Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Year-end awards are finally done and for the first time in a while the voters actually did a good job all the way around.

Dustin Pedrioa, BOS 2B, .326/.376/.493, .389 wOBA, 111 wOBA+. He plays very good defense at second (won a Gold Glove that should have probably gone to Mark Ellis but it's not a horrible choice) and had 213 hits and 54 doubles. Was definitely helped by playing at Fenway, but he's shown that he's a much better player than I had anticipated he would be. I would have probably gone with Joe Mauer (.328/.413/.451, .388 wOBA, 116 wOBA+) who plays a much harder position also very well (he won a Gold Glove too), but Pedrioa was a solid choice. At least Justin Morneau (who finished second) didn't steal a second MVP award (2006's should have gone to Jeter).

AL Cy Young:
Cliff Lee, CLE SP, 223 IP, 2.54 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.87 tRA, 141 tRA+. He was the best pitcher in the league and though Roy Halladay was also great it was an easy decision. Now lets see if he can do it again next year.

AL Rookie Of The Year:
Evan Longoria, TBR 3B, .272/.343/.531, 27 HR, .374 wOBA, 111 wOBA+. If he had played all season he would have been in the MVP conversation. That contract looks mighty good now. Oh, and he plays good defense.

Albert Pujols, STL 1B, .357/.462/.653, 37 HR, .458 wOBA, 140 wOBA+. He's the best player in baseball, hands down. Look at that line again. He's a career .334/.425/.624 hitter. And he is the best defensive first-baseman in baseball (he deserved the Gold Glove over Adrian Gonzalez). In fact, his defense is almost as valuable as runner-up Ryan Howard's bat (.367 wOBA). He'll probably go down as one of the best right-handed hitters of all time, if not just plain hitter.

I was worried that enough voters would be swayed by Howard's HR and RBI. Another Phillie, Brad Lidge, finished 8th after saving all 41 of his chances. It wasn't until the number 14 spot that he find the Phillie's best player. Chase Utley hit .292/.380/.535, 33 HR, .392 wOBA, 117 wOBA+, and is a great defensive second-baseman.

NL CY Young:
Tim Lincecum, SFG SP, 227 IP, 2.62 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9, 2.83 tRA, 141 tRA+. Brandon Webb's 22-7 record (vs. 18-5 for Lincecum) allowed voters to look passed his 3.30 ERA and 3.04 tRA which didn't quite stack up as he came in second. Johan Santana's declining K-rate (down to 7.9 from 9.7) and 3.75 tRA landed in third. Lincecum was the NL's best starter (in part because the Giants ran him out there a lot at the end of the year to build up his stats) and rightfully won the first of what may be several Cy Young awards.

NL Rookie Of The Year:
Geovany Soto, CHC C, .285/.364/.504, 23 HR, .377 wOBA, 110 wOBA+. Slugging catchers are hard to find (especially ones who can actually catch) and so this was a really easy choice.

There was some down-ballot shenanigans and the Gold Gloves were bad again (Micheal Young is in the Derek Jeter neighborhood of shortstops... hmmm, maybe the key to winning a GG at short in the AL is to field poorly but hit well), but overall I have to give credit where it's due for the quality selections for the major awards.

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