October 05, 2010
The Baseball Analysts 2010 Award Winners
By The Baseball Analysts Staff

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?


No love for Adrian Gonzalez for MVP? He's been just as good as Pujols and Votto in every way this year.

The right guy will win the Cy Young in the NL, Mr. Halladay, but it should be closer than you all think. Not one mention of Adam Wainwright?

Halladay: 21-10 in 250 2/3 IP, ERA: 2.44, ERA+: 165, WHIP: 1.041, WAR 6.9

Wainwright: 20-11 in 230 1/3 IP, ERA: 2.42, ERA+ 161, WHIP: 1.051, WAR 5.7

Halladay gets it because he thew 20 more innings, which is big, and accounts for some of the difference in WAR. All other #'s are almost identical.

Halladay should win, don't get me wrong, but I think the vote should be closer than everyone seems to think. I also still can't believe not one mention of Wainwright. It's too bad the Cards choked down the stretch by getting ripped by the dregs of the league, I think that's why Wainwright is getting overlooked.

Could you elaborate, Marc? I know PETCO's tough, but the park adjusted numbers I see tell a different story.

[Sully] 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.

Isn't that exactly what Ron Gardenhire did?

@Marc: Like Sully, I recognize that PETCO is a tough ballpark for hitters, but Adrian Gonzalez (152, 6.3, 5.3, and 44) comes up well short of Pujols (173, 7.3, 7.2, and 66) in four generally accepted adjusted measures (OPS+, B-RWar, FGWar, and RCAA), two of which cover hitting only and the other two all facets of the game. He also trails Votto (174, 6.2, 7.5, and 74) in three of these four measures by quite a bit and only beats him in B-RWar by the narrowest of margins (6.3 to 6.2). I can see where he fits into the top ten and maybe even the top five but not in the discussion for the MVP.

@AaronB: The purpose was to name award winners. I believe all of us got it right by choosing Halladay. As a result, I don't think we overlooked Wainwright at all. Yes, he had an outstanding season but one that didn't quite measure up to Halladay's. In addition to the stats you listed, it should be noted that Halladay led the league in W, CG, SHO, IP, BB/9, and SO/BB. Wainwright did not lead the league in any category. A case could be made for ranking Wainwright second but not first. Nonetheless, to the extent that I mentioned Jimenez as Halladay's primary competition, I guess it would have only been fair to give Wainwright his due as well.

Hmm, I don't like being the contrarian in three categories. The only one I really thought about was AL Cy, so I'll stick with that. Like Sully, I love Votto's personal story, plus he's Canadian, so I'm open to voting Votto. And if I had a do over, I'd give Black a clean sweep for MOY because I have no opinion on him.

Why doesn't the Minn manager get any credit?
Closer out the whole year.
MVP player out the last half.

NL Manager of the year should have been Bobby Cox. He made the playoffs with a terrible team.

Dusty would have been second and Mr. Black a distant third

Dave, I originally thought of Bobby Cox, given how well he managed the youth on that team. He gave Heyward and Venters opportunities to contribute, and they rewarded him. But then I remembered how he was the reason the team got rid of Yunel Escobar, which was a tangible loss.

Was looking forward to this so thanks

Surprised Longoria was such a clear pick - Hamilton laps him in hitting (even missing 20 more games), and if you choose Longoria based on better defense, position and playing time, then why not Beltre over Longoria who has a case for a better year with the stick and glove

oh a top 5 from each would at least stop the 'where is wainwright/AGon etc..)

Mauer '09 only had slightly more PA's and Games played than Hamilton '10. To me, the only way someone can have a legit gripe with Hamilton as MVP this year is if they have some evidence that supports the idea that his defensive play was not good.

Wow, all five of you guys are going to be wrong about the NL rookie of the year. If you had to take one guy right now to start your team with, and you could choose Heyward or Posey, the choice would clearly be Posey. Guys like Heyward are a dime a dozen. Guys like Posey come around once or twice every 10 years. Plus, I believe Posey has more veteran like qualities about him than Heyward does. Heyward is replaceable, Posey is not. Enough said.

Posey may get the Rookie of the year (and i wouldn't be upset about it), but before his end of season slump Heyward was knocking on the door of a .400 OBP in the MLB as a 20 year old, the list is pretty pretty short of people who have done that. The guy looks and plays like the real deal.

The list of guys who would be taken before him if starting a team from scratch bearing in mind contract status would not be very long

Roy Halladay is what I call class... Talk about a postseason debut. I only wish he played for the Mets.

Re the Manager of the Year, I wouldn't argue with Gardenhire or Cox but would point out that the consensus among the Baseball Analysts was that the Twins and Braves would win the AL Central and NL Wild Card, respectively. A case could be made on behalf of Gardenhire due to Morneau's mid-season concussion but we were all aware of Nathan's injury before the year began.

With respect to Longoria and Beltre, they both had very productive seasons at the plate and in the field. They had virtually identical adjusted OPS (OPS+): 142 for Longoria to 141 for Beltre. They also had similar defensive contributions with UZR slightly favoring Beltre, Total Zone slightly favoring Longoria, and the Fielding Bible's John Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved literally the same. Putting it all together, B-RWar likes Longoria slightly more than FGWar likes Beltre. Like in the NL, I believe the tie goes to the player on the team that beat the other in the same division. Ergo, I prefer Longoria, who was also the best player on the best team in the best division of baseball, over Beltre by the narrowest of margins. The Longoria-Hamilton comparison is more difficult for me, but I wouldn't find fault with anyone choosing the latter over the former.

As it relates to Hamilton and Mauer '09, the Twins catcher had about 3% more playing time as measured by games and plate appearances. Hamilton's home ballpark was slightly more favorable than Mauer's as well. In addition, Mauer played a more difficult defensive position and also played it better. Put it all together and I believe Mauer had a superior season, albeit not by a significant margin.

Lastly, I don't think "guys like Heyward are a dime a dozen" at all. As Sully pointed out, his age-20 season was the second best in terms of OPS+ since WWII. In defense of Posey, Sully also shows that he put up the fifth-best age 23 or younger season by a catcher in the past 50 years. Let's just say that both players are very special. On a go forward basis, I can understand why some would prefer Heyward and some Posey. However, I believe Heyward had the superior rookie season and that's why all of us voted for him over Posey this year.