Here’s my regular season awards ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. As a member of the Cubs chapter I have a vote for the National League awards.
Below I’ve listed my selections and the date at which the awards will be announced by the BBA. Agree or disagree? Let me know!
October 15: Connie Mack Award (manager of the year)
-Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals: Many thought the Nationals would play above .500. Some even felt the Nats had an outside shot at contending. But no one figured Washington would win the most games in the majors (98). Not to mention, if Davey Johnson wasn’t already a HOF manager, having led his fourth different organization to the postseason makes him a lock for Cooperstown. Honorable mentions: Bruce Bochy, Giants – Dusty Baker, Reds – Ozzie Guillen, Marlins (JK!)
October 16: Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year)
-Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds: .270/.331/.498, .817 OPS. Frazier doesn’t lead any offensive categories among rookies. He didn’t play in the most games or receive the most national attention. But none of that keeps him from being the best rookie ballplayer in the National League. He played a huge role for Dusty Baker by filling in for long stretches for an injured Scott Rolen and later an injured Joey Votto. He played solid defense at multiple positions. He hit well enough to bat from the middle of the lineup. And while Frazier may not lead any one particular category offensively, he is near the top in just about all of them for rookies. He’s definitely not the flashy pick of a Bryce Harper, but he is the best rookie for my money. Honorable mentions: Wade Miley, Diamondbacks – Bryce Harper, Nationals – Wilson Rosario, Rockies.
October 17: Goose Gossage Award (top reliever)
-Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves: (3-1, 1.01 ERA) 42/45 saves. Seven earned runs allowed in 62.2 innings, including 116 strikeouts. Three home runs allowed and a .126 average against. A 0.65 WHIP. These are just ridiculous numbers. Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman is a close second despite pitching 10 more innings than Kimbrel. But Atlanta’s fireballer allowed half the number of runs and walks than Chapman did closing for the Reds. Honorable mentions: Chapman, Reds – Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies – Tyler Clippard, Nationals.
October 18: Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young)
-RA Dickey, New York Mets: (20-6, 2.67 ERA). Dickey pitched the most innings (232.2) with the most strikeouts (230) and tied for the most starts (33) of any NL starter. He won 20-games on a (74-88) Mets team. Good enough for me. Honorable mentions: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers – Johnny Cueto, Reds – Matt Cain, Giants.
October 19: Stan Musial Award (MVP)
-Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: .336/.408/.549, .957 OPS. Posey carried the Giants to the postseason in the wake of Melky Carbrera’s PEDs suspension by winning the batting title and sporting a sparkling .957 OPS, second only to cheater Ryan Braun’s .987 OPS, while playing in 114-games at the most demanding position. Honorable mentions: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates – Yadier Molina, Cardinals – David Wright, Mets – Aramis Ramirez, Brewers.
The Cardinals have 10 walkoff losses this season and four have come courtesy the Cubs–all taking place at Wrigley Field.
Joe Mather delivered the first on April 23, a single in the bottom of the ninth scoring Bryan LaHair. Soriano had the game-winning hit the following night in the bottom of the tenth and Rizzo smashed his memorable walkoff home run on July 29. David DeJesus, of course, had the game-winning hit on Friday, scoring Brett Jackson in the bottom of the tenth.
MR. EVERYTHING: Darwin Barney is showing he’s more than just a Gold Glove second baseman–he’s an all-around winner. Darwin’s dramatic game-tying home run with two-strikes and two-outs yesterday is just the latest example.
This kid’s a terrific teammate, a real gamer with a strong work ethic and a passion for winning. The way he plays is how winning gets done–with effort, awareness and the ability to come through in crucial game situations.
I don’t see any reason the Cubs shouldn’t build around Barney the same way they plan to do with Castro. I sense Barney’s going to win the Gold Glove Award this year and come back an even better all-around player next season.
And I think it’s pretty exciting to imagine an infield of Rizzo, Barney & Castro for years to come. Shoring up those three spots brings the Cubs one step closer to being competitive.
NL MVP TALK: If the Brewers complete its late September charge with a playoff berth, Ryan Braun’s name is certain to come up in National League MVP talk.
If, in fact, Braun wins the award again, having already tested positive for PEDs use last season, then baseball might as well legalize performance enhancers.
With the knowledge Braun knowingly cheated the league, then beat baseball’s steroids testing system on a technicality and escape punishment while taking us all for fools, there’s no reason I’d even consider him for the award.
Sorry, I’m just not buying it. And if the baseball writers award this phony the MVP Award a second time it only means one thing–the writers don’t care about protecting the honor of the game as much as they say they do. So why even bother testing?
McCUTCHEN & POSEY: Andrew McCutchen has been a season-long favorite to win the NL MVP, and he still could theoretically. But it’s going to be awfully difficult to overlook his team’s demise from division leaders at the All Star break, to wild card contenders, to a sub .500 record to finish the season.
The Pirates are 1-12 over its last 13-games falling two-games below .500 (74-76). They’re realistically out of the playoff race and headed towards a 20th consecutive losing season.
That means if the season ended today my vote goes to Buster Posey. He’s been sensational in the season’s second half (.389, 13 HR, 53 RBI & 1.114 OPS) and has single-handedly carried the Giants since the departure of Melky Cabrera to his 50-game suspension for steroid use.
At that time the Giants were tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West. Now they lead Los Angeles by 10.0 games and have the third best record in baseball (88-63). Who thought that was possible with Cabrera out of the lineup?
WHAT’S BREWING: Thanks to the Cubs win against St. Louis on Friday afternoon, and an equally dramatic comeback for Milwaukee at Washington last night, the Brewers find themselves just 1.5 games behind the Cards for the final wild card spot.
The Brewers will certainly need at least one more win in its next three-games against a tough Nationals team to stay in the running. And if a four-game series against Washington wasn’t tough enough, Milwaukee immediately heads to Cincinnati for a three-game series.
But despite a tough schedule, the Brewers have been scorching hot winning 24 of its last 30-games. They do, however, hold one advantage compared to St. Louis—the Brewers have 12 remaining games this season vs. the Cardinals’ 11 remaining contests.
Either way, I’d just love to see the Cubs take one more from the Cardinals to send Milwaukee and St. Louis on a dead sprint to the wild card finish! May the best team win.