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Willie Mays Award: Who Is Baseball's Best All-Around Player?

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Willie Mays Award:  Who Is Baseball's Best All-Around Player?
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Willie Mays:  Baseball’s best all-around player ever.  So, like all great players, Ruth, Young, Clemente have awards, Mays deserves one, too.

 

But, if I were to hand this award out today, who deserves to win it?

 

After going through nearly every MLB player, immediately eliminating Prince Fielder, and making some decisions, I came up with a list of five players.  So, to see the five players, see the next page.  The winner is listed at the end.

 

So, here we go:

 

 

1. Alfonso Soriano

 

He hits lead off for the Cubs, and can easily hit 30 homers a year. He is also a member of the prestigious 40-40 club (2006).

 

On September 29, 1998, Alfonso Soriano was purchased by the Yankees from Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan Central).

 

The next year, 1999, Soriano would make his debut.

 

The 2001 season was his rookie year. He was 26 at the time.  He led the league in stolen bases that year, with 41. He nearly got into the 40-40 club that year, but fell one homer short. His batting average lingered right at .300.

 

On February 16, 2004 Soriano was traded by the New York Yankees with a player to be named later to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later, Alex Rodriguez and cash. The New York Yankees sent Joaquin Arias (April 23, 2004) to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.

The next two years in Texas were two of Soriano’s worst, highlighted by a .268 average in 2005.

Then on December 8, 2005, he was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Washington Nationals for Armando Galarraga, Terrmel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson.

The following year in Washington, Soriano was the one and only highlight of the team.  He hit .277, with 46 homerun and 41 stole bases.

At the end of the year, however, the Nats released him.  The Cubbies picked him up.

So far, in two and a half years with Chicago, Soriano has hit .277, with 74 homers, 45 stolen bases, and 177 RBI.

While Soriano’s never been quite the fielder Mays was, he has a .970 career fielding percentage, not too shabby.

His overall “Willie” ranking:

Batting Average:  B

Home Runs:  A

Stolen Bases:  A

Fielding:  C

Overall “Willie” Score: B+

2. Carlos Beltran

One year, he hit 38 homers and had 42 stolen bases. So close to 40-40!  He never ranges too far from 30 homers and 30 stolen bases. His average is a little low, at .283, but it’s not too bad. 

With about 100 RBI a year, he is an important part of the Mets, and at 32, should be for years to come.

On June 1, 1995, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 1995 amateur draft. He signed June 5, 1995. 

1999, his rookie year, he won rookie of the year on the Royals.

The following four years were great for Beltran.  He hit .286, with 86 homers and 126 stolen bases.

Then, on June 24, 2004, he was traded as part of a three-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sent Mark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.

On October 28, 2004, the Astros granted him free agency.

On January 13, 2005, he signed as a free agent with the New York Mets.

The next four years with the Mets, he hit with a .275 average, with 177 homers, 418 RBI, and 83 stolen bases.

In 2009, he has been injured half the year, although he’s hitting over .300.

Beltran has won three gold gloves at outfield, and is a good, if not great fielder.

His overall “Willie” ranking:

Batting Average:  B

Home Runs:  A

Stolen Bases:  B

Fielding:  A

Overall “Willie” Score: A-

3. Ryan Braun

In his short career, Braun has been really, really successful to say the least.  In just two and a half years, he has won rookie of the year, made the all star team, and was third in the MVP.

His career batting average is the highest of all of the players yet, at .307, with an average 42 home runs a year.  He’s not the fastest player, with only an average 17 stolen bases a year.  He also has 124 RBI a year.

He has never won a gold glove, but his fielding percentage is at .995 at left field.

So, his “Willie” rankings:

Batting Average:  A

Home Runs:  A

Stolen Bases:  D

Fielding:  B

Overall “Willie” Score: B

4. Torii Hunter

Known for being good at jumping into the walls, and taught how to by Twins great Kirby Puckett, the long time Twin switched teams last year, but is still a premiere three hitter with a great glove.

On June 3, 1993, Hunter was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the first round (20th pick) of the 1993 amateur draft. Player signed July 12, 1993.

His rookie year, 1999, he hit a dismal .255, with nine homers and 10 stolen bases.

But, the seven years of his career were great!  He hit .273, with an average of 27 homers a year, 100 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.

But then, on October 29, 2007, he was granted free agency.

Later that year, on November 22, 2007, he Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In LA, he has hit .287, with and average of 29 homers, 101 RBI and 23 stolen bases a year.

But, for Torii, it’s all about the glove. with eight gold gloves, he is a human highlight real.  He even injured himself going into the soft wall in the H.H.H.

So, his “Willie” rankings:

Batting Average:  B

Home Runs:  A

Stolen Bases:  B

Fielding:  A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Overall “Willie” Score: A-

Final candidate:

5. Grady Sizemore

Sizemore’s full major-league career was in Cleveland.  He is in the 30-30 club, and has a great glove.

On June 5, 2000, Grady was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 3rd round of the 2000 amateur draft. He signed June 16, 2000.

Then, in one of the worst trades ever, on June 27, 2002, he was traded by the Montreal Expos with Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.

In five and a half seasons in Cleveland, he has been in three all star games, won two gold gloves, and one silver slugger.

He has hit .275, and averages 27 homers, 85 RBI, and 27 stolen bases a year.

As you can see, with his stolen bases and homers both at 27, his speed and power are practically equal.

He is a great fielder, with two gold gloves.

So, his “Willie” rankings:

Batting Average:  B

Home Runs:  A

Stolen Bases:  A

Fielding:  A

Overall “Willie” Score: A

Who wins?  See the next page!

So, who will win the Willie award?

I’m going to give it to the Indians' Grady Sizemore, with his Willie ranking of A.

So, will baseball instill this award?  Who knows, but I like it a lot!

Honorable Mention:

Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre.

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