barry Bonds the player from Barry Bonds the steroid user.  I’ll take Pujols, and his 3 MVP awards and 3 second-place finishes.  Pujols wasn’t in the top-5 of the MVP voting just once.  He had a terrible year: .327, 32 homers.

BRY:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Alex Rodriguez
  3. Albert Pujols
  4. Derek Jeter
  5. Vladimir Guerrero
  6. Bobby Abreu

Best Pitcher:

DOOGAN:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Roy Halladay
  3. Mariano Rivera
  4. Randy Johnson
  5. Pedro Martinez

Hard to argue with Bry’s pick of Rivera, but this goes back to an old argument between us over the value of a closer.  I think it’s hugely important, but Bry puts a little more value on the back of his bullpen, in comparison to starting pitchers, than I do.  Santana vs. Halladay was a tough call for me, but injury-shortened seasons in ’04 and ’05 for Halladay were the difference.

BRY:rivera

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Randy Johnson
  3. Roy Halladay
  4. Pedro Martinez
  5. Johan Santana
  6. Roy Oswalt

Most Underrated Player:

DOOGAN:

  1. Mike Sweeney
  2. Michael Young
  3. Placido Polanco
  4. Paul Konerko
  5. Bobby Abreu
  6. Vladimir Guerrero

I swear, I picked Sweeney here months ago, long before he was a Phillie.  Did you know: in the first 6 seasons of the decade, Sweeney’s average year saw him hit .312 with 27 homers.  If someone hits .312 with 27 homers for the Royals, does it make a sound?  Konerko averaged 30 homers a year for the decade.

BRY:

  1. Bobby Abreu
  2. Michael Young
  3. Carlos Lee
  4. Jose Vidro
  5. Todd Helton
  6. Garrett Anderson

Most Underrated Pitcher:

DOOGAN:

  1. Joe Nathan
  2. Roy Oswalt
  3. Tim Hudson
  4. Randy Wolf
  5. Ben Sheets

In Nathan’s six seasons as a closer, from ’04 to ’09, he had an ERA of 1.87 and had over 40 saves a year.  Again, I picked Oswalt here long before he was a Phillie.  Five top-5 finishes in the Cy Young voting, and he did it in a tough place to pitch in Houston.

BRY:

  1. Roy Oswalt
  2. Roy Halladay
  3. Tim Hudson
  4. Jamie Moyer
  5. Mike Mussina
  6. Livan Hernandez

Most Overrated Player:

DOOGAN:

  1. Adam Dunn
  2. Jose Reyes
  3. Derek Jeter

BRY:

  1. David Eckstein 
  2. J.D. Drew
  3. Andruw Jones
  4. Jose Reyes
  5. Jeff Kent
  6. David Ortiz

Most Overrated Pitcher:

DOOGAN:

  1. Andy Pettitte
  2. Kevin Millwood
  3. Francisco Rodriguez

We both went with Pettitte.  He won a lot of games, but for a guy that gets some Hall of Fame buzz, it’s worth noting that he posted an ERA below 3.90 only twice in the decade.  Millwood has a habit of posting a good season once every few years and making teams and fans think he’s good.  But his ERA was over 4.00 in 7 of 10 seasons, and over 5 in two of those seasons.  K-Rod’s 62 save season was a fluke and he hasn’t pitched very well in the postseason since his dominant performance in ’02.

BRY:

  1. Andy Pettitte
  2. Roger Clemens
  3. Erik Bedard
  4. Orlando Hernandez
  5. Joba Chamberlain
  6. Jamie Moyer

Player You’d Most Likely Pay to See Play:

DOOGAN:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Vladimir Guerrero
  4. Chase Utley
  5. Jimmy Rollins
  6. Johan Santana

Utley for his unmatched combination of natural ability and all-out effort.  Guerrero because he’s the most rawly talented player I’ve ever seen.  Bonds for the spectacle.  Ichiro for pretty much everything he does on a baseball field.

BRY:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki
  2. Omar Vizquel
  3. Barry Bonds
  4. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  5. Pedro Martinez
  6. Ryan Howard

Best Manager:

DOOGAN:

  1. Bobby Cox
  2. Tony LaRussa
  3. Joe Torre
  4. Ron Gardenhire
  5. Charlie Manuel
  6. Terry Francona

BRY:

  1. Joe Torre
  2. Mike Scioscia
  3. Terry Francona
  4. Bobby Cox
  5. Tony LaRussa
  6. Ron Gardenhire

Best Catcher:

DOOGAN:

  1. Joe Mauer
  2. Ivan Rodriguez
  3. Jorge Posada
  4. Brian McCann
  5. Yadier Molina

Mauer over Pudge was a tough call.  In his prime, Pudge was the best catcher I’ve ever seen, but most of that prime was in the 90’s.  He also loses a few points because his big seasons at the start of the decade were almost certainly steroid-aided.  Mauer won 3 batting titles and an MVP.  Pudge’s MVP season was in ’99.  McCann might not belong, with only 4 full seasons.  As clearly the best defensive catcher of the decade, Molina belongs on the list.  And he hit near .300 over the last two seasons.

BRY:

  1. Ivan Rodriguez
  2. Jorge Posada
  3. Mike Piazza
  4. Joe Mauer
  5. Jason Kendall
  6. Victor Martinez

Best Firstbaseman:

DOOGAN:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Todd Helton
  3. Ryan Howard
  4. Mark Teixeira
  5. Carlos Delgado

Interesting how different these lists are after Pujols.  Bry has three guys that aren’t on my list.  Berkman fell through the cracks on my lists because he spent the first half of the decade as an outfielder and the second half at first.  Giambi wasn’t too tough to exclude, partly due to the roids.  Teixeira got extra points for his defense.

BRY:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Lance Berkman
  3. Todd Helton
  4. Jason Giambi
  5. Ryan Howard
  6. Jim Thome

Best Secondbaseman:

DOOGAN:

  1. Chase Utley
  2. Jeff Kent
  3. Placido Polanco
  4. Robinson Cano
  5. Dustin Pedroia

One of the trends of these lists is that Bry put more emphasis on longevity, while I put a bit more emphasis on who were really the best performers, even if they only played in the second half of the decade.  Hence, Cano and Pedroia make my list, while Roberts make his.  Bry makes a good call on Vidro.  I overlooked him and he probably belongs over Pedroia.

BRY:

  1. Chase Utley
  2. Placido Polanco
  3. Jose Vidro
  4. Jeff Kent
  5. Brian Roberts

Best Thirdbaseman:

DOOGAN:

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Chipper Jones
  3. David Wright
  4. Michael Young
  5. Mike Lowell

Cabrera is another guy that fell through the cracks because he kept changing positions.  He spent 3 years as an outfielder, 2 as a thirdbaseman, and 2 as a firstbaseman.  The four seasons Wright put together from ’05-’08, combined with his defense, earn him the 3 spot over Young and Lowell.

BRY:

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Chipper Jones
  3. Miguel Cabrera
  4. Mike Lowell
  5. Michael Young

Best Shortstop:

DOOGAN:

  1. Derek Jeter
  2. Jimmy Rollins
  3. Miguel Tejada
  4. Jose Reyes
  5. Rafael Furcal

A big drop-off after the Top 3 here.  Even though Tejada was probably on roids and was far inferior defensively, he probably belongs in the 2 spot ahead of Rollins.  It’s pretty much a crap shoot after them, so it’s not surprising that me and Bry had different guys.

BRY:

  1. Derek Jeter
  2. Miguel Tejada
  3. Jimmy Rollins
  4. Omar Vizquel
  5. Nomar Garciaparra

Best Leftfielder:

DOOGAN:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Manny Ramirez
  3. Jason Bay

OK, missing Carlos Lee was a big oversight by me.  Nice call, Bry.  Soriano and Damon are nice choices as well.  Again, I think I missed them because of their position uncertainty.  Damon spent most of the decade in center and Soriano spent most of it at secondbase, but they each played enough left field to qualify here.

BRY:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Manny Ramirez
  3. Carlos Lee
  4. Alfonso Soriano
  5. Johnny Damon

Best Centerfielder:

DOOGAN:

  1. Torii Hunter
  2. Andruw Jones
  3. Carlos Beltran
  4. Jim Edmonds
  5. Shane Victorino

The top 4 here were largely a toss-up to me, which explains how Bry’s #1 is at #4 for me.  Jones may be overrated, but I think puttin the likes of Griffey, Williams, and Wells ahead of him is a mistake.  Jones led all centerfielders with 308 homers and also won 8 Gold Gloves.  Griffey’s injury-plagued decade saw him with really just two “Griffey-like” seasons, ending up with 232 homers and zero Gold Gloves. 

BRY:

  1. Jim Edmonds
  2. Carlos Beltran
  3. Torii Hunter
  4. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  5. Bernie Williams
  6. Vernon Wells

Best Rightfielder:

DOOGAN:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki
  2. Vladimir Guerrero
  3. Bobby Abreu
  4. Jayson Werth

BRY:

  1. Vladimir Guerrero
  2. Bobby Abreu
  3. Ichiro Suzuki
  4. Magglio Ordonez
  5. Gary Sheffield

Best Right-Handed Starter:

DOOGAN:

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Pedro Martinez
  3. Roger Clemens
  4. Roy Oswalt
  5. Tim Lincecum

BRY:

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Pedro Martinez
  3. Roy Oswalt
  4. Tim Hudson
  5. Roger Clemens

Best Left-Handed Starter:

DOOGAN:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Randy Johnson
  3. CC Sabathia
  4. Cliff Lee
  5. Cole Hamels

BRY:

  1. Randy Johnson
  2. Johan Santana
  3. CC Sabathia
  4. Andy Pettitte
  5. Mark Buehrle

Best Closer:

DOOGAN:

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Joe Nathan
  3. Trevor Hoffman
  4. Billy Wagner
  5. Francisco Rodriguez
  6. Jonathan Papelbon

BRY:

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Trevor Hoffman
  3. Billy Wagner
  4. Jonathan Papelbon
  5. Joe Nathan
  6. John Smoltz

Player Most Devastated by Injury:DOOGAN:

  1. Mark Prior
  2. Chris Carpenter
  3. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  4. Kerry Wood
  5. Rich Harden

BRY:

  1. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  2. Mark Prior
  3. Kerry Wood
  4. Jason Schmidt

Most Entertaining Personality:

DOOGAN:

  1. Manny Ramirez
  2. Ozzie Guillen
  3. Jimmy Rollins
  4. Pedro Martinez
  5. David Ortiz

BRY:

  1. Manny Ramirez
  2. Pedro Martinez
  3. Ozzie Guillen
  4. Tomas Perez

Most Memorable Player:

DOOGAN:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Chase Utley
  4. Alex Rodriguez
  5. Ichiro Suzuki

BRY:

  1. Vladimir Guerrero
  2. Ichiro Suzuki
  3. Ken Griffey, Jr.
  4. Tim Lincecum
  5. Pedro Martinez

Most Forgettable Player:

DOOGAN:

  1. J.D. Drew

BRY:

  1. J.D. Drew
  2. Rafael Palmeiro
  3. Scott Rolen
  4. Matt Holliday
  5. Matt Holliday

Most Memorable Team:

DOOGAN:

  1. 2008 Phillies
  2. 2004 Red Sox
  3. 2000 Yankees
  4. 2009 Phillies
  5. 2009 Yankees 

BRY:

  1. 2008 Phillies
  2. 2004 Red Sox
  3. 2001 Mariners  

Most Memorable Moment:

DOOGAN:

  1. Phillies win it all!
  2. Red Sox beat Yankees in 2004 ALCS
  3. D-Backs win Game 7 in 2001
  4. Matt Stairs home run in 2008 NLCS
  5. Subway Series in 2000

BRY:

  1. Brad Lidge striking out Eric Hinske to end the 2008 World Series!
  2. Brett Myers’s save to clinch the 2007 NL East on the same day Tommy Glavine gave up a million runs in the first inning 
  3. Jimmy Rollins’s hit to beat the Dodgers in 2009 NLCS
  4. Jimmy Rollins’s diving play to start a game-ending double-play in Game 161 to clinch the 2008 NL East and keep Brad Lidge’s perfect season alive
  5. Luis Gonzalez’s walk-off hit in Game 7 of 2001 World Series
  6. Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record
  7. 2004 Red Sox coming back from 3-0 down to beat the Yankees

Most Forgettable Moment:

DOOGAN:

  1. 2007 Mets blow the division
  2. 2008 Mets blow the division
  3. Weak Cardinals team wins the World Series in 2006
  4. Red Sox sweep the Rockies in 2007 World Series

BRY:

  1. Cal Ripken’s “streak”
  2. Chan-Ho Park serving up a stupid, Favre/Strahan-like gopher ball to Cal Ripken in the 2001 All-Star Game
  3. Kaz Matsui’s grand slam in the 2007 NLDS
  4. The entire 2007 NLCS between…well…does anyone remember?

Biggest Upset:

DOOGAN:

  1. Marlins over Yankees in the 2003 World Series
  2. Tigers over Yankees in the 2006 ALDS

BRY:

  1. Diamondbacks over Yankees in 2001 World Series
  2. Red Sox over Yankees in 2004 ALCS 
  3. Marlins over Yankees in 2003 World Series
  4. Yankees over Mariners in 2001 ALCS
  5. Cardinals winning the whole thing in 2006
  6. Dodgers over Cubs in 2008 NLDS

Most Shocking Off-the-Field Event/Issue/Etc.:

DOOGAN:

  1. ‘ROIDS
  2. Josh Hamilton’s comeback
  3. Cory Lidle’s plane crash

BRY:

  1. The Mitchell Report
  2. The Game of Shadows
  3. A-Rod’s confession
  4. The Bartman Fallout
  5. Ugueth Urbina setting his gardner on fire

Greatest Innovation:

DOOGAN:

  1. Instant replay for home runs

BRY:

  1. The Humidor in Colorado
  2. New Seating (Monster seats at Fenway/Rooftop seats at Wrigley)
  3. New BBQs (Bull’s in Philly/Boog’s in Baltimore)

Rule Most in Need of Change:

DOOGAN:

  1. The designated hitter

BRY:

  1. The designated hitter
  2. 5-game playoff series
  3. Number of postseason off days

The First Annual BSB MLB Postseason Awards

We here at BSB love and respect our readers.  In fact, most of our readers are much smarter than we are.  So, instead of just posting who Doogan and I think should be the AL MVP, we decided to reach out to some of our most trusted and dedicated readers and let them vote.  It worked out so well, we think we’ll do this more often.  Plus, with multiple opinions, from multiple perspectives, the analysis of these awards is more interesting.  We had 11 ballots cast, in 12 different categories (6 from each league), ranging from the standard awards to some interesting choices, like “Pleasant Surprise” and “Most Disappointing.”  The ballots consisted of 5 slots for each award, but the readers were allowed to rank as many as they wished.  We awarded five points for a first place, four for second, and so on.  Fifth place and anything after that were all given one point.

So, without further ado, here are the First Annual BSB MLB Postseason Awards, as voted by the best of the best of BSB readers (the points are listed and then the breakdown of places on the ballots):

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER, NL:  Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
There was no surprise or drama in the BSB choice for the Most Valuable Player in the National League, and it went, unanimously, to the best hitter on the planet, Mr. Albert Pujols.  Pujols garnered a clean sweep, with all 11 first-place votes.  Two Phillies finished in the top 5 (Howard 3rd and Utley 5th), but Marlins talented shortstop, Hanley Ramirez finished a clear second to Pujols.  Prince Fielder rounded out the top 5, with a fourth place finish.  Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made a strong showing, appearing on three separate ballots.  The only head-scratcher was one fourth-place vote for Mets 3B David Wright, who appeared to, in my opinion, have quite a down year. 

  1. Albert Pujols, STL – 55 points, 11 ballots (11-0-0-0-0)
  2. Hanley Ramirez, FLA – 26 points, 9 ballots (0-4-2-1-2)
  3. Ryan Howard, PHI – 22 points, 8 ballots (0-2-3-2-1)
  4. Prince Fielder, MIL – 20 points, 8 ballots (0-2-2-2-2)
  5. Chase Utley, PHI – 9 points, 4 ballots (0-1-0-2-1)
  6. Troy Tulowitzki, COL – 4 points, 3 ballots (0-0-0-1-2)
  7. Pablo Sandoval, SF – 4 points, 2 ballots (0-0-1-0-1)
  8. Mark Reynolds, ARI – 3 points, 1 ballot (0-0-1-0-0)
  9. Ryan Braun, MIL – 2 points, 2 ballots (0-0-0-0-2)
  10. David Wright, NYM – 2 points, 1 ballot (0-0-0-1-0)
  11. Adrian Gonzalez, SD – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER, AL:  Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Just like in the National League, the American League MVP voting produced a unanimous selection, and it was Minnesota Twins catcher, Joe Mauer.  Mauer took all 11 first-place votes to win in a landslide.  Obviously, this voting was done before the postseason, as Yankees unclutch 1B Mark Teixeira took second place easily.  Miguel Cabrera was the clear third choice.  Despite not receiving any first- or second-place votes, Derek Jeter edged rival Kevin Youkilis for 4th.  Ichiro only landed on two ballots, but with second- and third-place votes on those two ballots, he finished only one point behind Jason Bay for 6th place.  And, of course, the great Bobby Abreu landed on two ballots (I wonder who one of them was…)

  1. Joe Mauer, MIN – 55 points, 11 ballots (11-0-0-0-0)
  2. Mark Teixeira, NYY – 28 points, 9 ballots (0-5-1-2-1)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DET – 21 points, 7 ballots (0-2-4-0-1)
  4. Derek Jeter, NYY – 12 points, 6 ballots (0-0-2-2-2)
  5. Kevin Youkilis, BOS – 11 points, 5 ballots (0-2-0-0-3)
  6. Jason Bay, BOS – 8 points, 4 ballots (0-0-1-2-1)
  7. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA – 7 points, 2 ballots (0-1-1-0-0)
  8. Bobby Abreu, LAA – 2 points, 2 ballots (0-0-0-0-2)
  9. Aaron Hill, TOR – 2 points, 1 ballot (0-0-0-1-0)
  10. Kendry Morales, LAA – 2 points, 1 ballot (0-0-0-1-0)
  11. Chone Figgins, LAA – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)
  12. Adam Lind, TOR – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)

CY YOUNG AWARD, NL:  Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
And, the St. Louis Cardinals sweep the major awards in the National League, as Chris Carpenter edges Giants ace Tim Lincecum for the Cy Young Award.  In what was supposed to be a close, three-horse race, it really only came down to two guys.  Carpenter and Lincecum combined for 10 of the 11 first-place votes, and both made all 11 ballots.  Adam Wainwright finished a distant third (though still very much ahead of fourth place).  Carpenter won two more first-place votes than Lincecum and was in the top 2 in all 11 ballots, while Lincecum fell to third on three different ballots.  The Atlanta Braves duo of Javier Vazquez and Jair Jurrjens had nice showings, in 4th and 6th, respectively, with Dan Haren sitting in 5th.  Young’ins J.A. Happ, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Clayton Kershaw may vie for future Cy Youngs, as they all found their way on to a ballot in this voting.

  1. Chris Carpenter, STL – 50 points, 11 ballots (6-5-0-0-0)
  2. Tim Lincecum, SF – 45 points, 11 ballots (4-4-3-0-0)
  3. Adam Wainwright, STL – 32 points, 10 ballots (1-2-5-2-0)
  4. Javier Vazquez, ATL – 9 points, 5 ballots (0-0-1-2-2)
  5. Dan Haren, ARI – 8 points, 5 ballots (0-0-1-1-3)
  6. Jair Jurrjens, ATL – 8 points, 5 ballots (0-0-0-3-2)
  7. Matt Cain, SF – 5 points, 4 ballots (0-0-0-1-3)
  8. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL – 2 points, 1 ballot (0-0-0-1-0)
  9. Jonathan Broxton, LAD – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)
  10. J.A. Happ, PHI – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)
  11. Clayton Kershaw, LAD – 1 point, 1 ballot (0-0-0-0-1)

CY  YOUNG AWARD, AL:  Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
In a race that could have been a lot closer, actually turned out a pretty wide margin of victory for the Royals young ace, Zack Greinke.  Greinke received 8 of the 11 first-place votes and finished in the top 2 on all 11 ballots.  Future Phillie Roy Halladay actually finished third, despite receiving more first-place votes than second-place winner, Felix Hernandez.  CC Sabathia actually finished fourth, despite appearing on more ballots that both Hernandez and Halladay.  This vote only rendered seven total names anywhere on a ballot–the fewest number for any award, including both leagues’ Manager of the Year Award, where there are only 16 or 14 possible choices.  Justin Verlander rounded out the top 5, followed by distant 6th and 7th place finishes for Mariano Rivera and Jon Lester of the Rich Teams.

  1. Zack Greinke, KC – 52 points, 11 ballots (8-3-0-0-0)
  2. Felix Hernandez, SEA – 32 points, 9 ballots (1-3-5-0-0)
  3. Roy Halladay, TOR – 29 points, 9 ballots (2-2-2-2-1)
  4. CC Sabathia, NYY – 21 points, 10 ballots (0-1-2-4-3)
  5. Justin Verlander, DET – 14 points, 6 ballots (0-1-1-3-1)
  6. Mariano Rivera, NYY – 5 points, 4 ballots (0-0-0-1-3)
  7. Jon Lester, BOS – 3 points, 3 ballots (0-0-0-0-3)

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