Results tagged ‘ MVP ’

2012 BBWAA ROY, Cy Young and MVP Award Finalists

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.

CY YOUNG

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…..

Finally Back Up and Running

Question: What do you get when you combine a shattered computer screen with an internet connection problem?

Answer: A two week gap in blog posts–which is the case here.

Unfortunately, since I wasn’t able to hop on my laptop and type up a blog entry over the past couple of weeks, I missed out on writing about the World Series like I had been planning to. In addition, I was unable to post entries on the Gold Glove awards, as well as the Player’s Choice awards, but although I missed out on those, I’m still planning to post something on the Silver Slugger awards, which are set to be announced Thursday night.

After that will come posts on the 2012 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP award winners. They will be published the day after each is announced and will include a recap of the winner along with a look at how well I did with my predictions (probably not all that well).

Following the award winners blog posts–which will run through the end of next week–I’m just planning to post my thoughts on the latest MLB news as it happens. That’ll be the case for most of the offseason, but I might change it up here and there; I haven’t decided yet. One thing I am going to attempt to do is post an offseason Q and A with a MiLB or MLB player once every two weeks starting after next weeks’ awards posts. I should be able to pull it off, but it really comes down to player cooperation.

So, as of right now, that’s the plan for the offseason. Keep in mind, however, that a lot can happen between now and the beginning of the 2013 MLB season, so make sure to check back often. I’ll be sure to let you know if my plans change….

My Vote for National League M.V.P.

This is the first of four blog posts I plan to publish over the coming days; all of which will focus on who I feel should win the three major awards of Most Valuable Player (MVP), Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (ROY).

If you missed the post on who I feel should win AL MVP, go ahead and check that out now. If you’ve already read it, then you know the guidlines I tend to follow when making a vote for MVP:

I’m not all that influenced by stats, and I especially don’t lean towards a player just because their team made it to the playoffs and another player’s team didn’t. I’ve always chosen to look at it by which player had the greatest positive impact on their team, and I’m not about to change things.

As I stated in a previous blog entry, I don’t want you to think of these as predictions, but rather as cases for which player I feel deserves each award. The player I feel most deserves a specific award isn’t necessarily the player I think will win it. (Keep that in mind as you’re reading.)

Andrew McCutchen

If MVP voting took place during the All-Star break Andrew McCutchen would have my vote, hands down. McCutchen was a big reason the Pirates were 11 games over .500 and atop the NL Central at the time. With McCutchen leading the way, it appeared that the Pirates were well on their way to the teams first .500+ season since 1992–but things didn’t go as planned for McCutchen and the Bucco’s.

In the games following the Midsummer Classic, the Pirates did nothing but tumble; with McCutchen sharing in the same fate. Losing a spot in the standings each month following July, the Pirates finished the year 18 games back of first place in their division (good enough for 4th); with McCutchen’s batting average falling from .362 to .327 over that time span.

Though McCutchen batted .327 on the year, with 31 home runs and 96 RBI’s, he couldn’t keep up the pace throughout the entire season, which is very key in my book when it comes to making a selection for MVP. When a team relies on a player as much as the Pirates relied on McCutchen, that player has to be able to step up all season long to ensure that the team succeeds. Unfortunately, McCutchen wasn’t able to pull if off.

Thus, McCutchen isn’t my pick for MVP…

Buster Posey

When Melky Cabrera was suspended in August for his PED use, the Giants’ needed someone to step up and start impacting the team in a major way, should they have a hope at keeping up with the sizzling Dodgers; who were one game ahead in the division standings at the time. That person would end up being Buster Posey….Brandon Belt…Pablo Sandoval…and pretty much 75 percent of the team. But wait….that’s more than one person. I know. (That’s exactly my point.)

Buster Posey put up incredible stats this season, batting .336 on the year, with 24 home runs and 103 RBI’s, but he didn’t single-handedly put the Giants in the postseason; which is what I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. While Posey certainly played a major role in the Giants’ run to the playoffs, he wasn’t the only one coming up big night, after night, after night. There were several other guys that made major contributions as well.

That’s one of the main reasons I feel voting for MVP based on whether or not a player’s team made the playoffs is crazy. Nearly 100 percent of the time, a player didn’t push his team into the playoffs without some help from his teamates along the way.

So, although Posey had a stellar year, he didn’t quite make my cut…

My Vote for M.V.P.

My vote for Most Valuable Player of the National League goes to Ryan Braun.

While he didn’t ‘lead his team to the playoffs’, no player in the National League had the impact that Braun had on the Brewers. Without Braun, the Brewers don’t finish out the season as strongly as they did. Which is one of the key reasons he’s my pick for MVP.

Braun was ‘that guy’ for the Brewers all season long, and he didn’t let up when September rolled around, even though it appeared the Brewers were out of contention; if anything, Braun got even better. That’s the kind of player Braun is. He impacts his team day in and day out, even when it would be easy to hang it up.

Something I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is that Braun won’t win the MVP award due to his 2011 Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) accusation. Even though Braun was found not guilty, some are still holding it against him. My response to that being: Get over it.

By putting up even better numbers than last year, Braun has proven to the world that he doesn’t need banned substances to make him a beast; he’s a beast by nature. Though his batting average fell 13 points from last year, Braun smacked 8 more home runs–and for good measure, an extra RBI–than he did in 2011. While I don’t hold too much stock in stats, that really jumps out at me.

It’s incredible what Braun was able to do all season long to help out his team. He had the greatest impact of any other player in the NL, and doing so earns him my pick for 2012 National League MVP.

My Blogging Plans for Next Week

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you know that every now and then I like to post an entry detailing my blogging plans for the next week or so. It’s just something I like to do to give you (the reader) a general idea of what’s to come.

All of next week I’m going to be posting blog entries on which players I feel deserve the three major awards of Most Valuable Player (MVP), Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (ROY). I’ll be giving my take on both the American League and National League, and as of right now, the plan is as follows:

Tuesday, October 9th: National League Most Valuable Player

Wednesday, October 10th: American League Cy Young

Thursday, October 11th: National League Cy Young

Friday, October 12th: American and National League Rookie of the Year

While the blog posts are going to be about which player I feel deserves each award, I don’t want you to think of them as predictions. Just because I think a particular player deserves an award doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who I think will win it–as was the case with my post on American League M.V.P.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m taking the time to blog about awards, that won’t be voted on until November, during a time when the playoffs are beginning to heat up. It’s really quite simple: I can’t blog about EVERY game that’s taking place at the moment–that would take too much time and effort–and closer to voting time the World Series will be taking place (which I fully plan to blog about, just as I did last year). So in reality, this is the only shot I have at fitting it in.

If anything MAJOR happens in the playoffs between now and Friday I’ll be sure to blog about it, but odds are that while there will definitely be some dramatic moments, nothing extremly blog worthy will occur.

So, unless something unexpected happens, get ready for a busy week of blog posts.

My Vote for American League M.V.P.

When it comes to the 2012 Most Valuable Player award it seems as if many people could care less about who wins it from the National League. Ryan Braun…Buster Posey…Andrew McCutchen…give it to any of them, and no one would really complain.

The main focus falls on the American League portion, where baseball fans have sided with either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Everyone (no matter which player they side with) has a dozen reasons behind why their pick is the best, and they’re all adamant as to who they think should win the award. I’m no different.

My vote for MVP of the American League would have to go to Mike Trout.

Before you ask, no, I haven’t been living under a rock for the past week. I’m fully aware that Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown (the first player to do so since 1967), and while that’s extremely impressive–and nothing to sneeze at–if you take the time to examine both player’s effect on their respective team, you start to see there’s really no contest. You quickly find yourself leaning a bit more towards Mike Trout; or at least that’s the case with me.

When making a pick for Most Valuable Player, I feel it’s extremely important to remember what the award is truly for: The player who had the greatest positive impact on their team, and thus was the “most valuable”. While it’s easy to look at the stats and declare Miguel Cabrera the winner, MVP is not necessarily an award for the better player, but rather an award for the player that held a bigger role in helping their team succeed.

That’s what I feel gets lost in translation. People see the incredible stats that Cabrera was able to post and they find themselves thinking, “with numbers like that, he’s got to win.” While that may be true in some situations, this particular instance, it’s just not the case in my opinion.

As far as statistics go, Trout and Cabrera were under completely different circumstances while at the plate, which makes it a bit difficult to compare the two. For example:

Trout bats leadoff, thus (in at least one at-bat) has no chance at having anyone on base to knock in; yet he accumulated 83 RBI’s. Cabrera on the other hand batted in the three-hole, giving him a higher chance of an RBI situation every time he stepped into the batters box.

Another thing Trout had going against him by batting leadoff was the fact that he had no one behind him in the lineup for protection. In an RBI pressure situation Trout didn’t have a guy like Prince Fielder to fall back on. If Trout didn’t come through, who knew if the next guy could get the job done. (As Prince Fielder does the majority of the time.)

In Cabrera’s case–and Ryan Braun’s, last season–he had Fielder behind him in the order to take some of the pressure off, which could be argued allowed Cabrera to come through more often than he normally would have in big spots. That’s something I personally take into consideration.

Something that really bothers me when it comes to MVP voting is the voter’s tendency to use whether or not a candidate’s team made it to the playoffs when making their decision of who to vote for. You can be an extremely valuable asset to your team and still end up falling short as a whole.

Take last year’s National League MVP voting for example.

Matt Kemp had arguably better stats than Ryan Braun, yet Braun ended up taking home the MVP award, greatly due to the fact that Braun’s Brewers made it to the post season, and Kemp’s Dodgers did not. That’s just not the right thing to base your decision on. It wasn’t right in 2011, it’s not right now, and it won’t be right in 2013 and beyond, either.

Mike Trout posted stats that no rookie has ever been able to in MLB history–the only rookie to ever have a 30/40 season. Trout came in and completely turned the Angels around; and while this is purely speculative, could’ve very well led his team to the playoffs had he of been called up sooner. (But that’s another debate, for another time.)

Trout put up insane numbers for a team that had an embarrassing record of 6-14 (worse than the Houston Astros at the time) before his callup on April 28th. A mere month after Trout’s addition to the roster, the Angels’ had a .500 record, and were on a seven game winning streak; greatly due to Mike Trout and his ability to impact the ball club.

If that doesn’t make for an MVP, I don’t know what does.

Now, if you’re one of those people that love sabermetrics–and purely rely on statistics alone when looking at MVP–then it’s clear that Miguel Cabrera beat out Mike Trout by a landslide. While the batting average was fairly close, Cabrera posted 14 more home runs than Trout, as well as 56 more RBI’s.

But looking at stats–and stats alone–only tells part of the story.

Trout came up in late April and went on a tear, and as a result was able to reenergize a struggling Angels team. He got them back on track enabling them to make an incredible run, which unfortunately ended with the Angels coming up just short of a Wild Card spot.

Without Trout, who knows whether or not the Angels’ would’ve finished with a record anywhere near theirs of 89-73. (A better record, mind you, than that of the Tigers, who finished 88-74 on the year.)

That’s what makes a player worthy of a Most Valuable Player award. It’s not always the best player in a given league, but instead, the player that had the biggest impact on their team, and therefore was most valuable.

And that would undoubtedly be Mike Trout.

Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s

Well I didn’t see this coming. After having the best season of his career (we now know why) Ryan Braun has reportedly tested positive for Performance-enhancing Drugs; or PED’s. Braun’s 2011 season consisted of him recording 33 home runs, off of 187 hits–good enough to earn him the title of MVP in the National League, as well as lead “his” Brewers to their first division title in three decades. This comes as a shock, not only to me, but to baseball fans everywhere, as well as the players, and staff, of Major League Baseball. Acording to reports, Braun was notified of the test results a month before he was named NL MVP, but when asked his thoughts on the subject, he replied: ” It’s B.S.” Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. If it is indeed true–that Braun knew of his testing positive for PED’s–then the awarding of MVP to Braun is “B.S.” How do you knowingly award such an important award to a guy who didn’t achieve his stats legally? In short, he cheated. Braun cheated. He’s no better than A-rod, McGwire, or anyone else who has used steroids in the history of Major League Baseball.

Braun is appealing the steroids charge, however if it the initial finding is upheld, Braun will be required to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season. This would mean the first game Braun would be eligible to play in wouldn’t be until June 5th, at home against the Chicago Cubs. A major blow to the Brewers, especially if Prince Fielder signs somewhere other than Milwaukee during the offseason.

Back in 2009, when Alex Rodriguez was accused to have used steroids, Braun made the following statement in response to whether he’d ever been tempted to use PED’s :

It’s never something that I sought. I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.

“60 or 70 home runs” Braun? Really? According to the statistics, you only hit 33 this season. What gives? Perhaps a better way to sum up how shocking this news is, here’s a 2009 statement from Bud Selig, after Mark McGwire’s coming clean:

The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today’s players has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era — a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances — is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark’s admission today is another step in the right direction.

I would have to agree. The used of steroids has diminished throughout the past decade. (Or at least as far as we know.) However I’d have to agree with Bob Costas who, as usual, made an extremely accurate statement in response to Bud Selig, saying, “…there will always be rogue chemists that want to help players cheat.” I suppose Ryan Braun knows one of those “chemists.”

My Predictions for Upcoming MLB Awards

MLB awards start up again today, with the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award winners being announced around 2:00. Then, in the upcoming days, the winners for AL and NL Cy Young and MVP will be announced. With the busy schedule of awards coming up I thought I’d try to predict who will win what.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD

AL- This is a tough one for me to predict. There are two major contenders in the American League that have a shot at winning the award. The first of the two, Jeremy Hellickson, had an amazing year for the Tampa Bay Rays. He recorded 17 wins and held up a 2.95 ERA. Hellickson also threw two complete games including a shut out. Eric Hosmer–first baseman for the Kansas City Royals–also had a fantastic season. He recorded 19 home runs and 27 doubles off of 153 hits. Anytime a rookie can do that he’s a good candidate for the rookie of the year award, but I give a slight advantage to Hellickson.

NL- For me, this one is a no brainer. Craig Kimbrel is the best candidate to win the award for the National League. Kimbrel recored 46 saves in 54 opportunities–a rookie record. To me there’s no one that could beat out Kimbrel. The guy’s just too good.

CY YOUNG AWARD

AL- Just like the National League rookie of the year award, this one is almost too easy to predict. There was no pitcher in the American League that was better than Justin Verlander this year–possibly in all of MLB. The guy was amazing. I mean, he had a 24 win season and held his ERA to a low 2.40. No one else, in my opinion, even came close to Verlander.

NL- Another easy one to predict. Clayton Kershaw had a fantastic season and is the most deserving of the award in the National League. Kershaw recorded 21 wins and held his ERA to 2.28. Not to mention his 248 strike outs. There was no pitcher that was better than him this season in the NL.

MVP AWARD

AL- Another difficult prediction for me to make. In my opinion, Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury are both players that I feel are deserving. Curtis Granderson hit 41 home runs off of 153 hits. That’s nearly double the number of home runs he hit last season (24). Granderson also recorded over 100 more total bases than he did last season. But when it comes down to it, I think that Jacoby Ellsbury was slightly better than Granderson this season. Ellsbury–who only played in 18 games last season–had a season to remember, hitting 32 home runs, 5 triples, and 46 doubles, off of 212 total hits. Truly incredible.

NL- There were some worthy candidates on the National League MVP Award list–including the Brewers’ Ryan Braun– but I feel that Matt Kemp just barely beat them out. Kemp became only the second player in Dodgers history to record a 30-30 in a season. (For those of you that don’t know, that’s 30 stolen bases and 30 home runs.) Kemp ended the season just one home run shy of a 40-40, which is why I think he’ll take home the award.

Those are just my predictions, based off of what I’ve seen throughout the past season. I’m sure you have predictions of your own that probably differ from mine. Which is why I want you to leave a comment if you don’t agree with one, or several, of my predictions. I’d love to hear what you guys are thinking.

My World Series Game 7 Recap

Last night’s game 7 of the 2011 World Series was do or die, for both the Cardinals and the Rangers. A win for the Rangers would mean their first World Series Championship in the franchises history. A win for the Cardinals would mean their second World Series Championship in the past ten years. It was game on.

The start of the game saw Cardinal’s pitcher Chris Carpenter on the mound. He was pitching on only three days rest, but as the Cardinal’s best pitcher, he was their best chance of a victory. He had to be on his game.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Carpenter didn’t seem to be on his game to start out. Giving up two runs in the top of the first inning. The first run for the Rangers coming off of an RBI double by Josh Hamilton, who’s not had the best post season, but has come through in some big spots. The second run of the inning came on an RBI double from Michael Young, that scored Hamilton from second. It was 2-0, Rangers, just like that. It wasn’t looking good for the Cardinals.

Moving on to the bottom half of the inning. The Cardinals have a runner on first and second, with two outs. The two base runners came off of two straight walks by Ranger’s pitcher, Matt Harrison. The next batter, David Freese, came through again for the Cardinals, by doubling to left field, allowing both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to score. The game was now tied, 2-2.

Jumping ahead to the bottom of the third, the score is still tied 2-2. The batter, Allen Craig, sends a ball to right field. At first it appeared as if Craig had popped the ball up. But it kept carrying and carrying, just enough to get over the wall. The Cardinals now lead, 3-2.

Now skipping ahead to the bottom of the fifth inning. Things got ugly for the Rangers. After bringing in Scott Feldman to replace Matt Harrison, he walks Allen Craig, plunks Albert Pujols, and then intentionally walks David Freese. The bases are loaded with two outs. So what does Feldman do? He walks the next batter, Yadier Molina, which allows the runner at third, Allen Craig, to walk home. The score is now, 4-2, Cardinals. With the bases STILL loaded, and one out left to get, the Rangers replaced Feldman with their Ace, C.J. Wilson. What does Wilson do? On the FIRST pitch he throws, after coming in the game, he hits the batter, Rafael Furcal, allowing another run to WALK home. The score is now 5-2. Wilson then strikes out Skip Schumaker. But the damage has been done.

Moving onto the top of the sixth inning. The Rangers look to cut the lead by a run, as Nelson Cruz launches a ball to deep center field. It appears as if it will sail over the outfield wall. But at the last second, Allen Craig makes the leaping catch, robbing Cruz of a home run. To me, that catch by Craig was the nail in the Ranger’s coffin.

Bottom of the seventh. The Cardinals have runners on first and second, with one out. The batter, Yadier Molina, hits a single to center field. Lance Berkman, the runner at second, scores. The RBI single by Molina makes the score 6-2, Cardinals. The Cardinals start to feel the victory.

Moving on to the top of the ninth. The score is still 6-2, Cardinals, with Nelson Cruz coming up to bat. Jason Motte, the hard throwing “closer” for the Cardinals, is the new pitcher. Motte gets Cruz to fly out to center fielder, Jon Jay. Two outs to go. The next batter, Mike Napoli–who’s been oustanding for the Rangers in the World Series–grounds out to third base. The Cardinals are now just one out away from winning the World Series. David Murphy approaches the plate as the last chance for the Rangers. Everything rides on him. But Murphy doesn’t come through, as all he can do is fly out to left field. The crowd goes insane! The Cardinals have done it. After being down 10.5 games to the Braves in the Wild Card chase on August 25, they’ve come all the way back to win the World Series. It’s truly one of the more remarkable runs in baseball history.

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, for winning the 2011 World Series.

I feel bad for the Texas Rangers. After making it all the way to the World Series last season, and losing to the San Fransisco Giants, this season was their chance to redeem themselves. But it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

After the game was over, Bud Selig presented the M.V.P. trophy to David Freese. Freese–who’s the reason the Cardinal’s even made it to a game seven–came through for the Cardinal’s every single time they needed him to. He truly was the Cardinal’s Most Valuable Player.

Once again, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series. A remarkable end, to a remarkable season.

POLL RESULTS

The very first poll I posted back on October 10th, asked who you thought would win the 2011 World Series, and in how many games. The majority of the votes had the Rangers winning in six games. It’s funny how far off that prediction was.

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