I believe itís mandatory that if you write for a baseball blog that you have to partake in some sort of postseason awards shenanigans. So hereís one manís take on the 2006 season.
Managers of the Year (or manager of a team that most people thought would suck)
I think we all know that this award means nothing. Whichever club had the most surprising season will have itís manager honored despite little knowledge of what happened behind the scenes. So I imagine Joe Girardi and Jim Leyland will win running away and I donít necessarily think those are bad choices. Personally, I take a look at whichever team had to endure the most disruptions during the course of the season. A manager who couldnít just put it in cruise control because everyone stayed healthy and productive, who actually had to make some tough decisions over the season.
In the NL that still pretty much just leaves Joe Girardi with the Phillies Charlie Manuel sneaking in for a peek. Phils GM Pat Gillick went into sell mode around the deadline coughing up Bobby Abreu, David Bell and Rheal Cormier without getting any real major league talent in return. Then Aaron Rowand hit the DL in mid-August and the only pickup was a waiver wire deal to get the carcass of Jamie Moyer. The Phils though stayed in the playoff hunt pretty much until the end when they could have easily folded the tent.
though is the clear winner here. Brought in believing heíd have a little more experience than a full roster of rookies, he kept the team focused throughout the year as they flirted with the Wild Card for most of the season. There were obviously some rough patches and you can't attribute all the Marlins success to Girardi, but on the other hand you really canít underestimate the job Girardi did either.
In the AL, itís a three man race between Jim Leyland, Ron Gardenhire and (Gasp) Ken Macha. Yeah, I said it. Sure, everyone will vote Leyland, but his pitching staff pretty much stayed healthy all year and he had the audacity to bat Neifi Perez 2nd a few times. The players may not have liked Macha, but they lost Harden and Crosby for good parts of the year and Eric Chavez was never right, throw in a lot of underperforming players the first half and keeping Milton Bradley from killing anyone and I donít think heís all that bad. Ron Gardenhire
though prevailed through injuries to Radke, Stewart and Liriano, a horrid start to the season and a the likes of Rondell White and Tony Batista on the roster, not to mention a fairly young team. Plus they ended up winning the division which definitely gives him the nod over Leyland.
Rookie of the Year
In the AL, it looked like a three horse race between Papelbon, Verlander and Liriano early in the season, but injuries knocked two of those horses to the sidelines and one of them possibly to the glue factory. Justin Verlander
didnít do much the last few months but at least he did something. Jered Weaver should also gets some votes.
In the NL, itís between a pair of Florida rookies, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla with Luke Scott and Clay Hensley deserving mentions as well. But Hanley Ramirez
out- OPSíed Uggla and plays the more important defensive position along with some gaudy stolen base totals.
I usually just move right past the mostly meaningless win/loss records and onto ERA, strikeouts, quality starts and then some advance metrics that take into park factors.
Thereís little point in examining the AL race though, Johan Santana
should win unanimously. But letís take a look at just how much better he was than the last few unanimous AL winners, including himself in 2004.
Santana (2006) ñ 161, 79.6
Santana (2004) ñ 182, 89.9
Pedro (2000) - 285, 116.7
Pedro (1999) ñ 245, 102.3
Not quite Pedro territory yet for Johan.
The NL is a three man race between Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt and Chris Carpenter. Our own Z had that nice win-loss record with a few moments of brilliance, but far too many walks and far too much run support to be taken seriously.
Letís size the candidates up:
(ERA, ERA+, K/BB, QS, Run Support, VORP, FIP)
Webb:      (3.10, 154, 3.56, 23, 5.40, 68,4, 3.20)
Oswalt      (2.98, 141, 4.37, 25, 5.22, 72.4, 3.32)
Carpenter: (3.09, 143, 4.28, 19, 5.40, 67.8, 3.47)
Itís a close one but Iíd have to give it to Roy Oswalt
. Surprisingly his park seemed to help him out the least, but he seemed to have the most quality outings with the least amount of run support. Although I donít think you could go wrong with Brandon Webb as your choice either.
The NL and AL races are actually quite intriguing although I imagine Pujols will win rather handily in the NL. My vote in August would have gone to Carlos Beltran but he basically took the last month off to rest up on some injuries once the Mets clinched. I donít put a lot of merit into a teamís win loss record like some do, on the other hand, a player on a bad team has to be considerably better than everyone else to get the award.
And the Nominees in the NL
|Name||Runs Created||GPA||Win Shares||VORP||WARP1||OPS||OPS+||HR||RBI||Runs|
|Berkman||142 ||.344 ||34 ||70.1||9.0||1041||161||45||136 ||95|
|Beltran||125 ||.330||38 ||68.5||10.4 ||982||153||41||116||127|
Something is telling me that BR.comís ERA+ and OPS+ numbers are a bit off when Howard shows up at the top of the OPS+ numbers. One more number to throw in there, something from Baseball Prospectus called OBI% or the amount of ìotherî baserunners batted in, basically measuring how well a player did with runners on base, a sort of "clutch" measure if you will.
The first four guys there are the top 4 in the NL, Howard though finished 15th. My vote goes to Albert Pujols
and it should be unanimous, but I imagine Howardís gaudy HR marks and inflated RBI numbers will garnish him a few first place votes. Who says you donít need players getting on base in front of you?
And the Nominees in the AL
|Name||Runs Created||GPA||Win Shares||VORP||WARP1||OPS ||OPS+||HR||RBI||Runs|
|Jeter||138 ||.317 ||33||80.5 ||9.8 ||900||138||14||97||118 |
|Morneau ||121||.309 ||27||52.0||7.3||934||140||34 ||130 ||97|
|Ortiz||127||.337||29||76.8||7.9 ||1049 ||164||54||137 ||115 |
|Thomas||96||.311||22||41.3||4.7 ||926||141 ||39||114||77|
Once again, the OBI% for the top candidates:
Morneau: .205 (1st)
Jeter: .187 (8th)
Thomas: .183 (9th)
Mauer: .179 (11th)
Ortiz: .171 (18th)
First, we can just scratch Frank Thomas from the list no matter how much he carried the team down the stretch, the breath of his work is lacking. Grady Sizemore and Manny Ramirez should deserve mention as well. But as much as it saddens me to say, Derek Jeter
had the best season in the AL. He was too good offensively at too important a defensive position to pass over, even if that defense isnít Gold Glove worthy and he plays on a traveling All-Star team.