How I voted in the @IBWAA elections in 2015

At the end of the regular season, the International Baseball Writers Association of America, of which I am a member, asked for people’s votes in their year-end awards.

Starting on November 15, the winners of those awards will be revealed. So, in advance of that, here’s how I voted:

Relief Pitchers:

AL:

  1. Dellin Betances
  2. Wade Davis
  3. Cody Allen

Reasoning: Although he was not usually the closer for the Yankees, Betances was the definition of shutdown as a reliever this year, with a 1.50 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 84 IP. Davis and Allen were more traditional closers and were, obviously, among the best this year. I have to admit I can’t remember exactly why I had Davis above Allen or Zach Britton, so maybe it was a precognition of how he’d do in the postseason.

NL:

  1. Aroldis Chapman
  2. Trevor Rosenthal
  3. Jeurys Familia

Aroldis Chapman had the best WAR on Fangraphs of NL relievers and continues to one of the must-see closers in the league. Rosenthal and Familia also put up great numbers.

Rookies of the Year:

AL:

  1. Carlos Correa
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Miguel Sano

A tough fight between Correa and Lindor, made even harder by the fact they had the same number of games played (99) and were close in at-bats as well, allowing for a nearly even sample size to compare the two. I went with Correa due to his better power numbers and the better general impression I got from watching him compared to Lindor, but it very easily could have gone the other way.

NL:

  1. Kris Bryant
  2. Matt Duffy
  3. Jung-Ho Kang

Who knows how this could have been different if Kang had not been injured?

Managers of the Year:

AL:

  1. Jeff Banister
  2. A.J. Hinch
  3. Paul Molitor

The two managers in Texas were able to bring their teams to the playoffs despite the fact most thought otherwise, an Paul Molitor got the Twins into the final weekend of the regular season with their playoff hopes alive despite the fact that everyone thought otherwise.

NL:

  1. Joe Maddon
  2. Terry Collins
  3. Mike Matheny

Both the Cubs and Mets overachieved this season, and the Cardinals had the best regular season record in baseball. We may never know how much the managers contributed to that, but they must have done something right.

Cy Youngs:

AL:

  1. David Price
  2. Dallas Keuchel
  3. Chris Sale
  4. Sonny Gray
  5. Corey Kluber

Price had the highest Fangraphs WAR in the AL among pitchers, was among the strikeout leaders, and was a key cog for the Blue Jays after the trade deadline. Keuchel won 20 games (which doesn’t matter much, but is fun to mention), had the best Baseball Reference WAR, and was the ace of the Astros staff. Either would have been great picks, but I leaned towards Price. Sale (who is proof that W-L is not the best indicator of how well a player pitched), Gray and Kluber round out my top five.

NL:

  1. Jake Arrieta
  2. Zack Greinke
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Max Scherzer
  5. Madison Bumgarner

This was ridiculous. A guy who threw two no-hitters and came close at other times is FOURTH. Ultimately, I went with Arrieta, but any of the top three would have a great claim to it.

MVP:

AL:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Josh Donaldson
  3. Manny Machado
  4. David Price
  5. Lorenzo Cain
  6. Jose Bautista
  7. Kevin Kiermaier
  8. Nelson Cruz
  9. Dallas Keuchel
  10. Miguel Cabrera

This was a push. I gave Trout a slight edge due to his better WAR, slugging and OPS, but I won’t be complaining if Donaldson wins, either.

NL:

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Joey Votto
  3. Paul Goldschmidt
  4. Kris Bryant
  5. Jake Arrieta
  6. A.J. Pollock
  7. Zack Greinke
  8. Clayton Kershaw
  9. Andrew McCutchen
  10. Buster Posey

The easiest category. When it came to being valuable this year, there was Bryce Harper, and then there was everybody else. He had a .5 advantage in Fangraphs war over the second-best fWar in baseball (Mike Trout) and a 2.1 advantage over Goldschmidt, the next best fWar in the NL. He led all baseball in OBP, SLG and (obviously) OPS. He was tied for the NL lead in HR and was second in the NL in batting average. He was the best player in baseball. Enough said.

My justifications for my hypothetical HoF Ballot

I had my hypothetical HoF ballot yesterday. So here are my justifications. Portions of these have already been printed earlier in the blog’s history.

Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are obvious. Johnson is one of the great left-handed pitchers of all time, while Pedro’s pitching peak was perhaps the greatest of all time- maybe even greater than Sandy Koufax.

John Smoltz was likely the third-best of the Atlanta aces when his starting career is taken as a whole, but when he wasn’t starting, he was an excellent reliever, a latter-day Dennis Eckersley in his adaptability. He’s the only player in history with 200+ wins and 150+ saves.

Craig Biggio played catcher, he played second, and he played in the outfield. And he was a great hitter who could get on base any way he could- he holds the record for HBP among modern players. Probably could have been a star in any era he played. Should have gone in last year… and the year before that.

Tim Raines may not get in on the “gut feeling” test, but he is, nonetheless, a Hall of Famer in my book. While certainly being a seven-time All-Star help, the big reason is because of how great he was as a leadoff hitter. Not only could he get on base- he was a respectable .294 hitter (and that was lower than it probably should have been because he stuck around a few years too long)- he also was a great base-stealer, 8th all-time.

Mike Piazza was the greatest power-hitting catcher of all time, and yet steroid rumors (none of which have been proven and most of which seem to be innuendo like saying he had an acne problem at one point) have kept him out. He should be in or whatever real evidence there is should be revealed.

Barry Bonds is in because, well, he was a Hall of Famer before he started using steroids in the late 1990s. The steroids merely turned him from a great player to arguably the greatest hitter of all time.

Roger Clemens is a similar story. Would have been a Hall of Famer before his PED use, so I say he should still be a Hall of Famer.

Mike Mussina is known as “Mr. Almost”. He was almost a Cy Young winner, he almost threw perfect games or no-hitters, he was Orioles teams that almost made the World Series and Yankees teams that almost won the World Series. It wasn’t until his final season that he finally won 20 games. He was never the best, but he was always one of the best. It’s a sad irony that he might end up “almost” a hall of famer.

Edgar Martinez was the greatest DH-only player of his era. He won two batting titles, had a career .312 average, is 21st in career OBP and 34th in career OPS, and hit probably the most memorable hit in the history of the Seattle Mariners- the double that won the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees and arguably saved the franchise’s future in Seattle.
Should be in the Hall.

Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent and maybe McGwire and Sosa would receive votes if there was more than 10 spots on a ballot.

 

 

If I had a Hall of Fame ballot… (2014-2015)

Today, the latest inductees to get into the Hall of Fame will be revealed. If I had a ballot, here’s who I’d vote for (in rough order of likelihood that they actually will get in):

1. Randy Johnson

2. Pedro Martinez

3. John Smoltz

4. Craig Biggio

5. Mike Piazza

6. Tim Raines

7. Barry Bonds

8. Roger Clemens

9. Mike Mussina

10. Edgar Martinez

WOULD RECEIVE VOTES IF I WASN’T CAPPED AT 10: Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell, Jeff Kent, maybe McGwire and Sosa.

I’ll post my justifications later today or sometime tomorrow.

My All-Star Ballot (2013)

What does my All-Star Ballot look like? Well, it looks something like this:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins

First Baseman: Chris Davis, Orioles

Second Baseman: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Shortstop: J.J. Hardy, Orioles

Third Baseman: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Outfield: Mike Trout (Angels), Adam Jones (Orioles), Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)

In general, this is pretty close to what the fans have voted in general. The only difference is that I have Bautista in over Nick Markakis.

National League:

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

First Baseman: Joey Votto, Reds

Second Baseman: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Shortstop: Jean Segura, Brewers (Note: Would be Troy Tulowitzki, but he’s hurt so I’m not voting for him)

Third Baseman: David Wright, Mets

Outfielders: Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), Carlos Gomez (Brewers), Jay Bruce (Reds)

(Note: Bryce Harper would be in if not hurt, and Gerardo Parra would be a write-in for outfielders in , but, well, the sad truth is that I highly doubt it’d make much of a difference, so I’m voting for Jay Bruce instead)

The NL is a bit more of a mess, and I have differences at 2B (Carpenter- who is more of a utilityman, admittedly, instead of Brandon Phillips), Shortstop (sort of- Tulowitzki is leading but won’t play due to injury) and especially the outfield, where nothing matches up between my ballot and what the fans in general are voting (although admittedly Harper would be on mine too if he was healthy).

So that’s what my ballots look like- what do you think?