2010 MLB Awards: Felix Hernandez Should Not Win AL Cy Young Award
(This article will also include my awards for the American League and National League).
To an extent, I believe in sabermetrics. I don't tout ERA and batting average with RISP as individual statistics, but as team statistics, even if an individual player must come through when it counts. Both are still important to have, but neither are a good way to evaluate an individual player.
Last year, I argued that Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners should be the American League Cy Young winner. This year however, I don't think so.
It appears that baseball fans in recent years have caught a bad case of Sadecki-itis.
I don't care about how good Hernandez's ERA is or how many strikeouts he threw: Awarding the top honor for pitching to someone that went 13-12 for a team that won 62 games is exactly why people are losing interest in pro baseball.
To put it simply, it's abhorrent.
In 2009, Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants both won the honors for Cy Young. Greinke finished 16-8, while Lincecum finished 15-7. At least, in the case of Greinke, he had dominated early that season, while the Giants had a respectable record of 88 wins.
The Mariners, plain and simply, have stunk. Strikeouts are boring, because people want to see wins. To some extent, how hard is it to be the best player on a team that no one takes seriously?
And here's the irony of eye-popping stats: The New York Yankees have performed better as a whole when Alex Rodriguez has been at his relative worst.
Awarding league honors to the best players from bad teams, like I said, is exactly why fans have generally stopped caring about pro baseball. You may think it's in the interest of fairness to award the hard-luck guys, but at the same time, the league needs viable stars in order to generate revenue.
It is what it is.
I'm an A's fan, and they have plenty of hard luck players. But even I know that the league wouldn't be in business without New York, Chicago, and Boston, not by shear size of those markets but by consumer willingness to spend money.
So get over it.
These days as well, I would submit to you that there's no such thing as a hard-luck pro baseball player, when even mediocre talent can make upwards of a million dollars per year.
To me, it's the same as describing a 6'2'', 295 lb NFL lineman as "smallish."
Now that I have made my spiel, here are my AL and NL awards.
AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Perez, closer, Texas Rangers
Perez had 40 saves and 71 strikeouts in 69.1 innings for a team that has notoriously struggled with pitching and has reached the postseason for the first time since 1999.
Runner up: Austin Jackson, center field, Detroit Tigers
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Francisco Liriano, pitcher, Minnesota Twins
This one was easy. Liriano went 14-10 with 201 strikeouts and 58 walks after he finished 5-13 in 2009.
Runners up: Vladimir Guerrero, designated hitter, Texas Rangers
AL Cy Young: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
In 208.2 innings, Price amassed a record of 19-6 with 79 walks, 188 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.72. I cite the ERA simply because many of the advocates for Hernandez cite his ERA of 2.27. All things considered though, Price has comparable numbers for a far more successful team at 96 wins; a team that had to overcome the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.
Runners up: CC Sabathia, New York Yankees, Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
AL Coach of the Year: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins
The Twins finished first in a tough division with 94 wins. The Twins in fact improved offensively after former AL MVP Justin Morneau was injured.
Runner up: Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, First Base, Detroit Tigers
I could make a case for Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, but I could also make a case for Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Miguel Cabrera finished in the top three in the American League of batting average (.328), RBI's (126), and home runs (38). He also had an on-base percentage of .420 and a slugging percentage of .552.
Runners up: Jose Bautista, left field, Toronto Blue Jays; Robinson Cano, second base, New York Yankees
NL Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey, Catcher, San Francisco Giants
For a team that was badly in need of offense, Posey came through for a team that won the NL West. Posey finished the year with a batting average of .305, an on-base percentage of .357, a slugging percentage of .505, 67 RBI's, and 18 home runs.
Runners Up: Jason Heyward, right field, Atlanta Braves; Jaime Garcia, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Tim Hudson, Pitcher, Atlanta Braves
Simple enough. Tim Hudson amassed a record of 17-9, an ERA of 2.93, and a WHIP of 1.15 after he finished 2009 at 2-1.
Runner Up: Scott Rolen, third base, Cincinnati Reds
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Philles
I know that postseason achievements don't count towards the awards for regular season, but Halladay's no-no in his first postseason game certainly won't hurt, after he also threw a perfect game in the regular season.
Halladay was also a workhorse in the regular season with 250.2 innings pitched, which is an undervalued statistic when you consider the number of serious injuries to promising pitching prospects. Halladay also had 219 strikeouts with only 30 walks and an ERA of 2.44.
Runners up: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals; Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies
NL Manager of the Year: Bud Black, San Diego Padres
The Padres by most accounts were not supposed to even compete in 2010. Though the Padres just missed the postseason, they did finish with 90 wins for a team that was a mix first and second-year players, retreads, and platoons. The credit for coordinating that should go to the manager, Bud Black.
NL MVP: Joey Votto, First Base, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have earned their first postseason berth for the first time since I can't remember when. Joey Votto has powered the offense with a batting average of .324, an on-base percentage of .424, a slugging percentage of .600, 37 home runs, and 113 RBI. This was a tough call to make. My view is that the Reds would crumble without Votto.
Runner up: Albert Pujols, first base, St. Louis Cardinals; Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies