The Baseball Analysts 2010 Award Winners
With the regular season behind us and the postseason still a day away, we wanted to take this opportunity to name our 2010 award winners. While none of us have an official vote, we took the task at hand seriously. Importantly, we're not predicting who will win. Instead, we voted as to who we believe should win.
Rich: For me, the AL MVP came down to Josh Hamilton and Evan Longoria with Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Cano (not necessarily in that order) filling out the top five. Justin Morneau (.345/.437/.618) produced at a MVP rate through the first half but missed the last three months of the season. As to who deserves it more between Hamilton and Longoria, I believe it is all about playing time (which favors the latter) and how one values defense. Hamilton grades out as a plus CF by Ultimate Zone Rating and below average by Total Zone whereas Longoria is viewed positively by both measures.
In the NL, I believe a case could be made for both Albert Pujols and Joey Votto. Six of one, half dozen of the other. As it relates to Wins Above Replacement, Baseball-Reference likes Pujols and Fangraphs likes Votto. The latter has slightly better rate stats and the former has slightly better counting stats. Both play first base. I don't think the difference in defense or baserunning is enough to separate the two. The tie, in my opinion, should go to the player whose team beat the other in the same division. Therefore, Votto is my choice here.
With respect to Cy Young, I have to go with the two pitchers — Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay — with the best combination of quality and quantity. A case could perhaps be made for Cliff Lee based on his near-record K/BB ratio (10.28), but I don't see how voters could prefer David Price or CC Sabathia as Felix beats them both across the board in IP, K/BB, ERA, and ERA+. By the same token, Halladay bests Ubaldo Jimenez, his main competition, in all four measures.
Jason Heyward and Buster Posey are 1-2 in the NL ROY. Over in the AL, Wade Davis and Brian Matusz are more alike than not, leading me in the direction of Neftali Feliz for how he closed games for Texas while setting the rookie saves record with 40.
Manager of the Year? Who knows. I guess I would go with Cito Gaston and Bud Black as Toronto and San Diego surpassed my expectations the most. I could also understand the case for Joe Maddon and Charlie Manuel who led their teams to the best records in their respective leagues or for Buck Showalter in turning around a club with the worst record in baseball when he took it over.
Sully: Even though he missed time late in the season, I can’t overlook .359/.411/.633 from someone playing very good defense at a premium defensive position. For me, Josh Hamilton is the AL MVP.
I am a sucker for personal stories like Joey Votto’s. He’s managed his anxiety troubles to the point where he is one of the best players in baseball, and in the process has led the resurrection of one of Major League Baseball’s classic franchises. He deserves it on his performance alone, too, but those other things push him comfortably ahead on my fake ballot.
It’s a shame that the C.C. versus King Felix debate obscured the performances of guys like Jered Weaver, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, Francisco Liriano, and even studs like Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke. But in the end, it’s Hernandez’s 249+ innings that leap off the page for me. There were a number of qualified American League Cy Young Award candidates, and the difference for me was workload. Hernandez it is.
National League Cy Young: Roy Halladay. See AL Cy Young rationale, and then remove the stiff competition.
I liked Keith Law’s logic for giving the nod to Brian Matusz, who battled his way through a brutal 2010 rookie campaign in the AL East to finish excellently. But unlike Law, I am more moved by the job Neftali Feliz did nailing down games for the Texas Rangers. He was superb (3.94 K/BB) for a division winner.
Buster Posey made an excellent late push, but the nod goes to Jason Heyward. Really, we’re all the winners since the two play in the NLDS against one another. But it’s Heyward’s approach beyond his years, solid defense and playing time advantage that tip the scales in favor of the Atlanta right fielder.
AL Manager of the Year: Call me biased but I give Terry Francona the nod. Had Francona been supplied adequate bullpen personnel, I think he would have been able to lead this team to the post-season despite devastating injuries to key players all over the roster.
NL Manager of the Year: I like Bud Black here, but wouldn’t argue with other choices. It’s pretty simple, really. Look at the Padres roster and look at their record. To the extent that it’s the Manager’s job to get the most out of his team’s talent, I think Black has to be the guy.
Jeremy: I have nothing interesting to say. I think Logoria, Pujols, Halladay, and Lee are the best players in their respective leagues, and this year nobody stood out from them. I've always been underwhelmed by Hamilton's defense, and I don't really like the guy. Pujols was Pujols and Halladay was Halladay. AL Cy was my toughest choice because there are about six great pitchers in that league. Lee had a substantial edge in StatCorner WAR. I don't find Rookie of the Year voting interesting. And I have no idea how to evaluate managing. Like I mean none. But I heard Orioles players say they loved playing under Schowalter, and it's entirely possible something changed that sparked their 34-23 run. The Astros were oddly clutch this year, which could mean Mills pulled the right levers. I don't know.
Dave: AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez -- based on number and quality of innings I think he is the clear choice.
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay -- Here the choice is even more than above.
AL MVP: Evan Longoria -- Don't be fooled by his 22 HRs, he still had an amazing year.
NL MVP: Joey Votto -- Monster year from him.
AL ROY: Austin Jackson -- A full season of good offense and good defense from a CFer does it for me.
NL ROY: Jayson Heyward -- In my mind Heyward's extra 180 PAs and 20 games outweigh Posey's positional advantage (catcher versus RF), but that it too bad because it penalizes Posey for the Giants not playing him earlier.
AL Manager: Ron Washington -- I really have no clue how to evaluate managers, so I just went with the manager of the team that seemed to 'overachieve' the most.
NL Manager: Bud Black -- see above.
How would you vote?