Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards!

Yes, folks. It’s again that time that you can prove you know better than the Baseball Writers Association of America! That old drunken fools don’t know the game as well as you, do they!

So vote! You can see the link to the ballot at:

www.baseballprospectus.com

I’ve already voted! Do you really want me to be represented when you aren’t?

Just voted. AL MVP was the hardest category since no one stood out. AL Manager of the Year was the easiest.

I found AL MVP pretty straightforward, actually.

But I won’t say my pick for a bit.

Thanks for voting!

My votes:
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL ROY: Jody Gerut
AL MOY: Tony Pena
NL MVP: Barry Bonds
NL Cy Young: Mark Prior
NL ROY: Brandon Webb
NL MOY: Jack McKeon
Nothing too controversial there, although I had a hard time deciding between Gerut and Berroa for AL ROY, and Prior and Schmidt for NL Cy Young.

Woohoo!

My picks:

AL MVP - Carlos Delgado. Led the league in OPS and RBI (by a freaking lot), second in OBP (.001 behind Manny), second in SLG, tied for 4th in runs scored. I don’t think you can really give it to anyone else. Although the sports writers are because they’re stupid.

AL Cy Young - Tim Hudson. Second best ERA in the league, and third in the league in IP. Halladay will win it again, though, because writers have this fascination with meaningless statistics.

AL ROY - Hideki Matsui. I almost went with Angel Berroa, but had to give the nod to Matsui in the end because of the better production.

AL Manager - Tony Pena. Duh.

NL MVP - Barry Bonds. Who else could it possibly be? The man’s a beast.

NL Cy Young - I don’t want to hear this moronic talk about a reliever getting the award. That’s just stupid. Really. Sure, Gagne was really dominating, but who cares? He’s a reliever. He’s a reliever because he’s not good enough to be a starter. Jason Schmidt pitched 200+ innings with a 2.34 ERA. And if you don’t like Schmidt, you go with Prior or Brown who also pitched 200+ innings with a sub-2.50 ERA. But Schmidt gets the nod from me.

NL ROY - Gotta go with Brandon Webb. Rookie starter with a 2.84 ERA.

NL Manager - The old man Trader Jack. What a job he did with the Fish.

Why do you think it’s moronic, exactly? The Cy Young is supposed to go to the best pitcher in each league, isn’t it? There’s no stipulation that he be a starter, or that relievers get less recognition. Why can’t a reliever be the best pitcher in the league? I’m not saying Schmidt doesn’t deserve it, or that Gagne absolutely should win it, but it sounds like you think a relief pitcher, by default, can never be considered for the Cy Young, regardless of their performance.

If you want to say Schmidt was just a better pitcher this year than Gagne, because wins take precedence over saves, that’s an understandable position. What I don’t understand is, since Gagne was really dominating, like you say, why the “who cares?” Shouldn’t we just stack up every pitcher’s performance against everyone else, and see who was better? It’s not like Gagne is just the best of a bunch of closers this year. He had probably the best statistical season any closer, and maybe even any pitcher, ever had. 55 saves, and only 60 batters reached base? A 6.85 K/BB ratio? Strong stuff, so why can’t he be in contention, even if you do want to give starters the edge?

Really?

I could hear that Eckersley thing coming a mile away.

I don’t even have to open the link. That was an astonishing year and I’m glad he’s not around any more.

Of course, Eck won the Cy Young AND MVP in 1992, even though he gave up roughly 3 times as many runs, homers and walks as he did in '90.

Just sayin.

That’s almost exactly what I’m saying. Barring something astonishing like pitching 100 innings and striking every single batter faced out, a relief pitcher, by default, shouldn’t be considered for the Cy Young. There’s a reason there’s a minimum number of at bats required to win a batting title, there should be a minimum number of innings pitched to win the Cy Young. And it should be around 150, IMO.

Actually, both wins and saves are extremely overrated indicators. But if you must include them, then wins are far more impressive than saves.

I agree that Gagne had a great year, one of the best for a closer. Right up there near Eck. But you know what? He still only pitched 82 innings. That’s a little more than a third of what Schmidt pitched. That makes Schmidt’s numbers that much more impressive because he had to deal with fatigue and facing the same batters in the same game multiple times.

Gagne is a closer because he wasn’t good enough to be a starter. That’s the story for almost every reliever out there. Barring an impossible season, relievers should not ever be considered for the Cy Young.

And Clemens was robbed of the Cy Young in 1992. The best ERA of any starting pitcher (2.41), 5 shutouts, 11 complete games, 247 IP.

Well, I did say “probably,” and I did say “statistical.” Compared to Eck, Gagne had 7 more saves and blew two fewer, had a much lower opponents’ average, way more strikeouts, more innings, fewer hits, etc. Other than the win/loss record, the walks, and ERA, Gagne’s got the edge or is comparable in every official statistical category. Plus, if you take out two blowout games in May, his ERA drops to .56, lower than Eckersley. It’s an impressive statistical season, that’s all I’m saying.

But a batting title is an average, so that’s a little different, isn’t it? I mean, there’s no minimum at-bats to win an MVP. If you have the best season, ostensibly, you get it. I just wonder if maybe Gagne’s season was the best.

But Schmidt got to rest four out of five days, and he got much more room for error, too. Schmidt still “only” pitched in 29 games. What if I was to say that makes Gagne’s numbers that much more impressive because he had to be ready to pitch almost every night and because he didn’t get to make a mistake and overcome it?

Even if that second statement was true, which it isn’t (what about Derek Lowe? John Smoltz? Kelvim Escobar? Even Eckersley won 20 games at one point), why does it matter how he did as a starter? I understand that closers pitch fewer innings. But there’s something to be said for the value of those innings, and for a team like the Dodgers, a closers’ appearances are almost always important innings. How many of Jason Schmidt’s innings and wins could have been rendered moot if Tim Worrell hadn’t closed so well, or the Giants hadn’t scored runs? And yes, that goes both ways, but that’s what I’m saying. Again, I’m not trying to argue that Gagne absolutely needs to win it, I’m just saying there’s no good reason to exclude him from the conversation.

I think you’d be hard pressed to find an MVP candidate who played in only a third of the games of the season. Which is essentially what Gagne did when compared to Schmidt.

I would say you are wrong.

I did say almost every reliever. There are exceptions. Derek Lowe is one. And Kelvim Escobar was moved into the rotation when they realized he was good and could probably hack it. See? Good relievers who prove they are good enough to be starters get moved there. Great starters don’t get moved to the bullpen barring injury (as in the case with Smoltz).

I’m just illustrating how starters are on another level pitching wise than relievers.
I

[quote]
** understand that closers pitch fewer innings. But there’s something to be said for the value of those innings, and for a team like the Dodgers, a closers’ appearances are almost always important innings.

[quote]
**
They are important. But it’s easier being a reliever than a starter. That’s why poeple who don’t make the rotation in spring training get sent to the bullpen, not the other way around. That’s just a fact.

Sure there is. He’s a reliever. He pitched a third as many innings. He shouldn’t be in the conversation, except as a fanciful “Wouldn’t it be funny if a reliever won the award” manner.

OK, boys and girls, the url=“http://premium.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2434”]results are in. For all 6 of us who cared enough to post in the first place.

NL MVP - Barry Bonds (I agreed)
NL Cy Young - Mark Prior (I picked Schmidt)
NL ROY - Brandon Webb (I agree)
NL MOY - Jack McKeon (I agree)

AL MVP - Alex Rodriguez (I picked Delgado)
AL Cy Young - Roy Halladay (I picked Hudson)
AL ROY - Angel Berroa (I picked Matsui)
AL - MOY - Tony Pena (I agree)

My opinion on the ones I didn’t agree with:

  1. Alex Rodriguez got the nod in the AL MVP vote because he’s been the habit pick in the SABR community for the past few seasons, they gave him another one even though he didn’t deserve it, IMO. Like I said, Delgado was better in OBP and OPS and better in old-school stats like RBI. Rodriguez was the pity pick.

  2. Roy Halladay I don’t agree with, either, and I think Hudson was overlooked because of a low win total and I think it shows when you look at how the standings finished. Esteban Loaiza finished ahead of Hudson despite having a higher ERA and pitching fewer innings. I think Hudson was jobbed.

  3. I think Matsui was robbed, too. Especially given the margin that Berroa won with. They had the exact same BA, and practically the same OPS, but Matsui had a big edge in OBP, which we know is more important than SLG. Frankly, if it was a close vote I’d be more forgiving, but I think Matsui deserved it more. And Gerut definitely deserved it more than Baldelli.

  4. I can’t really argue with the choice of Prior, although I do think Schmidt deserved it more. He had a lower ERA than Prior and a lower WHIP. But I don’t think it’s as blinding an omission as Hudson.

Neither Bonds nor Gagne nor Pedro would be my pick, and all for the same reason. You can’t simply excel to be the best, you have to excel over a large number of games/innings/etc.

What Gagne did was great, but he did it for about 1/4 of the innings that a starting pitcher will work. Pedro isn’t as extreme, but he isn’t enough better than other great pitchers to make up for the many fewer innnings he works. Bonds missed 32 games and barely played in some of the others. His margin isn’t enough to overcome that he can’t do anything to help his team win when he isn’t playing.

I would be hard pressed to ever imagine a closer, as currently used, being more valuable as a pitcher than a starter. 60 innings compared to 250 or so? You just are not likely to be 4x better than anyone else. Besides, don’t runs given up in the first inning count?