It’s time to start thinking about year-end baseball awards, and first up is the BBA’s Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year). I am not the only BBA blogger following the A’s this year. Jason Leary of Junkball/Swinging A’s joined last year but filed his own 2010 ballot, and we welcome David Wishinsky to the fold this year.
We decided to file a composite ballot this year, and Jason, David and I submitted ballots for all the awards this year. 1st place votes received 5 points each, 2nd place received 3 points, and 3rd place got 1 point each. Having combined their scores with mine, our ballot is as follows:
1st Place: Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, a unanimous decision (15 points). He lost a ton of talent during the off-season, but he made the best of what he had, like unsung heroes Matt Joyce, Sam Fuld, and the perennial energizer bunny Johnny Damon on offense, and James Shields, David Price and rookie Jeremy Hellickson excelling on the hill. And who can forget the last day of the season when the Red Sox led 3-2 and the Orioles were down to their last strike? Unfortunately for the Bosox , their vaunted closer Jonathon Papelbon blew the save, and the Red Sox lost the game. 3 minutes later, the Rays came from behind and beat the Yankees, pounding the nail on the coffin of the Red Sox massive collapse by knocking them out of the postseason. Especially amazing since Maddon sent Dan Johnson (former A’s 1st baseman) to the plate (batting an unimpressive .109) when they were down to their last stike in the bottom of the ninth. DJ hit a homer to tie the game! Evan Longoria homered in the bottom of the 12th to win it. Now that is inspired managing.
2nd Place: Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers (6 Points). Jim didn’t have much of a turnover from last season and added Victor Martinez to the mix. He bettered last year’s 81-81 record by finishing at 95-67, earning the team the Central Division title and a trip to the postseason. He gets kudos for accomplishing all this despite having to keep a lid on the fallout from Miguel Cabrera’s DUI arrest during spring training. He has won the MLB’s MOY award 3 times already, 2 in the NL in the 1990’s, and in 2006 in the AL with the Tigers.
3rd Place: Manny Acta of the Cleveland Indians (4 Points). This one surprised me as not many other writers have even mentioned him in the conversation around MOY. But my two cohorts both voted for him and he gets the nod. In his second season as the Tribe’s manager, he lead the team to a second-place finish in the AL Central with an 80-83 record. He lead the team to an 11-game improvement over their 69-93 record in 2010, and accomplished this with the 3rd youngest roster in MLB, including 11 players who made their Major League debuts. I guess he is pretty impressive. BTW, I picked Joe Girardi for this spot.
That’s it for the Connie Mack Award for 2011. The Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year) is up next.
The last BBA Award for 2010 is for the player who was most valuable to his team during the 2010 season, and there is no clear front runner. Here are my picks:
1st Place: Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.
Josh Hamilton is the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers. He lead the league in 3 offensive categories (.359 BA, .633 Slug%, and 1.044 OPS) he hit 32 home runs, had 186 hits, and scored 95 runs. Defensively, he had an overall fielding percentage of .985 (1.000 in 40 games at CF). And he did all this while appearing in only119 games. It is clear to most that he is a large part of why the Texas Rangers are playing in the World Series.
2nd Place: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. On a team that finished in the middle of the pack in the Central Division, Cabrera was the standout. He led the league in 3 offensive categories (126 RBI’s, .420 OBP, and 179 OPS+) and he was only .002 behind Hamilton in OPS. He batted.328 in 150 games. He hit 38 homers, 180 hits including 45 doubles, and walked 89 times. On a team that was going nowhere, he was the shining light.
3rd Place: Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. In contrast to Cabrera, Cano was a star among stars. But Cano was the most consistent all-around player on the Yankees, especially when some of the other luminaries on the team were having a lackluster time. He played in all but 1 game this season, batted .319, had 200 hits, 109 RBI’s, 29 homers, and scoured 103 runs. In the field, he committed only 3 errors in 158 games for a fielding % of .996. He’s the consumate 5-tool player.
4th Place: Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins. He would have been higher, but he only played in 81 games. .345 BA, 1.055 OPS, 102 hits, 18 HR, .999 Fielding %.
5th Place: Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox. .312 BA, .997 OPS, 171 hits, 39 HR, .994 Fielding %.
6th Place: Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays. .294 BA, .879 OPS, 22 HR, 169 hits, 104 RBI’s, .996 Fielding %.
7th Place: Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. His standout stat is 54 HR which led the league. He also led the league with 351 total bases. .260 BA, .995 OPS, 148 hits, 124 RBI’s.
8th Place: Vladimir Guerrero of the Texas Rangers. .300 BA, .841 OPS, 29 HR, 178 hits, 115 RBI’s, mostly at DH.
9th Place: Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox. Only played in 102 games. .307 BA, .975 OPS, 19 HR, 111 hits, 62 RBI’s, .997 Fielding %.
10th Place: David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. Big Poppy started out slowly but finished strong. .270 BA, .899 OPS, 32 HR, 140 Hits, 102 RBI’s, mostly at DH.
That’s my take on this and the previous awards posted recently. Now we wait until the MLB equivalent awards are announced to see if the BBA bloggers agree.