erik lundegaard

My 2011 MLB Awards: What's So Valuable About an MVP Who Isn't Best?

It's the end of the 2011 regular season in Major League Baseball, and what an end, and before the postseason begins and we all root, root, root against the much-hated Yankees, here are my picks for the following awards. Major League Baseball won't announce its winners until November but you get mine here and now. Who loves ya, baby?

  • AL MVP: More words have been written on the word “valuable” in the phrase “Most Valuable Player” than Norman Mailer wrote in his lifetime, but I toss the semantics argument to the side without even resorting to e.e. cummings. MVP is just a fancy way of saying “best” so just pick the best player in the league and move on already. For me, it's Jose Bautista. Led the league in HRs, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS. Tenth in batting. Walked more than he struck out. And while similar sluggers like Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz made extra outs by topping the league in grounding into double plays, with 28, 24 and 23 respectively, Bautista is tied for 77th in this category with a mere 8. The argument I'll listen to: Miguel Cabrera.
  • NL MVP: Matt Kemp. Led the league in HRs, RBIs and runs. Second in OPS, SLG, stolen bases (yes) and hits. A homerun shy of the 40-40 club. The argument I'll listen to: Ryan Braun.
  • AL Cy Young: Do we do this? Is it necessary? Does anyone not know this already? League leader in ERA, strikeouts, wins, innings pitched and WHIP is the Tigers' Justin Verlander. That's your man. I don't think there's another argument.
  • NL Cy Young: An argument here is apparently more necessary. The NL pitcher who leads all the above categories except for innings pitched is Clayton Kershaw, but some (Rob Neyer) have suggested that various sabermetrics numbers favor Roy Halladay, who already has a passel of Cy Young Awards. I passel on Halladay (and Neyer). Kershaw all the way. (Question: Has any team had both MVP and Cy Young Award winner on their club and not gone to the postseason?)
  •  AL Rookie of the Year: An argument could be made for Eric Hosmer of KC, with his .799 OPS, or Mark Trumbo of the Angels, with his 29 homers, but both guys struck out tons against not many walks, which doesn't bode well for careers. It's really a pitchers' year in this category, and most voters will go either for Jeremy Hellickson's ERA (2.95) or Ivan Nova's wins (16-4). But, admittedly biased here, I opt for Seattle's Michael Pineda, who led the other two in strikeouts (173 vs. Hellickson's 117 and Nova's 98), K-BB ratio (more than 3:1 vs. less than 2:1 for the others), and WHIP (1.10). The big man tired as the season progressed, and he played for the Lousies so he didn't win a game after July. But he's still the man. Now straighten out yer hat, kid.
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Not as versed in the NL but it seems to be a battle of the Braves, right? First baseman Freddie Freeman vs. closer Craig Kimbrel and his 46 saves, 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He gets extra points for rounding. Kimbrel.
  • AL Manager of the Year: I don't know how you pick anyone but Joe Maddon of the Rays.
  • NL Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson. In his first year, his team goes worst to first. Pump that arm, Kirk.
  • 30-30-30-30 Offense of the Year: The Seattle Mariners. For the second year in a row.

Which is a good segue into the more personal awards...

Safeco Field, September 2011

2011 Fan Appreciation Night: M's management appreciating that they still have fans.


Posted at 08:51 AM on Fri. Sep 30, 2011 in category Baseball  
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COMMENTS

Bob Lundegaard wrote:

Hi,

Just back from Vegas, which was a great place to watch some unbelievable baseball Wednesday night. My hotel had a sports betting area with an 8-screen tv monitor.

Astonishingly, one of the screens was devoted to the Twins-KC game. I uttered a solo cheer when the 1-0 final was posted, pointing out to anyone within earshot of the historicity of the occasion: The Twins avoided a 100th loss a year after winning the division.

The Braves were lucky: Their collapse was barely noticed amid all the AL histrionics. Longoria's game-winner was a mirror image of Dan (Coon Rapids) Johnson's. Both would have been doubles in most parks, but there's a tiny space at each foul line with a “wall” the height of a munchkin.

The two games started at the same time, but the rain delay combined with the extra innings to produce finishes within three minutes of each other. AND the Bosox were 77-0 when leading in the 9th. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

I think we needed more than a day off to recover before the playoffs start.

Comment posted on Fri. Sep 30, 2011 at 09:16 AM

Tim wrote:

I sympathize with the camp promoting Verlander for MVP as well as Cy Young, but it's hard to justify when his numbers aren't runaway dominant compared to other pitchers. He is certainly Detroit's MVP, which makes it weird to then give MVP to his teammate Cabrera, but I think that's what I'd do if I had a vote.

The NL situation is really weird, as you say, though — the Dodgers could/should get both MVP and Cy Young as well, and they really aren't very good. Says a lot about the Dodgers as a squad; how can you have the best pitcher and position player and still suck? I would be surprised to learn that such a scenario has happened before.

Any other year, Ron Roenicke would get Manager of the Year, but Gibson has it hands down. Roenicke will have to settle for beating Gibson's team in the playoffs. :)

I predict Nova and Kimbrel will get RoY.

Comment posted on Sun. Oct 02, 2011 at 09:59 PM

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