If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who falls under the category of “baseball fan”, odds are that you’ve found yourself seeking the autograph of your favorite player at one time or another. Even if you wouldn’t classify as an autograph collector, surely even the slightest of fan would jump at the chance to acquire their idols’ signature.
But getting an autograph from your favorite major leaguer isn’t always as simple as heading out to the ballpark after dinner. If you find yourself residing in one of the many states that lacks a Major League Baseball team, getting autographs in person can be a difficult and costly task.
Of course, there’s always the option of mailing an autograph request to the ballpark, but you can’t always guarantee that the player you admire will be able to take the time, during their hectic 162-game season, to sign your enclosed item; especially if they happen to be everyone’s favorite player, and receive hundreds of letters every month.
Too many times have I sent off one of my most cherished baseball cards, to one of my favorite players, only to be disappointed in the end when daily trips to the mailbox resulted in the same outcome: No autograph.
Until recently, the only other option remaining for a person looking to obtain an authentic signature they so greatly desired was to scour the internet for the most economically priced example they could find; usually still costing a couple hundred dollars. And even then, nothing connects you to the player personally. It’s just one of the thousands of autographs the player has signed over the years. Nothing all that tremendously special.
That’s why I was so intrigued the first time I heard of the latest in sports memorabilia technology: The electronic autograph; Egraph, for short. Costing anywhere from 25-115 dollars, depending on the player, an Egraph is an electronic autograph, produced by the player of your choice on their own personal iPad. The best part being that it’s guaranteed to be returned, in 2-3 weeks, and in addition, comes along with an audio message, recorded by the player themselves, just for you.
You can’t get much more of a fan-to-player interaction than that.
HOW IT WORKS
The first step in creating your Egraph is to select which player you’d like to receive an Egraph from. With roughly 200 players (current and former greats) and managers–with more being added all the time–it’s not an easy choice. Undoubtedly making this the most difficult portion of the entire process.
After deciding on a specific player, and choosing which background photo you’d like the autograph to appear over, the only thing left to do is to make the decision of what you would like inscribed on your photo.
You have the choice of typing exactly what you want the player to write, or you can choose for them to create their own response. As is the case with the entire Egraph process, it’s up to you. But in the end, no matter what you decide, you really can’t go wrong.
Wright could make a thousand more Egraphs and would never again make one exactly like the one you see above. That’s what makes Egraphs such an ingenious idea. It allows you to connect with the games’ greats in a personal way that hasn’t been possible up until now; and I can only see it taking off in popularity from here.
If you’d like to purchase an Egraph, head to Egraphs.com, or simply click the Egraph ad on the right sidebar to be taken to the site.
The 2012 Greatness In Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) award winners were announced yesterday afternoon. The GIBBY Awards are awarded for 21 different categories including Rookie of the Year, Play of the Year, etc. These awards are given to the winners based on votes by you the fans at MLB.com, media, front-office personnel and MLB alumni.
Although I’m a day late, I wanted to take the time to publish a post with a list of the winners along with my opinions:
MLB MVP OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Mike Trout
Winner: Miguel Cabrera
It wasn’t all that shocking that Miguel Cabrera beat out Mike Trout for MVP of the 2012 season. Although I had Trout as the MVP, since just after the All-Star break, the majority of baseball fans felt Cabrera was the most valuable. So, while I disagree, I’m not surprised with how the fans voted.
HITTER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Miguel Cabrera
Winner: Miguel Cabrera
While I feel that Mike Trout was the most valuable player of the year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Cabrera was the best hitter of the year. Becoming the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown, it was really no contest. Thus, I fully agree with the outcome of the vote for this particular category.
STARTING PITCHER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: R.A. Dickey
Winner: R.A. Dickey
I’m not sure if R.A. Dickey was THE best starting pitcher of the 2012 season, but I picked him to win the award nonetheless. Dickey seemed to be able to produce a quality start every time out, so I suppose he truly was the best candidate for the award.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Mike Trout
Winner: Mike Trout
Leading every rookie in all of Major League Baseball in every conceivable statistical category, there was no other way this vote could’ve gone. Trout did things that no other rookie in the history of MLB has ever done, and thus is the correct choice for Rookie of the Year.
CLOSER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Fernando Rodney
This particular category wasn’t voted on by the fans, but I agree with the pick nonetheless. Fernando Rodney posted an ERA of 0.60 in 74.2 innings pitched, and was able to close out the game for the Rays nearly every time out; recording 48 saves. Truly remarkable.
SETUP MAN OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Sergio Romo
Winner: Sergio Romo
Sergio Romo had one of the best seasons of his career, and truly earned this award. Without Romo doing what he did all season long, and into the post season, it could be argued that the Giants don’t win the World Series. So I fully agree with Romo winning.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Mike Trout
Winner: Yadier Molina
I don’t necessarily disagree with Yadier Molina beating out Mike Trout for this award, but I still feel that Trout should’ve won. It seemed like every other night Trout was robbing a guy of a homer, or making a diving grab to take away a base hit. So I don’t fully agree with Molina winning this award.
BREAKOUT HITTER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Chase Headley
Winner: Chase Headley
Chase Headley recorded a dismal 4 home runs and 44 RBI’s in the 2011 season, and going into the 2012 season no one really expected anything drastically different from Headley. Yet, he was able to have a career year, blasting 31 home runs and 115 RBI’s. Truly worthy of the breakout hitter of the 2012 season.
BREAKOUT PITCHER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: R.A. Dickey
Winner: R.A. Dickey
Going 8-13 in 2011, with 134 strikeouts in 208.2 innings pitched, R.A. Dickey truly was the breakout pitcher of the 2012 season as he completely turned things around, going 20-6, with 230 strikeouts in 233.2 innings pitched. Being that his 2012 performance was good enough to earn Dickey the Cy Young award, I fully agree with him winning the GIBBY.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Buster Posey
Winner: Buster Posey
After spending much of the 2011 season on the disabled list, Buster Posey made a major comeback in 2012 as he was able put together a fantastic year; which resulted in his 2nd World Series ring in just his 3rd career season. In addition to winning yet another Championship ring, Posey also took home the award for National League MVP, thus making him worthy of the GIBBy, in my mind.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Bob Melvin
Winner: Buck Showalter
This award could’ve gone either way for me. Although I picked Bob Melvin to win, I’m happy with Buck Showalter winning. Both managers were able to completely turn around their teams from the previous year and so I wouldn’t have been upset with either winning the award.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Mike Rizzo
Winner: Billy Beane
I thought Mike Rizzo did a fantastic job this year with the Nationals, but after thinking it over, I agree with the pick of Billy Beane for the award. Beane has always impressed me with the way he goes about his job in such a proficient way, and he did an absolutely incredible job in 2012. I couldn’t agree more with the pick of Beane for the award.
My original pick: Marco Scutaro
Winner: Pablo Sandoval
For me, this award came down to Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Sergio Romo. You could make cases for each of them, as to why they were most deserving of the GIBBY, but in the end I picked Marco Scutaro. I felt Scutaro came through for the Giants time and time again throughout the entire post season, but I can’t really complain with Pablo Sandoval winning the award.
PLAY OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Davis tops Toronto’s tall wall
Winner: Mike Trout’s catch at the wall
Under the circumstances, I felt that the catch made by Gregor Blanco to preserve Matt Cain’s perfect game was the best play of the year, but I thought THE overall best play of 2012 was the catch made by Rajai Davis over the Rogers Centre’s 10 foot high left field wall. Apparently, the majority of the baseball world didn’t agree with me, as they voted Mike Trout’s catch at the wall as the best of the year. While Trout’s catch was incredible, in my opinion, no one made a better play than Davis, thus, I don’t agree with the voters’ pick.
STORYLINE OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Stars of tomorrow excel today
Winner: Tie- Orioles’ & Nationals’ Seasons
I’m a big prospect/rookie guy, so maybe that’s why I felt Mike Trout’s and Bryce Harper’s incredible rookie seasons were the best storyline of the year, but I enjoyed keeping up with the National’s and Oriole’s seasons as well. The fact that the Nat’s were able to go from an 80 win team in 2011 to a 98 win team in 2012, with the O’s going from a 69 win team in 2011 to a 93 win team in 2012, was interesting enough to make even the slightest of baseball fan pay attention. So, while it wasn’t my first choice, I suppose I agree with the O’s and Nat’s amazing seasons receiving the GIBBY.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Hamilton’s four-homer game
Winner: Hamilton’s four-homer game
There were a lot of great hitting performances this past season, but none were better than that of Josh Hamilton on May 8th against the Orioles. Going 5-5, with 4 home runs (the 16th player in MLB history to do so), Hamilton certainly put on quite the slugging performance, thus making him worthy of the GIBBY for hitting performance of the year.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Praising Cain
Winner: Praising Cain
When trying to decide which performance to choose, it came down to Johan Santana’s no-hitter and Matt Cain’s perfect game. While both performances were franchise firsts, Cain’s perfect game was the most impressive of the two, as he recorded a total of 14 strikeouts. Cain no doubt had the best pitching performance of the 2012 season, and as such, deserved the award for this category.
ODDITY OF THE YEAR
My original pick: What a relief
Winner: Michael Morse’s
My original pick for this particular category was Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis picking up the win in the 17th inning of a 9-6 win versus the Red Sox–after going 0-8 at the plate, with 5 strikeouts. I really don’t see how Michael Morse beat out Davis by simply reenacting his home run swing after the umpires made him re-circle the bags, so I don’t agree with Morse winning the GIBBY.
WALK-OFF OF THE YEAR
My original pick: A legend’s last long ball
Winner: A legend’s last long ball
Chipper Jones’ walk-off ”yicketty” in the bottom of the ninth, of the Braves’ September 2nd win against the Phillies, was by-far THE best walk-off of the year. The entire 2012 season of Chipper Jones was absolutely incredible, and to end it with a walk-off bomb by Chipper is just a storybook ending to an amazing career. Chipper was certainly most deserving of the GIBBY.
CUT4 TOPIC OF THE YEAR
My original pick: Young fan scores special moment with dad
Winner: Bryce Harper
It seems Bryce Harper wins every possible award he gets nominated for, and while most of the time it makes sense, this time I don’t agree. I feel the young boy who got the surprise of seeing his dad who had just returned home from Afghanistan was the best Cut4 topic of the year in my mind. So, while Harper was the overall baseball topic of the 2012 season, I don’t agree with him taking home the GIBBY.
My original pick: Sandoval’s homer trifecta
Winner: Raul Ibanez
I don’t really see how Raul Ibaez could beat out Pablo Sandoval for postseason moment. I’ll admit, when Ibanez hit those home runs to come through for the Yankees when they needed him, I was up off my seat; stunned with what I had just seen. But Sandoval did something that had only been done by three other players before him: Hitting three home runs in a World Series game. How do you not vote for that? I’m truly baffled.
If you made it to this point, thanks for reading. I know a blog post without any pictures (not to mention nearly 2,000 words) can seem to drag on forever, but I just wanted to get my opinions out there on this year’s GIBBY awards.
The remaining blog schedule I have laid out for the rest of 2012 should be a lot more entertaining. So stay tuned….
Courtney Hawkins was drafted out of high school by the Chicago White Sox in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. Initially catching the attention of baseball fans everywhere after performing his “signature” backflip on draft night, Hawkins was able to make a name for himself this past season.
In Hawkins’ first (partial) season as a pro ballplayer, he put up some impressive numbers. Combined between three different teams/levels (Rk, A and A+), Hawkins posted a batting average of .284 to go along with 8 home runs and 33 RBI’s, over the course of 59 games; Certainly living up to the expectations that come with being a first round draft pick.
If Courtney Hawkins can continue to post the same type of numbers, it shouldn’t be too terribly long before he’s big league ready–he’s truly that good. Hawkins’ showed signs of his above average power this past season, and will be well worth watching in 2013 and beyond.
Courtney Hawkins–number 2 prospect in the White Sox organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?
Age 4, but my dad wouldn’t let me play until I learned the basics of baseball. So I started at the age of 5.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds [and] Frank Thomas, because I felt these guys had it all; the ability to hit and play defense. And definitely Griffey, because I try to play like him. Just balls to the walls, full tilt the whole game!
3.) You’re known for the backflip you did after being drafted by the White Sox on draft night, but that wasn’t the first time you’d ever done one. When did you first master the skill, and where did the inspiration come from?
Haha. I was asked to do a high school pep rally skit and I was at practice one day, playing around doing front flips, and the instructor came over and said try this; and 30 minutes later I was doing flips, and didn’t stop until after draft night.
4.) This was your first (partial) season of professional baseball. What did you take from it, in terms of how it differs from any level of ball you’d ever played in before?
Basically just playing every single day and throwing every single day–it’s a grind. It was fun when I first started; then I got tired; then I was good again. I found my routine, and it was good.
5.) What do you feel went well in 2012? What do you feel you need to work on for 2013?
I feel everything went well, but [I] could always be better. I feel I have to work on every thing because I’m not in the bigs yet, and even then I will still have to work on stuff.
6.) What does your average day consist of at the moment?
Just working out twice a day and traveling. That’s it.
7.) Is there any one player that you model your game after?
Like I said, I try to play like Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds. Just balls to the wall everyday. Grinding, battling and trying to produce in the field, at the plate and on the bases.
8.) Favorite food?
Any seafood or southern Cajun–country food.
9.) Favorite TV show?
MLB Network [and] ‘Walking Dead’.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something; or you won’t; or that you’re not good enough. If you set your mind to it, you can do it.
Big thanks to Courtney Hawkins for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @CHawkins10
It was announced on Tuesday that Philadelphia Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz had been suspended 25 games for using an amphetamine. This coming after a career best year for Ruiz, who batted .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a .394 on-base percentage in 2012. Ruiz becomes the 7th player to be suspended for use of a banned substance during the 2012 MLB season; joining Guillermo Mota, Feddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal.
Since the current MLB drug policy was put into place in 2008, a grand total of five players had been found guilty of using banned substances up through the end of the 2011 season. As stated earlier, a total of seven players were suspended this past season alone for use of an illegal substance.
While I don’t think it’s a sign of the start of another steroid era–like the one that took place throughout the 1990′s–I do feel it’s a sign that certain players still don’t seem to care about being suspended. As long as they can put up some great stats for awhile, they don’t seem to mind missing out on a couple months worth of games.
It got me thinking: Is the suspension of a player for use of an illegal substance–be it for however many games–really the correct thing to do when it comes to trying to stop the use of drugs in Major League Baseball?
I’m not so sure.
Perhaps, instead of a suspension, a player testing positive for a banned substance should have their stats taken out of the record books for their past X number of games. It’s just a thought.
Players might be less inclined to take the substance in the first place if the results they get from the use of them won’t do the player any good after they get caught. Those impressive stats they’re able to post with the help of an illegal substance would be all for naught, instead of the current set up, where they get to hang onto that season’s stats; which are career best, most of the time.
The way I see it, in certain other sports, athletes who are found to have been using banned substances can be stripped of all awards they’ve ever received throughout their entire career. I’m not even going that far. I’m just stating that instead of a 50 game suspension, give a 50 game deduction of their stats. That seems both “fair” and realistic, in my opinion.
There are a couple of reasons I feel this would be a more effective way to punish those who choose to use illegal substances:
First of all, when a player is suspended a given amount of games, it hurts their team; especially if they’re suspended during the later months of the regular season, when their team could be pushing for a playoff spot. I don’t feel that just because a player chooses to break the rules, that it should impact their entire team. Sometimes, just one player can make or break a team, and I don’t find a suspension as an effective way of punishing the PLAYER.
In addition, taking away the stats that the player was able to post during the timeframe in which they were using the banned substance could possibly help out that particular player when it comes to Hall of Fame voting; if in fact they are HOF worthy. (I’m not saying that Carlos Ruiz is a Hall of Famer; I’m speaking in a general sense.)
When voters look at a player that was found guilty of using illegal substances, a lot of voters don’t even consider them for The Hall; and rightfully so. However, if the players’ “illegal” stats were to be removed from their career numbers, it might give them a shot.
Let’s say, for example, a player ends his career with a .310 batting average, with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. If that player was found to have used drugs during one of their best statistical seasons, they don’t stand a chance at making it into Cooperstown. But, if the season in question was to be cleared from the books, it could level the playing field, and give an otherwise worthy player a shot.
Take away a career best 200 hit season, in which said player hit 25 home runs, and they would still have Hall of Fame stats (2,800 hits with 375 home runs). A lot of times players only make the mistake once, and I don’t think that should be enough to keep them out altogether.
In conclusion, while I’m all for a player being punished for use of an illegal substance, I’m not sure the current policy is the right one. And while I’m not saying mine is flawless, I feel it’s at the very least enough to make you think. My “policy” would punish the player without impacting their teams chances of a playoff run, as well as still allowing the player a shot at the Hall of Fame.
Maybe I’m onto something, or maybe, it’s all just wishful thinking.
The title says it all, so there’s not that much more I can say in this particular entry.
Basically, later on this week–I’m not sure of the exact day yet–I’m going to be posting my first offseason interview of the 2012-13 offseason. It’ll be with a current Minor League Baseball player, with similar type posts coming once every one to two weeks; depending on how busy a week it was in Major League Baseball.
I’ll try to get a MLB player every now and then, but for the most part, it’ll just be Minor League. (They seem to be the most willing to answer some questions.)
So that’s really all I have to say. Just cast your vote in the poll below for which player you would like the first interview posted to be on.
I was extremely surprised with this year’s MVP voting. Not just with the winners of the award from the American League and National League, but also with the blowout fashion in which they won. I don’t feel it should’ve been such a major difference between first and second place in each league, but it is what it is.
In the end, it was Miguel Cabrera taking home the MVP award for the American League, with Buster Posey receiving the MVP award for the National Leauge; as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
This was both Miguel Cabrera’s and Buster Posey’s first Most Valuable Player award.
AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: MIGUEL CABRERA
Original Pick: Mike Trout
Pick after finalists were revealed: Mike Trout
Thoughts On Miguel Cabrera Winning
I can’t believe how much of a landslide the vote for American League Most Valuable Player was. Although I was pulling for Mike Trout, I pretty much expected Miguel Cabrera to win. But to receive 22 of the 28 first place votes is absolutely ridiculous. Even if you think Cabrera was the more valuable player, you can’t honestly tell me that he was THAT much more valuable than Trout. It’s just not true.
So really, I’m not as upset about Miguel Cabrera winning the MVP award as much as I’m upset at how much of a blowout it was. In total, Cabrera beat out Trout by 81 points.
Truly incredible for an award that was supposedly going to be close.
The main reason Cabrera won the MVP award is the fact that he won the Triple Crown–posting a .330 average with 44 homeruns and 139 RBI’s.
While it’s amazing that he was able to accomplish something that hasn’t been done since 1967, I find it necessary to point out that Trout was able to accomplish things no player in the history of baseball has EVER been able to do. Besides, when it comes down to it, just because you posted better stats doesn’t mean you were the more valuable player to your team–which is what the award is all about.
So, while the Triple Crown is an amazing accomplishment for Cabrera, it’s not something you should base your vote on, in my opinion. Especially when Trout was able to one up Cabrera as far as historical occurences go.
Moving on to the second key aspect of Cabrera’s MVP win, I feel the voters’ pushed Trout out of the picture for the sole reason that he and his Angels didn’t make it to the playoffs, while Cabrera and the Tigers made it all the way to the World Series. I truly don’t understand why you would even consider using that as a reason for picking the most valuable player.
If you look at the facts, Cabrera’s Tigers actually had a worse record than the Angels. The reason they made it to the playoffs, while the Angels fell short, is because they played in an easier division. Should Trout be penalized because he played in the difficult AL West, and wasn’t able lead his team to the playoffs? Absolutely not. Making it to the playoffs takes a team effort; Trout could only do so much.
He was still extremely valuable to his team, even though it didn’t result in a playoff run.
So, while Miguel Cabrera received the award, and will go down in the record books as the 2012 AL MVP, when I look back on this season decades from now I’ll always find myself thinking about what should’ve been.
The BBWAA’s vote had Mike Trout finishing second, with Adrian Beltre coming in third.
NATIONAL LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: BUSTER POSEY
Original Pick: Ryan Braun
Pick after finalists were revealed: Ryan Braun
Thoughts On Buster Posey Winning
While I don’t feel as strongly about the National League portion of the MVP award as I do about the American League side, I still think Ryan Braun should’ve won the award; but at the same time, I’m not upset that Buster Posey won.
What it comes down to for me is what the voters’ (once again) decided to base their decision on. I feel like just as with the AL award, the National League MVP didn’t go to the “most valuable” player, but rather the player that was on the more successful team.
Just because Braun’s Brewers didn’t make the playoffs, he was pretty much pushed aside by the voters’ who historically love to see players from playoff teams win the award. (Since 1995, only 6 MVP winners have come from teams that didn’t make the post season.)
So I feel Braun wasn’t given a fair chance in that regard.
The only real complaint I have with the National League MVP award is the fact that Posey beat out Braun by an astounding 137 points. I don’t feel the voting results truly show how close it really was statistically between Braun and Posey. Yet another example of how much stock the BBWAA takes in whether or not a player’s team made the playoffs.
I’m really getting tired of it.
The BBWAA’s vote had Ryan Braun finishing second, with Andrew McCutchen coming in third.
The 2012 Cy Young award candidates were some of the closest ranked in the history of the award. None more so than the American League portion of the award, where it came down to a mere 4-point difference between first and second place. It was truly THAT close.
While it was too close to call going in to Wednesday night’s Cy Young award announcement, in the end, it was David Price taking home the award for the American League, while R.A. Dickey received the award for the National League; as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
This is both David Price’s and R.A. Dickey’s first career Cy Young award.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG: DAVID PRICE
Original Pick: Jered Weaver
Pick after finalists were revealed: Jered Weaver
Thoughts On David Price Winning
My original pick for the American League Cy Young award was Jered Weaver, and it remained the same after the finalists were revealed last week. With that said, I’m thrilled that David Price won the award.
As stated in a previous blog post, while I was still rooting for Weaver to win, I wouldn’t have been upset with any of the three candidates winning the award. They were all so close statistically that it was hard to pick a winner, because no one candidate really stood above the rest.
The voters seemed to agree, as David Price pulled out the win by a mere 4 points–the closest AL Cy Young vote since 1969.
David Price becomes the first pitcher in Rays’ franchise history to win the Cy Young award, and is certainly deserving of the honor.
Going 20-5 with 205 strikeouts in 211 innings pitched, to go along with a 2.56 ERA, Price had the best year of his career thus far, and is quickly making a case as one of the most dominant pitchers in all of Major League Baseball.
And if this year is any indication, Price (age 27) could be in the running for Cy Young for many years to come.
The BBWAA’s vote had Justin Verlander finishing second, with Jered Weaver coming in third.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG: R.A. DICKEY
Original Pick: Clayton Kershaw
Pick after finalists were revealed: Clayton Kershaw
Thoughts On R.A. Dickey Winning
I had Clayton Kershaw winning the award, but as with the American League portion, I would’ve been happy with any of the three candidates winning; so I’m happy for R.A. Dickey. He was extremely deserving, and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
Going 20-6 with 230 strikeouts in 233.2 innings pitched, to go along with a 2.73 ERA, Dickey had the best year of his career, in 2012.
Unlike with the AL Cy Young–which had a 4-point difference between the 1st and 2nd place winners–the National League Cy Young voting wasn’t even close, as Dickey beat out Clayton Kershaw by a staggering 113 points; pulling in 27 of the 32 first place votes–finishing no lower than second on every voters’ ballot.
Dickey becomes the Mets’ first 20-game winner since 1990, and the first knuckleball pitcher to EVER win the award. Not bad for a 37-year old pitcher who was considered a bust by many just a few years ago. What a difference a few seasons can make.
The BBWAA’s vote had Clayton Kershaw finishing second, with Gio Gonzalez coming in third.
Going into Monday night’s Rookie of the Year announcement, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were the heavy favorites to win the award. But while nearly every baseball fan across the country agreed that Trout was most deserving of the American League portion of the award, there was great debate as to whether or not Harper was the right choice.
Many people felt the award should go to Wade Miley, with some pushing for Todd Frazier to win. They both posted great rookie numbers, but when the official voting results were revealed, it was Bryce Harper coming out on top; winning by a mere 7 points over Wade Miley, as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
Mike Trout (age 21) becomes the youngest winner of the American League Rookie of the Year award, with Bryce Harper (age 20) being the youngest position player to ever win National League Rookie of the Year.
AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: MIKE TROUT
Original Pick: Mike Trout
Pick after finalists were revealed: Mike Trout
Thoughts On Mike Trout Winning
Leading all AL rookies in every category there is, Trout rightfully received all 28 first-place votes, becoming only the 8th unanimous AL winner in history, and the first since Evan Longoria, in 2008.
Mike Trout put together one of the most incredible rookie seasons the game has ever seen.
Posting a .326 batting average, with 30 home runs and 83 RBI’s, combined with his 49 stolen bases and 129 runs scored, Trout is the only rookie to ever record a 30 home run, 40 stolen base season.
In addition, Trout is the only PLAYER in MLB history to ever put together a season of at least 45 stolen bases to go along with 125 runs and 30 homers.
The BBWAA’s vote had Yoenis Cespedes finishing second, with Yu Darvish coming in third.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: BRYCE HARPER
Original Pick: Wilin Rosario
Pick after finalists were revealed: Bryce Harper
Thoughts On Bryce Harper Winning
Although Wilin Rosario was my original pick, I knew it was extremely unlikely that he’d win the award. Harper has been all the baseball world could talk about since appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 as baseballs’ ‘Chosen One’, so for him not to win would have been rather shocking.
So, despite a great year, Rosario ended up finishing fourth–a shame in my opinion–with Harper (as expected) receiving just enough votes to pick up the win for the National League Rookie of the Year award; just edging out Wade Miley, who received a mere 7 less points.
While I’ll admit the vote was closer than I thought it was going to be, I still don’t fully agree with Harper winning. Not because he didn’t post good enough numbers–.270 batting average, 22 HR’s and 57 RBI’s–but because I feel like many of the voters selected Harper for the award for two main reasons: a) he’s only 20 years old, and b) he’s the most popular of the three finalists.
While I feel that neither of those is a good enough reason to vote for Harper, it is what it is. I’m not upset that he won. I’m just upset at the reasoning.
The BBWAA’s vote had Wade Miley finishing second, with Todd Frazier coming in third.
Thursday night was the 32nd annual Silver Slugger Awards, which began in 1980.
The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball.
These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to “coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. (Managers can not vote for their own players.)
Below is a list of the NL and AL 2012 Silver Slugger Award winners. I’ve included my opinions as well as some facts that I found interesting:
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.
NL Winners: Andrew McCutchen (1st S.S. award), Jay Bruce (1st S.S. award) and Ryan Braun (5th S.S. award).
AL Winners: Mike Trout (1st S.S. award), Josh Hamilton (3rd S.S. award) and Josh Willingham (1st S.S. award).
Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Trout and Josh Willingham are all first time recipients of the Silver Slugger award. Putting up impressive stats throughout the 2012 season, they’re all worthy, thus I fully agree with the voters’ picks. I also agree with the selections of Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton for the award, as both had career best years in many categories. This is Braun’s 5th straight Silver Slugger, and Hamilton’s 3rd career award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Todd Helton is tied with Albert Pujols for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with four.
NL Winner- Adam LaRoche (1st S.S. award)
AL Winner- Prince Fielder (3rd S.S. award)
Adam LaRoche earned his first career Silver Slugger award by posting a .271 batting average with 33 home runs and 100 RBI’s this past season. While LaRoche was impressive, Prince Fielder was even more impressive, as he batted .313 with 30 homers and 108 RBI’s. The thing that really jumps out at me about Fielder is that he was able to compile 108 RBI’s while spending the year batting behind the Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (who recorded 139 RBI’s of his own). That’s absolutely mind boggling, and so I fully agree with him winning his second straight Slugger.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.
NL Winner- Aaron Hill (2nd S.S. award)
AL Winner- Robinson Cano (4th S.S. award)
Aaron Hill took home his 2nd career Silver Slugger award, batting .302 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI’s this season. There were a few other National League candidates I felt were just as worthy of the award, but I can’t say I disagree with the selection of Hill. As far as Cano goes, he once again led all American League second basemen in the major categories, and as a result, won his third straight Slugger award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.
NL Winner- Chase Headley (1st S.S. award)
AL Winner- Miguel Cabrera (4th S.S. award)
Chase Headley was the shock of this years awards for me. It wasn’t that he didn’t deserve it–I mean, he put up great stats–but I didn’t expect him to beat out the other candidates. But hey, congratulations to him. As far as Miguel Cabrera goes, he was a no brainer to win. Cabrera led all American League batters in home runs, RBI’s and batting average, so it was no surprise when he received his 4th career Silver Slugger award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a short stop, with nine.
NL Winner- Ian Desmond (1st S.S. award)
AL Winner- Derek Jeter (5th S.S. award)
Ian Desmond posted some impressive numbers this season, earning him his 1st career Silver Slugger award. He came through in the clutch a lot for the Nationals, and proved to be one of the best hitting short stops of the 2012 season. The American League portion saw Derek Jeter taking home his 5th career Slugger, which was no shock. Jeter led all of baseball in hits (the 3rd oldest to ever do so), and most deserved the award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.
NL Winner- Buster Posey (1st S.S. award)
AL Winner- A.J. Pierzynski (1st S.S. award)
If Chase Headley was the shock of this year’s awards, A.J. Pierzynski was the second greatest surprise. Many had Joe Mauer winning the award (myself included) but it was Pierzynski winning his first career Silver Slugger. While the AL winner was somewhat of a surprise, the National League winner Buster Posey was just the opposite. Posey put up MVP caliber numbers, and thus was able to win his first career Slugger award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.
Winner- Stephen Strasburg (1st S.S. award)
Pitchers aren’t really known for their offense, but there are a few who can actually hit. None more so in 2012 than Stephen Strasburg who was able to record 13 hits in 47 at-bats, which comes out to a .277 batting average. In addition, Strasburg amassed 7 RBI’s, including his first career homer, making him the most deserving of the Slugger award among pitchers.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with five.
Winner- Billy Butler (1st S.S. award)
Posting a batting average of .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI’s, Billy Butler proved to be the most consistent Designated Hitter of the 2012 season, earning him his first career Silver Slugger award. Comparing Butler’s stats to the other DH’s throughout baseball, he was the most deserving of them all, so I agree with the voters.
2012 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS
There were 11 first time Silver Slugger winners.
Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun were the only winners who also won a Silver Slugger last year.
The Nationals had the most winners of any team, with three.
There were four Silver Slugger winners who also won Gold Glove awards this year.
- Derek Jeter received a 1.5 million dollar bonus for winning the award.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists for 2012 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. For the most part I agree with the finalists, but there are a few I’m surprised about, so I thought I’d take the time to share my thoughts, starting with Rookie of the Year:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
American League: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish and Mike Trout.
There’s really no contest when it comes to American League Rookie of the Year. If your last name isn’t Trout, you don’t stand a chance. While both Cespedes and Darvish had great rookie seasons, neither came close to the year that Mike Trout had. Posting a .326 batting average with 30 home runs and 83 RBI’s, Trout led all AL rookies in every conceivable category. So, unless they change the voting procedure and decide to draw the winners’ name out of a hat, Mike Trout will be the recipient of the award.
National League: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper and Wade Miley.
As far as National League Rookie of the Year goes, it’s a bit more of a challenge to make a selection–especially when your original pick isn’t one of the finalists. I still feel that Wilin Rosario (my original pick for the award) should at least be in the final three, but alas he’s nowhere to be found. I knew it was a long shot for Rosario to win, but to not be a finalist is a real shame in my opinion. But anyway, looking at the players that did make the final list, I would have to say that Bryce Harper stands the best chance of winning the award by popularity alone. Having been in the spotlight for so long, that’ll probably be just enough to put him over the top with the voters.
American League: David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver.
A lot of people feel that Fernando Rodney should be one of the finalists for American League Cy Young, but personally I’m glad he isn’t. I don’t like the idea of a non-starter winning the award; even if Rodney did have an ERA of 0.60. Of the finalists, I still side with my original pick of Jered Weaver, but I have a feeling it’s going to be David Price that wins the award, though to be honest, I wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed with any of the three winning. They’re all worthy.
National League: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw.
As with the AL, many feel that closers Aroldis Chapman and/or Craig Kimbrel should be finalists for National League Cy Young. You already know how I feel about closers winning the award, so I’ll move on to picking between the three remaining pitchers. My original pick of Clayton Kershaw is one of the finalists, but I don’t feel very confident that he’ll win. I think it’ll go to Dickey or Gonzalez, but as with American League, I wouldn’t be upset with any of them taking home the award.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
American League: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout.
As far as the American League portion goes, you can go ahead and eliminate Beltre, Cano and Hamilton. They all had great years, but it’s going to come down to Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. As I’ve stated many times, I feel strongly that Trout should win the award. He exemplified just what it means to be the Most Valuable player to your given team, which is what the award is all about. So, while many feel Cabrera should win the MVP–mainly because he was the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown–I’m still sticking with my original pick of Mike Trout.
National League: Ryan Braun, Chase Headley, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina and Buster Posey.
My opinion of who should win the National League MVP isn’t quite as strong as with the AL portion, but I still feel that Ryan Braun should win the award over Buster Posey. One of the reasons people are leaning towards Posey over Braun is that Posey and the Giants won the World Series while Braun and the Brewers didn’t even make the playoffs, but that’s not really a fair thing to base your vote on. MVP is an individual award for the player who most impacted their team, and in my opinion that was Ryan Braun.
The winner of each award will be announced next week on MLB Network.
Here’s the schedule:
AL & NL Rookie of the Year : Monday, November 12th
AL & NL Cy Young: Wednesday, November 14th
AL & NL Most Valuable Player: Thursday, November 15th
As stated in a previous blog post, I plan on posting a recap of the winner–along with a look at how well I did with my predictions–in a blog entry following the day each award is announced. So be sure to check back for that…..