Sunday, October 2, 2011

My 2011 MLB Awards ballot

The 2011 Major League Baseball season has come to a close and the Dodgers are not playoff-bound for the second consecutive year. Unlike previous years, though, they'll be a player in the award season.

Here is my awards ballot, beginning with the American League.

American League

1. Jose Bautista, TOR
2. Curtis Granderson, NYY
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
4. Justin Verlander, DET
5. Adrian Beltre, TEX
6. Miguel Cabrera, DET
7. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
8. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
9. Alex Avila, DET
10. Alex Gordon, KC

Bautista: .302/.447/.608/1.056, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 132 BB, 181 OPS+, 8.5 bWAR, 8.3 fWAR
- Bautista proved his breakout 2010 season was not a fluke. He leads the Majors home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base+slugging percentage and OPS+. Despite the Blue Jays' status as a .500 ball club, Bautista has clearly been the league's best player, and possibly the best hitter in the game. If his team was headed to the playoffs, he'd be the slam-dunk choice.

Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander, DET
2. CC Sabathia, NYY
3. James Shields, TB
4. Dan Haren, ANA
5. Jered Weaver, ANA

Verlander: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6.2 H/9, 9.0 K/9, 2.99 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, 170 ERA+, 8.6 bWAR, 7.0 fWAR
- This choice wasn't clear a couple months ago, but Verlander clearly separated himself from the pack. This is actually the easiest choice of any award on this ballot. His no-hitter not withstanding, he led the Majors in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, WHIP, H/9 and ERA+. He was clearly the league's best pitcher. He's going to garner serious MVP consideration, too.

Rookie of the Year
1. Eric Hosmer, KC
2. Michael Pineda, SEA
3. Jeremy Hellickson, TB
4. Mark Trumbo, ANA
5. Ivan Nova, NYY

Hosmer: .295/.337/.470/.807, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB, 121 OPS+, 1.5 bWAR, 1.6 fWAR
- Hosmer was the league's most consistent rookie. I nearly picked Pineda over him, but Hosmer batted either third or fourth in 95 of his 126 games, which counts for something. He's going to be a staple in the Royals' lineup for years to come.

Manager of the Year
1. Joe Maddon, TB
2. Manny Acta, CLE
3. Ron Washington, TEX

- Acta would have clearly won this award had the Indians stayed in contention in the second half. Instead, Maddon takes the cake. He's done an amazing job with a team that lost Carl Crawford, Matt Garza (via trade), Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano from last year's division-winning squad. The Rays are tied with the Red Sox for the AL Wild Card and appear to have momentum in their favor.

National League

1. Matt Kemp, LA
2. Ryan Braun, MIL
3. Justin Upton, ARI
4. Albert Pujols, STL
5. Prince Fielder, MIL
6. Joey Votto, CIN
7. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
8. Clayton Kershaw, LA
9. Roy Halladay, PHI
10. Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Kemp: .324/.399/.586/.986, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 353 TB, 171 OPS+, 10.0 bWAR, 8.7 fWAR
- He was the most dominant player in the National League this season. He lead the league in home runs, RBI (also the Majors), total bases, runs and OPS+. He was second in batting average and tied for second in stolen bases while making the most serious run at the Triple Crown the National League has seen in quite some time. There hasn't been a 10-WAR player in baseball since Barry Bonds in 2004, but Kemp was able to reach that mark this season. Factor in that he plays an important defensive position -- admittedly not that well -- and he's the choice for me. Braun is a close second.

Cy Young
1. Clayton Kershaw, LA
2. Roy Halladay, PHI
3. Cliff Lee, PHI
4. Ian Kennedy, ARI
5. Cole Hamels, PHI

Kershaw: 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 6.7 H/9, 9.6 K/9, 2.47 FIP, 2.84 xFIP, 163 ERA+, 6.9 bWAR, 6.8 fWAR
- While I'm sure you're surprised to see me pick both Dodgers for the NL awards (/sarcasm), Kershaw's second half was flat-out dominant. He went 12-1, with a 1.31 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 5.32 K/BB. He led the Majors in ERA and the NL in strikeouts, WHIP and H/9. He also improved on his K/9 and K/BB from 2010. His K/BB ratio is the most impressive. Halladay is a close second with Lee right behind him.

Rookie of the Year
1. Freddie Freeman, ATL
2. Craig Kimbrel, ATL
3. Brandon Beachy, ATL
4. Kenley Jansen, LA
5. Josh Collmenter, ARI

Freeman: .282/.346/.448/.795, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 32 2B, 256 TB, 53 BB, 118 OPS+, 1.1 bWAR, 1.0 fWAR
- This one could go either way. Kimbrel is deserving, but I'm going with the every day player in Freeman. He was a consistent force in the Braves' lineup on the season. He was in the Top 3 of Atlanta Braves in batting average (led team), runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks, on-base percentage and OPS. Before Dan Uggla's late-season surge, Freeman was the best Braves hitter who didn't miss any significant playing time. For these reasons, he's my choice instead of Kimbrel.

Manager of the Year
1. Kirk Gibson, ARI
2. Ron Roenicke, MIL
3. Davey Johnson, WAS

- Gibson took a rag-tag bunch of players and turned them into a 94-win, division champion. While Kennedy came out of nowhere to pitch like an ace, the rest of the rotation is less-than intimidating. J.J. Putz and David Hernandez at the end of the bullpen are a nice combo, but the rest of the bunch isn't much to worry about. And the lineup is basically Upton, Miguel Montero and whoever decides to have a good game. It would have been amazing for this team to finish .500, but Gibson got the most out of his guys to win the NL West and dethrone the Giants.

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter.

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