Friday, March 23, 2012

The Season 19 Awards Picture

It's nearly time to vote for awards. Maybe we can avoid a debacle like last year, when three people tied for the NL MVP vote, and they just gave it to Rabbit Lilly again.

This is my attempt to determine the best candidates in each spot.

Best AL MVP Candidate(s)

Yeico Torres, 1B - .368 BA, 39 HRs, 1.101 OPS, 11.45 RC/27

Case For: Lead AL in RC/27, and over 2.3 higher than second place. Lead AL in BA by .033 points. Led AL in OPS by nearly .1. All of the other candidates are near the top of the AL in many of those areas, but no one has been as dominant as Torres.

Case Against: He plays 1B. Darwin Francis (2B) and Rex Strickland (SS) both play key defensive positions and had great offensive numbers. I tend to factor defense into my votes, and anyone would be justified in going with Francis or Strickland, but Torres' numbers are just too huge for me to ignore.

Best NL MVP Candidate

Donnie Pennington, SS - .267 BA, 29 HRs, .862 OPS, 6.44 RC/27

Case For: Terrific numbers on offense are great, but he's also a Gold Glover winner at SS. His OPS was 12th in the NL, but higher than any other candidate.

Case Against: Low batting average, not a particularly dominant offensive season. None of the candidates were dominant, though.

Best AL Cy Young Candidate

Harry Vega - 23 Ws, 174 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP

Case For: He was dominant, and no one else in the AL really came close. Only 2nd player in AL history to have an ERA under 2.

Case Against: You could feasibly argue Polin Prieto's 270 innings pitched (2nd all-time) deserve some credit, but I'm going with the more efficient pitcher here.

Best NL Cy Young Candidates

John Tanaka - 18 Ws (4th in NL), 196 Ks (6th), 1.97 ERA (2nd), 0.91 WHIP (1st)

Case For: That WHIP, which was the only sub-1.00 in the NL and ties the all-time record set by Hal Ray in Season 16.

Case Against: Whether or not you thought Sergei Orr was better. Home field is a pitcher's park.

Sergei Orr - 19 Ws (tied for 1st in NL), 213 Ks (2nd), 1.94 ERA (1st), 1.12 WHIP (1.12)

Case For: Better ERA and strikeout numbers than Tanaka. One more win, but less losses (if you think Ws in a valid stat, which I don't). Accumulated those numbers with a pretty neutral ballpark factor.

Case Against: Whether or not you thought John Tanaka was better. Inferior WHIP.

This is really close. Both guys put up monster years. I'm voting for Tanaka, because he's my guy. If he wasn't, it would still be a toss-up.

Best AL Rookie of the Year Candidate

Michel Fernandez, SP - 18 Ws, 193 Ks, 2.98 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Case For: All of the AL ROY candidates are pitchers, and Fernandez was the best.

Case Against: San Francisco's Yorvit James had a very good season, with a lower ERA, but his WHIP was higher, and he didn't throw nearly as much.

Best NL Rookie of the Year Candidate

Allen Donovan, 1B - .274 BA, 36 HRs, .855 OPS, 6.06 RC/27

Case For: Despite a great class of rookies, Donovan put up the best numbers. He was also a finalist for NL MVP.

Case Against: Any of the field-playing candidates here are strong. Especially Ben Rupe and Larry Ebert.

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